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HP targets the Razer Blade with new gaming notebook

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The Omen is designed to give gamers the notebook they want

HP isn't a company generally associated with high-power gaming machines (despite it having purchased boutique gaming PC maker Voodoo nearly 10 years ago), but it's looking to change that perception with the new Omen laptop. The Omen is a purpose-built gaming machine, with a quad-core Intel Core i7 processor and Nvidia GTX 860m graphics card. It's priced at $1,499 to start and is available for order from HP's online store today.

With a 15-inch display, slim 19.9mm thick frame, and weight of 4.68 pounds, the Omen is competing with Razer's slim and powerful Blade gaming notebook. HP says it took great care to design the Omen's chassis to optimize thermals, so it can run the Core i7 at its full speed for longer periods of time. The Omen's design allows it to pull in air from the bottom and push it out the back of the machine, preventing the user's hands from being scalded with hot air. HP claims that all of this thermal engineering allows the Omen to get better performance than other notebooks with the same processor and graphics card.

The laptop's frame is made from CNC machined aluminum, which has been anodized into a matte black finish. The chrome hinge has been coated to look like the tips of a high-performance exhaust system. All of the ports have been positioned on the back side of the laptop, in an effort to keep wires out of sight and out of the way.

HP Omen

HP says the 15-inch, 1080p touchscreen panel on the Omen strikes the right balance between resolution and optimal frame rates, and a higher-resolution screen would have resulted in suboptimal frame rates during game play. The keyboard offers six programmable function keys, and HP says the feel of it has been tuned for positiive action without the loud noises of other keyboards. Users can also configured the lights under the keyboard to highlight specific keys, such as the WASD keys. The Omen's speakers also feature gamer-appropriate illumination.

Users can also configure the Omen's performance via preinstalled software, which allows for customizable keyboard shortcuts, fan speed controls, and more. The base Omen comes with a 128GB SSD for storage, 8GB of DDR3 RAM, and a 2GB video card, but buyers will be able to opt for larger and faster drives, more RAM, and a larger video card.

While most gaming laptops typically weigh closer to 10 pounds and are thicker than the average high school textbook, the Omen's relatively slim size and light weight make it an appealing prospect for gamers on the go. Razer got most of this formula right with the Blade, but it will be interesting to see how HP's lower-cost effort fares.