Is it worth buying the HP Omen 15
Gaming laptop purchase advice 2021 - the best notebooks for mobile gamers
Mobile gaming doesn't have to be loud and clunky, but it can get expensive. We recommend gaming laptops in different price ranges for maximum performance per euro.
Almost on a desktop level: Mobile gaming has long been ridiculed. However, a lot has happened in recent years: The current generation has six computing cores, a lot of memory and, thanks to Nvidia's RTX GPUs, also a lot of graphics performance almost on a desktop PC level. However, you have to pay properly for this level.
Performance and Mobility: The myth still persists that notebooks are either mobile or something for gamers. They are unwieldy, loud and at best suitable for older games. There are certainly still notebooks that fit this description, but new rules apply to the current generation with 12 nm GPUs and the latest multi-core processor.
New in February 2021: Notebooks with RTX 3000 and Ryzen 5000 continue to delay, but we have already had a look at an upcoming model. More notebooks with the latest equipment are in the starting blocks, as soon as they are available (and ideally have been briefly tested by us), we will of course update the purchase advice accordingly. The RTX 3060 is particularly interesting, as it enables cheaper yet fast devices.
What will 2021 bring for notebooks?
RTX 30x0: Three new notebook GPUs in very different TDP levels have enriched the notebook market so far this year, and two more are on the way. However, it sometimes gets a bit confusing - Nvidia has deleted the Max-Q designation and leaves it to the manufacturers to specify the TDP information (which has a strong effect on performance). As usual: not every manufacturer likes to do this. It is all the more important that you inform yourself with this purchase advice, which is also regularly updated this year, or at least do a short research to see whether your dream device is one of the faster models.
Detailed insights: With the Asus ROG Zephyrus G15, we were able to take a closer look at one of the first RTX 3000 notebooks for this purchase advice and also carry out various performance measurements. It uses an RTX 3080 with only 80 watts (100 watts per boost), but offers astonishing performance despite only 1.9 kilograms. More on this in the corresponding paragraph, in which we also discuss the Ryzen 9 5900HS that is used there. In the meantime, we were also able to take a look at various other ampere notebooks with RTX 3060 and RTX 3070 in different TDP levels - it showed that even an RTX 3070 with 140 watts no more power than an RTX 3080 with 80 watts on the screen brings. In addition to the manufacturer settings for BIOS and software, the cooling of the GPU is particularly important. This was also shown by a look at two basically very similar, but in detail quite different notebooks from XMG and Monster, as described at the end of this buying guide.
Table of Contents
On page 1, we present our favorites in the price-performance, middle-class and upper-class categories and explain what to look out for when buying.
On pages 2 and 3 you will find further recommendations and comparisons between desktop GPUs and notebook GPUs.
*Note: The recommendations presented here are provided with so-called affiliate links. With a purchase via one of these links, we receive a small commission from the respective provider. This has no effect on the price or our choice of recommendations.
Entry-level price: HP Pavilion 15-dk1240ng
HP Pavilion 15-dk1240ng - Inexpensive Intel computer with entry-level Nvidia GPU. *
price: approx. 700 euros
- Display / weight: 15.6 inches, 1,920x1,080 pixels, 144 Hz / approx.2.25 kg
- Processor: Intel Core i5-10300H, 4 / 8x cores 2.50 GHz (Turbo: up to 4.50 GHz)
- RAM / HDD: 8 GB DDR4-2933 / 512 GB SSD M.2 NVMe
- Graphic card: Nvidia Geforce GTX 1650 Ti 4 GB
It depends on the number: HP offers numerous, differently equipped models under the name Pavilion 15. As is so often the case, the following abbreviation is important: We are referring to the dk1240ng with the features mentioned above, a model that is available from 700 euros.
Not more expensive than office notebooks: Even if the performance of the HP notebook is not enough for demanding high-FPS hunters to occasionally play a game with it, the performance is sufficient. And in times when even a desktop graphics card comparable to the built-in GPU costs half as much as the entire notebook here, the standards are different than usual anyway. However, sooner or later we would advise you to upgrade your RAM.
Windows is missing: Attention, the only operating system included is the unusable FreeDOS, so you still need a Windows license (or switch to Linux).
- good price-performance ratio
- Sufficiently fast processor with HT
- little RAM
- GPU without power reserves
Buy HP Pavilion 15-dk1240ng at Otto.de *
Price-performance: Asus TUF Gaming A15 with RTX 3070
The Asus TUF Gaming A15 combines a fast CPU with a current RTX 3070, saving on the case and display, among other things.
price: approx. 1550 euros
- Display: 15.6 inches, 1,920x1,080 pixels, 144 Hz / approx. 2.3 kg
- Processor: AMD Ryzen 7 5800H, 8 / 16x 3.20 GHz (Turbo: up to 4.40 GHz)
- RAM / HDD: 16 GB DDR4-3200 / 1024 GB SSD M.2 NVMe
- Graphic card: Nvidia Geforce RTX 3070 8 GByte (95 watts)
RTX 3070 with 95 watts: What used to be Max-Q are now only TDP information, but fundamentally little changes. The fewer watts a GPU can or can consume, the lower the maximum clock rates. With 95 watts, the RTX 3070 of the A15 is at the lower end of the scale, but its performance is impressive, especially in comparison to the RTX 2000 GPUs - and we're not even talking about the Max-Q variants.
AMD Ryzen 7 5800H: Even if the 5800H does not achieve the clock rates of the Ryzen 9 5900HS, the CPU brings enormous performance to the notebook. Despite a TDP of only 35 watts, it can even keep up with desktop processors like the Intel Core i7-9900K in CPU benchmarks. Intel's upper-class notebook in the form of the Core i7-10875H even comfortably leaves it behind.
Price-performance tip: The Asus TUF Gaming A15 offers very fast components for a pleasantly low price. Asus saves in other areas such as the processing of the case and you also have to do without a WQHD display - but if you are primarily concerned with performance, you won't go wrong with the graphics despite the lower TDP level.
- very fast processor
- RTX 3070 with ray tracing and DLSS
- very good price-performance ratio
- GPU with only 95 watts
- Housing quality (plastic)
Buy Asus TUF Gaming A15 at MEdiamarkt *
Light and fast: Asus Zephyrus G15 with RTX 3080
No home office product picture without a cat - the star of the picture should still be the Asus ROG Zepyhrus G15. It impresses with its low weight and high performance. But so did the cat.
price: approx. 2799 euros
- Display: 15.6 inches, 2560x1.440 pixels, 165 Hz / approx. 1.9 kg
- Processor: AMD Ryzen 7 5900HS, 8 / 16x 3.10 GHz (Turbo: up to 4.50 GHz)
- RAM / HDD: 16 GB DDR4-3200 / 1024 GB SSD M.2 NVMe
- Graphic card: Nvidia Geforce RTX 3080 8 GByte (80 watts)
Light-footed: Even if the Asus ROG Zephyrus G15 does not save on performance, it is extremely handy. Both the case dimensions, which are impressive thanks to the narrow display frame and low height, and the weight are convincing. Weighing just 1.9 kilograms, it is impressively light - we were able to test it extensively and are seriously impressed.
The smallest RTX 3080: With only 80 watts, the GPU can only consume half as much energy as the largest equipment of the mobile RTX 3080. After all, it can supply 100 watts in the Turbo performance profile of the Asus software, which increases the boost clock rates visibly (at the expense of Volume, however).
Benchmarks: Since we received this model from Asus for testing some time before it was released (officially on February 15), we were of course also able to benchmark it. The hardware editors will take a look at the notebook separately. During a city tour in Cyberpunkt 2077, we achieved an average of 47 FPS in the Raytracing-Ultra profile with DLSS on quality and in WQHD. The 3DMark test TimeSpy comes to a total of 10,740 points, which roughly corresponds to a desktop system with RTX 2070 Super (FireStrike: 24,609 points)
Most of the connections are on the right side of the notebook: 3.5mm jack, 2x USB-C with Displayport 1.4, USB 3 Type-A, RJ45, HDMI 2.0 and the power connection. On the left there is only 1x USB 3.2 and a microSD card reader.
Top class CPU: Although none of the 45 watt top models is built in with the Ryzen 9 5900HS, the performance is still on a desktop level and makes older notebooks look old. The processor achieved 12,313 points in the multi-thread test and 1,409 points in single-thread in our benchmark runs in Cinebench R23 - values that the Intel Core i7-10700 desktop CPU would otherwise achieve.
WQHD display with 165 Hz: Displays with 2,560x1,440 pixels and high refresh rates are still rarely found in the notebook world - even if a trend reversal seems to be taking place in the current generation. Asus relies on a 300 nits bright 15.5 inch screen with this WQHD resolution at 165 Hz. The good color representation is also convincing.
Watch out for RAM: Asus soldered half of the RAM firmly to the mainboard, which limits expandability. The model linked here with 16 gigabytes uses 8 + 8 GB, so that you get 24 GB when upgrading with a 16 GB module - only one memory slot can be used and this is already occupied by 8 GB. The model with 32 GB RAM as standard uses a 16 + 16 GB configuration.
Conclusion: We have already been able to examine many notebooks as part of this purchase advice, but the Asus Zephyrus G15 stands out positively in some points. There is the very good performance (despite the small 80 watt 3080), which is particularly impressive in combination with the low weight. The display is also convincing and small things such as the Displayport 1.4 passed through on both USB-C ports are nice details. However, the fan is annoying under full load and we are not happy with the half-soldered RAM either.
- very fast processor
- RTX 3080 with ray tracing and DLSS
- very light weight
- GPU with 80 watts (boost: 100 watts)
- 8 gigabytes of RAM soldered on
Buy Asus ROG Zephyrus G15 at Saturn (available from March 15) *
With the display open, a little more air gets under the Zephyrus G15, which benefits the cooling system.
Good cooling brings more performance
Cooling beats raw power: The equipment of a gaming laptop is important, but cooling plays a big role in a limited space. Since a graphics chip intended for desktop graphics cards in the notebook absorbs too much energy and generates a corresponding amount of waste heat even with careful chip selection, manufacturers have to use tricks to enable high performance on the go.
Too much waste heat reduces performance: The cooling systems of modern notebooks, for example, are not designed to dissipate the maximum possible waste heat from the GPU and CPU. The manufacturers work with a mixed calculation and fight for every watt and every degree Celsius.
With the DTR series, Schenker manufactures desktop replacements with Nvidia RTX and desktop CPU - this demands its price in terms of weight and size.
Benchmarks show bottlenecks: Benchmark scenarios with unrealistic loads on the two main power guzzlers in everyday life, on the other hand, can already show whether the manufacturers' cooling systems will throttle the performance of the components in upcoming games with higher requirements.
The same equipment does not mean the same performance: Especially with narrow gaming notebooks, it is very important that the manufacturer has designed its cooling system sensibly. Even if two notebooks have the same specs, their in-game performance can differ greatly. A poorly cooled RTX 3080 may be slower than an RTX 3070 with a smart cooling system and correspondingly higher boost clock rates. The same applies, of course, to the different TDP levels. The fastest GPUs are therefore not intended for particularly handy notebooks.
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