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HP Omen Transcend 14 review: Productivity machine or gaming laptop?

The HP Omen Transcend 14 laptop will serve you well for most games but it sacrifices some of its gaming prowess for design and portability

The Omen Transcend 14 comes with Intel’s latest Core Ultra 7 155H chip, RTX 4060 Laptop GPU, 16GB LPDDR5x RAM, 1TB SSD and a 14-inch IMAX-certified OLED (2.8k resolution) display. It starts at  <span class='webrupee'>₹</span>1,74,999.
The Omen Transcend 14 comes with Intel’s latest Core Ultra 7 155H chip, RTX 4060 Laptop GPU, 16GB LPDDR5x RAM, 1TB SSD and a 14-inch IMAX-certified OLED (2.8k resolution) display. It starts at 1,74,999. (HP)

It’s tough reviewing a gaming laptop. It’s even tougher to pick one I’d be willing to spend money on. First, it should be a laptop that has enough power to play the latest PC games. Second, it should be light enough to carry around. Last, I’d prefer it if my gaming laptop didn’t look like a brick. A gaming laptop that looks otherwise would be an icing on the cake.

I recently tested the newly launched HP Omen Transcend 14 – and it pretty much ticks all these boxes. The Omen Transcend 14 isn’t a perfect laptop. To fit in a portable form factor, HP had to skimp on some gaming power. Nonetheless, as of now, it still is one of my favourite gaming laptops. A big factor is its beautiful OLED display.

HP Omen’s Transcend line of laptops is one level higher than the standard Omen gaming lineup. Introduced at CES 2024, it is HP’s lightest and most compact gaming laptop yet.

The Omen Transcend 14 comes with Intel’s latest Core Ultra 7 155H chip, RTX 4060 Laptop GPU, 16GB LPDDR5x RAM, 1TB SSD and a 14-inch IMAX-certified OLED (2.8k resolution) display with support for 48-120Hz refresh rate. The laptop weighs 1.63kg and is available in a single colour option of Shadow Black.

Let’s talk about that design

I like it when gaming laptops aren’t showing off that they are indeed ‘gaming’ laptops. The more subtle they are the better. By no means am I a professional gamer, but I do like to play games occasionally. To that extent, something that looks more like a hybrid, or something with a clean look impresses me. The Omen Transcend 14 has a compact aluminum chassis – weighing just 1.6kg and is 0.79 inches thin. It has proper premium looks. The laptop features round corners and an almost invisible hinge. The lid has curved edges. The only downside is that it attracts fingerprints and stains. You’ll have to keep cleaning it often.

Just as a comparison, the upcoming Dell XPS 14 (which has already launched outside of India) weighs in at 1.74kg and measures 0.71 inches thin.

The Omen Transcend 14 features a standard port selection but with a great layout. There’s a HDMI 2.1 port, two USB 3.2 Gen 2 Type-A ports, a USB 3.2 Gen 2 Type-C port (for power delivery and DisplayPort modes), a Thunderbolt 4 connection (also used for charging) and a 3.5mm headphone jack.

The two bulkiest ports, the USB-C port for charging, along with the full-size HDMI 2.1 port, are at the back of the laptop. On the left is the other USB-C port, and the 3.5mm headphone jack. On the right, you’ll find the two USB-A ports.

The speakers feature on the bottom of the laptop. Thanks to the design, the speakers don’t sit completely flat on the surface. The speakers are just fine. They work for listening to music or playing casual games. For anything more serious, I’d recommend investing in a quality gaming headset. There’s a 1080p camera (with an IR sensor for Windows Hello facial recognition), above the display. HP does include better webcams in its Envy/Spectre line of laptops. It would be nice to see that extended to the Omen Transcend brand.

Sacrificing some gaming prowess

Like I mentioned above, the USB-C port on the back is used for charging the laptop. There’s a 140W USB-C charger bundled in the box. However, it isn’t large or powerful enough to let the GPU/CPU run at maximum power.

What I came to learn during my time using the Omen Transcend 14 is that it wants to be the best of both worlds. Not just a powerful gaming laptop but a machine capable of performing tasks like photo and video editing. It’s got plenty of power, no doubt. But its gaming capabilities are being held back.

Temper down your expectations and this is a fine gaming laptop for playing the latest video games. Don’t hope for 60fps at maximum settings along with having the native resolution. That’s just not going to happen in something this thin and light.

If you want to get the best out of this gaming laptop, then sadly, you’ll have to turn the screen down to 1080p. Even at 1080p games do look fantastic and its a pleasure having long gaming sessions with this laptop. If you do want higher resolutions, then just turn on DLSS (Nvidia Deep Learning Super Sampling). This is “a family of AI graphics technologies that improve image quality and performance in real-time” and is available in over 350 games.

The HP Omen Transcend 14 has a 2.8K OLED display (with 120Hz refresh rate and a resolution of 2,880x1,800).
The HP Omen Transcend 14 has a 2.8K OLED display (with 120Hz refresh rate and a resolution of 2,880x1,800). (HP)

Display, keyboard and trackpad

The display is gorgeous. It’s a 2.8K OLED display (with 120Hz refresh rate and a resolution of 2,880x1,800). The clarity is fantastic, there’s a pixel density of over 240 pixels per inch (PPI), and it is very much colour accurate.

The keyboard is fairly average and passable. The keyboard on the Omen Transcend is new. It’s got a HyperX Pudding keycap design and comes with translucent borders. This allows for bolder and pronounced RGB lightning. If you’re a fan of RGB, then this keyboard will appeal to you. Unfortunately, when the backlight is disabled, the keyboard is far from attractive. The transparent edges look cheap when the RGB setting is turned off.

On the other hand, the trackpad is to my liking. It’s got rounded colours, is not too big, and feels good. The precision touchpad has good haptics, a firm click and no rattle.

Battery life

The HP Omen Transcend 14 comes with a 71Wh battery. Without any gaming, and on light usage, I managed over five hours of battery life from this laptop. That’s decent for a gaming laptop. But the battery barely lasted an hour when playing heavy video games such as Forza Horizon 5, Halo and others. This reiterates the fact that gaming laptops aren’t meant to be used without being plugged in. The 140W USB-C charger is compact and portable. A full charge will take about 90 minutes.

Should you buy it?

If you want a compact 14-inch hybrid laptop, then the Omen Transcend 14 should be high on your list. To me, the Omen Transcend 14 works better as a traditional clamshell than a gaming laptop.

Again, that isn’t a bad thing. You’re getting a laptop that is portable, comes with a stunning OLED display, and can play the latest video games at 1080p resolution (not at native resolution). At a starting price of 1,74,999, it doesn’t breach the 2,00,000 mark. But the laptop sacrifices gaming prowess for portability, has weak audio and a keyboard that looks far from appealing when the RGB lighting is off.

If you’re a professional gamer, then please look away. Look at it as a productivity machine first and then a gaming laptop. There is stiff competition in this segment, and HP is a little behind when it comes to the most important metric -- how well it can handle the latest gaming titles.

Sahil Bhalla is a Delhi-based journalist. He posts @IMSahilBhalla.

Also read: iQOO Neo 7 Pro 5G review: More than just gaming performance on a budget

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