Best HP laptops for gaming: Omen, Pavilion, and more

Best HP laptops for gaming: Omen, Pavilion, and more

With the myriad of laptops out there today, it’s fair to say we’re usually spoiled for choice in most categories. That includes gaming, and we’ve already rounded up some of the best gaming laptops you can buy. We also have a list of the best budget gaming laptops out there, so there’s a lot to choose from. But we all have our affinities, and maybe you’re keen on buying a gaming laptop from HP. After all, HP laptops are some of the best you can buy, so it’s almost impossible to go wrong with them. To help you out, we’ve gathered some of the best HP laptops for gaming, so you can get something that fits your needs.

HP’s most dedicated gaming brands are Omen and Pavilion Gaming, which you’ll see a bit of on this list. But we’ve also included some more ‘out there’ choices for those who also want versatility.

Best overall: HP OMEN 15t

HP Omen 15 2021

If you want the most performance out of your gaming laptop and an all-around stellar experience, the Intel-based OMEN 15t-ek100 is hard to beat. The Intel Core i7-10870H is no longer the latest available, but it still offers stellar gaming performance if you choose to go that route. You can also opt for the lower-end Core i5-10300H if your budget is a bit lower. Pair that with either a GeForce RTX 3060 or RTX 3070 Max-Q from Nvidia, and gaming should be a breeze. If you’re all about frame-perfect timing, you can also get it with an ultra-fast 300Hz display. Meanwhile, the Quad HD 165Hz option offers a great mix of resolution and smoothness for both productivity and gaming.

Admittedly, it’s not the absolute fastest option on this list, but it offers some upgrade options you can’t get on other laptops, like the 300Hz display and per-key RGB backlighting. Plus, it has a solid price point for what it offers.

    HP OMEN 15t-ek100
    The HP OMEN 15t offers high-performance specs including Nvidia's GeForce RTX 3060 GPU and 10th-generation Intel processors. You can configure it with up to a 300Hz display, full RGB-backlit keyboard and more, so you can tailor it to your needs.

Best gaming laptop with an AMD CPU: HP OMEN 15z

HP OMEN 15z

This is pretty much the AMD-based version of the laptop above, and if you want the absolute most CPU performance, this might be an even better choice. AMD’s Ryzen 7 5800H offers fantastic CPU performance for a laptop, and it outdoes the Intel variant in quite a few games. Plus, AMD is known for its productivity performance, so if you’re using this for video rendering, this is definitely a better choice. The GPU options are about the same, too.

The reason this isn’t our best overall option is that it might not fit everyone’s needs. There’s no option for a 300Hz display, per-key RGB lighting, or a lower-end processor if you don’t need the Ryzen 7. It also only goes up to 16GB of RAM, while the Intel version can be had with up to 32GB. But if you know what you need, this might be the best option for you.

    HP OMEN 15z-en100
    In terms of pure performance, this AMD version of the OMEN 15 is even better than the Intel version. Packing the latest AMD Ryzen processors and Nvidia GPUs, it's a beast that can plough through almost any game or workload you throw at it. It's not as configurable, but still a fantastic laptop.

Best 17-inch:  HP OMEN 17t

HP OMEN 17t laptop

Gaming tends to be more immersive with a bigger display, and the HP Omen 17t offers just that. It comes with a 17.3-inch Full HD panel and a 144Hz refresh rate, so it’s both immersive and smooth. The Intel 10th-generation processors offer plenty of gaming performance, as do the GeForce GPUs inside. The GTX 1660 Ti is still a solid entry-level choice, and you can upgrade up to an RTX 2080 Super to get the most performance possible. Of course, it’s not using the RTX 30 series GPUs yet, so that might not be ideal for you.

If you can afford to wait, HP is likely to introduce variants with newer specs in the near future. The laptop hasn’t been refreshed with the latest components from either Intel or Nvidia just yet, but if you need a large gaming laptop right now, this is the way to go.

    HP OMEN 17t-cb100
    For the person who loves big screens, the OMEN 17t is a powerful machine. It packs Intel's 10th-generation H-series Core processors along with up to a GeForce RTX 2080 Super for graphics, making it more than powerful enough for almost any game you might want to play. At the base level, it's at the very least a solid mid-ranger, but the upgrade options can take it much further if you want to make use of the 144Hz display.

Best 16-inch: HP Pavilion Gaming 16t

HP Pavilion Gaming 16 laptop gray background

Laptops in 15- and 17-inch variants have been around for a while, but HP recently discovered that 16 inches is a great middle-ground. With the Pavilion Gaming 16, you get a slightly larger screen but a much more portable package than with a 17-inch laptop. The HP Pavilion Gaming 16t is budget-friendly, but it still packs a punch, featuring 10th-generation Intel Core H-series processors and up to an Nvidia GeForce RTX 2060. You can also get it with up to a 144Hz refresh rate display, but by default, it will only be 60Hz. The performance won’t blow your mind, but it’s a solid budget option with a relatively unique form factor.

There are plenty of configuration upgrades available, and one you might want is the 256GB SSD instead of the 1TB HDD on the base level. The increased speeds make a significant difference in load times and even boot times for Windows itself. However, it may make sense to wait for HP to launch more 16-inch models with newer components if you want the most power.

    HP Pavilion Gaming 16t-a000
    A nice balance between the portability of a 15-inch laptop and the larger display of a 17-inch laptop, the HP Pavilion Gaming is a great option if you're looking for that perfect in-between size. It comes with 10th-generation Intel processors and up to a GeForce RTX 2060, which should give you enough power to handle most games at moderate settings. There are a few upgrade options that can make it even better for you.

Best budget gaming laptop: HP Pavilion Gaming 15z

HP Pavilion Gaming 15 laptop

We can’t all afford to get the latest and greatest specs, but that doesn’t mean we can’t all have a great gaming experience. The HP Pavilion Gaming 15z offers fantastic value for money, starting with Ryzen 5000 series CPUs. You can go with either the Ryzen 5 5600H or the Ryzen 7 5800H if you want the extra performance. The Nvidia GeForce GTX 1650 GPU is not going to give you maximum settings in every game, but with some tweaking, it should be able to handle almost anything.

For $699.99, the Pavilion Gaming 15z is already very good, but you have a few upgrade options that might be great if you can stretch your budget. You can go up to a 144Hz display for just $20, or double the amount of RAM to 16GB for $80. You have a great starting point with this laptop, but you can build from there if you want to.

    HP Pavilion Gaming 15z-ec200
    The perfect laptop for getting into gaming, the HP Pavilion Gaming 15t offers a stellar set of specs for its entry price of $699. It packs AMD's latest Ryzen processors, which are great for games and productivity alike, along with the decently-powerful GeForce GTX 1650, with upgrade options available to make it even better.

Best do-it-all laptop: HP Spectre x360 15t-eb100

HP Spectre x360 15t

Gaming is great, but sometimes versatility is better, and the HP Spectre x360 does it all. It may be surprising, but this sleek-looking laptop packs an Intel Core i7-10750H and a Geforce GTX 1650 Ti with Max-Q design. That’s nothing to scoff at if you’re into gaming, and while it may not rival the top-tier OMEN entries on this list, it’s a whole different beast. Not only does it have solid performance for gaming, but the 2-in-1 design makes it great for work, and it’ll never look out of place in an office environment with this sleek design. Oh, and it has a 4K OLED display, so media editing and viewing can’t get much better than that – though you won’t be gaming at that resolution without an external GPU.

Regardless, this is truly a laptop that can do it all, and having this much power in a convertible form factor makes it extremely versatile. For $1,899 it’s pricey, but it’s a premium-feeling laptop that can handle gaming and anything else. It’s hard to ask for much more.

    HP Spectre x360 15t-eb000
    The HP Spectre x360 15t is one of the most versatile laptops you can get. It has enough horsepower to handle some gaming, but its form factor makes it great for all kinds of work and media viewing. Plus, it looks far more elegant than any gaming laptop on this list, so you can truly use it anywhere.

These laptops should cover quite a few bases when it comes to gaming. HP makes phenomenal laptops across different segments, and its gaming products are also great. We did point out in some of these cases that it may make sense to wait for refreshed models if you can afford to, but all of these are still fantastic options. My personal preference, the Spectre x360 15t, would be the best, simply because I love a laptop that can do anything, so I don’t have to have a dedicated device for everything I do. However, some of these gaming-focused PCs are stellar, and something like the HP Pavilion Gaming 15 is fantastic for gamers on a budget. Regardless of what you choose, we believe you’ll be happy with your purchase.

About author

João Carrasqueira
João Carrasqueira

Writer at XDA Computing. I've been covering the world of technology since 2018, but I've loved the field for a lot longer. And I have a weird affinity for Nintendo videogames, which I'm always happy to talk about.