HP Victus 16 Evaluation: A New Gaming Model Makes Its Mark

HP Victus 16 in the test: A new gaming brand sets the tone

RRP $ 1,360.00

"The HP Victus 16 is a solid gaming laptop at an affordable price."

advantages

  • Excellent productivity performance

  • Solid 1080p gaming performance

  • Comfortable keyboard

  • The display is good for both productivity and gaming

  • Acceptable price

disadvantage

  • Build quality is below average

  • The keyboard backlight is limited

  • Bad battery life

Gaming laptops have never been more popular, and HP has a new line of devices to meet the growing interest. Victus is the name, and it is under HP's premium gaming brand Omen, replacing the Pavilion slot machines on a budget level.

HP Victus brings a higher quality design, souped-up internals and Windows 11. I was sent a high-end configuration with a Core i7-11800H and an Nvidia GeForce RTX 3060 for $ 1,360.

That's a fair price for a moderately-featured gaming laptop – the next Omen 16 configuration I was able to put together is $ 1,950 in comparison. Given the price difference and great performance, the HP Victus 16 has already made a name for itself in the world of affordable gaming laptops.

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Mark Coppock / Digital Trends

The first thing that catches your eye once you are familiar with the Omen line is the Victus logo. It's a "V" based on the same core geometry as the Omen logo, with the lower portion essentially isolated to stand on its own. The logo is not only on the outer lid and on the display chin, but is also embedded in the ventilation above the keyboard and outlines the ventilation on the underside of the case. If nothing else, the Victus has its branding below.

The rest of the Victus 16's aesthetic is minimalist, with few nods to a more eye-catching gaming design. In fact, the only real gaming design element is the row of air vents along the back of the case. They give a visual flair and at the same time offer improved thermals (more on that in a moment). My test device was the color Mica Silver (black); Performance Blue and Ceramic White are the other options.

Overall, the Victus 16 is a gaming laptop with a more traditional laptop design. We saw this on a few other gaming devices, like the conservatively designed (and much more expensive) Razer Blade 15 and the Asus ROG Zephyrus G14, which has a non-gaming aesthetic in addition to the lid and rear ventilation. The Lenovo Legion 5 Pro lives in both worlds at the same time, with a no-nonsense design with some gaming elements such as aggressive ventilation openings that appear to be glued on. Conversely, the Asus ROG Strix G15 and Alienware laptops retain a die-hard gaming aesthetic through and through.

The Victus 16 has quite small bezels for a gaming device, at least on the top and on the sides. Even with a massive chin, the combo results in a screen-to-body ratio of 84% – not bad for a gaming laptop. This made it possible to integrate the 16-inch display into a housing that is more like a 15-inch gaming device. The Legion 5 Pro has smaller bezels around its 16-inch display with an aspect ratio of 16:10 and is almost identical in width and depth to the Victus 16, which has an old-school 16: 9 panel.

The Asus ROG Strix G15 with a 15.6-inch display in 16: 9 format is a fraction of an inch wider and deeper. The Victus 16 is 0.93 inches thick and weighs 5.5 pounds, compared to the Legion 5 Pro at 1.1 inches and 5.4 pounds and the ROG Strix G15 at about an inch and 5.7 pounds. This makes the Victus 16 a decently sized gaming laptop in view of the display and components. You can get thinner gaming laptops like the Razer Blade 15 which is only 0.67 "and the HP Omen 16 which is 0.89", but you will pay for them.

Mark Coppock / Digital Trends

One area where the Victus 16 doesn't quite live up to its price is the build quality. It's an all-plastic laptop, which is fine, but the lid is too pliable and the keyboard deck has enough flexibility that you can feel your fingers pressing against anything directly under the keyboard and palm rest. The Legion 5 Pro and ROG Strix G15 felt more stable to us, and they're about the same price as the Victus 16. The hinge was incredibly wobbly, easy to open with one hand, but prone to shaking during gaming sessions. Perhaps the build quality was carried over from the budget-conscious Pavilion gaming line, but HP may want to improve it in future generations.

One of the more sensible upgrades to the Pavilion Gaming 16 is the thermal design. HP integrated a new system with five-way airflow thanks to an additional exhaust opening on the RTX 3060 model, four heat pipes and larger fans. The result, according to HP, is 30% more airflow, which makes the laptop quite loud when you work hard, but keeps it cooler than its predecessor. As we'll see in the performance section below, the Victus 16 gets the most out of its components, and that's in part because of its excellent thermal design.

The Victus 16 has a mix of ports, with an emphasis on being able to connect a wide variety of gaming peripherals. There's an Ethernet port, a full-size HDMI port, a USB-A 3.2 port, a USB-C 3.2 port, a 3.5mm audio jack, and a full-size SD card reader on the left Side and two more USB-A 3.2 ports on the right side. Juice is provided by a massive 200 watt power brick and a proprietary barrel connector.

There is no Thunderbolt 4 support, however, which is disappointing. Wi-Fi 6 and Bluetooth 5.1 offer wireless connectivity.

power

The Victus 16 is powered by a 45-watt eight-core / 16-thread Intel Core i7-11800H – a workhorse among Intel's lineup that offers some of the best creative application performance you'll find outside of the AMD Ryzen 5000 series. Not to mention its productivity performance, which is exaggerated for even the most demanding office worker.

There's nothing that says a gaming laptop can't be used to get work done, so it's worth looking at how well the Victus 16 does for non-gaming tasks. Consider my wife, an interior designer: she was given an Alienware gaming laptop as a work machine because it offers both a fast CPU and a separate GPU to accelerate applications such as AutoCAD, Revit, CET and the Adobe suite. The HP Victus 16 would fit more discreetly into an office environment than an Alienware computer, that's for sure.

Mark Coppock / Digital Trends

In any case, the Victus 16 is undoubtedly a fast notebook compared to mainstream laptops with comparable equipment. It led the field in Geekbench 5 with impressive high scores, finished third in Cinebench R23 (with the Lenovo Legion 5 Pro and its Ryzen 7 5800H being the fastest machine), and finished first in our handbrake test, the one 420 MB video as coded H.265 and even achieved the high score in PCMark 10, a primarily productivity-oriented benchmark.

In PugetBench, which uses Premiere Pro to handle a number of demanding tasks and can use a separate GPU, the Victus 16 again achieved the highest score among its closest competitors.

If you are looking for a fast notebook for productivity and creative tasks, then you have come to the right place with the HP Victus 16. It takes its components to extremes thanks largely to its excellent thermal design and is certainly faster than your typical mainstream and often thinner and lighter laptop. Note that you can also buy the Victus 16 with an AMD Ryzen 7 4800H if you want even faster CPU performance.

Laptop Underdog bench 5 Cinebench R23 PugetBank
(Premiere Pro)
Handbrake
(Seconds)
PCMark 10
HP Victus 16 (Core i7-11800H) 1594/9141 1510/10145 765 91 6808
Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Extreme Gen 4 (Core i7-11800H) 1520/7353 1519/10497 388 99 6251
Dell XPS 15 OLED 2021 (Core i7-11800H) 1544/7692 1513/9979 509 101 6024
MSI Creator Z16 (Core i7-11800H) 1540/7625 1444/9615 738 103 6486
Dell XPS 17 (Core i7-11800H) 1568/8801 1525/10145 692 n / A 6209
LG gram 16 (Core i7-1165G7) 1573/5454 1394/4137 N / A 213 4827
Lenovo Legion 5 Pro (Ryzen7 5800H) 1460/7227 1430/11195 622 99 n / A

Games

Mark Coppock / Digital Trends

But of course the Victus 16 is a gaming laptop and should therefore compete with other gaming laptops. Here, too, it impressed with quite a good performance, as it has one of the slower GPUs in our comparison group. Note that HP includes its Omen Gaming Hub app with the Victus 16, which enables undervolting and three power modes: quiet, standard, and performance.

I ran all of the benchmarks – including those in the section above – in both standard and performance modes and found very little differences in performance. In most games, the performance mode only squeezed out a few additional frame rates.

The 3DMark Time Spy Score was in line with our comparison group, coming in penultimate place, with only the MSI Creator Z16 – a non-gaming computer with the same GPU that I added for comparison purposes – achieving a lower score.

In actual games, the Victus 16 did well. It managed to get close to the Razer Blade 14 and Lenovo Legion 5 Pro in Assassin's Creed Valhalla in a few frames – and both are equipped with RTX 3070s. It almost reached the Lenovo Legion 5 Pro in Battlefield V and beat the Razer Blade 14 in Fortnite. It eventually beat both RTX 3070-equipped machines in Civilization VI.

And best of all, these are very playable frame rates across the board, making the Victus 16 a high-performance 1080p gaming device. These results are all at high graphics settings, which means you don't have to turn things down to maintain high frame rates. For a gaming laptop with an RTX 3060, the Victus 16 is competitive. If you go for the AMD version of the laptop, you can opt for a slower AMD Radeon RX5500M GPU to save some money.

Laptop 3DMark time spy Assassin's Creed Valhalla
(1080p ultra high)
Battlefield V
(1080p-Ultra)
Fourteen days
(1080p epic)
Civilization VI (1080p Ultra)
HP Victus 16 (RTX 3060) 7341 59 fps 72 fps 99 fps 118 fps
Razer blade 14 (RTX 3070) 8605 60 fps 96 fps 96 fps 111 fps
Lenovo Legion 5 Pro (RTX 3070) 9175 61 fps 73 fps 101 fps 114 fps
Asus ROG Strix G15 (RX6800M) 10504 77 fps 109 fps 108 fps 150 fps
MSI GS66 Stealth (RTX 3080) 9097 70 fps 117 fps 140 fps 149 fps
Razer blade 15 (RTX 2080 Super) 7637 58 fps 98 fps 110 fps 134 fps
MSI Creator Z16 (RTX 3060) 6322 50 fps 57 fps 56 fps (1600p) 92 fps

The Victus 16 moves a lot of air when it's working hard, so the fan noise was quite audible. It is not enough to force you to wear headphones all the time, but you can still do so. The laptop's surface remained reasonable, reaching 101 degrees Fahrenheit on the right side of the keyboard deck during benchmarking. The underside of the chassis did not exceed 115 degrees F during my tests. The notebook stayed cool and quiet in non-gaming mode.

According to 3DMark, the maximum GPU temperatures were between around 75 ° C and 100 ° C, which is the highest possible safe temperature. We usually don't like it when temperatures get this high, and you can find better thermals in laptops like the Lenovo Legion 5 Pro.

Configurations

While our test configuration was on the high end for $ 1,360 – with the Core i7-11800H, RTX 3060, 16 GB of RAM, a 512 GB SSD, and the 144 Hz Full HD display – you can get the Victus 16 for a lot get less money. For example, for just $ 730 you can get a Core i5-11400H, GTX 1650, 8 GB RAM, a 256 GB SSD and the entry-level 60 Hz Full HD panel. But honestly, that's not a configuration most people will enjoy between the outdated graphics card and the 60Hz display.

The $ 1,640 maximum you can spend upgrading our configuration to 32GB of RAM, a 1TB SSD, and a QHD (2,560 x 1,440) 165Hz display.

If you're looking to save money but don't want to compromise as much on performance, you can still keep your purchase price below $ 1,000. For $ 920, you can get the Core i5, an RTX 3050 Ti, 8 GB of RAM, a 512 GB SSD, and a 144 Hz Full HD display – a solid entry-level gaming laptop at a very attractive price especially if you're trying to buy a gaming laptop under $ 1,000.

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Mark Coppock / Digital Trends

Gaming laptops don't always have displays with wide and accurate colors and high contrast, but instead focus on things like refresh rates. The display installed in my test report Victus 16 circumvented these restrictions. It's a 15.6-inch Full HD IPS display with a refresh rate of 144 Hz, with its only weakness being the old-school 16: 9 aspect ratio.

But when I used the display, it seemed like a similar panel I could find on a thin and light premium laptop aimed at productive work. It was bright, with dynamic colors that weren't oversaturated, and enough contrast to make blacks stand out against white.

I was very happy with the display on the Victus 16.

My colorimeter confirmed my impressions. The display is indeed bright at 375 nits, well above our 300 nit threshold, and the contrast was 1120: 1, beating our preferred 1000: 1. The colors were above average at 79% AdobeRGB (with about 72% being the norm) and 100% sRGB, and fairly accurate with a DeltaE of 1.85 (1.0 or less is considered excellent).

The Asus ROG Strix G15 wasn't nearly as good with 278 nits, a contrast ratio of 1,090: 1 (a good result) and only 48% AdobeRGB and 64% sRGB with a color accuracy of 2.19. The Legion 5 Pro's display was also good with 515 nits, a contrast ratio of 1,380: 1, 74% AdobeRGB and 97% sRGB, and a color accuracy of 1.36.

I was very happy with the display on the Victus 16. Not only is it fast for gaming, but it can also perform well for productive work. Thanks to its fast performance, it can even do some creative work in a pinch.

The tone wasn't quite as impressive. The two downward-facing speakers were very quiet even when turned up fully, although there was no distortion. The mids and highs were clear enough, but the bass was missing. You will need headphones when playing at full strength as the sound is not loud enough to comfortably overcome the fan noise. The same goes for Netflix binge and listening to music – headphones are a must.

Keyboard and touchpad

Mark Coppock / Digital Trends

Here's one thing the Victus 16 didn't inherit from the Omen line: RGB lighting per key on the keyboard. Although the keyboard of the Victus 16 is actually backlit with white lighting, it is only switched on or off with no level in between. So HP has taken great care to ensure that the Omen retains its lead here. The keyboard feels great, however, with a large travel and very snappy switches that provide great responsiveness for both gamers and productivity users. It's not a mechanical keyboard, but it shouldn't hold back competitive gamers.

The touchpad has become larger compared to the Pavilion Gaming 16 and takes up most of the space on the palm rest. It has a pleasant surface to swipe, but I found the buttons a bit loose and they only vibrated a touch when pressed. It's nothing outrageous, and as a Microsoft Precision touchpad, it supports the full complement of Windows 11 multitouch gestures. Overall, I would rate the touchpad as competent, but nothing special.

There is no passwordless support for Windows 11 Hello and the display is not touch-enabled. So these are two missing features that would have been welcome but are often missing on midrange gaming laptops.

Battery life

The Victus 16 is a gaming laptop with relatively high-quality components and a 70-watt-hour battery. I wasn't expecting great battery life from the machine and I didn't get it.

In our web browsing test, which ran through a number of complex websites, the Victus 16 only lasted 4.5 hours – a terrible score. The Lenovo Legion 5 Pro worked over seven hours, which is still not great, but it is far better than HP's, while the Asus ROG Strix G15 does even worse at just 3.8 hours.

In our video test going through a local 1080p movie trailer, the Victus 16 got 6.5 hours, another terrible score. The ROG Strix G15 lasted eight hours, and we didn't put the Legion 5 Pro through this test.

I also ran the PCMark 10 Applications battery test which got the Victus 16 up to just over five hours. We haven't tested any other gaming laptops with this benchmark, but most laptops get 10 hours or better. In the PCMark 10 gaming battery test, the Victus 16 lasted 92 minutes, which means that it also works without a power plug.

The Victus 16 is not intended to be a portable productivity machine, so these battery results are forgivable. Just keep in mind that you'll want to have your fairly large power adapter with you when you change gaming environments.

Our opinion

The HP Victus 16 is a legitimate competitor in the mid-range gaming market. It is well equipped and performs admirably. Its chassis is a bit too flexible, but not too big to take with you.

HP has found a nice balance with the Victus 16. And now the company has a real gaming brand under the Omen range that should be better off attracting gamers on less money.

Are there alternatives?

The Lenovo Legion 5 Pro is probably the best alternative to the Victus 16. It's about the same size, although its display is in the superior 16:10 aspect ratio and its gaming performance is similar. You will also be spending roughly the same amount of money.

You might also consider the AMD-equipped Asus ROG Strix G15 as an inexpensive alternative, and the ROG Zephyrus G15 offers a thinner chassis and higher specs for those looking to take their gaming one step further.

How long it will take?

Despite a loose hinge and an easily bendable lid and chassis, the Victus 16 should withstand years of hard gaming. The one year warranty remains as disappointing as ever.

Should you buy it?

Yes sir. For the price, the HP Victus 16 is a competent gaming performer in a comfortable case.

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