The new HP Victus range of gaming laptops is launched as a budget-friendly alternative to the well-known Omen range. With many configurations available for under $ 1,000, it's sure to be on the list of many potential buyers. Let's check it out and see how it stacks up.
We received an HP Victus with an Intel Core i5-11400H CPU, RTX 3050 Ti laptop GPU (4 GB), 8 GB DDR4 (2 x 4 GB), 256 GB NVMe M.2 SSD and a 70 watt hour battery. This configuration will set you back about $ 930 depending on sales prices. All Victus laptops currently share the same 16-inch chassis and differ mainly in the internal configuration. The display is a 16.1-inch IPS FHD panel that comes in a 60Hz or 144Hz option (an upgrade for just $ 20 for the faster refresh rate).
Design and functions
The laptop comes with a matte gray plastic finish. It's a simple design all round, with the only major accent being a recessed glossy "V" on the back of the 16.1-inch display. The laptop measures 14.5 x 10.2 x 0.93 inches and weighs 5.4 pounds. That puts it on the heavier side of laptops in its class, with many competitors getting closer to 5 pounds. Below the display hinge we can see the rear exhaust vents for the two internal cooling fans.
The left edge of the Victus houses most of the I / O. Starting from the top we have the charging port, a fold-out RJ45 socket, an HDMI port, a USB 3.0 Type A port, a USB 3.0 Type C port, a headset combo socket and an SD card reader .
Except for the power strip, this is a fine range. I especially like these dedicated ethernet ports and wish more laptops keep them. Back to power, I really wish this was a USB-C port instead. It's almost 2022 and bulky proprietary laptop charging modules have to go.
When we walked around the laptop, we found two USB 3.0 ports and a largely empty right edge. The screen measures 0.3 inches, which is a bit thicker than other laptops in this price range, but I wouldn't worry. I appreciate the slight recess on the edge of the screen to give the laptop a good hold when it is opened.
The matte gray finish continues across the rest of the laptop. The screen bezels are nice and narrow on three edges. Most of the circuitry is located at the bottom of the display. This has become pretty standard, and the Victus' lower bezel measures a little over an inch. On top of the keyboard, just below the hinge, is a wide strip of mesh that covers the stereo speakers. I like the subtle "V" pattern here. It's much less pronounced on the actual device than it is in the picture.
I was somewhat impressed with the Victus' Bang and Olufsen speakers. They get loud and have good stereo imaging, but as with all laptop built-in audio systems, they almost completely lack bass. The EQ is set to cut the highs slightly, which helps them sound less tinny, but that also makes them pretty muddy in the low to mid range. The webcam above is only 720p and gets grainy in low light. I would say it's fine for most web calls during the day, but the quality drops noticeably at night. It's crazy how modern phones can pack their standout cameras into such a small form factor, but laptop webcams haven't moved on in a decade.
Let's talk a little more about mechanical design. The trackpad is nice and big, but feels rather thin. The top edge is attached to the laptop body while the bottom is free to float. This causes the entire keyboard to wobble and rattle as you type to click. If I hadn't known I had a brand new device out of the box, I might have thought a screw was loose. It's a cheap feeling and I would have expected a lot more from a laptop that costs almost $ 1,000.
Next on the keyboard. The keys feel very stable and operate nicely. The keyboard is tensioned quite well internally, so that even the heaviest typists don't have a lot of flex. Another feature of more and more laptops that I appreciate is the increased resistance on the power button. It requires significantly more force to press than the other keys and also has a slight delay in actuation so that you don't accidentally turn off the laptop. The soft white backlight also works very well. It is uniform and hits all marked areas without leaving any area over or under-lit.
If we take a step back to talk about the keyboard layout, this is another area where I think HP could have done much better. While having the full-sized number pad is very nice, I don't like removing the page up / down and home / end buttons. Why didn't HP put a page up / down in the open spaces above the arrow keys? Why does the keyboard have dedicated HP Omen Gaming Hub and calculator keys? The home and end buttons would have been a lot more useful there.
Opening the bottom cover to look inside is very difficult on the Victus. I've opened tons of laptops over the years and this one took me at least 10 minutes. The 8 screws on the edge were easy to remove, but then they are still pinned every few inches with a number of these internal plastic retaining clips. Even with a proper plastic spatula kit, I managed to break a few of these off in combat. It shouldn't be that hard to get into a laptop.
HP made up for this in my opinion by releasing a wonderful teardown and repair guide. It's a 25-minute official instructional video that walks the user through removing and replacing virtually every component on the laptop. Kudos to HP for this and I wish other brands would do the same. Many of the parts in it even list what screw sizes they use and what part numbers they replace. Both M.2 and RAM sockets are easily accessible for upgrades.
While we can see the guts inside, let's go into thermal performance. Overall, I'd say the two heat pipes and fans do a decent job of keeping Victus cool. I noticed that after about 5 minutes of full load, the CPU shuts down from 2.7 GHz to 2.2 GHz – 2.4 GHz.
I tested thermal output in two places: on a flat surface with limited airflow like a carpet, and then on a more open surface like your leg or a laptop stand with better airflow. In the first scenario with limited airflow, the CPU and GPU stabilized at 82 ° C and 79 ° C, respectively. This is quite warm, but not a very common use case as the laptop will most likely be used in a location with better airflow. If you let the fans breathe, the CPU temperatures are lowered to 68 ° C and the GPU temperatures to 66 ° C. These numbers are much better.
The fan noise is definitely noticeable when the system is busy, but not annoying. The acoustics make them sound more like a low roar than a high-pitched howl. I found the fan curves to be very nicely coordinated. During heavy use, the fan gradually runs up over several minutes and then quickly falls silent when the load stops. In any case, gentle on the ears.
The keyboard comfort under heavy load is roughly the same as expected from a gaming laptop. The center of the keyboard gets uncomfortably hot during extended gaming sessions, but the outer edges and touchpad remain cool enough to rest your hands on. This makes perfect sense, as the two hot components are in the middle and the fans are on the edge.
Our review unit arrived with basic specs like a Core i5-11400H and discrete RTX 3050 Ti laptop graphics. HP offers the Victus with up to an i7-11800H CPU, RTX 3060 GPU, 32 GB RAM, 144 Hz display and 1 TB SSD. My configuration is $ 990 ($ 930 on sale) and the maximum is $ 1,600. There are also more basic configurations on the same chassis, starting at $ 799.99 with the same i5-11400H and GTX 1650 laptop GPU.
We will not go into the benchmarks for the HP Victus explicitly, as we have already tested the same components in detail. Here are our reviews of the i5-11400H CPU and the RTX 3050 Ti laptop GPU. We like the CPU very much and in our tests it is one of the best mobile chips that Intel has produced for this segment for some time. The 3050 Ti is anything but outstanding. The performance is average and is often limited by the 4 GB of VRAM. However, since the Victus 16 only has a 1080p display, this isn't that much of an issue when compared to 1440p configurations.
Looking at the rest of the system, I think that 256GB of storage on a gaming laptop is no longer enough. Modern games can easily range in the 50 to 100 GB range, which means you can only get a few on the drive if you're using Windows. The base model should start with at least 512 GB. The Victus comes with a larger drive from the factory, but you'd better just buy your own and install it in the vacant M.2 slot.
The display is a 16.1 "1920 x 1080 60Hz IPS display. There's no option to upgrade to 1440p, but for an additional $ 20 you can upgrade to 144Hz refresh rate. For the price, I think That the higher refresh rate is a no- The screen gets bright enough for most indoor applications, but I wish it was a few notches up. Outdoor viewing becomes difficult as the screen is max at 250 nits and you might as well be in sunny rooms Have vision problems.
I tested the color accuracy with Calman from Portrait Displays along with an X-Rite i1Display Pro meter. The first measurements of the display showed average DeltaE values of 4.7 and a maximum value of 8.7. This is bad and is obviously well above the 1.0 range to be considered "accurate".
After going through the Calman calibration session, the average DeltaE value dropped to 1.6. I would call this acceptable, but not amazing. If you own this laptop and want to apply the same calibration to your display, we've uploaded the profile here.
Where to start … the included Windows 10 installation is one of the worst I've seen on a laptop. It includes a McAfee antivirus trial version that bombarded you with popups to purchase the full version. Express VPN warning you “Your IP address is public”, a Booking.com app, LastPass, Wild Tangent Games (often categorized as a potentially unwanted program by antivirus programs) and at least 11 different HP utilities.
Honestly, it's embarrassing for HP that they think it's okay to put so much bloatware in a system. If it bothers you like it bothers me, it should take you around 30 minutes to clear all of the junk from the system. The only salvation would be if HP used the commissions these software vendors earned to offset the cost of the laptop.
Even with all of this software pre-installed, the system boots from zero in 12 seconds. I am very satisfied with this value and never had the feeling of having to wait for the laptop to charge.
In terms of battery life, I got around 60 minutes of gaming (Civilization VI) on medium settings with medium brightness. It is difficult to accurately quantify the performance of the gaming battery because every game is different and depends a lot on the brightness. Decreasing the settings should take between 70-80 minutes, while cranking to the maximum drains the battery in 40-50 minutes. The 70 Wh battery achieves 6 hours and 15 minutes runtime in standard operation with 1080p video playback and 10 hours and 49 minutes in idle mode at 50% brightness. Those are pretty decent numbers and nothing spectacular. I would have liked to see a 75-80 watt hour battery, but it's still better than the 51 watt hour battery found in many other laptops in this class.
Overall, the HP Victus is a decent laptop, but nothing particularly stands out. It looks great aesthetically and includes some decent hardware, but the build quality and other shortcomings don't set it apart.
Looking at the competition, Acer offers the Nitro 5 with the same CPU / GPU combination, but 16 GB RAM and a 512 GB SSD for the same price. The Gigabyte G5 is also a bit cheaper than the Victus with the same configuration as the Nitro 5. The disadvantage of the Gigabyte is that the battery is significantly smaller, but the weight is significantly reduced.
To HP's credit, the Victus looks much more professional and less "gamer" than the Gigabyte and Acer in my opinion.
Apart from the Windows bloatware that needs to be rescued and the average trackpad, there is nothing bad to complain about about the Victus. The kicker is that HP markets the Victus as a more budget-minded line of gaming laptops, and while you get some nice hardware for the price, you may still be able to find a better deal elsewhere.
However, with supply chain problems in the electronics industry, you never know when systems will be sold out. If you can overlook the bloatware and somewhat flimsy construction, the Victus will do the job on a budget.