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The Omen 15 is a sign that HP is putting Alienware in its crosshairs

PC sales are starting to stabilize after several years of steep decline, and market leaders are slowly but steadily regaining their competitiveness. HP, for instance, is looking towards a better, brighter future with an avant-garde desktop/projector/3D scanner hybrid, along with a new entry in the gaming PC space.

On the surface, it would appear that the HP Omen 15 goes after rivals like Alienware, though it’s more of a direct competitor for all-purpose notebooks like Lenovo’s Y50, and Acer’s V Nitro Black Edition. That’s not to say the Omen isn’t gaming-friendly at all, however.

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The Omen 15’s design is meant to appeal to hardcore gamers. Aggressive, yet stylish, the 15.6-inch PC perfectly blends dark black roots with snazzy red accents. Constructed out of premium aluminum, the Omen looks robust enough to survive the rigors of the work day, and at 4.68-pounds, it keeps the bulk unusually low.

That may not break any lightness records, but for a 15.6-inch gaming-oriented PC, it’s a pretty light number. The Omen 15 is also well under an inch thick.

The Omen 15 features a customizable back-lit keyboard with six programmable function keys. HP says that the keyboard here is “optimized for accurate, fast keystrokes.” Of course, we’ll need to test that out to see if HP isn’t over-hyping its newest effort.

As far as internals go, a beefier Haswell chip than the Core i7-4710HQ would have been welcome, along with a newer Nvidia graphics card than the GeForce GTX 860M. After all, Nvidia just launched the 900M series, but as HP told us, the Omen 15 is built to game while keeping temperatures and bulk low. Expect to live in the range of 30 to 50 frames per second with guts like these under the hood.

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On the bright side, a generous count of 8GB of RAM is standard, and the option to upgrade to 16GB is present as well. Solid state storage is the only option, and you can go for 128GB, 256GB, or 512GB drives, depending on your preference and budget.

There’s no way to bump up screen resolution beyond 1,920 x 1,080. Meanwhile, Acer’s V Nitro Black Edition laptop is available both in 1080p, and 4K Ultra HD flavors.

One of Omen’s strongest points is likely to be an immersive audio experience, thanks to its Beats speakers. The port selection is fairly plentiful too, and the best thing about the four USB 3.0 jacks, HDMI connector, mini DisplayPort, and Ethernet connector is that they’re situated in the back, leaving precious room around the sides for mouse movement, and other accessories.

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Speaking of rodents, HP will be launching an Omen-branded gaming mouse later in November which boasts 8,200 DPI laser tracking. It will be priced at $60. The Omen 15 laptop is available now at HP’s website, and starts at $1,500.

The entry-level configuration includes an Nvidia GTX 860M GPU with 2GB of GDDR5 memory, and a 128GB SSD. A version packing twice the storage space costs an additional $100.

Meanwhile, for $1,700, you can purchase an Omen with a 256GB SSD, and 4GB of GDDR5 memory in the same GeForce graphics card. Though the Omen 15 isn’t exactly cheap, the upgrades at least offer decent bang for the buck.

You can check the HP Omen 15 out on Amazon here.