When it comes to meeting the needs of a variety of audiences, the HP OMEN 15-ax221tx understands the assignment. Its minimalistic look and powerful hardware make it a good companion in the office and as a gaming companion. The keyboard of this laptop is also satisfactory but, the power button’s position is awkward.
- 1. Excellent keyboard and touchpad
- 2. Superb display quality
- 3. A Powerful GPU
- 4. Up to 16 GB RAM
- 1. Awkward power button position
- 2. Cooling fan is noisy
Are you searching for a laptop that can serve official purposes as well as gaming? Check out this HP OMEN 15 review to see if this laptop meets this requirement.
To know if it does, I’ll be checking how well the HP OMEN 15 performs in criteria such as its design, CPU, RAM, storage, GPU, and battery. In all the criteria I mentioned excluding design, I will present a benchmark result.
I will also rate the performance of this laptop on a scale of one to ten and compare it with similar laptops. In the end, this article will surely educate you on the strengths and weaknesses of the HP OMEN 15.
Therefore, endeavor to read this article to the end.
HP OMEN 15 Review: My Initial Thoughts
Conventional gaming laptops are usually not hard to notice even at first glance. However, recently, we are beginning to see gaming laptops that reduce the gaming aesthetics of typical gaming laptops.
One of such gaming laptops is the HP OMEN 15-ax221tx which was released in 2021. The HP OMEN 15-ax221tx is a welcomed improvement over the 2020 release of the OMEN 15.
Some features of the 2021 model that has been improved over its predecessor include its processor and graphics card.
That said, let us proceed to the remaining sections of this review to see how much improvement the HP OMEN 15-ax221tx delivers over its predecessor.
HP OMEN 15 Design, Dimension, And Weight Review
Just like every other model in the OMEN 15 series, the HP OMEN 15-ax221tx looks sleek and attractive. However, this model, in particular, looks more welcoming to everyone including non-gamers.
The HP OMEN 15-ax221tx still maintains the sturdiness and solid features of a gaming laptop. Nevertheless, it has dropped the trapezoid monitor shape of its predecessor and took up the straight cuts of a business laptop.
The chassis is a smooth plastic with matte finishing sadly, it attracts fingerprints easily. Therefore, it requires occasionally wiping the surface with a microfibre cloth to keep it clean.
Meanwhile, the plastic chassis will contribute to the lightweight of this laptop but, will make it less durable than laptops with metallic chassis. In terms of color, the HP OMEN 15-ax221tx comes in a shadow black color that makes it suit all occasions.
On the lid of this laptop, you will find its center adorned with a reflective OMEN badge that glows in blue. Below this badge, there is an “OMEN” lettering that indicates the brand identity.
Appreciably, when you press the lid, it does not really flex.
Moving on, the two hinges that support the lid are small but flexible enough to allow the opening of the lid with one hand. In addition to that, the hinges allow you to bend the lid up to 180 degrees which is quite uncommon in similar laptops.
When you finally open the lid, you should see the 15.6-inch display of the laptop which has an FHD (1920 x 1080) resolution. You might be wondering if an FHD resolution display is good enough.
To get the information you need, let us consider the ratio of the display size to its resolution. In that case, we can deduce that an FHD resolution on a 15.6-inch display is as good as a UHD resolution on a 17.3-inch display.
Other than its FHD resolution, this laptop’s display also uses an IPS panel with an ultra-wide viewing angle (UWVA). The implication of the IPS technology is that you will be able to view the display even from acute angles.
For instance, participants that sit at the corner during a multi-player gaming session will still see the display clearly.
Another display feature of this laptop is that it uses WLED (white LED). However, to avoid confusion, WLED implies that the display uses white LED backlights.
The final display feature of this laptop I am going to talk about is its anti-glare coating. This implies that this laptop has a matte surface which helps to prevent light reflection when you’re using it outdoors.
Before I leave the display area, it seems as if HP has realized the importance of narrow bezels. Commendably, the bezels on the HP OMEN 15-ax221tx are all narrow except the bottom bezel which is quite wide.
Despite the thinness of the top bezel, you’ll still find an HP Wide Vision HD camera at its center. The webcam is good for video calls but it does not support Windows Hello for logging into Windows.
Nevertheless, the HP OMEN 15-ax221tx is better than the ASUS ROG Zephyrus G15 which has no webcam at all.
Moreover, there are also two digital microphones surrounding the webcam. These microphones pick up your voice easily during your call sessions or when recording audio.
Enough has been said about the top part of this laptop; now let’s proceed to the base of the laptop. Here, you will find a decent chiclet-style keyboard with an outstanding key layout.
In place of a number pad, there is a group of page navigation keys and full-sized arrow keys.
Impressively, the keys are clicky and make no sounds when you type on them. Even more impressive is the four-zone RGB keyboard light that illuminates the keyboard.
Thankfully, you can customize the backlight color using the Omen Light Studio app. Overall, the keys are great for gaming and general typing.
However, the location of the power button is quite awkward. This is because the power button lies between the backspace and the delete key.
Therefore, you need to be careful while pressing the backspace or delete key to avoid an accidental shutdown.
That said, the touchpad below this keyboard feels smooth and responsive. Interestingly, the entire surface of the touchpad is clickable, unlike typical touchpads that use two integrated buttons.
Before we leave the laptop’s deck, you should be aware that there is a long section of perforations at the top of the keyboard. The perforations span the width of the keyboard.
You might think that those perforations are the speaker openings however, they are just ventilation openings.
Meanwhile, the speaker openings are situated on the angular curves to the left and right edges of the palm rest. Talking about the speakers, they’re down-firing and deliver immersive sounds thanks to the B&O (Bang & Olufsen) audio-tuning software.
As a gaming laptop, the HP OMEN 15 has a bigger air vent underneath. The vent looks much like the bumper grills of a car, occupying almost half of the bottom plate.
This air vent enables the two fans, and three heat pipes to circulate air properly within the laptop.
As a result of that, this laptop remains impressively cool all the time. However, the fans blow with some audible noise.
That’s by the way. Now, let’s talk about the ports on this laptop.
The left side of the laptop’s base houses a charging port, one Ethernet port, and one USB 3.1 port. Still, on the left side, there’s an audio jack, an SD card slot, and an HDMI port.
Turning to the right side of the laptop, you’ll find a USB Type-C port, a mini-display port, and two USB 3.1 ports.
For wireless connectivity, the HP OMEN 15 features Bluetooth 4.2 and a dual-band WiFi 5 (802.11a/b/g/n/ac) card.
Impressively, the WiFi card can transmit data at a speed of 1300 MBps. Also, because it is dual-band, it allows the transfer of data to or from up to two devices at a time.
To conclude this section, let’s quickly look at the laptop’s dimension and weight.
Specifically, the HP OMEN 15-ax221tx measures 382 x 253 x 24.5 mm (W x D x H) and weighs 2200 g. This makes it bigger and heavier than the ROG Zephyrus G15.
The ROG Zephyrus G15 measures 360 x 252 x 19.9 mm (W x D x H) and weighs 2100 g.
However, the OMEN 15 is bigger but has the same weight as the Lenovo IdeaPad Gaming 3i. Specifically, the latter measures 359 x 249.6 x 24.9 mm (W x D x H) and weighs 2,200 g.
From the comparison above, we can see that the ROG Zephyrus G15 is more portable than the HP OMEN 15.
Nonetheless, considering all I have said in this section of the review, I will rate the HP OMEN 15-ax221tx an eight out of ten.
HP OMEN 15 Processor (CPU) Performance Review
The HP OMEN 15-ax221tx runs on a 4-core Intel Core i7-7700HQ CPU with 6 MB of cache memory. This processor is built with the Kaby Lake H architecture thus, it should be more powerful than CPUs from the Skylake generation.
The Intel Core i7-7700HQ has a base frequency of 2.80 GHz and a maximum frequency of 3.80 GHz. From the clock speed, certainly, this processor should be capable of running heavy applications.
For performance analysis, let’s discuss the result of this laptop in a Cinebench R15 test. First of all, let me tell you what this test does.
A Cinebench test subjects a processor’s cores to some difficult tasks and then measures how fast they execute the tasks. Based on the processor’s performance, it results in a numeric score.
As expected, the higher the test score, the better the performance. Moreover, this test can be a single-core or multi-core test.
On a single-core test, only one processor core is used to execute these stressful workloads. Meanwhile, in the multi-core test, all the processor cores are utilized.
That said, the Core i7-7700HQ processor of this laptop scored 159 points in the single-core test and 734 points in the multi-core test. In comparison, the Nexoc GH5 515IG with an Intel Core i5-10300H recorded 186 points and 892 points in the single-core and multi-core tests respectively.
Clearly, the HP OMEN 15-ax221tx’s CPU didn’t do better in the test. Thus, I will rate it an eight out of ten in this section.
HP OMEN 15 Memory (RAM) Performance Review
The HP OMEN 15-ax221tx has a DDR4 SDRAM with a standard size of 8 GB. The RAM has a clock speed of 2400 MHz.
Also, there are two RAM slots on this laptop. Thankfully, the memory can be upgraded to 16 GB.
Hence, you can add another 8 GB of RAM to the second slot to achieve the 16 GB maximum RAM capacity for this laptop.
With 16 GB of RAM, you will be able to multitask heavily. However, there are laptops that support 32 GB or more memory sizes.
Nevertheless, with the 16 GB RAM, this laptop should handle up to 40 Chrome browser tabs and 5 YouTube videos running concurrently.
Now, let’s see how the 16 GB RAM configuration of this laptop fared in a PCMark 10 test.
For your information, PCMark 10 test measures how well a computer performs in everyday computing tasks. As you might already know, the computer’s memory takes up a vital role in running these tasks.
Therefore, a higher score on the PCMark test shows better memory performance.
Impressively, the HP OMEN 15-ax221tx scored 5,127 points in the test which is above the Nexoc GH5 515IG’s 4,936 points. Also, the OMEN 15 outperformed the Lenovo IdeaPad Gaming 3i which got 4,692 points in the test.
However, the OMEN 15’s performance is below that of the ASUS Zephyrus G15. Specifically, the ASUS Zephyrus G15 scored a total of 6,896 points.
Therefore, regarding everyday work, the HP OMEN 15-ax221tx does better than the Nexoc GH5 and the IdeaPad Gaming 3i. However, the ASUS Zephyrus G15 does better than the HP OMEN 15 in this regard.
Hence, my reason for rating this laptop a nine out of ten in this section of the review.
HP OMEN 15 Storage Options And Performance Review
The HP OMEN 15-ax221tx offers two primary storage options. The first option is a 7200 RPM HDD with support for up to 1 TB of storage capacity.
The second option is an M.2 SSD (solid-state drive) of which the max size supported is just 128 GB.
Meanwhile, choosing which storage option to go for will depend on two factors – speed and storage size needs. For clarity, SSD storages are faster than HDDs while the latter offers more storage space.
Therefore, if you won’t be keeping many old games on your laptop, you can enjoy the fast speed of the SSD. However, if you’re the type that keeps old games while collecting new ones, the HDD option will have more space you can utilize.
In addition to the primary storage options, HP also included one multi-format SD media card reader on this laptop. The SD card can be used for external storage expansion when needed.
At this point, I’ll share with you, the CrystalDiskMark result of this laptop. However, you should be aware that CrystalDiskMark is a benchmark test that measures the read and writes speeds of a storage drive.
By read speed, I mean how fast files can be opened on a computer. Meanwhile, write speed refers to the speed at which files can be saved on a computer.
For this test, we will focus on a model of this laptop with a 128 GB SSD. That said, the HP OMEN 15 had a read speed of 1560.4 MBps and a write speed of 781.1 MBps.
In comparison, the Nexoc GH5 515IG which uses a 512 GB M.2 NVME SSD performed less. Specifically, the Nexoc GH5 515IG had a read speed of 524.4 MBps and a write speed of 495 MBps.
In conclusion, the HP OMEN 15 performed better than the competitor I checked it against. Thus, I will rate it a nine out of ten in this section.
HP OMEN 15 Graphics Card Performance Review
The HP OMEN 15-ax221tx features an NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050 Ti GPU which is an entry-level dedicated GPU. As a dedicated graphics card, the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050 Ti has a 4 GB GDDR5 VRAM (Video RAM) that improves its performance.
In addition to that, this GPU also has a base frequency of 1290 MHz which you can overclock to a maximum of 1392 MHz.
Even without GPU overclocking, this laptop will play many games smoothly. For example, according to mobilesyrup.com, it played Rise of the Tomb Raider at over 100 frames per second.
At this point, let us discuss this GPU’s result in a 3DMark test.
As part of our tech jargon breaker, 3DMark is a game simulation played on a computer to evaluate how well it can render 3D graphics.
In this test, achieving a high score indicates better graphics performance.
That said, the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050 Ti of the HP OMEN 15 scored 7740.5 points in the 3DMark Fire Strike test. Meanwhile, the ASUS Zephyrus G15 scored 14,824 points.
Unsurprisingly, the Zephyrus G15’s higher performance is due to its more powerful NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2060 Max-Q GPU.
Based on all I have said in this section, I will rate the HP OMEN 15 an eight out of ten.
HP OMEN 15 Battery Life And Performance Review
The battery on the HP OMEN 15 is a 4-cell, 63.3 Wh Li-ion battery. Apparently, a 63.3 Whr is an indication of a strong battery.
However, HP did not mention how long this battery lasts per charge. Nonetheless, I will include that in this section of the review.
In light of that, in a YouTube video playback test where the screen brightness was set to 50 nits, the OMEN 15’s battery lasted 8 hours 30 minutes. Meanwhile, it outperformed the Nexoc GH5 515IG which lasted 6 hours and 24 minutes in a video playback test as well.
However, the Nexoc GH5 515IG runs on a smaller 48.96 WHr battery. Although the OMEN 15 delivered a good battery life in the video playback, it will drop to nearly 3 hours while playing games.
When it comes to charging, the OMEN 15’s battery charge time is impressively short. Precisely, it takes about two hours to fully charge.
In conclusion, the battery life and charge time of the HP OMEN 15-ax221tx is not bad considering that it is a gaming laptop. Hence, I will rate it an eight out of ten in this section.
HP OMEN 15 Review: Frequently Asked Questions
The HP Omen 15 is an entry-level gaming laptop. Thanks to its dedicated NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050 Ti GPU, it will play games like Rise of the Tomb Raider at over 100 frames per second.
The HP OMEN 15-ax221tx remains impressively cool even under heavy load. However, the cooling fan makes some audible noise as it tries to keep the device cool.
The OMEN 15-ax221tx’s design doesn’t follow the aggressive structure of other gaming laptops. Instead, it maintains the simple look of notebook computers.
Hence, it is also good for students.
Yes, you can upgrade the OMEN 15-ax221tx’s RAM. There are two RAM slots that you can use to upgrade the memory capacity up to 16 GB.
No, the OMEN 15-ax221tx is not a touchscreen.
HP OMEN 15 Review: My Final Thoughts
All things considered, the HP OMEN 15-ax221tx is not the best entry-level gaming laptop, but it’s an excellent option. Moreover, its relevance goes beyond gaming to office and classroom use.
Although the HP OMEN 15-ax221tx is not the only laptop that can be used in various settings, the ASUS ROG Zephyrus G15 and the Lenovo IdeaPad Gaming 3i also can.
Nevertheless, these two competitors fell below the HP OMEN 15-ax221tx in certain areas. These areas include the absence of a webcam on the Zephyrus G15 and an SD card reader on the IdeaPad Gaming 3i.
Therefore, if you need a laptop that is suitable for many occasions, I recommend the HP OMEN 15-ax221tx.
You could review this video game with our community members at Itechguides Community Forum.
References And Further Reading
- mobilesyrup.com – HP Omen 15 (2020) Review: Improved formula make it a gaming laptop worth buying
- gtechblogs.com – Hp omen 15 price, spec and full Review
- laptopmag.com – HP Omen 15 (2021) review
- support.hp.com – OMEN by HP 15-ax221tx Laptop PC Product Specifications
- pcmag.com – HP Omen 15 (2020) Review
- Itechguides Community Forum