Hands on with HP's Omen X 2S 15: The world's first dual-screen gaming laptop

Amid a rising crowd of super-thin, super-light and super-fast gaming laptops, HP’s Omen X 2S 15 simply jumped above the noise.

Certain this sub-five-pound computer options an Eight-core, Ninth-gen Core i9-9880H CPU and a GeForce RTX 2080 Max-Q GPU—the ones specifications are a given on any high-end computer. However all the ones different laptops wouldn’t have a six-inch touchscreen within the keyboard deck. The Omen X 2S 15 does.  

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The HP Omen X 2S 15 options an Eight-core Ninth gen Intel chip with factory-installed Thermal Grizzly Conductonaut liquid steel, at the side of a GeForce RTX 2080 Max-Q GPU.

Twin-screen laptops aren’t new, however they are uncommon. Lenovo attempted it long ago in 2009 with its beefy W700ds, with a display screen that slid out from at the back of the principle display screen. Asus did it not too long ago with the ZenBook Professional, which built-in a display screen into the trackpad. Upload in any selection of dual-screen makes an attempt alongside the best way, similar to Acer’s 2011-era Iconia 6120, and it’s a sexy previous idea.

None of the ones are gaming laptops, although, which we could HP declare the mantle of being the “International’s first twin display screen gaming computer.” (You’ll exclude 2014’s Razer Blade Professional as a result of the second one display screen wasn’t an extension of the desktop show, technically. And no, Razer’s three-screen Mission Valerie was once by no means offered.)

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The brand new HP Omen X 2s 15 options as much as a Core i9-9880H and GeForce RTX 2080 Max-Q, but it weighs simply 5 kilos and is slightly skinny, too.

However that quick listing of dual-screen laptops will have to additionally inform you simply how precipitous the ideas are. After the early “oohs and ahhs” died down, dual-screen laptops most commonly cratered.

With the Omen X 2S 15, HP hopes to make its idea in reality usable with some lovely cool device methods. The six-inch secondary display screen is basically a 1920×1080-resolution LCD that Home windows sees as a 2nd show. You’ll push a button and feature the lively window moved from the principle show (a 1920×1080 240Hz G-Sync panel) to the secondary show. This may increasingly allow you to watch your favourite YouTube display or observe Slickdeals.com for breaking PC offers. You’ll additionally observe the computer’s necessary statistics, similar to CPU or GPU temperature. 

Why the dual-screen issues

The ones are not precisely sizzling gamer duties, although. HP takes its dual-screen way additional with a nifty characteristic known as display screen mirroring that permits you to zoom in on a portion of a sport and display it on the second one show. That is important to the good fortune of the Omen X 2S, as a result of only a few video games these days are designed with twin screens in thoughts. HP will get round it via principally making it paintings in any sport.

HP’s nifty software allows you to, as an example, take a map from Counter Strike: World Operations, or the mini map from International of Warships or a observe map from any racing sport you play, and show it at the six-inch display screen.

In some video games, it could now not lend a hand because of the diminutive measurement of the mini-display, however you might want to, for example, enlarge a portion of the map for larger navigational precision. It is advisable even “support” your sport play via zooming in at the reticle house of the principle display screen to create a right away, always-magnified view. Sure, 360 no-scope pictures galore.

To jam the display screen in there, HP strikes the per-key RGB keyboard to the entrance of the computer and the trackpad to the aspect. It’s an concept we’ve noticed not too long ago with the Asus ROG Zephyrus GX501, but old timers will remember that early laptops were commonly built with forward keyboards.

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HP’s new Omen X 2S lets you zoom in to any portion of the display, such as the minimap, or the reticle to create “360 no-scope” situations.

Does it throttle?

One issue modern gaming laptops face is the “throttling” of performance when a component heats up. By ‘modern’ we don’t mean the big, thick, eight-pound laptops, but rather relatively lighter five-pound models that try to jam an 8-core CPU and a top-end GPU into their slimmer shells. 

HP addressed the issues in several ways. First, it built large vents—mesh panels with metal solid metal framework—into the bottom of the laptop. The fans are three-phase,  12-volt fans so they can move a lot of air over the four heat pipes, the company said. The laptop exhausts out the back and the side. 

To further aid in cooling, HP said it will use Thermal Grizzly Conductonaut liquid metal thermal compound from the factory on the CPU. While smaller boutique PC vendors have offered it as an option on laptops for additional cash, HP’s making it a standard feature on all Omen X 2S 15 laptops.

Liquid metal has been kicking around on the PC for more than a decade, but the compound’s conductivity (which can be bad in a computer) has scared some off. HP said its application in a highly mobile laptop doesn’t carry the same risk as using it in a desktop. 

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You can see that half of the bottom of the Omen X 2S 15 is one big intake.

The performance difference compared to the paste, grease or bubble gum that most laptop makers use is considerable, HP claims. HP also says its own testing shows a 28-percent frame rate boost in Apex Legends performance from using liquid metal.

Taming the cooling of the 8-core 9th gen Core i9-9880H will be key to higher clock speeds in gaming situations that aren’t limited by the GPU’s performance (something you’ll be hard-pressed to do on a 1080p screen). It should help in other ways as well. HP said its own tests show that going from common thermal grease to liquid metal in the same laptop improved rendering in Blender about 8.5 percent, too.

We look forward to testing these claims if we get a review unit. If they prove out, it’ll be big step forward for laptop cooling.

We should note that the liquid metal is only used on the CPU and not the GPU. HP said it targeted the component with the densest heat production.

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HP claims that its use of liquid metal compound for cooling in the new HP Omen X 2S 15 will yield a considerable performance improvement over cheaper, more common thermal compounds.


To close out our preview, we should also tell you that HP says upgrades should be fairly easy. Remove the bottom panel and you can access two M.2 slots and two SO-DIMM slots. That may sound like a no-brainer, but many thin gaming laptops have resorted to inverting the motherboards and putting the M.2 and RAM slots out of reach without removing the motherboard first. That’s rightfully scary for most people.

The last spec is also somewhat important: the battery size. HP said it didn’t want to compromise too much on battery life, so the Omen X 2S 15 features a 77-watt hour battery, good for about five hours of use. That may underwhelm you, but the blame mostly lies with G-Sync. Nvidia’s G-Sync requires the laptop GPU to be connected to the display, which means the graphics card will always be running. That just murders battery life.

We’ve seen some laptop vendors simply give up on battery life and put in small 50-watt-hour packs, which yield even worse battery life. We’d predict the battery life on the Omen X 2S to range from meh to blah, which is still better than some gaming laptops that range from horrible to “what’s wrong with this thing?!”

Pricing on the Omen X 2S 15 is expected to start at $2,099. We imagine that’s for the laptop with lower-end components than the top-end Core i9-9880H and RTX 2080 Max-Q we saw.


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