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HP Omen Transcend 14 review: Stylish and capable

HP Omen Transcend 14 review: Stylish and capable

HP Omen Transcend 14
Sleek lightweight design
Stylish yet able to blend into work environment
Runs cool
Middling battery life

With few exceptions, gaming laptops are not exactly workplace-friendly. They often draw too much attention with flashy designs and LEDs. And that's before you consider their weight and bulk. The HP Omen Transcend 14 is none of the above. It can fit into your workplace, but still turn it on when you start gaming. More importantly, it's thin, light, and capable enough for all but the most demanding gamers.

The HP Omen Transcend 14 is slim enough that it took me a second or two to register that it's a gaming laptop. While it's not as sleek as the LG gram Pro 16, which has an entry-level Nvidia graphics chip, I found it impressive that HP managed to fit a more powerful Nvidia GeForce RTX 4070 graphics chip in its relatively lightweight 1.63kg chassis.

Quick specs

  • 14-inch 2,880 x 1,800 pixels OLED (48Hz to 120Hz)
  • Intel Core Ultra 9 185H processor with 32GB memory, 1TB SSD and Nvidia GeForce RTX 4070 graphics
  • 1x Thunderbolt 4, 1x USB-C, 2x USB Type-A, HDMI 2.1, audio jack
  • 1.63kg

My HP Omen Transcend 14 review unit comes in a pristine matte white finish that's quite striking. It's also available in black. I like how all the corners on its aluminium chassis are rounded without any pointy bits to dig into your palm. There are no external LEDs, flashy emblems or silly slogans, so this notebook easily blends into the office environment. But this becomes moot the moment you turn on the keyboard backlight.

This keyboard has a four-zone RGB backlight that stands out, and yet is comfortable on the eyes. This is thanks to translucent ceramic white key caps that gives the backlighting a soft and fuzzy vibe. The keyboard feels shallow, though it's better than the average ultrabook. It's obviously not as tactile as gaming notebooks with mechanical keyboard switches. The touchpad is pretty standard — smooth, and of a decent size.

HP Omen Transcend 14
Credit: Vincent Chang/Can Buy or Not

HP has gone with a 14-inch OLED screen. It looks lovely — bright and vibrant with deep blacks accentuated by the glossy finish. However, it's also reflective, which can be distracting in games, especially in darker scenes. The maximum refresh rate of 120Hz is nothing to shout about, but seeing as the HP Omen Transcend 14 seems more targeted at a mainstream audience, it's fine. The screen's 16:10 aspect ratio is well suited for office work, while the Nvidia GeForce RTX 4070 graphics chip does double duty — with the Nvidia Studio Driver — for content creation.

Above the OLED screen is an infrared webcam that supports Windows Hello facial recognition. It's convenient, but a physical privacy shutter would have been the icing on the cake. This 1080p webcam is decent, a tad noisy, but acceptable for video calls. Windows Studio Effects like background blur are supported, as expected from its AI-capable Intel processor. A downside of its thin chassis: The HP Omen Transcend 14 doesn't have as many ports as the standard gaming notebook. There's no Ethernet port, for one. It only has a HDMI, Thunderbolt 4, two USB-A ports and a USB-C. You do get the latest Wi-Fi 7 chipset.

There's a dedicated keyboard shortcut to open HP's Omen Gaming Hub app. This is where you can manage the HP Omen Transcend 14's settings like remapping the keyboard, as well as monitor key metrics like CPU utilisation and system temperatures. But you don't necessarily have to use it. The app detects when I start a game such as Metro Exodus, and automatically optimises performance by freeing up RAM, and closing unnecessary apps.

HP Omen Transcend 14
Along with the rear vents are a HDMI port and a USB-C charging port. Credit: Vincent Chang/Can Buy or Not

The HP Omen Transcend 14 will run most games without a hitch, but with some caveats. It sports a mid-range Nvidia GeForce RTX 4070 graphics chip, but it's the lowest-tier 65W version. This means it's not as fast as other gaming laptops that use a higher-end 105W variant, like the Asus ROG Zephyrus G16. For example, the HP produced 63fps in Watch Dogs: Legion at 1080p resolution and Ultra setting. This was significantly lower than the 79fps recorded by the Asus.

On the bright side, the HP Omen Transcend 14 runs cooler and quieter than more powerful gaming notebooks. While the rear vents and the base of the laptop are warm, they aren't scorching hot like some models. The keyboard remained comfortable with just a hint of warmth. Temperatures never exceeded the 70 degree Celsius mark in 3DMark's Speed Way stress test. It also passed this test with flying colours — there wasn't any performance throttling at all.

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However, battery life is middling. The HP Omen Transcend 14's relatively modest 71 watt-hour battery lasted just 1.5 hours while running Octopath Traveler II — hardly a demanding game, and playable with the Xbox Game Pass (one month) included with the laptop — at 50% screen brightness. You'll definitely need its 140W power adapter on hand, and thankfully, it's not that bulky.

At S$3,399, the HP Omen Transcend 14 is slightly more expensive than a similar gaming notebook from the likes of Aftershock PC. But the HP offers decent value here with the OLED screen and a snazzy design. It's also a more affordable (but slower) alternative to the equally-slim Asus ROG Zephyrus G16. If you're looking for a thin, mid-range gaming laptop with a bit of flair, the HP should be on your shortlist. It's available from the HP Store, as well as retailers on Shopee and Lazada.

Note: Review unit provided by HP.

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Cool looks and decent performance

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