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Image credit: Richard Lai/Engadget

HP's Omen X 2S is a dual-screen gaming laptop

You can even use the small screen to zoom in on your aim, you cheater.
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Now that most gaming laptops are thin, light and powerful, what can a company do to stand out from the crowd? HP has the answer with the Omen X 2S, which packs the "world's first dual-screen design," the company said.

The primary 15-inch panel is a 1080p, 144Hz G-Sync IPS (or optionally, a 240Hz G-Sync or 4K) model, which is pretty standard on high-end gaming laptops. However, the second 6-inch, 1080p display located above the keyboard lets you watch streaming videos, play music, monitor system performance or chat on your favorite platform -- simply hit the dedicated key on the far right when your desired window is in focus. You can also window sections of the main screen (like maps, for instance) to give yourself better situational awareness. If you want a better aim in first-person shooters, this feature comes in handy, too (but surely that's cheating?).

Gallery: HP Omen X 2S 15 dual-screen gaming laptop hands-on | 23 Photos

In an interview with Engadget, HP's VP of Product Management, Josephine Tan, said that the second screen feature is very much inspired by the Chinese market -- including some 500,000 local Omen fans HP gathered over the past couple of years, according to Su-yin Yam, VP of Consumer PC & Mobility. In a survey conducted by HP, 89 percent of the Chinese gamers said they keep their phones right next to them while gaming, mainly for strategic chats with fellow gamers on WeChat as well as playing music. So the whole point of this second screen is to help gamers declutter the main screen and the desk.

Otherwise, the Omen X 2S hits all the right notes for a gaming laptop in 2019. It packs up to a 9th-generation Intel Core-i9 8-core CPU (with 5 GHz overclocking), NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2080 Max-Q GPU, 32GB of RAM and optional Intel Optane memory storage. It also comes with a fancy new 5-way airflow cooling system (two inlets at the bottom plus three outlets on the sides), and the CPU's been pre-applied with Thermal Grizzly's "liquid metal" CPU thermal paste, which has "10 times" the thermal conductivity of regular silicon grease, according to HP.

HP Omen X 2S

The Omen X 2S 15 is just 20mm thick, but HP didn't mention how much it weighs, nor the battery life, and you can expect the second screen to negatively impact both those things. The concept isn't exactly new, having been flaunted most recently by ASUS at Computex last year, and we had questions about how well it could work. That said, ASUS' implementation wasn't made for gamers; Tan pointed out that such screen-in-trackpad placement isn't convenient for viewing, especially when you're busy owning enemy players.

HP OMEN

That screen also makes for awkward touchpad positioning off to the right where the numeric keypad would normally go, but according to Tan, her team believes that most gamers would prefer using their own mice, anyway. Speaking of, you can toggle a virtual numeric keypad on the small screen with the touch of a button, but that's obviously more useful for general input instead of gaming.

Tan added that the keyboard here is placed in such a way that it mimics the experience of a desktop keyboard -- something that traditional PC gamers are more used to -- to the point where it even has the same height. The laptop also comes with a free palm rest that slots right in front of the keyboard.

Strange layout aside, this looks like a pretty incredible gaming laptop at a starting price of $2,100, or $2,700 with 16GB of RAM, a 1TB SSD and an RTX 2080 Max-Q GPU.

Gallery: HP Omen series laptops press gallery | 25 Photos

HP has a lot of other new gaming laptops, too. Still in the high-end Omen family, it revealed the latest Omen 15 and Omen 17. Both pack many of the same features as the Omen X 2S, like the max 9th-gen Intel 8-core i9 CPU and 32GB of RAM, though the Omen 17 can be had with a full-blown NVIDIA RTX 2080 GPU, while the Omen 15 packs up to RTX 2080 Max-Q graphics.

Both laptops have slimmed down to 20 and 27 mm, a reduction of 18 and 20 percent, respectively. The Omen 15 and Omen 17 are available with 144 and 240 Hz 1080p displays and NVIDIA G-Sync graphics, starting at $1,050 and $1,100 respectively. All the Omen laptops will be available in June, but the 240 Hz display option won't arrive until October.

If the Omen family exceeds your budget, NVIDIA also launched the Pavilion 15 and Pavilion 17 gaming laptops. Both are available with NVIDA's latest GeForce GTX 1660 Ti Max-Q GPUs and 9th-generation Intel Core i5 or i7 mobile CPUs. Those will also go on sale in June at $800 and $850 for the 15- and 17-inch models, respectively.

Gallery: Omen Pavilion series laptops press gallery | 14 Photos

Finally, HP unveiled a number of peripherals, including the Omen X 25 and X 25F 25-inch monitors, with 240 Hz refresh rates and NVIDIA G-Sync/AMD FreeSync refresh tech, respectively. It also revealed the Omen Photon Wireless Mouse with a .2 millisecond response time and Qi charging, along with the wired Pavilion Gaming Mouse 200.

Additional reporting by Richard Lai.


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Presenter: Chris Velazco
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