HP’s upgraded Omen 15 laptop highlights a bevy of new gaming products

We've always known that PC gaming is alive and well, but lest anyone need further reassurance that this hobby is as strong as ever, just look at what the major OEMs are doing. Just last week, Acer blitzed the gaming market with a bunch of new products under its Predator line, and now HP is doing the same with its Omen brand.

"Gaming is one of the world’s fastest growing PC categories and has become a billion-dollar business for HP," the company said. In other words, HP is following the money trail, and it leads right to PC gaming.

Kicking off its new lineup for gamers is an upgraded Omen 15 laptop. Compared to the previous version, the 2018 model boasts a smaller footprint, with HP shaving off 7.4 percent of the width and 4.6 percent of the depth. HP also makes better use of the screen real estate—gone are the chunky bezels, replaced by much thinner ones that are 65 percent slimmer on the sides and 32 percent smaller on top.

There are three display options—1080p at 144Hz, 1080p at 60Hz with G-Sync support, and 4K at 60Hz. Underneath the hood users can configured an Omen 15 with 8th generation Core i5 and i7 processors with up to six cores, up to 32GB of DDR4-2666 RAM, and various SSD and HDD storage options. On the graphics front, the Omen 15 can handle up to a GeForce GTX 1070 with Max-Q, with GTX 1050 Ti as the entry point.

One of the things HP is pushing with its newest Omen 15 laptop is upgradeability, at least as it pertains to storage and RAM. Philips-head screws on the base of the laptop make it easy to dive in, along with single-panel access.

The Omen 15 laptop will be available on July 29 starting at $979.99.

HP is also looking to make a splash in the headset market with its new Omen Mindframe. According to HP, it's the world's first headset with active earcup cooling. It accomplishes this with a thermoelectric device inside the earcup to conduct heat from the acoustic chamber toward the outside.

This is a 7.1 surround sound headset supporting DTS Headphone:X. Volume and mute controls are on the headset itself, and the microphone automatically mutes when flipped up. And of course it supports RGB lighting effects.

HP didn't mention a price, but said the Mindframe will arrive in the second half of 2018.

HP is rolling out new peripherals, too. Among them is the Omen Sequencer, a mechanical keyboard for gaming. It uses mechanical blue switches, meaning they're the loud clicky type with tactile feedback (it's not clear where HP is sourcing the key switches from).

RGB lighting is part of the package. The keyboard also offers a set of dedicated macro/gaming keys, five in all arranged in a column on the left side. With this being a full-size plank, there's a number pad on the right side.

HP is pricing the Sequencer at the higher end of the mechanical keyboard spectrum—it will be available in July for $179.99.

To go along with a new keyboard, HP introduced a couple of gaming mice, including the Omen Reactor shown above. This is the higher-end rodent of the two, and also the faster one with a 16,000 dpi optical sensor.

The primary left and right buttons use "optical-mechanical switches," which HP says are three times faster than traditional mechanical switches.

There are seven buttons in all, along with two programmable RGB LEDs, rubber grips on both sides, and an adjustable height palm rest.

The Omen Reactor will go on sale in July for $79.99.

HP's other mouse, simply called the 400, is aimed at gamers on a budget. It's a more standard rodent, with a 5,000 dpi sensor featuring 8 dpi levels. Many professional gamers will say that's more than enough.

Other features include Omron mechanical switches, two dozen detents on the scroll wheel, rubber grips, and RGB lighting on the Voodoo logo. Both it and the Reactor are ergonomically shaped for right-handed gamers.

The Omen Mouse 400 will be available in July for $39.99.

Rounding out the product launches are three different mouse pads priced from $19.99 to $39.99 (coming in July), and an Omen Transceptor backpack. The backpack is made from a weather-resistant material and has a hard shell bottom. It also boasts a pocket that blocks RIFD signals, and has a padded TSA-compliant 17-inch compartment with a trolley handle pass-through.

The Transceptor backpack will also launch in July, priced at $249.99.