Where HP’s OMEN line grants gamers unlimited power for gaming, the Victus brand offers a more affordable option for those who want to game on the go. Indeed, the HP Victus 16 is the first entrant in what will undoubtedly be a series.
Still, there is a myriad of options available in the budget gaming laptop category. Is the HP Victus 16 still considered value for money in the face of other devices?
Design and Build
HP hasn’t gone too overboard with the design of the Victus 16 — in fact, it is surprisingly subtle for a gaming laptop. It is an entirely blacked-out machine, with the top lid having a matte-like feel for the touch.
There is a touch of “gamer-ness” with the logo etched on top, with the Victus’s V logo ever so slightly reminiscent of the Batman symbol. It’s a simple and clean look that would favour those who prefer to go incognito when using it outside. Unfortunately, for users who do like the colourful lights, there is no form of RBG available, even for the keyboard backlight, which comes as white.
For the build quality, the HP Victus 16 feels robust despite being a gaming laptop with a slimmer profile. The chassis is strong and shows little flex under pressure; it belies its budget device tag.
However, there is a drawback to having its build be this sturdy. The laptop feels remarkably dense; although it looks slim, it still feels heavy. Officially, it weighs 2.46kg, which is ironic considering the more powerful OMEN laptop is lighter. So while its slim profile may fit in a bag more easily, it still is a hassle to carry around.
The keyboard on the HP Victus 16 is of standard quality. The touchpad is of a decent size, and there is a decent amount of key travel on the keyboard when pressing them, but it can feel a little spongy, which undermines the satisfaction you get from the feedback just a tad.
At the very least, it does include a number pad at the right-hand side of the keyboard which is great for convenience — its inclusion has proven to be handily efficient for EXCEL sheets. Though, you might need to acclimate to the keyboard layout since the keys’ placement has been shifted due to the number pad.
Let’s now talk about the port situation for the laptop. On the left side, it has ports for Ethernet, HDMI, USB-A, USB-C, and an SD card reader. In addition, two more USB-A ports are available on the other side of the device.
It’s a healthy selection of ports on the laptop, and it should serve most people’s needs without additional accessories.
The screen for the HP Victus 16 measures at 16.1-inches diagonally, which is a generous size for gaming or general media consumption.
The problem is that the display isn’t very good to use on its default settings. The screen is noticeably dim, and the matte texturing from the anti-glare protection exacerbates the issue, making it hard to view things on it. Only a brightness level of around 80% to 90% proved to be barely satisfactory for prolonged usage. Much of my time with the laptop was spent on it at max brightness, which of course, will affect its battery life.
Needless to say, the brightness also hampers how stuff looks on screen. For example, colours lose their vividness, and it all seems muted. So you need to have the display at the highest level of screen brightness in order to make it work.
At the very least, visuals look sharp on the screen. Resolution caps off at 1080p but still appears crisp — I was worried that with the 16-inch screen, images would come off more grainy since it is less pixel-dense, but they still look decent.
The standout feature of the display is the 144Hz refresh rate. With it, the gameplay feels remarkably smooth, and luckily enough, the Victus 16 does have the specs to get games to utilise that high refresh rate fully. Unfortunately, there is no variable refresh rate support, so it isn’t the whole package, but for a budget gaming laptop, that is still a good feature set.
Inside, the HP Victus 16 unit I tested is powered by an AMD Ryzen 7 6800H processor. There is a variant with an Intel CPU available as well, though it costs slightly more. The AMD CPU itself is a strong worker. Web browsing and productivity tasks feel fast, and it handles multiple applications like Handbrake well, with no lag detected.
But the bigger prize is, of course, its ability for gaming performance. For that, it comes equipped with an NVIDIA RTX 3050 GPU. That may sound like little since we are in the advent of 40-series graphics cards, but it still is a capable performer for games.
Competitive games are easy work for the RTX 3050. Titles like Valorant and CS: GO consistently hit over 200 fps, even on higher graphics settings. Combined with the 144Hz refresh rate, these games look excellent to the eye.
The real test comes from the more graphically intensive games. Control is one of them, and for its native performance on High, it does not dip below 60 fps — even in more hectic action sequences. Meanwhile, I’m getting around 80 fps on Shadow of the Tomb Raider on its Ultra preset.
From the performance, the HP Victus 16 is no slouch and is a gaming laptop that is more than comfortable playing AAA-quality games around medium to high settings. Considering its price point, that is plenty good for a laptop.
Playing these visually demanding games will kick up the fan noise, but while they may be audible, the noise level isn’t that distracting to be detrimental to your game experience. The same goes for heat. It certainly gets warm after prolonged gaming, but thankfully isn’t too uncomfortable.
Either way, you can adjust the speeds to your preferences through the OMEN Gaming Hub software. Other tools within the application include Optimizer, which helps to boost framerates by freeing up system resources consumed by background programs. You can also view your system performance levels if you want more detailed information about how the laptop is running.
With the HP Victus 16 only having a 70Whr battery capacity, battery life isn’t going to be the laptop’s forte. And given its problems with brightness and the power needed to run the games, that duration will not be favourable.
From my testing, I eked out five and a half hours of battery life for web browsing — this was with the display at 80% brightness. The battery lasted 4 hours with mixed usage of gaming and productivity. Suffice it to say that it is not very long, so you will need to recharge it if you take it outside for a day.
Affordability is certainly a big factor for those looking for a gaming laptop on a budget, and in terms of its performance for games, the HP Victus 16 gives a lot of bang for your buck. The combination of the AMD Ryzen 6000 series processor and NVIDIA’s RTX 3050 produces great performance for a decent number of games, even the more graphically intensive ones.
However, enjoyability is an aspect that it stumbles in. As a device used for daily work tasks and leisure watching, I’m not able to say that I’ve enjoyed using this laptop as much as others because of its dim screen brightness and short battery life.
In any case, if you want a laptop that provides a good entry point to gaming at a reasonable price, the HP Victus 16 is a relatively decent option. But perhaps stick to using it just for gaming.
Photos by Russell Loh of the DANAMIC Team.