HP is laying claim to having the world's first dual screen gaming laptop with its new Omen X 2S, a 15-inch notebook with a main display up top and a smaller screen that sits above the keyboard. It is not a totally new concept—Razer tried something similar several years ago—but it is one that has some interesting utility for gamers.
The Omen X 2S is bound to bring comparisons to Razer's original Blade laptop released in 2012. What initially made the Blade stand out was a secondary display powered by Razer's Switchblade UI. It was plopped to the right of the keyboard, measured 4.3 inches, and featured LCD keys along the top, somewhat similar to Apple's Touch Bar found on some Mac systems.
So how does HP get by claiming a "world's first" with the Omen X 2S? The company qualifies that statement in the fine print, which defines a gaming laptop as having at least an NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060 or RTX GPU, or AMD Radeon R9 or RX 470 above above GPU.
Some may argue the semantics, but here's the deal—the Omen X 2S is the only modern gaming laptop with dual displays. Razer stopped using a secondary display on its Blade in 2016, and the only others out there are not aimed at gamers. The Omen X 2S definitely is, though, and it comes at a time when streaming and mobile phone usage has exploded.
"Gaming industry insights show 82 percent of people use their mobile phones for messaging during gaming sessions, 61 percent listen to music, and 49 percent watch game related live streams, video content and browse websites," HP says. "With this in mind, HP has added an unprecedented second screen to the OMEN X 2S in the form of an easy-to-use six-inch 1080p touchscreen that lets players message friends in WeChat and WhatsApp, browse in Spotify, watch Twitch and YouTube, or even serve as a hub for OMEN Command Center software."
That secondary display is larger and more functional than the one that shipped on some Blade laptops of yesteryear. It also compliments the traditional trackpad rather than replaces it. To make room for the display, the trackpad sits to the righto of the keyboard instead of underneath it, though for actual gaming, most users are going to opt for an actual mouse.
It will be interesting to see how gamers utilize the secondary display, assuming they are interested in a system like this in the first place. In addition to hosting Twitch chats and things of that nature (negating the use of Alt-Tabbing among programs), it supports a real-time screen mirroring feature that allows for cutting and magnifying parts of the main display. That could come in handy for copying portions of a map on a battlefield, or tracks in racing games.
Beyond the fancy dual display setup, the Omen X 2S features an all-metal chassis with a scant 20mm (~0.79 inches) waistline. And in another claimed "first," HP says the Omen X 2S is the only 15-inch gaming laptop to come with an applied liquid metal compound to the thermal system, via Thermal Grizzly Conductonaut.
"The result is phenomenal heat dissipation at 10 times the thermal conductivity of silicon thermal grease, up to a 28 percent frames per second performance boost over traditional grease when testing in Apex Legends, and an 8.5 percent faster lead time in a Blender Benchmark test," HP says.
It also features three-sided ventilation that HP says enables five-way airflow, and of course utilizes fans and heatpipes.
The Omen X 2S is built around the latest hardware, including up to an Intel 9th generation Core i9 processor (H-series 6-core and 8-core CPU options), NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2080 with Max-Q Design, and up to 32GB of DDR4-3200 RAM. HP didn't reveal a full list of specs, but we imagine this thing will also feature fast NVMe SSD storage options.
HP will offer a few different display options. Users can opt for a 1080p panel with a 144Hz or 240Hz refresh rate, or a 4K screen at 60Hz, with HDR support (400 nits). All configurations have G-Sync support.
Look for the Omen X 2S to begin shipping in June, starting at $2,099.99. Update, 6/5/19 - HP's site now has the product live and available for purchase.