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HP Victus 15 Review – A Valiant but Compromised Effort at Entry-Level Gaming

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With games flying off shelves over the last few months, PC gaming has taken a sudden rise with the release of PlayStation exclusives on Windows platforms.

Following the arrival of God of War and Spider-Man Remastered, the need for an improved gaming setup has become imperative, especially for gaming laptop enthusiasts, who want an equally important portability experience.

When it comes to laptops, HP has established itself with its three gaming ranges in Pavilion Gaming, Omen and Victus. While we reviewed a HP Omen model this year, we were quite excited about the prospects of the new HP Victus lineup, which debuted in India this year.

The Victus range is HP’s answer to entry-level gaming, with the price starting at Rs. 67,999. The review unit we received is on the top-end of the price spectrum in the HP Victus 15-fb0053AX model, which currently costs around Rs. 93,500.

So, this begs the question, how does the HP’s economical gaming option perform compared to its peers, and the answer: A lot left to be desired.

Front view of HP Victus 15

HP Victus 15 specs

Model: HP Vitcus 15-fb0053AX

Processor: AMD Ryzen 7 5800H

Graphic Card: NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3050 GPU

Display: 15.6” FHD (1920 x 1080) 144Hz display with 9 ms response time

Memory: 16 GB DDR4-3200 MT/s RAM

Storage: 512 GB PCIe® NVMe™ TLC M.2 SSD

Ports: 1 x SuperSpeed USB Type-C, 2 x SuperSpeed USB Type-A, 1 x 3.5mm headphone jack, 1 x HDMI 2.1, 1 x SD media card reader, 1 x Ethernet

Dimensions: 35.79 x 25.5 x 2.35 cm

Weight: 2.29 kg

Webcam: HP Wide Vision 720p HD Camera

Power Supply: 200 W Smart AC power adapter

Price: Rs. 93,500

Performance and Benchmarks

I’m sure most of y’all have clicked on this review to see how the HP Victus 15 fares when it’s meant to do its job, which is obviously gaming.

With a 1080p display, you obviously can’t crank up the games to perform at the max. However, the HP Victus 15 does hold its own when we tried hands at some of our favorite games over the last 2 years.

At default settings, across pretty much all the games we played, the HP Victus 15 pushed over 60 FPS, with little to no hitches while playing. Most of these games had default settings ranging from Medium to Ultra. So, you’re not sacrificing any major visual fidelity in favor of FPS. Overall, the laptop has our seal of approval when it comes to performing its core objective.

We spent most of our time catching up on Spider-Man Remastered, which looked exquisite at High settings. With an average of 60FPS, swinging around New York never felt better. So, if you’re planning on to try your favorite AAA titles of the past 2-3 years, the Victus 15 is more than sufficient to handle all of them at high visual quality.

To know more about the performance of AAA titles on the Victus 15, here’s how the games fared on average:

With regards to benchmarking, we ran the computer through multiple tests including Geekbench 5, Cinebench R23, Unigine’s Superposition and Heaven to test the Victus 15’s CPU and GPU systems.

Disclaimer: We will be updating the piece with benchmarking comparisons to other gaming laptops in the future to reflect its performance with regards to its peers.

 
Cinebench R23 benchmarks.

Battery and Thermals

While the laptop performs tremendously when it comes to gaming, it does come with a major caveat of heat. Our review unit managed to get quite hot during several sessions of gaming. On an average, a standard game like Cyberpunk 2077 managed to push the core CPU temperatures up to around 98-99° C, with the GPU temperatures also rising to around 78-80° C. In the end, it’s fair to say that HP might want to go back to the drawing board to discuss thermals for the next generation of Victus laptops, as we felt some warmth on the central section of the keyboard during most gaming sessions.

CPU temperatures while playing Cyberpunk 2077.
GPU temperatures while playing Cyberpunk 2077.

Disclaimer: We have contacted HP about the thermal throttling issue faced with our review unit, and we will be updating the piece with more information about it.

With regards to the battery, at first, we were pleasantly surprised by the Victus 15, especially during regular video playback and web surfing at around 50% brightness, as we managed around 5.5 hours of screentime in a single session. But after comparing with the competition, the screentime feels pretty standard considering the Victus 15 only has a 1080p screen with 250 nits peak brightness. On the other hand, while gaming we barely touched the 1.5-hour mark. However, no one should game on battery in most (if not all) gaming laptops.

Design

To kick things off, let’s talk about the design of the HP Victus 15. From a distance, you might believe it to be a standard office laptop, because of its lowkey design. The one we reviewed had a dark grayish color called Mica Silver, and it definitely helps the laptop feel much more low-profile compared. It’s not flashy when compared to other gaming laptops, and it doesn’t feature any RGB lighting or gimmicks that are present in other products present in this price segment.

The company has plastered Victus and HP logos on almost all sides of the system. This includes the back, bottom of the display, and even in the vent cutouts down at the bottom. And if you were wondering, none of them light up.

Compared to other laptops, the Victus 15 has decently sized bezels (mostly at the top and bottom) around its 15.6″ display, which we will talk about later. The hinge supporting the display feels sturdy enough as well, so you don’t have to worry about the support it offers anytime soon.

While it’s a toss-up on how you feel about subtle looking gaming laptops, the Victus 15 does lack a premium feeling because of its plastic chassis, which we are not a big fan of. The build does allow for the weight to be around 2.29 kgs, which is around the same weight as the HP Omen 16 we reviewed earlier this year, which had a similar form factor.

 
The Victus logos on the back.

Display and Audio

Moving on to the display, and it’s probably the Victus 15’s biggest issue. The 1920 x 1080p resolution screen is shabby as it lacks vibrancy in colors that you see from other laptops with a 1080p screen. Plus, the 250 nits peak brightness exaggerates the lack of any punch in the display. This feels bad considering the price point of the laptop. While the 144Hz refresh rate is definitely an added bonus, there’s still some negatives that need to be taken from this aspect of HP Victus 15.

Audiophiles won’t also have anything to rave about the audio quality coming out the speaker grilles placed just above the keyboard, and underneath the display. While it definitely gets loud, we would be really surprised if anyone managed to eke out any sort of bass, after we tried almost everything to experience it while listening to Justin Bieber’s Sorry (Shout out JB).

Keyboard and Trackpad

When it comes to the keyboard, if you were hoping for any sort of RGB lighting, then you’ll be sorely disappointed. There’s no RGB zones for any sort of customization that we personally believe should be present at a Rs. 75,000+ price range. Instead, the keyboard features a white backlit lighting that gets bright.

Regarding the keyboard’s layout, it does have NUM keys. The layout is pretty decent as well, with the buttons that have enough travel and good clickiness for us to type well.

On the trackpad side, we have a buttonless trackpad, which has been placed well. We did suffer from some gliding issues on the first day of reviewing the unit we received. However, after a couple of driver updates and shutdowns later, it performed pretty well, and we certainly have no complaints about in that regard.

 
Ports on the HP VIctus 15.

Software and Miscellaneous

For the gamers out there, the Victus 15 does come with the Omen Gaming Hub, which is the one-stop solution for all things gaming-related. It comes with several customization options, when it comes to setting up and boosting your device for your games. Plus, it also features the Omen Light Studio, which is useful for customizing your keyboard lighting.

When it comes to the webcam, the Victus 15 features a sub-par 720p camera. You might as well look for a better external alternative if you plan on using it often for business meetings and other purposes.

At this point, I’m pretty confused on what Bang & Olufsen has to offer with sound, because the Victus 15 has no audio character. The sound characteristics seems to have plagued other HP gaming laptops as well, and it’s safe to say that the dull sound has been a major gripe of mine.

Should you buy the HP Victus 15 or not?

So, now the almost One-Lakh INR question: Should you buy the 2022 edition of the HP Victus 15? Well, the answer is: It depends on your preference.

If you’re like us, you can forgive the lack of RGB lighting aesthetics on the Victus 15. With an okay graphic card and processor in the NVIDIA RTX 3050 GPU and the Ryzen 7 5800H, the laptop more than handles any AAA title with ease.

However, if you’re looking for better build features that doesn’t involve a plastic build, then it’s much better to look for alternatives, which are readily available at less than Rs. 90,000. Furthermore, some of these laptops will even feature a much brighter display than the 250 nits peak brightness of HP Victus 15’s screen.

If you’re sold on the device and its design aesthetics, then we would recommend you looking for one of the higher-end configurations, as you risk losing the gaming performance with the lower-end models of the laptop, which doesn’t have much to go for with thermals or battery efficiency.

While the Victus 15 performs alright when it comes to gaming and racking up benchmark numbers, HP’s latest attempt at entry-level gaming falters heavily because of its shoddy display with average battery and thermal performance. With a cheap plastic chassis to go along, the laptop leaves a lot left to be desired at its price point of over Rs. 75,000, and even with all the top-notch hardware on the gaming front, HP’s cost-cutting on display and build makes it one compromised effort for gamers to overlook.

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