HP Victus 16: This 16-inch gaming laptop delivers solid value
PCWorld|January 2022
HP’s Victus 16 gaming notebook keeps your focus on the screen, not what’s under your fingers.
MARK HACHMAN

The HP Victus 16 joins a small but growing crop of gaming notebooks whose solid, comfortable keyboards are complimented by a clean, minimalist design aesthetic. These elements make them suitable for work as well as play. Combine that with the relatively inexpensive $1,200 price tag and you get a recipe for an intriguing midrange gaming notebook that won’t hit your wallet too hard.

Yes, HP tossed the RGB bling out the window. That said, we weren’t overly impressed by the audio, and the included GeForce RTX 3050Ti GPU certainly falls on the low end of the GeForce RTX 30-series spectrum. Still, the Victus 16 delivers substantial value overall for a mainstream gaming PC.

BASIC FEATURES

HP’s Victus essentially replaces HP’s Pavilion Gaming brand. The “V” logo is extracted from the diamond it uses for its more hardcore Omen gaming brand. Essentially, it’s a gaming PC designed for a variety of tasks, which both the badging and the design reflect.

The Victus 16 ships in three configurations from HP.com: the $1,129.99 16-e0097nr (fave.co/32bf9bI), with a Ryzen 7 and an Nvidia RTX 3050 Ti GPU; the $809.99 16z-e000 (fave.co/3mgvK4T), with a Ryzen 5 and an Nvidia GTX 1650; and the $729.99 16t-d000 (fave.co/3pYmun6), which includes a Core i5 and GTX 1650. Our review unit is the 16-d0097nr (fave.co/3E0oK21), the highest-tier version.

We also found the 16-d0020tg (fave. co/3p3cCcm), with a Core i5-11400H and Nvidia RTX 3050Ti, for $1,049.99 at Target as well as the 16-e0010nr (fave.co/3IYUh8j), with a Ryzen 5600H CPU and a RTX 3050 GPU, for $919.99 at Newegg.

Processor: Intel Core i5-11400H, Core i7-11800H (i7-11800H as tested)

Display: 16.1-inch (1,920×1,080, 144Hz), 300 nits rated (as tested); 16.1-inch (2,560×1440, 165Hz), 300 nits

Memory: 8/12/16/32GB DDR4-2933; 16GB (2×8GB) as tested

Storage: 256GB/512GB/1TB PCIe SSD, with 32GB Optane options; 512GB PCIe NVMe M.2 SSD + 32GB Optane as tested

Graphics: GeForce RTX 3050Ti (4GB)/ RTX 3060 w/6GB GDDR6 (as tested)

Ports: 1 USB-C (5Gbps, DisplayPort 1.4, charging); 3 USB-A (5Gbps, 1 with charging enabled); HDMI 2.1, Gigabit Ethernet, SD card slot, 3.5mm jack

Camera: User-facing: 720p video

Battery: Design: 70.2Wh; Full: 65.2 Wh

Wireless: Wi-Fi 6 (802.11ax 2×2), Bluetooth 5.0

Operating system: Windows 11 Home

Dimensions: 14.57×10.24×0.93 in.

Weight: 5.44 lb. Color: Mica Silver (as reviewed), Performance Blue, Ceramic White

Prices: $1,249.99 at HP.com

OUT OF THE BOX IMPRESSIONS AND BUILD QUALITY

Some gaming laptops go overboard in pushing the gamer experience, with RGB lighting draped all over the keyboard. The Victus 16 is much more subtle, with our review unit boasting a black-on-black aesthetic that emphasizes what you see on the screen more than anything else. At 5.44 pounds and 0.93 inches thick, it doesn’t feel overly imposing. The weight is slightly heavier than another 16-inch gaming notebook we reviewed, the Acer Predator Triton 500 SE (fave. co/3GPdYh2), which costs significantly more but also includes a higher-resolution screen with a faster refresh rate.

In my book, that’s a real plus. We haven’t quite realized a future where thin-and-light laptops are docked into external graphics enclosures to mix and match productivity and gaming, so PCs like the Victus fill that niche instead. By default, the laptop runs coolly enough so that the system fans suck air out of the bottom of the laptop and push it out the sides and back. Inside, the Victus contains four heat pipes, boasting what HP says is a 54 percent larger fin length, 33 percent larger fan size, and 30 percent more airflow than the prior Pavilion Gaming notebook.

In the real world, this translates into a very quiet hiss as the fans spin during office work like web browsing, just barely louder than other productivity notebooks I have around the office. Naturally, the fans dial up considerably during gaming. If you’d like, you can tap the diamond key near the power button to open the Omen Gaming Hub. There, you’ll find a one-button Performance Control tab to manually place the laptop in Quiet mode for office work, as well as the separate Default or Performance modes for gaming.

Even when the fans rotate at full speed, however, I couldn’t detect any coil whine — just an elevated whoosh of the system fans. HP has done well here. As our performance tests indicate, though, the laptop’s performance somewhat drops over time due to thermal issues.

The Victus is an all-plastic laptop, which feels sturdy enough to use without any give on the keyboard. The display can oscillate back and forth when jarred or moved, however, especially when it’s being adjusted back and forth. That didn’t concern me particularly, though it felt a little flimsy.

The display isn’t outstanding, though it’s not bad for the price. The display bezels doesn’t protrude more than a few millimeters, though there’s a massive 1-inch chin at the bottom. The screen-to-body ratio is 84 percent.

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