Gaming laptops have a reputation for targeting “geeks” and “nerds”. As a result, they outperform traditional laptops, but in the process they have alienated a large chunk of average consumers. Part of the problem is that gaming laptops are all spec-driven, which means they come with a price in a niche.
But there has been a shift in the way PC brands are adding entry-level SKUs and marketing gaming laptops for light gaming as well as for the office or school work. HP’s new Victus 16 is not intended for the eSports audience. It’s an affordable way to get a taste of a gaming laptop without the hefty price tag or the extra feel. I’ve been using the Victus 16 for a week and here’s what I think of HP’s budget gaming laptop.
HP Victus 16 price in India: Rs 60,900 and more
HP Victus 16 test: Design and aesthetics
The Victus 16 is different from the Omen brand laptops and Pavilion Gaming laptops. I think a lot has to do with how HP wants to position the Victus 16. The non-flashy aesthetic shows that the Victus 16 can be ideal for both occasional use and gaming purposes. It has a full slab. gray with a plastic frame. The cover is smooth with an embossed V-shaped logo.
The chassis is slim for a 16-inch laptop and its side screen bezels are slim, giving it a modern look. It’s not too big and it’s not too small… that’s right. The Victus 16 is a jack-of-all-trades machine for gaming and giving presentations while still being portable enough that you never feel stressed out carrying it in a backpack.
The port selection is surprisingly good on this entry-level gaming laptop. You’ll find a Gigabit Ethernet port, an HDMI 2.1, USB-A 3.2 Gen 1, and USB-C 3.2 Gen 1 port on the left, and two more USB-A ports on the right. A 3.5mm audio jack and SD card slot are also present on the left. For wireless connectivity, there is Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 5.2 connectivity.
A 720p webcam is placed in the middle of the top bezel. There’s nothing fancy about the webcam (it doesn’t support Windows Hello, and there’s no fingerprint reader either), but it should be fine for attending classes in line and Zoom calls. Better to invest in an external webcam, in case you want live streaming.
The good thing about the Victus 16 is that users can upgrade internal components. Remove the back panel – although it isn’t easy – and you can access the two SODIMM memory slots and two SSD bays.
HP Victus 16 Exam: Display and Audio
The screen is perhaps the most crucial part of any laptop. This one has a 16.1-inch screen with a refresh rate of 60Hz and a resolution of 1920x1080p. This is a 16: 9 panel, which is a common aspect ratio to be seen on gaming laptops.
Let’s be clear: this is an entry-level laptop and HP has cut corners to keep the price low. However, I have seen other gaming laptops in a similar price range with a 144Hz display.
So keep your options open, in case you want a high refresh display. Yes, you don’t get a 120Hz or 144Hz screen and there’s no touchscreen option. Playing games late at night was good as was watching movies.
Meanwhile, the speakers tuned by Bang & Olufsen are impressive. The sound output from the speakers is good if not the best. These speakers are decent enough for watching YouTube videos and great for casual music listening. They sounded loud when I was playing Dirt 5 on Victus 16.
HP Victus 16 test: Keyboard and trackpad
The keyboard on gaming laptops was not the most comfortable to use. In the past they gave me a lot of headaches because I was constantly pressing the wrong keys and had to correct typos. This Victus 16 keyboard is not only easier to type, but so much more robust! HP laptop keyboards continue to impress me. It is a full-size keyboard with a numeric keypad. The keyboard is backlit and there is no RGB backlight on the keyboard. The Victus 16’s touchpad is huge and responsive.
HP Victus 16 test: performance and battery life
Don’t expect Victus 16 to win awards for performance. I tested the base model with an AMD Ryzen 5 5600H processor, which had 8 GB of RAM, a 512 GB SSD and a Radeon RX 5500M graphics card (4 GB GDDR6 dedicated). The Ryzen 5 is a fast processor, but it has its limitations, especially with the integrated Radeon RX 5500M graphics card. I was able to play in fact Dirt 5 but at lower settings. That means you can play older AAA titles smoothly on Victus 16. That said, the 8GB of RAM and lack of a dedicated mid-level graphics card makes this laptop limited in what it can achieve. That is why buying a laptop is very difficult especially when you are spending thousands of rupees.
If you’re someone who plays on the weekends but mostly needs a laptop for study and work, the Victus 16 does the trick. The important part to remember is to make sure that you have the right specs for what exactly you want the laptop for. If you are looking for a high refresh rate display and better graphics, you have to look for a more expensive gaming laptop and the sky is the limit.
The battery is surprisingly good. In a gaming test, Victus 16 lasted four hours, which isn’t too bad for a gaming laptop. If you actually use the laptop for basic work on the go, you are considering close to five hours with a charge.
HP Victus 16 test: should you buy it?
Let’s take a look at the average user who wants to buy the Victus 16. This person could be someone who already uses a Windows laptop or needs to replace an old computer. Typical activities might be browsing the web, light photo editing, writing emails, and using basic apps like MS Office and, of course, casual games. In this case I would recommend the HP Victus 16 which is available for as low as Rs 60,000 online. But if you’re someone who wants low power, more RAM, and a better high refresh display, I would recommend looking for other options from HP, or maybe opting for a gaming laptop with a higher configuration of competing brands.