The HP OMEN Pro mobile workstation: HP’s brand new Dell Precision M3800 killer?

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Not content with having four mobile workstations in its already packed portfolio, HP has now launched a fifth – the HP OMEN Pro Mobile Workstation, which looks set to go head to head with the Dell Precision M3800.

Based on the gaming laptop that came before it, the 15-inch HP OMEN Pro doesn’t look like your typical HP mobile workstation.

With sharp angles, a chassis CNC machined out of premium lightweight aluminium, the bold slimline design (19.9mm at the rear, 15.5 mm at the front) bears little resemblance to the HP ZBooks we know and love. But, despite its gaming origins, it will still offer certifications for leading CAD applications.
The big question is, with HP already having two 15-inch mobile workstations in its portflio – the slimline ZBook 15U and customisable ZBook 15 – why on Earth does it need another?

We haven’t yet heard the official HP line on this yet but here’s our take on things.

First, HP wants to appeal to a different demographic – one that wants a more exciting design that the more conservative corporate-focused ZBook.

Second, it wants to offer more performance in a lightweight slimline chassis. The HP OMEN Pro may be even slimmer than the HP ZBook 15U but also looks to be more powerful.

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It features a choice of two high performance quad core CPUs – the Intel Core i7 4870HQ (2.5GHz up to 3.7GHz) or the Intel Core i7 4720HQ (2.6 GHz, up to 3.6 GHz), while the ZBook 15U is limited to ultra low voltage dual core Intel Core i5 and Core i7 CPUs.

There’s also a slight step up in professional GPU from the ZBook 15U’s AMD FirePro M4170 (1GB) to the HP OMEN Pro’s Nvidia Quadro K1100M (2GB).

Third – it wants to compete with the Dell Precision M3800, which also has strong styling and a very similar spec.

All of the ports are at the rear of the machine, which is quite unusual for a mobile workstation

So, from trawling through the product literature, what appear to be the downsides?

First, like the Dell Precision M3800, it lacks enterprise features such as a dedicated docking port, fingerprint scanner or smartcard reader.

Second, there’s only one storage device. It may be the fast PCIe-based HP Z Turbo Drive (256GB or 512GB), which HP claims offers increased performance by up to 2x over SATA SSDs, but this could be limiting for those that work with hefty CAD datasets. In contrast, both the Dell Precision M3800 and HP ZBook 15U offer a small footprint SSD (mSATA / M.2) as well as a 2.5-inch drive up to 1TB for larger datasets.

Third, the HP OMEN Pro’s touchscreen display is only HD (1,920 x 1,080). The Dell Precision M3800 can go up to 4K (3,820 x 2,160).

Fourth, the price. It will be available from £2,047 compared to £1,599 for the Dell Precision M3800 and £806 for the ZBook 15U (this starting price is for a much lower spec). All prices ex VAT.

Other features include
– 8 or 16 GB 1600 MHz DDR3L SDRAM
– 4-cell, 58 WHr 3.82Ah Lithium-ion polymer battery.
– Touchpad with multi-touch gesture support
– 1 multi-format SD Media Card Reade
– Intel Dual Band Wireless – AC 7260 802.11ac (2×2) WiFi + Bluetooth 4.0 Combo Adapter
– HP TrueVision Full HD WVA Webcam (front-facing) with integrated dual digital microphones.
– Audio by Bang & Olufsen. Dual front-facing speakers with dual array digital microphones with beam forming, echo cancellation and noise suppression.
– 15.6″ diagonal full HD WLED backlit touch screen display (1920 x 1080)
– USB Ethernet Adapter Included (like the Dell Precision M3800 it is too thin to have a built in Ethernet port)
– HDMI
– 1 headphone/microphone combo
– 4 USB 3.0 (charging)
– Mini DisplayPort 1.2
Dimensions: 245.6 x 382.8 x 19.9 mm (rear), 15.5 mm (front)
Weight: 2.12kg

We look forward to putting this intriguing slimline mobile workstation through its paces.

Meanwhile, be sure to keep an eye out for our upcoming in-depth feature on ultra portable 15-inch mobile workstations including reviews of the HP ZBook 15U, Dell Precision M3800, Lenovo ThinkPad W550S, and MSI WS60.

The HP OMEN Pro has no ports left or right (just a card reader – all the ports are at the rear of the machine


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