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HP Victus 16 Review – Best Budget Gaming Laptop?


HP’s Victus 16 is one of the best budget friendly gaming laptops I’ve seen for a while, but it’s definitely not perfect, this review will cover everything you need to know. My Victus 16 has an 8 core Ryzen 7 5800H processor, Nvidia RTX 3060 graphics, 16 gigs of memory and a 16.1” 1080p 144Hz screen, but this is one of the higher specced options. The Victus comes in 3 different finishes, silver, blue, and the white that I’ve got here. The whole laptop is made from plastic, but for the most part the build quality felt decent.

The front corners could feel a little sharp depending on how you brush up against them, but the edges were fine ok. There’s a bit of flex to the interior, which is to be expected from an all plastic machine, but I thought it was solid enough during normal use.

There’s also a bit of flex to the lid, it’s not too bad, but what’s more annoying is the screen wobble. The main thing people seem to want to know about is the screen wobble. Still waiting for it to stop.

Still going, still going, and it’s stopped. So yeah it’s definitely there and it does exist, but at the same time it wasn’t really a problem while actually using the machine normally. Like just typing on it wasn’t enough to actually trigger the wobble. It’s only really noticeable if I bump the table or move the laptop at all, so if that’s going to be at all annoying to you you’re probably going to want to look at something more sturdy, which in this case is literally any other laptop. Some people were asking if the screen would wobble with a ceiling fan on.

Unfortunately my house doesn’t have any, so I can’t test this, but I can say that I tried blowing on the screen as hard as I can and nothing happened.

Hope that helps! It’s hard to say how the white finish will hold up long term, I really hope it doesn’t start to go yellow, but the painted finish means no fingerprint marks, though dirt shows easier on white. The laptop alone weighs 2.5kg or 5.5lb, then 3.2kg or 6.9lb with the 200 watt power brick and cables. The size is a little wider compared to more common 15” models due to the larger 16” screen, but it’s not super thick or anything. My Victus has a 16.

1” 1080p 144Hz panel, there’s no MUX switch here so we can’t disable optimus, and my screen doesn’t have FreeSync either. The color gamut was quite low, the contrast was decent, but it was quite dim, getting to 257 nits at full brightness. This is because I selected the cheaper 250 nit panel option, the HP website also has a brighter 300 nit panel for $40 more which is probably worth it as it might be better in other regards too, and the website also mentions an even better 1440p 165Hz as well.

We’re looking at a 17ms average grey-to-grey screen response time with the lowest panel, there’s a link in the description if you need an explanation on these numbers. Here’s how it compares against other laptops that I’ve tested, so one of the lower results for a 144Hz screen but definitely not the slowest, I didn’t notice the blurriness in games as much as the slower Dell G15 for instance.

The Victus is on the slower side in terms of total system latency too, which is the total amount of time measured between a mouse click and gun shot fire in CS:GO. This is only going to be a concern if you’re playing fast paced FPS or esports titles. I’d expect both the screen response time and total system latency to be lower with that 1440p 165Hz screen, as HP are claiming that it has a 3ms response time, but right now I can’t see that option available on the HP website, so I’m not sure when it’s coming.

It might even be worth paying for that $40 screen upgrade on the cheapest model, because this cheaper screen option just doesn’t look that great. What got me the most is that the whites just look a bit yellow, even after calibration. Backlight bleed wasn’t too bad, some small patchy spots that I never noticed during regular use, but this will vary between laptops. There’s a 720p camera above the screen in the middle, no IR for Windows Hello though. This is what the camera and microphone look and sound like on the Victus, this is what it sounds like while typing on the keyboard, and this is what it sounds like if I set the fan to full speed. It takes about 10 seconds for the fans to get up to full speed, and you can still hear me ok over the fan noise. The keyboard has one zone of white backlighting which illuminates all keys and secondary functions.

Unfortunately the lighting is basically useless unless you’re in a dark room with the white model, as there’s low contrast to see what the keys are, but this won’t be a problem with the other darker finishes. In terms of typing though, I thought the keyboard was quite good to type with, one of the better ones I’ve used recently, the keys just feel nice and tactile. Now that said I did have some problems with the keyboard. The semicolon key didn’t really work properly unless I press it down extra hard and it felt a bit different compared to the other keys, but hopefully this is just a problem with my laptop only. I’m also not a fan of the smaller arrow keys and wish they just moved them down a little like on the Legion 5. The power button is right next to the delete key, but even with the Windows settings set to put the system to sleep when pressed I found that an accidental mispress didn’t do anything, you need to hold it down for a few seconds to trigger it.

These small dots at the back above the keyboard look like air vents, but I don’t think they’re actually holes, it’s difficult to tell but I think they’re just indents in the plastic for looks only. The precision touchpad is plastic like the rest of the laptop, I liked the larger size and it worked well, it wasn’t loose like others. The left has the power input, gigabit ethernet port, HDMI 2.1 output, USB 3.2 Gen1 Type-A port, USB 3.2 Gen1 Type-C port, 3.5mm audio combo jack and full sized SD card slot. The right has an air exhaust vent and two more USB 3.2 Gen1 Type-A ports, but the lower specced Victus doesn’t seem to have the air exhaust here.

I think this might only be for the top end model. The Type-C port on the left offers DisplayPort 1.4 support, and both it and the HDMI port connect directly to the Nvidia graphics bypassing the integrated graphics and optimus, and I’ll test this in a game soon to see if it gives us a performance boost. Unfortunately neither of the Type-C ports can be used to charge the laptop. The back just has some air exhaust vents, while the front has no indentation to help with opening the lid, but I still found it easy to do.

Underneath is clean and we’ve just got some air exhaust vents towards the back, and we can see here that there’s only actually space for air intake directly above the fans, it’s not the whole area. Getting inside requires unscrewing 8 Phillips head screws of the same length. It was a little challenging to open, but I was able to get in from the front corner using the tools linked in the description. Once inside we’ve got the battery down the front, two M.2 storage slots above on the left and right with metal heat spreaders, two memory slots in between those and a Wi-Fi 6 card tucked underneath the cooler.

The Wi-Fi performance was below average compared to others due to it being a RealTek card, though it was a little ahead of the Legion 5 with the same Wi-Fi card. That said, many other listings seem to specify Intel Wi-Fi, so this may vary, just check the spec sheet when buying. It’s possible to upgrade the Wi-Fi card in the Victus, but it’s awkwardly placed, you’d have to first remove the cooler, make the change then repaste the CPU and GPU. The memory in my Victus was x8 rather than slower x16, so this should give us a performance boost compared to many other laptops this year that ship with x8 memory, at least that was the case here in Australia, this might differ by region or vary with lower specced models.

The two speakers are found underneath on the left and right sides towards the front. They sounded better than I was expecting, above average with some bass, though there was some palm rest vibration at higher volumes. The latencymon results were looking alright. Now I did see some other reviewers say that the speakers were no good, but they had the lower specced options with 1650 or 3050, so I’m guessing maybe in those lower end models the speakers might be different because I was pleasantly surprised with the speakers in my Victus 16. I think HP are meant to be sending me a 1650 Victus soon, so hopefully I can compare them in future, because yeah it definitely seems like there are quite a few changes, like in this top end model we’ve got the air vent on the right hand side which isn’t there on the lower models. The Victus has a 4-Cell 70Wh battery inside, but it was able to offer exceptional battery life in my testing despite not having the largest possible battery size.

It lasted for more than 11 hours in the YouTube playback test, one of the best results I’ve recorded so far, and 2 hours in the game test. I didn’t notice any battery drain during testing like I did with the HP Omen that had similar specs and same 200 watt power brick. Just before we get into the thermals, the BIOS can be accessed by pressing F9 during boot. I tested with version F.09 which was the latest available.

It has a few useful options that others are missing, but no super special features. The Victus also has TPM 2.0, a security feature which is required for Windows 11 when it launches next month. That’s great news, because increased security on your devices is a must-have these days, which is why this part of the video has been sponsored by Dashlane. Using the same password for everything is terrible, if just one website gets compromised, attackers can access all of your accounts with the same credentials, but remembering complex and unique passwords can be difficult. Dashlane is the solution! Dashlane is a password management tool for storing all your passwords, across any device anywhere.

They also store payment, and personal information in a secure place that only you can access, so with Dashlane no more filling out forms and logins. One click and you’re in. Dashlane works on all devices on all platforms and you even get a VPN for streaming content and secure browsing. You’re getting both a password manager and a VPN for less than the cost of just one of those services alone. It’s worth it just to never have to click the “forgot password” button again! So if you find this as helpful as I do you can try Dashlane on your first device for free by going to dashlane.com/jarrod, and when you want to upgrade to premium you can get 50% off by using the coupon code “jarrod”, and now back to the review of the Victus. Let’s check out thermals next.

There are a couple of heat pipes shared between CPU and GPU and two fans for cooling. HP’s Omen Hub software lets us change between three different performance modes, which from lowest to highest are quiet, balanced and performance. We can either set the fan to maximum speed in each mode, or just leave it on auto.

I found that often while changing the fan speed or performance mode through the software it wouldn’t apply. It looks like it applies very briefly but then it snaps back to what it was before. Not the end of the world, but it was kind of annoying and I hope they fix it in an update. The idle results down the bottom were ok. I’ve run stress tests with both the CPU and GPU loaded up to represent a worst case, as well as playing an actual game. No thermal throttling was taking place here. Quiet mode was the coolest, default mode was warmer, and then performance mode was warmer still, though setting the fan to max speed was able to lower the temperatures a bit, and then temperatures could be dropped even further by using a cooling pad, the one I test with is linked in the description. We can see that both the CPU and GPU clock speeds are increasing as we step up through the higher performance modes, though 3.4GHz for the 5800H is lower compared to a number of other gaming laptops that I’ve tested, however we’re getting closer to 3.9GHz in this particular game, but results will always vary by game, these results are only comparable within my own videos.

This seems to be because we’re power limited, and this is why thermal throttle limits aren’t being hit. The CPU is capped to 25 watts in quiet mode, 30 watts in default mode, then 35 watts in performance mode.

Many other Ryzen gaming laptops I’ve tested can boost the processor higher to say 45 watts, so we’ll have to see if this holds back gaming performance soon. Otherwise the 3060 GPU runs at 30 watts in quiet mode, 80 watts in default mode, and up to 95 watts in the highest performance mode. Here’s how a game actually performs with the different performance modes.

There’s not too much of a difference between default and performance modes, but quiet mode was significantly lower due to those much lower CPU and GPU power limits. Lower FPS is just a trade off for a cooler and quieter machine. Here’s how CPU only performance looks in Cinebench R23, so the GPU is idle now. Like the game, the difference between default and performance modes was much smaller compared to the lowest quiet mode. It’s not amazing when compared against other laptops with the same processor. The Victus is one of the slower multicore results for a Ryzen 7 5800H, though it was slightly ahead of the more expensive Dell G15, while single core performance was about the same as the others.

The single core score hardly changes when we unplug and instead run on battery power. The multicore test lowers more comparatively, but not as much compared to most other laptops, as the Victus now higher up on the graph out of the same selection of laptops. The keyboard felt cool to the touch when idling, low 30 degrees Celsius is normal for gaming laptops. It’s hardly much different even with the stress tests now running, still generally cool to the touch. Default mode is still pretty decent, mid 30s in the center only feels a little warm, not hot at all. The highest performance mode with higher power limits is slightly warmer, but it’s not bad at all, barely reaching the 40s, and then with the fans set to maximum it’s very similar, perhaps slightly cooler, but the fans are now louder too, let’s have a listen. When idling it was silent for long periods of time, but the fan would kick in after some time before stopping, that’s why there were two results.

Otherwise the fans aren’t too loud compared to some other gaming laptops I’ve tested, max fan was hardly higher than without it. Now let’s find out how well this configuration of Victus 16 compares against other laptops in games. I’ve included results with both the laptops screen and an external screen to see what sort of a speed boost this gets us. Cyberpunk 2077 was tested the same on all laptops, and I’ve got the Victus highlighted in red. We’ve got two results here, the lower one with just the laptop’s screen, and another slightly higher result with an external screen connected. In GPU heavy games like this at higher settings the external screen makes less of a difference, but hey it’s still an improvement. The 95 watt 3060 in the Victus is sitting right where expected, just below the 100 watt 3060 in the Omen 15 above it, and slightly higher than the Acer Nitro 5 with a 90 to 95 watt range. Red Dead Redemption 2 was tested with the game’s benchmark, and the Victus was doing well.

I was particularly surprised to see that even without the external screen it was right in line with Lenovo’s Legion 5, especially considering that one has the maximum power limit for the 3060 and a MUX switch, the Legion was tested with optimus off so really it should be more comparable to the Victus with external screen result. I think the reason is the Legion 5 result is with its stock RAM which had x16 memory banks, performance can definitely be improved in this test further by swapping it to x8 memory like the Victus has by default.

Control was tested running through the same part of the game on all laptops, and this time the Victus wasn’t quite as good as the Legion 5 or Dell G15, which were my best 3060 results. Both of those laptops are at the higher end of the power limit range for the 3060 though, and were tested with optimus off, so that’s expected, especially considering that this is a GPU heavy test. In any case the 3060 in the Victus wasn’t too different compared to many other 3060 laptops that I’ve tested. So the differences between the laptop screen and an external screen weren’t that big here, and that’s generally going to be the case at higher setting levels in more GPU bound games.

I’ve also tested the Victus in 13 different games at all setting levels if you want to get a better understanding of how well it performs in games. Here are the 3DMark results for those that find them useful, now for some creator tests. Adobe Premiere was tested with the Puget Systems benchmark, and HP’s Victus 16 is highlighted in red. It’s one of the better results for an RTX 3060 laptop, which I found interesting given the power limit is below others like the Legion 5, granted the difference is within margin of error. The Victus was also ahead of some other Ryzen plus 3060 laptops in Adobe Photoshop, but this test typically depends more on CPU performance, and it seems to favor Intel 11th gen as there are Intel machines with lower tier GPUs ahead of the Victus.

DaVinci resolve is more GPU heavy, but despite the lower power limit it’s still ahead of the other 3060 laptops.

This is likely owing to the Victus having the faster x8 memory out of the box, others like the Legion 5 and Dell G15 for instance have slower x16 memory, so they’re behind despite more GPU power. I’ve also tested SPECviewperf which tests out various professional 3D workloads. The 512gb NVMe M.2 SSD that came in my Victus was doing fairly well for both the reads and writes. The SD card slot wasn’t top of the line, that would be more than double these speeds, but these are still quite reasonable. The card clicks in and sits most of the way into the machine. I booted an Ubuntu 21 live CD to test Linux support. The touchpad, keyboard, speakers, ethernet and camera all worked. The Wi-Fi did not, but that’s always the case with RealTek, it probably just needs some additional drivers. Otherwise the screen brightness, keyboard brightness and volume adjust shortcuts on the keyboard all worked fine. Let’s discuss pricing and availability next. This will of course change over time as HP often run sales, so refer to the links in the description for updates.

At the time of recording, the entry level model with 6 core Ryzen 5 5600H, Nvidia GTX 1650 graphics and 8 gigs of RAM is $810 USD. There are a few different configurations, the upgrade to 8 core Ryzen 7 5800H processor and Nvidia RTX 3060 graphics that I’ve tested here is $440 more, and even with a memory and screen upgrade our total price is quite competitive compared to other 3060 laptops I’ve covered.

So yeah I’m not saying the Victus 16 with these specs is cheap, I’m just saying that it’s somewhat more budget friendly compared to something more expensive like the Dell G15 or Lenovo Legion 5. So then, is HP’s Victus 16 the budget friendly gaming laptop to get? Let’s recap both the good and the bad to help you decide if it’s worth it. The main thing people seem to want to know about is the screen wobble.

I first noticed it when I picked up the laptop to move it, the lid was just flopping all over the place. Fortunately it doesn’t really seem to move when typing on the keyboard, even when I try and type harder than normal so I don’t think it’s going to be too much of a problem in practice, but yeah if you bump the table or something it’s going to wobble for a while before it settles in place. Other issues I noted are the semicolon key not working properly, but I’m assuming that’s just my unit.

The lowest end screen isn’t great, it doesn’t have FreeSync, isn’t very bright, colors are well below average, it has a slow response time, and whites look yellow after calibration. But I guess as is the case with most things, that can be improved with money. The lack of contrast with keyboard lighting isn’t great, but that’s on me for buying the white model. Just be aware of it and get a darker finish if that’s important to you. The software needs to be improved, it was annoying having it undo my changes to the performance profiles and fan speed.

It didn’t feel hot to the touch at all while using it, and the internals didn’t get too hot either, but this is in part due to lower power limits which does equal lower performance, it’s a tradeoff. But that said, for the most part, as we saw in games it was still doing pretty well. I only really noticed the difference when looking at something like Cinebench, a multithreaded workload. Battery life was also great, though that may in part be due to the dimmer screen, so expect less battery life with a better screen or the Intel model. All things considered though, for the lower price I think the Victus 15 is still worth considering if you’re on a tighter budget. Of course other laptops with similar specs like HP’s higher tier Omen 15 or Lenovo’s Legion 5 for instance have better build quality and other nice extras, but the Victus comes in as a nice cheaper option that can still perform fairly well. Just please don’t get it with the cheaper screen like I did if you’re getting the top end 3060 model.

I can understand it if you’re getting like the entry level 1650 or 3050 versions and you don’t have any extra money, but yeah definitely upgrade the screen with the 3060 model, unless you’re using an external monitor.

Check out this video next to see how the HP Victus 16 performs in 13 different games at all setting levels, or this one to see why the 3060 is worth paying more money compared to the 3050 Ti. Get subscribed for my upcoming comparisons with the Victus against other laptops like the Lenovo legion 5, and come and join me and the community in Discord and get behind the scenes videos by supporting the channel on Patreon.

Read More: Lenovo Legion 5 vs HP Victus 16 – EVERYTHING Compared!

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