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HP Omen Transcend 14: Supremely stylish and compact

Our Rating :
Price when reviewed : £1549
inc VAT

The HP Omen Transcend 14 delivers the gaming goods in a compact and highly desirable chassis


  • Gorgeous design
  • Impressive audio system
  • Colourful 120Hz OLED display


  • RTX 4060 GPU has low TGP
  • Very limited upgrade options

Can a thoroughbred gaming laptop be fitted into a compact 14-inch package? HP thinks so and has launched the Omen Transcend 14 to prove it.

Now, this isn’t some milksop affair masquerading as a gaming laptop; it’s an Omen machine, part of HP’s hardcore gaming lineup. It packs the latest silicon from Intel and Nvidia, testing the very limits of good things being squeezed into small packages.

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HP Omen Transcend 14 review: What you need to know

Compact laptops with discrete GPUs and fast-refreshing OLED screens are becoming all the rage these days. Lenovo’s Legion Slim 5 Gen 8 and Asus ROG’s Zephyrus G14 are fine examples, and now we have another contender, the HP Omen Transcend 14.

Of the three, the new Omen is the most overtly gamey in its aesthetic, thanks to its eye-catching keyboard and sleek design. It’s not superficial, though, because while the lesser models pack Nvidia’s GeForce RTX 4050 and 4060 GPUs, you can also have a more serious RTX 4070 GPU.

That said, for a gaming machine, there’s little in the way of upgradability, and the GPU in our RTX 4060 review unit has had the wick turned down a fair bit.

HP Omen Transcend 14 review: Price and competition

Configuration tested: Intel Core Ultra 7 155H CPU, Nvidia GeForce RTX 4060 GPU, 16GB RAM, 1TB SSD, 14in, 120Hz, 2,880 x 1,800 OLED display. Price when reviewed: £1,549 inc VAT

Three versions of the Transcend 14 are currently on sale in the UK. Two are built around the Intel Core Ultra 7 155H CPU with 16GB of RAM and a 1TB SSD. The cheaper £1,449 model features the Nvidia RTX 4050 GPU with 6GB of vRAM, and the more expensive £1,559 model, the RTX 4060 GPU with 8GB of vRAM.

The top of the triumvirate is the RTX 4070 machine, which comes with an Intel Core Ultra 9 185H CPU and 32GB of RAM and will set you back £1,999. All three models are available in two colourways: Shadow Black and Ceramic White. The latter is a true stunner.

The obvious competition comes from Lenovo’s impressive 14.5in Lenovo Legion Slim 5 Gen 8. Although slightly more expensive at £1,615 for the model with an RTX 4060 and 32GB, the GPU has a higher 105W TGP and better battery life. All in all, it’s a superb little laptop.

If you want something a little bigger and a little cheaper, Asus is selling its Tuf Gaming A16 Advantage Edition for just £999, making it quite the bargain. It’s a superbly balanced machine with a potent AMD RX 7600S GPU, high-quality 165Hz display and good battery life, and it’s easy to upgrade. It’s currently our favourite affordable gaming laptop.

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HP Omen Transcend 14 review: Design and build quality

If I had to describe the essence of a compact gaming laptop, the HP Omen Transcend 14 would be pretty much what I’d come up with. Stylish, compact, svelte and light (1.63kg), it’s a very impressive piece of product design.

The shell of the Transcend 14 is largely aluminium with a sandblasted anodised finish. As finishes go, it’s both tactile and resistant to fingerprints, which is all I want. The whole thing feels very solid, and there’s very little twist evident in the lid, even under strain. There’s no brightwork to spoil the skunkwork looks, just black-on-black Omen and “O14” graphics on the lid and deck.

The high point of the design is the rounded edge profile of the lid. It’s a little thing, but, once you notice it, it continually reminds you that HP has put some serious thought into the shape of the Transcend 14.

On a more practical note HP has done well with the ports. On the left, you’ll find a 3.5mm audio jack and a Thunderbolt 4 USB-C port, while on the right are two 10Gbit/sec USB-A ports. Around the back lurks a 10Gbit/sec USB-C port, which you’ll use primarily to connect the 140W USB-C charger and an HDMI 2.1 video output. The rear USB-C port also supports DP video output.

Getting the base panel off the Transcend 14 isn’t too hard, but there aren’t any upgrades you can do. With all the RAM soldered in place and no room for a second SSD, all you can do is swap out the existing drive. Wireless comms are right at the cutting edge thanks to the Intel AX230 modem supporting both Wi-Fi 7 and Bluetooth 5.4.

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HP Omen Transcend 14 review: Keyboard, touchpad and webcam

The keyboard on the Transcend 14 is rather a triumph of form over function. It’s a very compact affair, and what grabs your attention is the translucent RGB striplight surrounding each key, a design dreamt up by HyperX, the HP-owned gaming accessories company.

Rather than per-key lighting, you get a user-manageable four-zone affair, so you can alter the left, middle and right of the keyboard and the WASD keys. As a system, it may lack the granular level of modification that per-key setups allow, but it’s easy to use and easy on the eye.

It’s a pretty good effort to combine gaming laptop aesthetics with compact laptop ergonomics, too. However, the up/down cursor keys are too small for my liking, and I prefer my power button not to be part of the keyboard matrix. The key action feels just a little loose, too. There’s plenty of travel – 1.5mm by my measurements – but not as positive as the far less visually interesting keyboard on the Lenovo Legion Slim 5 Gen 8.

At 125 x 80mm, the touchpad is usefully large for such a small laptop. It feels great and the click-action is both positive and quiet. The 1080p webcam performs well, regardless of ambient lighting conditions and comes with the full suite of Microsoft’s Studio Effects tools.

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HP Omen Transcend 14 review: Display and audio

The Samsung-made OLED display is very impressive, has a high-gloss finish and carries a Vesa DisplayHDR 500 stamp of approval.

Brightness levels are high, hitting 404cd/m2 in SDR mode and 637cd/m2 in HDR mode, and that latter was from a full white screen, which was just as bright as the peak from a 10% white window against a black background. There’s colour aplenty, too, with high gamut volumes of 164.1% sRGB, 113% AdobeRGB and 116.2% DCI-P3.

Unlike the Lenovo Legion Slim 5, the Transcend doesn’t have the option to tune the display to a specific colour profile; there isn’t even an sRGB mode. I tested the Delta E variance against all the common target profiles just for fun, and the best score was a decent 2.02 against the Display P3 profile.

This means that video looks very colourful and true to life, so the absence of a profile lock will only concern creative professionals who may need to fix their display to a specific profile for work reasons.

Motion handling is every bit as good as you would expect from a 120Hz OLED screen with a 0.2ms GtG response time, and no sign of ghosting or blurring. Usefully, the display can be set to move dynamically between 120Hz and 60Hz or can be fixed manually at 120Hz, 60Hz or 48Hz.

The stereo speakers are not the loudest I’ve encountered in a compact laptop, developing just 72.9dBA from a pink noise source at a 1m distance, but the sound they produce is full, warm and impressively detailed.

HP Omen Transcend 14 review: Performance and battery life

The Transcend 14 scored 364 points in the Expert Reviews 4K multimedia benchmark, which is a good rather than great result. For comparison, the Lenovo Legion Slim 5 scored 408.

The difference is not so much down to the 16-core Intel Core Ultra 7 155H CPU, which posted Cinebench R23 results similar to those of the Lenovo’s AMD Ryzen 77840HS processor (16,531 for the HP vs 17,164 for the Lenovo), but rather the GPU.

The HP’s Nvidia GeForce RTX 4060 GPU runs with a TGP of 105W in the Lenovo machine, but it’s restricted to 65W in the new Omen Transcend 14. That difference naturally impacts the speed and fluidity with which games run.

The Transcend also lacks a multiplexer or MUX switch. In its place, there is an option in the Omen Gaming Hub to force the system to use only the integrated Intel Arc integrated GPU, but this is a feature intended to save battery life rather than increase performance.

To compare the Transcend 14 and the Legion Slim 5, the former ran the SPECviewperf 3dsmax modelling test at 74fs and the latter at 90.5fps.

Turning to the Metro: Exodus benchmark running at 1,920 x 1,080, the HP managed 34fps, the Lenovo 44.3fps. Running the Wolfenstein: Youngblood test with ray tracing but no DLSS, the Legion Slim 5 won by 117fps to 90fps. In the Cyberpunk 2077 test, running at the highest detailed settings at Full HD but without ray tracing, the Lenovo again won the day by 95fps to 75fps.

Those results don’t mean the Transcend 14 isn’t a good gaming machine. They just mean that the Lenovo machine does better, thanks to that higher TGP setting.

On the plus side, the Transcend can run both the CPU and GPU at 100% for prolonged periods of time without the cooling system generating too much of a racket, while keeping the exterior reasonably cool. Obviously, you can hear the fans spinning, but the sound isn’t intrusive and is easily tolerable, even for long periods of intense gaming.

HP doesn’t claw anything back against Lenovo when it comes to battery life. The 71Wh battery lasted for 7hrs 18mins in our standard video rundown test using the VLC video player. For comparison, the Lenovo Legion Slim 5 and the Asus TUF 15 Advantage Edition managed to soldier on to around the 8hrs 30mins mark.

Turning to SSD performance it’s another win for the HP machine. The Omen Transcend 14’s Western Digital drive produced sequential read and write speeds of 5,176MB/sec and 2,591MB/sec, respectively, which, while perfectly decent, can’t match the Legion Slim’s very fast SSD read and write speeds.

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HP Omen Transcend 14 review: Verdict

In purely functional terms, the new Omen Transcend 14 can’t match the Lenovo Legion Slim 5 Gen 8. The latter may be £65 more expensive in matching trim, but that money gets you an additional 16GB of RAM, a higher TGP version of the same Nvidia GeForce RTX 4060 GPU, better battery life and display software more tuned to suit professional needs.

To counter that, the Omen Transcend 14 is achingly good-looking and has a better sound system, though the advantage over the Lenovo Legion 5 Slim is not huge.

If it were my money, I’d go for the Lenovo Legion Slim 5, but that’s not to say I don’t desire the HP Omen Transcend 14. I really do. In a perfect world, come purchase time, I’d find the Ceramic White version on sale with a few hundred quid off and use that excuse to follow my heart rather than my head.

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