Gaming laptops have a reputation of targeting “geeks” and “nerds.” As a result, they are more capable than 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 about specs and this means they are priced 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 along with office or schoolwork. HP’s new Victus 16 isn’t aimed at the eSports crowd. It is an affordable way to give a taste of a gaming laptop without the high price or extra thrills. I have been using the Victus 16 for a week, and here is what I think of HP’s budget gaming laptop.
HP Victus 16 price in India: Rs 60,900 onwards
The Victus 16 looks different from notebooks under the Omen brand and the Pavilion Gaming laptops. I think a lot has to do with how HP wants to position the Victus 16. The non-flashy aesthetics shows that the Victus 16 can be ideal for both casual use and gaming purposes. It has an all-grey slab with plastic chassis. The lid is smooth with a V-shaped logo embossed.
The chassis is slim for a 16-inch laptop and its side screen bezels are thin, giving it a modern look. It’s not too big and it’s not too small… it’s just right. The Victus 16 is a do-it-all machine for gaming and making presentations while still being portable enough that one never feels stressed carrying it in a backpack.
The port selection is surprisingly good on this entry-level gaming laptop. You will find a Gigabit Ethernet port, 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 an SD card slot are also there 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 to rave about the web camera (it doesn’t support Windows Hello, and there’s no fingerprint reader as well) but should be okay for attending online classes and Zoom calls. Better invest in an external webcam, in case you want for live streaming.
The good thing about the Victus 16 is that users can upgrade the internals. Remove the back panel – although not easy — and you can access the two SODIMM memory slots and two SSD bays.
Perhaps the most crucial part of any laptop is the display. This one has a 16.1-inch display with a 60Hz refresh rate and a resolution of 1920x1080p. It is a 16:9 panel, which is a common aspect ratio to see on gaming laptops.
Let me be clear: this is an entry-level notebook and HP has cut corners to keep the price down. However, I have seen other gaming laptops in a similar price bracket 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 nor is there a touchscreen option. Playing games late at night was fine and so was watching movies.
Meanwhile, the Bang & Olufsen-tuned speakers are impressive. The sound output from the speakers is good if not the best. These speakers are decent enough for watching YouTube videos and fine for listening to casual music. They sounded loud when I was playing Dirt 5 on Victus 16.
The keyboard on gaming laptops wasn’t the most comfortable to use. In the past, they gave me a lot of headaches, as I would consistently hit the wrong keys and have to fix typos. This keyboard in the Victus 16 is not only easier to type on, but so much sturdier! HP’s laptop keyboards continue to impress me. It’s a full-sized keyboard with a numeric keypad. The keyboard is backlit, and there is no RGB backlighting on the keyboard. The touchpad on the Victus 16 is huge, and responsive.
Don’t expect Victus 16 to win awards for the performance. I tested the base model with an AMD Ryzen 5 5600H processor, featuring 8GB of RAM a 512GB SSD and Radeon RX 5500M graphics (4 GB GDDR6 dedicated). The Ryzen 5 is a fast processor, but it has its limits, especially with Radeon RX 5500M integrated graphics. I was actually able to play Dirt 5 but at lower settings. This means you can play older AAA titles on Victus 16 smoothly. That said, the 8GB RAM and a lack of mid-level dedicated graphics card make this laptop limited to what it can achieve. This is why buying a laptop is very challenging—especially when you’re spending thousands of rupees.
If you are someone who plays on the weekend but mostly needs a laptop for studies and work, the Victus 16 fits the bill. The important part to remember is that make sure you have the right specification depending on what exactly you want the laptop for. If you are someone who is chasing a high-refresh-rate display and better graphics, you need to look for a pricer gaming laptop and the sky’s the limit.
The battery is surprisingly okay. During a gaming test, Victus 16 lasted for four hours, which isn’t too bad for a gaming laptop. If you are actually using the notebook for basic work on the go, you’re looking at closer to five hours on a charge.
Let’s take a look at the average user who wants to purchase the Victus 16. This person might be someone who’s already using a Windows laptop or needs to replace an old computer. Typical activities might be web browsing, light photo editing, writing emails, and using basic apps like MS Office, and of course casual gaming. In this case, I would recommend the HP Victus 16 which is available for as low as Rs 60,000 online. But if you are someone who wants little power, more RAM and a better high refresh display, I would recommend looking for other options from HP, or maybe opt for a gaming laptop with higher configuration from rival brands.