Review: HP Victus Gaming laptop offers enough graphical fidelity for the money, but its power problems are criminal

The HP Victus gaming laptop offers potential for gamers looking to escape couches.
The HP Victus gaming laptop offers potential for gamers looking to escape couches. Photo credit: Supplied

REVIEW: Being a laptop user on a daily basis for work, the idea of a laptop for gaming is not one that particularly floats my boat. 

Spending all day in front of a minimal screen and then being asked to swap the thrills of the couch, a big TV and console to spend more time gaming doesn't really compel me. 

But the HP Victus Gaming 15.6 laptop makes a strong(ish) case for spending a bit more time at a desk and subjecting my eyes to the smaller screen, rather than feasting on full HD delights. 

The good 

The affordable laptop really is the way to go for many, especially for those with teens about to start high school.  

While it's optimised for gaming, it also provides enough oomph as a desktop computer to do the basics - and with a control panel that's easy to navigate, there really is no reason to go slowly out of the starting blocks. 

In terms of the unit's weight, it's solid enough, but also packs a bit of heaviness to suggest there is a durability to it. Though with only a review period to judge on, it's harder to see if the day-to-day knocks would put a dent on the machine long-term, but sat solitary on a desk, it should prove sturdy enough. 

Sure, the HP Victus can do the requirements of a day-to-day desktop, but its primary purpose is gaming. But to truly test a gaming laptop and shift me away from the joys of the PlayStation and the Xbox, it really does need to cover all bases. 

Thanks to a couple of game emulator sites, the HP Victus Gaming laptop got a look at some old-school classic games from as far back as the BBC computer, and to some of what was on offer from the Commodore 64. Monsters, a simple pixel block climbing and strategy game from the BBC days of the early 1980s, looked crisp and still played well; equally the much-loved Midway classic Wizard of Wor from the halcyon days of the '80s on the C64 felt vibrant and fresh as its monotone OST boomed out of the speakers. 

The screen's resolution sparkled when it should, and the 15.6-inch screen felt broad enough to bring life into some games and video-viewing as well. 

Thanks to the ability to cloud game with the Xbox, a few of the newer, more graphically challenging titles got a chance to flex their laptop muscles - but it was here the HP Victus started to fall a little short. 

Man holding controller and laptop
I'm not entirely sure of the appeal of grabbing a controller and monitor to game. Photo credit: Supplied

The bad 

While it's particularly easy to connect the laptop to the Xbox and cloud game away, with download times from your Xbox Live account as fast as your broadband will allow, it has to be said the HP Victus started to see a noticeable drain on power and graphical resources when bigger, more expansive games were loaded up. 

Even with the brightness turned up, Minecraft Dungeons looked dark and almost dismal in parts as it played out. Equally, Jusant from Xbox Game Pass lacked some of the graphical vibrancy that you can get from a console. Despite a premium-sized screen, it didn't quite offer the premium viewing experience. 

The battery started to noticeably drain too; within just a couple of hours playing various types of games, the juice started to slip away, leaving me feeling this device was a power-sap in computer form. Just over 2.5 hours saw the battery slip down to critical levels. 

With bigger AAA games such as Forza, the laptop's crisp delivery of graphics churned away badly at the power, a sign this drain would only put a smile on your power company's face - and fear on that of your bank account. 

After turning it on and fine-tuning the settings, the computer prompted for an update - literally within seconds. After it'd shut down, it took around 15 minutes to install the updates, something which was majorly irritating, especially as I'd wanted to get into it. 

The power port really does leave a lot to be desired. In this world of USB-C cords, the old plug and pin jack felt flimsy in extremis and left me worried it could easily be bent without due care and consideration. 

The HP Victus' laptop screen is perfect for handling some games.
The HP Victus' laptop screen is perfect for handling some games. Photo credit: Supplied

It also took a while to adjust to the HP keyboard. While soft and intuitive to the touch, the fact there's a number pad on the right-hand side of the keyboard meant a lot of initial typing needed to be redone, with the old fingers heading too far right for the on-screen touch-typing to make any kind of sense. 

The trackpad offered quick response times to what was needed, but for gaming, it was either a mouse or the Xbox controller which took precedence. Both had no noticeable lag when playing and felt responsive enough to justify trying something a little different for a non-PC gamer. 

In all honesty, I can appreciate why an entry-level PC gamer would consider a HP Victus Gaming 15.6 laptop for their sessions - it covers the basics nicely if you're not keen on pushing it too far. 

But given its criminal lack of battery power duration and the worry of constantly needing to power up every few hours, I don't know that I'd fully give up the couch and the console for my gaming needs. 

Newshub was supplied a HP Victus Gaming 15.6 laptop for this review.