HP’s Victus 16 review, a solid gaming PC whose price could account for many things
In line with the more serious and expensive Omen, HP wanted to offer, with its Victus range, a secondary route to the player, an axis that combines simple design, an open approach to uses other than gaming, and a configuration robust enough to cater for many uses. All of this, sprinkled with an unstoppable argument: very affordable prices.
In this case, it is the machine for less than 1200 euros that we have. In 2021, the Victus 16 is the first to embody this new family, having since been joined by a tower, and by its 15-inch little brother, which we’ve tested.
I took advantage of the offer
Presentation: big, heavy, and comfortable…
As the name implies, here we are dealing with a big man with a 16.1-inch Full HD panel refreshed at 144 Hz. And when we say “big guy,” it’s all the more true that, even for a gaming laptop, this is a stunner. If dimensions speak volumes for its size, weight finally classifies it into the category of computers we’ll carry as little as possible with us – except for Dwayne Johnson. At 2,462 kg, it’s still 16.3% heavier than the average gaming PC we’ve had over the last 24 months, and that’s saying it – even if ultraportables for gamers start to double in size. In fact, this Victus 16 can almost be considered more of a tower than a laptop.
Plus, the connectivity is about as impressive as a tower. We didn’t miss anything when we used this well-finished, sober (to the point that we almost doubted that this was a gamer’s PC) and functional chassis. It’s decked out in matte black, nicely punctuated by the glossy V branding on the hood and a few reminders of the branding on the outside. If Victus likes the game, it’s likely he appreciates fingerprints too, but nothing disastrous. This is a living machine.
When you open the machine, you have a full keyboard in front of you, as the machine offers a discreet numeric keypad, which does not display thousands of colors. We’re not going to complain about that. The buttons are responsive, and quite flexible. They’re more like classic laptops than gamer machines, but that’s not distracting. Remember that Victus is there to accompany you in both play and work or study phases. This keyboard option responds perfectly to both areas. We only regret that the numeric keypad reduces keystrokes a bit. We found ourselves shifted a quarter to the left, not quite centering the screen as we typed. This is especially strange when working with Victus. The touchpad is pleasant and responsive, we don’t have a big criticism for it. But, obviously, it cannot replace the mouse in the game phase.
Screen: high contrast, fewer colors
Now let’s look up and see the screen. Apart from the bottom, the Victus 16’s Full HD screen is surrounded by rather thin edges. Pretty acceptable in a gaming machine, especially in this price range. Again, we get the impression of an ominous calm.
The screen size makes for great convenience, even if Full HD definition might seem a bit stingy on a panel this size – but it goes with the configuration chosen. We only regret that the screen resolution is a little low (137 points per inch), sometimes we see a few pixels, especially when we read articles online, or write… this article, for example.
Measured with the 01Lab at 296 cd/m2, the Victus 16’s brightness is not memorable. One could almost even say that it was a weak point. What’s more, that’s 13.5% lower than the average gaming laptop screen that has passed through our hands, which is rarely a star at this point, he says.
On the other hand, and this contributes to good readability in games, the contrast is quite high, at 1423:1, which puts it almost 20.5% higher than the average of its competitors. If the effort is commendable, we’d appreciate that the panels better match the colors to be displayed.
In this regard, with the Delta E 2000 5.17, we are so far from ahead, we are even in the antipodes of the best. The Victus 16 is 63% worse in this area than any gaming PC we’ve tested over the past 24 months. Despite this lack of colorimetric fidelity, the coverage of the RGB spectrum is far from satisfactory and complete. Don’t be surprised if the color is a little weird sometimes.
Performance: good but limited
Released last year, the Victus 16 featured the eleventh-generation Core i5, reference Core i5-11400H. It supports this solid but not lightning-fast processor, clocked at 2.7 GHz, with 16 GB of RAM – a good compromise for a Windows configuration geared towards multiple uses. The graphics department is entrusted to the GeForce RTX 3060, a dedicated card provided by NVidia. It lies in the middle of this RTX 3000 family which represents the high end offerings at the moment, while waiting for the next RTX 4000.
The set is cooled by two large fans, which you can hear regularly and loudly. What’s more, we regret not taking full advantage of the Bang & Olufsen audio system during the gameplay phase. Better to play with headphones and reserve the speakers for your favorite series or song.
However, the cooling system associated with this fairly efficient but not terrible configuration allows the Victus 16 to be 18.4% cooler than the average gaming PC.
When we look at performance precisely, and compare it to all the gaming laptops tested over the past 24 months by 01Lab, it’s no surprise that the Victus 16 lags a bit. Its score with PCMark 10 is thus a little over 5% lower than the average of its competitors. On the graphics front, its 3DMark Fire Strike Extreme score is also almost 7% lower than the average of its competitors. RTX 3060 error that won’t play against RTX 3070 or RTX 3080. Range logic obeyed. The same for the selected processor.
However, we decided to compare the performance of the Victus 16 with the other two machines. On the one hand, the Katana GF66, from MSI, sells for around 1,800 euros, which includes the 12th generation Core i5 and RTX 3050 Ti. On the other hand, the Alienware x14, from Dell, retails for around 2,500 euros, and is powered by the same Intel processor, but equipped with the RTX 3060 in its portable version, that is, the same card found in the Victory 16.
It should also be noted that MSI laptops and hp laptops are quite comparable in approach. Both offer fairly wide bezels, with Full HD panels measuring 15.6 inches for MSI and 16.1 inches for cellphones. Meanwhile, Alienware provides additional constraints with the compactness of its ultraportable chassis, with a 14-inch screen.
Finally, note that all three configurations have one thing in common: processors for MSI and Alienware, and graphics cards for Alienware and hp. This highlights the interesting impact of one over the other on in-game performance, in other words, quickly and in this case, it’s better to go for Core of 11e generation and RTX 3060 rather than the twelfth generation Core and RTX 3050 Ti. The difference in power between the two graphics cards justifies accepting a slightly less efficient and older processor.
Nevertheless, these results must be put into perspective through two essential prisms. The first is the obvious price. At just under 1,200 euros, we can easily forgive the Victus 16 for not being such a strong monster.
The second is the performance threshold that is achieved in spite of everything. Yes, the RTX 3060 won’t let you play everything through (ray-tracing, high-quality textures, etc.) if you’re looking for the most fluidity possible. However, with our two benchmark test sets (Rise of the Tomb Raiders and Division), we can see that the number of frames per second, with the maximum settings there.
We also note that Victus is in control and doesn’t make much out of the Alienware x14.
In this regard, the Victus 16 even allows itself to perform better than the Katana GF66, from MSI, which you also tested and costs 600 euros more… Therefore, it seems that with the Victus, hp gives you something for your money .
To be sure, we turned to the second selection of newer and more demanding games, especially since they require a dedicated ray tracing piece of hardware from the latest graphics chip.
With this game (Red Dead Redemption 2, Cyberpunk 2077or Division 2), we immediately noticed that the trend observed with old titles was respected. The Victus 16 dominates the Katana GF66, from MSI, and stands up well for the Alienware x14, which notably beats it in our tests with cyberpunk 2077, no doubt thanks to Victus’ ability to reduce heat.
In the end, the least expensive of the three laptops is sometimes up to x1.7 more efficient than its competitors. And in the end it’s the only one that almost always displays above the sacred 60 frames per second.
All is not rosy of course, the configuration has its limits, as we have said, the components are not at the top of the range. So in games like Oversight Legionwhen we tried pushing the settings (Ultra, no RT and DLSS), we were warned that the CPU was too weak and not enough video memory.
In other words, Victus 16 with hp cannot run all current games at full speed, and fortiori is not the most demanding title to come… But at this price, this is very forgivable, especially since we are talking about complex games, with effects the heavy one, which will go in spite of everything if you sacrifice some hope…
Autonomy: not crazy, but not ashamed…
If we’re always asking more and more of gaming PCs in terms of raw performance, we’ve become accustomed to turning a blind eye to their poor performance in the area of autonomy. It’s not easy to offer large displacement and low power consumption.
However, remember that the Victus range should be slightly open for anything other than gaming. Therefore he couldn’t be too bad at this. In this regard, the Victus 16 with almost 7% hp is less autonomous than the average gaming PC used by 01Lab. It’s clear that with a versatile 5:03 battery life, you won’t be able to work for hours – let alone play for more than an hour or an hour and fifteen on battery power.
As for our second autonomy test, video streaming, the HP gaming PC also lacks shine. It goes out after 4h24. Nothing to occupy you during long flights or train journeys. But is this really the machine you’d take for it?
Let’s quickly move on to the other two machines we compared the Victus with. Again the comparison is interesting. On the one hand, we have the Alienware x14, which is one of the most autonomous gaming laptops to have passed through our labs, with an autonomy almost matched for a classic ultraportable. And then, on the other hand, the MSI Katana, which is definitely unlucky and features very low autonomy, not to mention ridiculous.
In the end, yes, the Victus 16 isn’t exactly a marathon runner, but given its price and direct competition, it’s far from being a throwaway.