PC gaming can be expensive, and the barrier for even entry-level hardware can still be high. Enter the HP Victus 15 a low-cost ($799 as configured) gaming laptop, which comes with serviceable but meager specs such as an Nvidia GeForce GTX 1650 GPU and Intel Core i5-12450H CPU. It also sports a 15.6-inch display with a 144 Hz refresh rate and 1920 x 1080 resolution, alongside a clean design that can blend into any environment.
Our tests show that the Victus 15 can handle most contemporary tiles in 1080p at high or medium settings. Other, more expensive configurations from HP than the one we tested have better GPUs but at higher prices.
If you’re looking for an inexpensive way to start PC gaming and aren’t concerned with playing with full power, the Victus 15 may be the laptop for you. However, if you spend a little more, you may get a bit more bang for your gaming buck.
Design of the HP Victus 15
We reviewed the HP Victus 15 in dark silver, but the HP Victus 15 is also available in white and blue. The laptop has a smooth chassis with a large, prominent, reflective V in the middle. Underneath it, in between the hinges, it says Victus, just in case the V didn’t clue you in. The back of the Victus has a large cutout where the vents are. Under the laptop, near one of its feet, there are grated vents. On either side near the feet are two speaker cutouts.
The design is lowkey enough to fit in an office or gaming setting. It's a bit more adult than the edgy, red and black design that was incredibly common just a few years ago. Although, it may be a bit hefty to lug around everywhere.
On the left side of the Victus, there’s a port for the power adapter, a USB Type-A port, an SD card slot, and a 3.5 mm headphone jack. The right side houses an HDMI 2.1 port, another USB Type-A port, Ethernet and a USB Type-C port.
When you open up the laptop, there’s a thick bezel underneath the 15.6-inch display, which also has a giant V. Below are the main speakers featuring a stylized V pattern to keep the theme going.
The HP Victus 15 measures 14.09 x 10.04 x 0.93 inches and weighs 5.06 pounds. Meanwhile, the Acer Nitro 5 comes in at 14.19 x 10.67 x 1.06 inches and 5.51 pounds. The similarly priced Asus TUF Gaming F17 with last year's Intel CPUs measures 15.71 x 10.59 x 0.99 inches and weighs 5.73 pounds. Lastly, the HP Omen 15, which we reviewed a few years ago with a comparable GTX 1660 Ti GPU, measures 14.1 x 9.4 x 0.9 inches at 5.4 pounds.
HP Victus 15 Specifications
|CPU||Intel Core i5-12450H|
|Graphics||NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1650 (4GB GDDR6) 1,515 Mhz Boost Clock|
|Memory||8GB DDR4-3200 MHz RAM|
|Storage||512GB PCIe NVMe SSD|
|Display||15.6-inch 1920 x 1080, 144Hz IPS|
|Networking||MediaTek Wi-Fi 6 MT7921 (802.11ax), Bluetooth 5.2|
|Ports||USB Type-C, 2x USB Type-A, HDMI 2.1, Ethernet Port, Micro SD 3.5mm headphone jack|
|Power Adapter||150 W|
|Operating System||Windows 11 Home|
|Dimensions (WxDxH)||14.09 x 10.0 x 0.92 inches (357.88 x 254 x 23.3mm)|
|Weight||5.04 pounds (2.29 kg)|
|Price (as configured)||$799.99|
Gaming and Graphics on the HP Victus 15
Our configuration of the HP Victus 15 came with an Intel Core i5-12450H and an Nvidia GeForce GTX 1650 with 4GB of GDDR6 RAM. Although the Victus sports a GTX graphics card, it can still play less-demanding contemporary titles at the highest settings. However, you’ll probably have to turn the settings down to medium for most games.
While playing Control (medium settings) at 1080p, I was impressed with its relative smoothness. The game ran at around 42 frames per second, only dropping to the 30-fps range during intense action. I couldn't use DLSS, which would lessen the burden on the GPU, with a GTX 1650 — that's reserved for higher end GPUs.
When we ran Grand Theft Auto V’s benchmark at very high settings, the HP Victus delivered 39 fps at 1080p resolution. The Acer Nitro 5, with its RTX 3050 Ti, ran the game at 61 fps, while the RTX 3050 Ti-powered Asus TUF Gaming F17 achieved 55 fps. The HP Omen 15, (which we reviewed in 2020 and are using for historical context) and its GTX 1660 Ti with a Ryzen 7 4800H, achieved the same 61 fps as the Nitro.
During the Far Cry New Dawn (ultra settings) benchmark in 1080p, the HP Victus reached 54 fps, which came out with better performance than the Asus TUF Gaming 17’s 50 fps. and the Acer Nitro had the best performance at 79 fps.
On the Red Dead Redemption 2 benchmark (medium settings), we saw the HP Victus with the weakest performance of the bunch at 24 fps, suggesting you'd need to turn the game to lower settings to make it playable. Meanwhile, the Acer Nitro hit 39 frames and the Asus TUF Gaming 17 outperformed them all with 46 fps. The 2020 Omen reached 36 fps.
Finally, on the Borderlands 3 benchmark (badass settings), the HP Victus reached 26 fps, the weakest of the bunch yet again. Others like the Asus TUF Gaming 17 reached 36 fps, while the HP Omen and Acer Nitro output 43 and 45 frames per second. This game would also have to be turned down.
We could not benchmark Shadow of the Tomb Raider under very high settings (as we usually run it) because the HP Victus’ GPU could not handle it. But we could benchmark the title at medium, and it looked fantastic running at 54 fps.
On gaming laptops, we usually stress-test by running the Metro Exodus benchmark on RTX settings 15 times, simulating about half an hour of gameplay. However, we could not use the RTX feature this time and had to run the title on medium settings. The game ran at an average of 45 frames per second, staying consistent throughout.
During the stress test, CPU speeds came in at an average of 3.8 GHz on the performance cores and 3.0 GHz on the efficiency cores. The temperature of the CPU averaged 83.9 degrees Celsius (183.02 degrees Fahrenheit), and HWInfo reported some CPU thermal throttling in the middle of the test. The GPU ran at an average speed of 1,487 MHz and a temperature of 80.5 degrees Celsius (176.9 degrees Fahrenheit).
Productivity Performance on the HP Victus 15
We tested the HP Victus 15 with an Intel Core i5-12450H, 8GB of DDR4 RAM and 512GB of SSD storage. Although the Victus 15 expectedly underperformed during most gaming benchmarks on high settings, it kept up better with the pack in some of our productivity tests.
On Geekbench 5.4, an overall performance test focused on the CPU, the HP Victus 15 earned a single-core score of 1,588 and a multi-core score of 6,902. Meanwhile, the Acer Nitro 5 (Intel Core i5-12500H) reached a single-core performance score of 1,652 and a 9,148 multi-core performance score. The Asus TUF Gaming 17 (Intel Core i5-12600H) hit 1,354 single-core and a 9,148 multi-core score. Finally, the HP Omen 15 (Ryzen 4800H, reviewed in 2020) achieved a 1,206 single-core and 7,976 multi-core scores.
The Victus took 8 minutes and 9 seconds to transcode a 4K video to 1080p in Handbrake. Meanwhile, the Acer Nitro was fastest at 5:59, barely beating the HP Omen’s time of 6:01. The Asus TUF Gaming 17 took the longest at 10:36.
The HP Victus 15 copied 25GB of test files at an average speed of 741.24 MBps. The Acer Nitro 5 was the fastest at 1,240.65 MBps, followed by the HP Omen 15’s 968 MBps and the Asus TUF Gaming 17’s 596.39 MBps.
Display on the HP Victus 15
Our configuration of the HP Victus 15 featured a 15.6-inch display with a 144 Hz refresh rate and 1920 x 1080 resolution. One of the first things I did was fire up Doctor Strange and the Multiverse of Madness to see how the bright, colorful film held up on the Victus. The picture quality wasn’t bad for a 1080p screen, but I’ve seen better. Although the brightness was satisfactory, it occasionally overexposed some of the film's whites and shimmering colors.
The scene where America divulges her origin story to Strange looked overexposed. Light rays from the environment overtook the scenery and brightened faces too much. The display captured blacks well enough, but the colors lacked saturation. Unfortunately, the anti-glare effect didn’t work too well, as I could see the light from my window and the keyboard illuminating the screen while watching the movie.
On the other hand, the display is great for 1080p gaming. Although I didn’t have access to ray tracing when I played Control on medium settings, the game still looked gorgeous. I could appreciate the brightness of each light fixture hanging above as Jesse proceeded out of a dark elevator. The anti-glare effect from the display also worked much better when gaming than watching content, as there were no reflections distracting me from my experience.
The HP Victus 15’s panel covers 45% of the DCI-P3 color gamut and 64% of the sRGB gamut. Competitors like the Acer Nitro 5 and The Asus TUF Gaming 17’s had comparable percentages overall. The Victus 15 reached 235 nits of brightness, the dimmest of the bunch. Meanwhile, the Acer Nitro 5 was the brightest at 314 nits, followed by the Asus TUF Gaming F17 with 284 nits.
Keyboard and Touchpad on the HP Victus 15
The keyboard on the HP Victus 15 felt good enough. It has some slight feedback, making my typing experience easier. When I tested my typing skills on 10fastfingers, I scored 65 words per minute with a 95.86% accuracy. I scored right around my usual ballpark despite including a number pad and slightly skewing the letter keys.
The touchpad was also pretty spacious at 4.9 x 3.1 inches, but I wish it felt a bit better. I'd like more of a difference between the palm rest and the touchpad, and although the touchpad doesn’t feel harsh and has a responsive clicking mechanism.
Audio on the HP Victus 15
Despite the audible kicks from the Bang & Olufsen speakers, the volume on the HP Victus 15 won't rock your world. When I played “Use Your Mnd” by Mndsgn, I could hear every synth, thump, and lyric in the song. There’s a speaker above the keyboard and two speaker cutouts on the bottom, which may be why I could hear the instrumentation so well. But I like my music loud, and I wish the Victus' speakers could support that. Those who want volume may want one of the best gaming headsets.
The volume translated to other media, and I wanted both louder dialogue and music in Doctor Strange and the Multiverse of Madness.
Upgradeability on the HP Victus 15
The HP Victus 15 has six Torx screws along the bottom of the laptop. After using a tool to pry the lid off, I noticed two RAM and SSD slots, with one of each already filled on our configuration. These may change based on your configuration, but in ours it also meant that HP is using single-channel RAM at the entry level, which can lower performance. Here's how to upgrade RAM on a laptop.
The empty SSD slot can be filled with a standard 2280 M.2 SSD to expand storage. The laptop’s network card was accessible, and the battery could be removed. It looks like an 2.5-inch SSD or HDD can fit beside the battery, but the laptop doesn’t have mounting hardware or cables.
Battery Life on the HP Victus 15
On our battery test, which involves streaming video, browsing the web, and running OpenGL tests over Wi-Fi with the display at 150 nits of brightness, the HP Victus 15 lasted for 4 hours and 47 minutes, so, like most gaming laptops, you'll want to keep the power brick nearby even when you aren't gaming.
The Acer Nitro 5 endured for 5:33 while the 2020 HP Omen stayed on for 6:13. The Asus TUF Gaming 17 conked out after 1:47.
Heat on the HP Victus 15
During our Metro Exodus stress test, we take skin temperature measurements to see how hot the system gets to the touch. At the center of the keyboard, between the G and H keys, the HP Victus 15 hit 41.8 degrees Celsius (107.24 degrees Fahrenheit), while the touchpad was a cooler 30 degrees Celsius (86 degrees Fahrenheit). At the bottom, the hottest point reached a toasty 57.8 degrees Celsius (136.04 degrees Fahrenheit.)
Webcam on the HP Victus 15
The 720p webcam on the HP Victus 15 cannot capture details at all. I took a picture of myself in my room, and the terrible quality reminded me of the days of MySpace when pics like these were the standard. The braids in my hair look like dreads, and the Neil Adams Batman poster in the background is so pixelated that you can’t see anyone’s faces. If you plan to do any kind of streaming or video conferencing, consider getting one of the best external webcams.
Software and Warranty on the HP Victus 15
The HP Victus 15 has way too much bloat, including ten preinstalled apps from the manufacturer on top of whatever comes as part of Windows. Surely HP doesn't need to include all of these, and some of them seem to double up features that are already in the OS.
HP Documentation opens a tab that directs you to a bevy of guides, license agreements, notices, and warranties. But the warranty tab just tells you to check your box once you click it.
The Hardware Diagnostics app is a utility that allows you to run diagnostic tests to determine if your hardware is functioning properly. HP Privacy Settings lets you opt out of HP collecting certain data from your screen
HP QuickDrop lets you transfer photos, video, music, files, and more between your HP PC and Android or iOS device while HP Smart lets you print, scan, and share to your HP printer from mobile devices. HP Support Assistant is a hub app that does quick repairs, offers diagnostics, manages HP devices, has a dashboard showcasing the PC’s health, and more. HP System Event Utility shows system information and myHP feeds users software and other HP products.
Perhaps the most useful is the Omen Gaming Hub, which allows you to optimize gaming performance and customize your device’s RGB.
Of course, the Windows apps like Amazon, Disney Plus, Skype and Dropbox are also there.
HP sells the Victus 15 with a one-year warranty, but you can pay extra for more coverage.
HP Victus 15 Configurations
Our configuration of the HP Victus 15 came with an Nvidia GeForce GTX 1650 and an Intel Core i5-12450H with 8GB of DDR4 RAM and 512GB of SSD storage. It also sported a 15.6-inch 1920 x 1080 display with a 144 Hz refresh rate for a grand total of $799.99.
This model is available only on Best Buy and Newegg. Several customizable configurations on HP’s website offer upgrades to the RAM, storage, display, CPU and GPU, as well as wireless networking. The Victus comes in silver but is also available in blue and white for an added $10.
There’s an AMD Victus 15z-fb000 available with an AMD Ryzen 5 5600H and an Nvidia GeForce GTX 1650 GPU with 8GB of DDR4 RAM and 256GB of storage. It also comes with a 15.6-inch 1920 x 1080 resolution display with a 144 Hz refresh rate for $799.99. The GPU can be upgraded to an AMD Radeon RX 6500M, raising the price to $829.99. An RTX 3050 raises the base price to $879.99, and an RTX 3050 Ti makes it $929.99. If you decide to add the maximum amount of storage, RAM, and 1080p display with 300 nits, the total goes up to $1,179.99.
The cheapest configuration of the Victus on HP’s website is the 15t-fa000, which comes with an Intel Core i5-12500H and an Nvidia GeForce RTX 1650 GPU with 8GB of DDR4 RAM and a 256GB SSD. It also comes with a 15.6-inch 1920 x 1080 resolution display with a 144 Hz refresh rate for $749.99.
The highest-end HP Victus 15 config goes for $1,299 and comes with an Intel Core i7-12700H, an Nvidia GeForce RTX 3050 GPU,16GB of DDR4 RAM and 1TB of SSD storage. It also has a 15.6-inch 1920 x 1080 resolution display with a 144 Hz refresh rate. However, this config can be customized to include a 3050 Ti for an extra $60. You can also get a display with low blue light and 300 nits for an additional $30. There are also options to add an external optical drive for $60 and upgrade the MediaTek Wi-Fi 6 MT7921 networking card to an Intel Wi-Fi 6E AX211 for an added cost.
The HP Victus 15 has a lot going for it, considering its $799 price point. One of the best gaming laptops under $1,500 (if you want to go way below $1,500), it has an i5-12450H CPU that keeps it on track with its competitor's productivity performance. And despite having an older GTX 1650 GPU, it can handle most contemporary titles in 1080p at high or medium settings, though you may need to turn down to low occasionally.
However, to get a gaming laptop this cheap, you have to make trade-offs. The display is also a bit lackluster, and components like the webcam and speakers could be better.
If you’re shopping for a budget laptop and don’t mind one with a larger screen and footprint, the Asus TUF Gaming F17 offers a lot more performance, thanks to its RTX 3050 Ti card. That being said, it's a bit more expensive. At publishing time, Best Buy has an F17 for $999 (opens in new tab) with a Core i7-11400H (though that's a last-gen CPU), a 512GB SSD, 8GB of RAM and a 144 Hz screen. However, if you want a 15-inch gaming laptop for cheap, the Victus is worth consideration.