Surface Book 2 vs. HP Omen 15: Which powerful PC is better for you?

HP OMEN 15 (Image credit: Windows Central)

The Surface Book 2 and HP Omen 15 (2017) are two superb laptops, but they are generally designed and marketed for different audiences. While Microsoft already has the Surface Laptop, the new Surface Book 2 is billed as the "ultimate" 2-in-1 laptop come tablet. That means it should be able to perform well as a laptop. If you're on the fence as to whether you should pick up the Surface Book 2 or HP Omen 15, there are a few things to consider.

Surface Book 2 vs. HP Omen 15: Comparing specs

Surface Book 2

Specifications between the two devices are fairly similar, depending on which configuration you go for. Here's how the two machines compare on paper.

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CategorySurface Book 2HP Omen 15 (2017)
Display13.5-inch or 15-inch PixelSense Display15-inch Full HD, Full HD (120Hz), or 4K
Resolution3000 x 2000
3840 x 2160 (4K)
1920 x 1080 (FullHD)
3840 x 2160 (4K)
OSWindows 10Windows 10
CPUCore i5-7300U (3.2GHz)
Core i7-8650U (4.2GHz)
Core i7-7700HQ
Storage256GB SSD
2TB + 128GB SSD
2TB + 256GB SSD
GraphicsIntel HD Graphics 620
GTX 1050 (2GB)
GTX 1060 (6GB)
AMD RX 550 (2GB)
AMD RX 580 (8GB)
GTX 1050 (2GB)
GTX 1060 (6GB)
GTX 1070 (8GB)
Rear camera8MPN/A
Front camera5MP (Windows Hello)HP Wide Vision FHD IR (Windows Hello)
PortsTwo USB Type-A 3.1 (Gen1)
USB Type-C with video, power in/out and USB 3.1 (Gen1) data
Headphone and microphone
Full-size SDXC card reader (UHS-II)
Three USB 3.1
Mini DisplayPort
HDMI 2.0
Headphon and microphone
Full-size SDXC card reader (UHS-II)
SensorsAmbient light sensor
KeyboardFull-sized, backlitFull-sized, backlit
Battery70WHr (13-inch)
80WHr (15-inch)
PenSurface PenN/A
WeightUp to 4.20 lbs (1.9 kg)Up to 8.2 lbs (3.7 kg)
Dimensions13-inch: 12.3 inches (312 mm) x 9.14 inches (232 mm) x 0.59 to 0.90 inches (15-23 mm)
15-inch: 13.5 inches (343 mm) x 9.87 inches (251 mm) x 0.57 inches to 0.90 inches (15mm to 23 mm)
15-inch: 16.65 inches (423 mm) x 11.97 inches (304 mm) x 1.3 inches (33 mm)
PriceStarts at $1,499Starts at $869

Are you a gamer?

HP Omen 15

The HP Omen 15 (or 17 if you prefer larger displays) is the larger and more weighty of the two options, and as such, it allows HP to cram inside more powerful hardware. It's possible to go all the way up to 32GB of RAM and a GTX 1070 graphics card, which makes it quite the capable gaming machine. A GTX 1070 will make mince work of most games released this year, and that leads us perfectly to our main point when deciding between the two devices:

Are you a gamer?

If games are what you'll be using the laptop for most, the HP Omen 15 is certainly the more obvious choice, but you'll be required to have the PC plugged into an outlet to really make the most of the available game time. Those who seek a more portable option will need to have a look at the Surface Book 2, which not only weighs less but can even be transformed into a tablet.

The HP Omen 15 is also a machine built for more serious work. Sure, the Surface Book 2 has a powerful lineup of seventh- and eight-gen processors — and the i7-8650U is a stellar chip — but HP's use of the i7-7700HQ and included thermal cooling allows for sustained performance. You'll be able to max out all cores so long as you're not out in the desert heat and render video, play games and multitask.

When it comes to creatives, Surface Book 2 is the clear winner, which again lends to its portability. Microsoft has a 10-point multi-touch display, something the HP Omen 15 simply cannot compete against for pen support. Both options can be kitted out with 4K displays, but for the HP Omen we'd only recommend the 1080p 120Hz panel, which offers the best performance (and highest color accuracy) of the three configurations.

The choice is yours ...

Surface Book 2

We've yet to get our hands on the Surface Book 2 and conduct a full in-depth review, so, for now, we're going off experience with the original Surface Book and the specifications Microsoft has shared for the second-generation replacement. On paper, both laptops are stunning pieces of kit and really showcase Windows 10 in all its glory, but they're built for different consumers. If you're a creator and need portability, the Surface Book 2 will be a solid choice. For gamers and those seeking raw power, HP has you covered.

Preorders for the Surface Book 2 should start on November 9, 2017, so you have plenty of time to consider your options. The HP Omen 15 and the 17-inch variant are available for purchase today.

More Surface Book 2

Rich Edmonds
Senior Editor, PC Build

Rich Edmonds was formerly a Senior Editor of PC hardware at Windows Central, covering everything related to PC components and NAS. He's been involved in technology for more than a decade and knows a thing or two about the magic inside a PC chassis. You can follow him on Twitter at @RichEdmonds.