Review of the $800 gaming laptop HP Victus 15

It has cheap frame rates and is a laptop.

I have looked everywhere for a cheap gaming laptop that I could suggest to buyers looking in the sub-$800 area. I was hoping and praying that it would be the HP Victus 15, which has been one of Best Buy’s best-selling items this year.

My conclusion after playing games for a few days on the Victus ($799.99 for my Core i5/8GB/512GB/GTX 1650 model) is that it’s not as easy to use as I had imagined. Even though the low price is alluring (and will be even more so if you can get it on sale), the test model’s outdated GPU isn’t delivering the frame rates I’d expect from a contemporary gaming laptop. This isn’t to say that the Victus is a bad purchase in and of itself; it merely means that, as is frequently the case with cheap gaming laptops, you should enter with reasonable expectations.

The Victus has a subtle appearance. My review item has minimal backlighting, almost no color, and a plain “V” on the lid (which, as you may notice in the photos, picked up a mess of fingerprints quickly). It’s more of a device you could bring to work than a “chaotic mass of RGB that won’t leave the basement.” It’s not exactly a lightweight machine, but it is quite portable (for a gaming laptop) at 5.06 pounds.

The majority of the ports you’ll likely need are present, including two USB-A ports, one USB-C port, an audio jack, an HDMI 2.1 port, an Ethernet port, a full-sized SD reader, and a charging port. Even if Thunderbolt 4 is not necessary at this pricing point, it is important to note that it is not present. Really, the touchpad is all I have to say about the chassis. Additionally to being fingerprint-friendly, it also has a rather stiff click.

Ports contain the majority of everything you’ll likely need.

Naturally, because this is a gaming laptop, the performance is what counts. My performance in that area would be considered “acceptable” for the GTX 1650 inside. You can definitely play games on this, but I don’t think there’s much of a return on investment.

League of Legends and CS:GO comfortably reached the Victus’ 144Hz screen’s maximum resolution. After I lowered the graphics setting to medium, Overwatch 2 rose to the top (and still achieved a respectable 78fps on the Epic preset).

But heavier fare caused the Victus more issues, so if you intend to play these games frequently, I would suggest looking for a faster GPU. At the highest preset, Red Dead Redemption 2 only managed an average frame rate of 38 and 45. With an average frame rate of just 39 at medium and 24 at ultra, Cyberpunk was a harder ride. The Victus 15 can play Elden Ring at 60 frames per second after dropping the settings down to medium, which is fantastic news for RPG aficionados.

Battery issues are also a constant concern. This generation of Intel gaming laptops haven’t had stellar life expectancies, and the Victus is no exception. With Battery Saver activated and a brightness of roughly 200 nits, I only managed an average of two hours and 19 minutes of continuous work use. You can expect less when you play video games; I was able to play League of Legends for an hour and thirteen minutes on a single charge.

Although I am aware that many individuals don’t plan for their gaming laptop to leave their desk, I do believe that a two-hour battery life will prevent some users from using this device as their main vehicle. Without the charger, you might not be able to get through a whole movie, much less an entire workday. I do view this battery life as a problem because for price-conscious consumers, purchasing a backup portable device for non-gaming use cases may not be viable.

The HP Victus 15 is a $800 gaming laptop.

In the end, the HP Victus 15 is a $800 gaming laptop. That alone is enough to somewhat suggest it (again, especially if you see it on sale).

But it’s worthwhile to take a look at a few alternatives. For instance, the MSRP of the Victus 15 with an RTX 3050 (which we would anticipate to give a superior experience on those AAA titles) is $969, but it is currently on sale for $697. For $899 (only $100 more than my test model), Acer’s popular Nitro 5 with the RTX GPU is presently on sale, as is Dell’s G15 with an even more potent RTX 3050 Ti. My point is that there are a variety of devices available for near to this budget that can really nail AAA games if you can spend just $100 extra, can locate a nice discount, or are prepared to buy used.

In the end, this is a budget laptop with budget laptop frame rates. If you’re able to, you can obtain a far more powerful gaming laptop for not all that much more.


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