What are they
The HP OMEN Mindframe is a new headset from HP’s gaming brand, OMEN. Costing between €150 – €200, they are on the premium end of peripherals. But they do have one feature that defines them from your standard gaming headsets – they are cool. Cool, as in, they keep your ears cool while you game. But more on that later, for now, let’s focus on what you look for in a headset. HP has had numerous forays into the headset sphere in the past, typically known for cheaper VoIP products like basic Skype headsets. The company’s OMEN brand is more aimed towards gamers, though.
For starters, the Mindframe has over-ear cups that sit comfortably enough. The headset itself is quite comfortable in general if not a little on the heavy side. This can be quite apparent when moving around with them on, or when shaking and nodding your head. They do stay on though, which is the important part. However, to compensate for the weight and size of them, HP has included extra padding on the ears and on an adjustable bar that sits on your head – to ensure maximum comfort.
Because, after all, comfort is what this headset is all about.
Keeping your head cool
As I mentioned before, the HP OMEN Mindframe headset comes with a unique feature, never before seen. They are refrigerated with new “Frostcap” technology. That’s right, this headset actually cools your ears as you game, filtering out the hot air caught under the over-ear cups. This can, unfortunately, result in condensation inside the ear cup, but that’s a minor issue in my experience. And I can assure you, the cooling does make a noticeable difference. It is adjustable in temperature through the OMEN Command Center, unfortunately, only downloadable through the Microsoft Store at the moment.
I say unfortunate for a few reasons – primarily because I learned that the Microsoft Store doesn’t like you installing apps on any drive that isn’t your primary storage drive, or the same drive as your OS. For me, I have Windows installed on a small SSD, accompanied only by a select few games. I do not want to have driver software here. Especially driver software I will probably only use every couple of weeks, if not longer. Having it on the Microsoft Store also limits the use of the OMEN Command Center to Windows machines – mac OS X and Linus users will not be able to avail of these functions.
OMEN Command Center Support
The headset is RGB and can be adjusted through the Command Center, featuring a variety of options regarding the change, colour, and speed of the lights. From the Command Center, you can also adjust the temperature of the cooling, with 4 available options: off, minimum, medium, maximum. These have a small, yet noticeable difference, when it comes to the effect. You will want to tweak this to your liking – colder weather can make the maximum setting VERY cold.
The lighting is quite customisable too. You can set it to any featured colour, or take specific colours out of the cycle if you so wish. You can even set the colours to change based off of the audio the speaker outputs. And of course, you can just have a static colour (if you like that themed setup style), or just turn it off entirely (to save our environment).
The microphone, in summary, is fine. It’s not exceptional, and it’s legible through low bitrate voice transmission games like Counter-Strike: Global Offensive. It does tend to get a little harsh with S’s and SH’s in particular, but that’s expected from most headset microphones. The quality, in general, is just quite muffled.
What the microphone does have, however, is a very useful built-in mute function, Simple move the microphone up and out of the way to mute it – this will be apparent from a light, yet audible, beep in the headset. This applies to both activation and deactivation, with intuitive sounds. For gaming, it works. However, if you expect to converse with friends over Discord for extended periods of time – do them a favour and just invest in an external microphone.
Here’s a test we recorded with the microphone.
For a premium-priced headset, you’d expect good sound quality from the device. For this premium-priced headset, you would not be disappointed. Having tested it in several games, ranging from PUBG and CS: GO, to League of Legends and Elder Scrolls Online, it does the job. Directional sound in first-person shooters is as you would expect – intuitive. The sound itself seems to focus more on middle and treble, rather than bass, but this is normal for a gaming headset as it can help distinguish different sounds from each other.
For music and videos, they do the trick, but just not as well as a studio headset would do. On the bright side, they are comfortable for longer periods of watching YouTube or listening to Spotify as you work.
The headset is powered by a singular USB port (yes, this powers the cooling too). This makes it very convenient for setups where simplicity is key, as well as setups with a lot of noise going on in other USB ports. Having just 1 port needed for the whole headset is a massive bonus in our eyes. The cable itself is very high quality and sturdy – you wouldn’t be afraid of whipping it around in a luggage bag if you travel to gaming events.
The headset features a volume knob, at the back of the right earcup, towards the bottom. It’s convenient to reach but unfortunately does get knocked by shirt collars and jumper hoods if you lean to one side too much. Several times through testing, I either accidentally muted or accidentally blasted the sound at full volume from reaching around. This is very avoidable though by just keeping the volume up full and adjusting windows volume instead. The knob itself is very easy to grip, and quite responsive to adjust.
In conclusion, I like this headset. However, I would like it a little more if I could avail of the cooling better – it’s currently mid-January here in Ireland. A headset that, perhaps, heats my head, or at least keeps the heat in, would be far more favourable. But it certainly has its applications, and I’m sure many gamers who do get hot and sweaty will appreciate it. The sound and microphone are acceptable, definitely still competitive despite the premium price.
That being said, I would definitely recommend this headset. The cooling alone makes for such an interesting experience – I can definitely see it being useful for many gamers out there. The HP OMEN Mindframe would be a valuable addition to anyone on the market for a good quality headset, that’s of sturdy build and has some unique bonus features.