HP Omen Mindframe: Never Lose Your Cool
Gaming headsets are a dime a dozen these days, particularly with the explosion of eSports drawing the attention of PC peripheral companies, new and old. Be that as it may, HP figured out a way to stand out from the crowd with its new Omen Mindframe, the first audio headset to employ an active cooling solution inside each of the earcups. Say goodbye to sweaty ears, if that is something you find yourself battling against amid the throes of the frag.
Before we dive into the headset, let's quickly reflect on the Omen brand. Omen is essentially a rebirth of the VoodooPC acquisition HP made more than a decade ago. VoodooPC was a popular boutique builder of premium PCs, founded by Rahul Sood, and the Omen was one of its gaming desktop lines. Parts of VoodooPC's brand and DNA now live on at HP as Omen and Envy, with the former powering a range of hardware.
The Omen Mindframe is one of several gaming products released in past several months under the Omen brand (or "Omen by HP" if being formal). Beyond the unique active cooling, HP touts overall comfort and virtual 7.1 surround sound as the main selling points. Here's a look at the pertinent specs...
HP Omen Mindframe - $149.99 on current promotion
HP's pricing for the Omen Mindframe puts it in competition with premium-tier gaming headsets, and it must be evaluated and judged as such. Part of what you're paying for is the active "FrostCap" cooling technology. We know what you're thinking—"Oh great, HP implemented a gimmick and then jacked up the price, no thanks!" Gamers are a jaded a bunch, but in this case, the knee-jerk reaction isn't warranted.
Simply put, the cooling works as advertised, and it doesn't consist of potentially annoying (and noisy) fans. It's actually more advanced than that. Each earcup is outfitted with an aluminum plate that acts as sort of a heatsink, only it doesn't come in direct contact with your ear. Thermoelectic devices actively cool the aluminum plates, drawing heat from the earcups to the outside.
"The result is a cool, neutral temperature inside the earcups—so you can stay comfortable during long gaming sessions and concentrate on the win," HP says.
It's a totally silent solution, and really cool—figuratively and literally. The aluminum plates are chilly to the touch, akin to grabbing a can of soda that's been sitting in the fridge. This is also a design that makes sense, when you think about your ears being enclosed for long gaming sessions. Even with breathable fabric at play, ears tend to get toasty when wearing a headset for extended periods.
On the outside, the Omen Mindframe sticks to the gaming script with a bolder design than most non-gaming headsets. RGB lighting surrounds large diamond-shaped caps on each of the earcups. The headband adds some pizazz as well, forming a diamond outline around the caps but with curved corners. A thick red wire splits the center of the headband and is prominently visible, intentionally adding an accent to the headset instead of being hidden from view.
This is not a headset that most people would want to wear outside of gaming sessions, like a stroll through the park or in an office environment. It's not intended as such, either. There's no 3.5mm audio jack for plugging into your phone or tablet. What it does have is a permanently fixed USB Type-A cable. Many gaming headsets have gone that route, effectively bypassing your PC's onboard or dedicated sound hardware in exchange for their own audio processing.
A textured metal volume knob sits on the right earcup. There's no separate volume controller for the microphone, though it does automatically mute when flipping up the boom. There's an audible 'beep' whenever you pull the mic down or flip it up, to let you know when it's active. Some will find that handy, others will deem it annoying but we subscribe to the former.
Let's talk about comfort and audio quality...