HP Omen Mindframe Headset Review: Totally Cool Cans For Gamers
HP Omen Mindframe: Design And User Experience
HP's Omen Mindframe is roughly the size of most gaming headsets, measuring 7.95 (W) x 8.54 (D) x 3.58 (H) inches, and weighing just over a pound. That makes it a touch heavier than some headsets, like Logitech's G933 Artemis Spectrum and HyperX's Cloud Revolver S, but is not particularly heavy in and of itself.
HP Omen Mindframe Design and Comfort
The Omen Mindframe utilizes a suspended headband design. This offers easy and automatic adjustability for different head sizes—slap it on your noggin and it will self-adjust to fit your melon. The suspended portion feels like a foam strip. It's flexible and padded for a soft fit.
I found the Omen Mindframe to be comfy for long stretches. It doesn't weigh heavily on the head, nor does it clinch tightly like a head crab. The downside is that if you prefer a tighter fit (which I don't, personally), the Omen Mindframe may feel a little loose to you. I found it easy to shake the headset off my head if intentionally trying to do so (giving myself a head rush in the process). There's not much point in doing that—I'll save the head banging for a rock concert—but if you're prone to violent head swings when gaming, you might accidentally fling the Omen Mindframe off your head.
Thick, breathable fabric covers the earcups. Some headsets use faux leather instead, but in keeping with the theme of cooling for your ears, it makes sense that HP opted for fabric. Combined with the thermoelectic cooling solution, I never felt my ears get warm when wearing the headset. I didn't break a sweat either, but I'm not prone to that anyway, though the above action shot may suggest otherwise.
Software Controls And Sound
To take full advantage of the Omen Mindframe, you need to download HP's Omen Command Center, which is a Universal Windows Platform (UWP) app—so it will work on even the most limited of Microsoft platforms. By "full advantage," we mean being able to adjust the RGB lighting and active cooling, the latter of which you can configure to low, medium, high, or turn off altogether.
We don't know if the UWP status is to blame, but you can't resize the window. What makes this particularly annoying is that it dominates the desktop. See here, for example...
Making adjustments to the cooling and RGB lighting is both straightforward and easy. Everything is clearly labeled. Unfortunately, the software is pretty barebones, and specifically lacks any equalizer controls. This is to the detriment of the Omen Mindframe—we feel like there is untapped potential, but without any first-party EQ sliders and presets to play with, we're left to our imaginations only. You can of course enlist the help of a supplemental Windows EQ app or the controls built into Windows 10 or your system's audio solution hardware, but again that capability may vary greatly depending on the user and system the Mindframes are being plugged into. Regardless, let's get into the subjective experiential stuff here...
Music Reproduction Performance
This is where the Omen Mindframe would benefit most from having EQ controls. I fired up a variety of music tracks with mixed results. It delivers serviceable performance on the low end and does a decent job of hitting highs—it brought to life the harmonies in Don Rigsby's Walking Up This Hill On Decoration Day, an older bluegrass tune, and did a fine job pinging the opening string sequence in Dustbowl Revival's Debtors' Prison.
Where the Omen Mindframe falters is seemingly with the mids, preventing it from serving up full-bodied sound. This can be heard in Glory by Josh Tarp and the Still—it doesn't capture the full intonation, and the melodies feel a little filtered.
I don't want to be over critical, though. The Omen Mindframe does a far better job than some cheap-y no-name set you might pick up in the clearance rack at K-Mart. It just doesn't match the audio fidelity expectations of a $199 headset. This is why having EQ controls could potentially be a boon here. It's not clear if the headset just defaults to 7.1 virtual sound all the time, even when listening to music (thus throwing off the sound quality), or if this is the best the headset can do.
Of course, this isn't a headset that's built for jamming to playlists, it's intended for games...
There's no substitute for physically surrounding yourself with actual speakers, and there are some who are vehemently opposed to virtual surround solutions. Those who aren't, however, will find that 7.1 virtual surrounds works well on the Omen Mindframe.
We tested the Omen Mindrame in a handful of games, both single player and multi-player. The positional audio did its job. This was most evident in PlayersUnknown Battlegrounds. Here's a confession: I'm not very good at PUBG. I don't play it that often and generally prefer single-player games, like Skyrim. However, I loaded it up anyway for a solo round and to my surprise, I didn't die within the first few minutes. Go me!
The Omen Mindframe definitely proved useful in this regard. After gearing up in an abandoned house, I heard footsteps outside. The Omen Mindframe did a splendid job pinging my ears with the direction they were coming from, which proved instrumental in notching my first kill in a long, long time. And then another one.
Okay, so finishing with a whopping two kills is nothing to brag about, except for me, it's two more than I usually end up with in PUBG. Would I have done it without the Omen Mindrame and instead with my 2.0 speaker setup? Maybe. But the headset seemed to help; it certainly didn't hinder my efforts.
Outside of the positional stuff, the Omen Mindframe does better in games than with music. It's loud and delivers impactful blasts from grenades and the like, and you can hear the action pretty clear. The apparent deficit in mids isn't noticeable when you're mowing down an enemy or laying down suppressive fire, or when bullets are whizzing past you.
Mic performance is good, too; not on the level of a professional microphone, but teammates on Discord had no issues with the sound quality. We were always coming through loud and clear. We also like that the Omen Mindframe auto-mutes when flipping up the its mic boom.