HP Omen Mindrame: Final Thoughts
HP is competing in an increasingly crowded field with its Omen Mindframe, as gaming headsets are now more common than ever. What's not common, however, is active cooling. HP's thermoeletric solution is both unique and effective, and it's what makes the Omen Mindframe stand out from every other headset on the market. It's also comfortable for long stretches, with or without the active cooling enabled and the set looks fantastic too.
Make no mistake, the Omen Mindframe is no gimmick. Gamers have reason to be skeptical when it comes to these things—everyone and there uncle is interested in grabbing those lucrative gaming dollars, and the market is saturated with products, including some crappy ones in an attempt to make an easy buck. The Omen Mindframe doesn't fall into that category, with a quality build and unique features.
Whether you suffer from sweaty ears or not is another story. Not everyone is a hot head. Those who are will benefit the most from the Omen Mindframe. The active cooling works as it's supposed to, which is always refreshing when it comes to unique technologies. But is it reason enough to buy this headset?
That's a little tougher to answer. The primary task of a headset is to deluge your eardrums with high quality sound, or serviceable sound for the price. In this case, HP has tagged the Omen Mindframe with a $199.99 MSRP (currently on sale for $149.99). That's premium territory in the gaming headset space. Yes, there are more expensive solutions, but there are a whole bunch of alternatives that cost half as much, or less. So, HP set itself a high bar to leap over in the audio department.
The Omen Mindframe doesn't quite get there. My hunch is that this headset has more to offer, but needs equalization controls to get there. At present, they're not offered in HP's Omen Command Center software—you can only adjust the cooling and lighting. Dialing in personal sound preference is important. Perhaps the Omen Mindframe can be opened up a bit for our preference but we're just not sure unless we can dial them in.
That's not to say the HP Omen Mindframe sounds bad per se. It just doesn't deliver the level of fidelity that we would expect from a $149 - $199 headset. The saving grace is that this mostly applies to music, which is not really a point of focus. The Omen Mindframe has gaming in its sights, and it does a better job in that regard. I had my best match ever in PUBG (a game I'm admittedly not very good at) when wearing the Omen Mindframe, and the positional audio gets the assist.
So, what are we left with here? Well, it seems clear that HP focused on design aesthetics and comfort first with audio quality second. It's the only excuse we can think of for not including EQ controls or audio presets in the companion software, though again you can supplement with 3rd party EQ solutions perhaps. And to HP's credit, the Omen Mindframe is super comfortable. It's well designed and easily up to the task of piping cool audio for extended gaming sessions. That's how you should base your decision. If comfort is your biggest concern and you can live with serviceable audio (instead of excellent sound), the Omen Mindframe is a good option, albeit a bit pricey. There's probably a software update that could expand on the value here but we'll have to see how that pans out down the road.