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HP Omen Mindframe headset review: HP nails the cooling, but the basics need work

HP Omen Mindframe headset review: HP nails the cooling, but the basics need work

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The thermoelectric cooling is not any mere gimmick. It actually works.

The HP Omen Mindframe comes near being an awesome headset with an fascinating gimmick, but some newbie errors—lack of EQ or 7.1 controls, a beeping microphone—and oddities like its heat chassis hold it from stardom. For now, no less than.

Execs
  • FrostCap’s thermoelectric cooling retains your ears a snug temperature
  • Elegant and engaging design
  • Sounds respectable sufficient for gaming
Cons
  • Heatsinks depart the outdoors of the headset weirdly heat to the contact
  • Microphone beeps when muted/unmuted
  • No official EQ capabilities or 7.1 controls. Software program is oddly bare-bones.

HP Omen Mindframe

HP’s Omen Mindframe arrives as the struggle in your ears is heating up—or perhaps cooling down. I by no means would’ve pegged “sweaty ears” as the subsequent battleground for gaming headsets, but it’s the one increasingly corporations are selecting. Final month we checked out Razer’s Nari Final, which (amongst different options) packed cooling gel into the earcups.

Now HP’s Omen Mindframe arrives with an much more high-tech answer: Lively cooling, to maintain your lobes frosty for hours at a time. No, significantly.

Ominous

First let’s speak design, although. That is HP’s first gaming headset, which is all the time fascinating—particularly when it comes from a model, like HP, that isn’t historically related to gaming.

That’s beginning to change, and certainly you’ll discover the Mindframe is assessed underneath HP’s gaming-centric Omen sub-brand. Omen’s made inroads just lately, partially due to some daring designs like the diamond-shaped Omen X and the monolithic Omen Obelisk. These are HP’s most profitable makes an attempt in my eyes, recognizable as gaming PCs but wanting extra like slick science-fiction tech—or perhaps retro-futurist tech, one thing out of 2001: A Area Odysseyor Star Wars.

HP Omen Mindframe

The Mindframe straddles the similar line. It’s undoubtedly a gaming headset, make no mistake. HP hits a whole lot of the ordinary markers, with a floating headband design and apparent LED lighting. You’re in all probability not sporting the Mindframe in an workplace, and also you’re undoubtedly not sporting it outdoors.

It’s lovely, although, and that’s not a phrase I exploit to explain headsets typically. There’s an magnificence to the means the headband “splits” after which reforms round the diamond-shaped earcups, a flowing form that begs the eye to comply with. The black-on-black emblem speaks to HP’s confidence—the Omen line’s diamond motif distinctive and recognizable sufficient that there’s no need for extra outstanding branding.

I do have a couple of minor complaints. The matte-black headband is fast to select up fingerprints, which might be irritating. Mindframe’s additionally made virtually solely of plastic, together with the headband. That’s a bit worrisome for long-term sturdiness, and the headset typically creaks ominously once I pull it on. Talking of which, Mindframe’s weirdly small. I don’t have the largest head in the world, but I observed the suspension headband is pushed all the strategy to its limits once I don the headset. Additional-large domes, beware.

HP Omen Mindframe

It’s snug although, particularly after a couple of days of breaking in the headband. The Mindframe felt tight proper out of the field, but it’s loosened up a bit and I can now put on all of it day, no drawback.

Keep frosty

That’s truly what HP needs, so that you can put on Mindframe all day. At the very least, that’s why the headset consists of lively cooling parts, a know-how HP’s dubbed “FrostCap.”

Right here’s the way it works, so simple as I could make it: The Mindframe’s earcups every embrace a thermoelectric cooler, or TEC. A TEC consists of two layers, and when an electrical present is run by way of each it causes a warmth disparity, with extra warmth then flowing from one aspect to the different. This is called the Peltier impact.

Mindframe makes use of the Peltier impact to maintain the inside of every earcup chilly. Like, actually chilly. Notice that I don’t imply the padding, which is what Razer and others are holding briefly colder by including cooling gel. The Mindframe retains the precise headset chilly, the metallic grille that covers the driver. Once you put it on, it feels a bit like a fridge door’s been left open—but solely close to your ears.

HP Omen Mindframe

And in contrast to cooling gel, which warms up over time, Mindframe stays chilly so long as you will have it powered. Six or eight hours in, the headset’s simply as efficient as once you first put it on. The TEC absorbs any ambient warmth generated by your ears and expels it, leaving the inside usually a bit cooler than room temperature.

In different phrases, Mindframe works as marketed. It retains your ears cool, gone the level the place most headsets develop into uncomfortable and swampy. The impact is delicate, but it really works.

There’s an unsettling aspect impact although, at the least for my part. All that drawn-in warmth has to go someplace. On this case it will get dumped in heatsinks after which radiated out via Mindframe’s chassis. The within is cool, but the outdoors of the headset feels unusually heat to the contact, like a charging telephone.

HP Omen Mindframe
The Mindframe’s field features a word about methods to correctly wipe away condensation build-up on the inside. Innocent but type of gross.

It’s not harmful, but I undoubtedly haven’t gotten used to choosing up Mindframe and having it really feel hotter than the ambient room temperature. And I also needs to word that condensation sometimes builds up inside the earcups, a results of the cooled metallic grille. That’s additionally barely bizarre.

Give me choices, HP

But hey, it really works. That’s the essential half. Should you’re involved about heat ears, particularly throughout the scorching summer time months, Mindframe combats the drawback in the smartest and most high-tech means I’ve seen.

If solely it sounded higher.

That is Mindframe’s massive letdown. It’s an attractive headset, with a gimmick that really works—but audio playback is simply common. The whole lot I pipe via it sounds a bit thinner than in different headsets, like the middle channel’s been hollowed out. Bass presence is strong, the trebles sound crisp and clear, but it nonetheless sounds off, or like the sound is a bit distant.

I feel what’s occurring right here is that HP leaves 7.1 encompass on by default, with no approach to disable it. Actually there’s no means to vary Mindframe’s sound in any respect, or not formally anyway. HP’s Omen Command Middle solely has two sections as I write this: Lighting and Cooling. The primary enables you to change the shade of the LEDs, the latter allows you to flip the cooling impact up or down.

HP Omen Command Center

There’s no EQ, nor any method to flip off the faux-7.1 impact. Which will clarify why Mindframe performs a bit higher in video games, the place that hollowed middle channel is much less noticeable—and why I discover it sounds unusual in music, the place I feel the 7.1 is screwing with the normal stereo combine.

I hope Omen Command Middle will get a bit extra strong in future updates. In any case, that is HP’s first gaming headset, and whereas the lack of an EQ and different primary controls is an odd oversight, it no less than looks like a simple repair. If that occurs, I’ll give Mindframe one other pay attention.

Because it stands, although, the audio high quality doesn’t befit a headset with a whopping $200 price ticket. In fact, a lot of that worth is a results of the lively cooling gimmick—but you must rightly anticipate audio constancy equal to that of its friends. Mindframe is a wired headset, which means it prices greater than twice the worth of some great-sounding competitors, and $50 greater than our favourite wi-fi units, too. That’s a excessive worth to pay for chilly ears.

HP Omen Mindframe

Lastly, some notes about the microphone. It’s an ordinary boom-arm design, folding down from the left earcup as you’d anticipate after which flipping again as much as mute. The top is versatile rubber, but it’s a bit stiff and thus troublesome to place completely. Efficiency is strong for common voice chat. My solely actual grievance is that it interrupts playback to beep in your ear each time you flip it up or down. Wholly pointless.

Backside line

The headset area is thrilling nowadays. The extra crowded it will get, the extra gimmicks we’re seeing. It’s one among the few dependable methods to face out, particularly if, like HP, you’re coming late to the market. The extra gimmicks you set on the market, the extra possible it’s one will stick.

HP’s thermoelectric cooling is one which deserves to stay round. Not solely does FrostCap work as marketed, it looks like a internet enchancment for the HP Omen Mindframe’s general consolation. That stated, the tech’s costly: $200 for a wired headset is rather a lot nowadays, and HP exhibits its inexperience in the area by making a number of rookie errors—the beeping microphone, the lack of EQ and seven.1 management. I hope a few of the extra egregious points could be solved in software program, as a result of Mindframe is so shut to being an awesome headset, worth be damned. We’ll be maintaining a tally of it.

(pcworld.com, https://bit.ly/2Ry1FwN)

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