With summer in full swing, and most of us spending a lot more time at home than we’re used to, chances are you’ve got yourself wearing a headset all day long. From digital classes to office Zoom meetings, you end up wearing this headset for hours at a time, and by the time you take it off, chances are your ears are overheated and uncomfortably…moist.
Now, I’ve been a fan of my Victrix PRO AF headset for some time – featuring some great sound (even though the mic wasn’t the best), I particularly enjoyed its flexibility between my PC gaming and using it with my PS4. However, with the summer heat in San Diego really starting to get to me, I was looking for something with some cooling technology built in. I had experienced a few options at TwitchCon over the years, so I knew the product I was looking for was out there somewhere. It just so happened that I had hardly begun my search when a glowing recommendation from Thunderheavyarm pointed me in the direction of the Hp Omen Mindframe Prime.
Since we previously covered their awesome keyboard, I decided to reach out to our friends at HP Omen to see if they had a pair of their Mindrame Prime headset for me to try out. They were kind enough to send one over! [The product was provided in exchange for our fair and honest review]
It didn’t take long for the headset to arrive at my door, and I immediately put it to work in a multi-hour session of online schoolwork, writing, and gaming.
So, how exactly do the cooling headphones work? Well, as it turns out, when you place two dissimilar metals next to each other and run electricity through them, one of them heats up while the other cools down. This is called the Peltier effect, and is exactly what’s happening in the housing of each of the cups. In addition, the mesh material of the headset itself is comprised of a heat-diffusing material that’s used in cell phones to pull heat away from your battery.
The combination of the active cooling (electricity running through two dissimilar metals in the housing) and passive cooling (mesh material on the cups) is unique in the Mindframe Prime, and the result is an extremely comfortable experience that lasts for hours on end.
You might expect that with all this cooling technology that your ears would actually get colder, but in reality the headset does its job if it manages to keep your ears and head’s temperature in line with the rest of your body. After all, having cold ears isn’t exactly “comfortable”, is it? Instead, when you take them off after a long gaming session you will likely not notice any difference at all when it comes to the temperature of your ears from when you started, and that’s exactly the point!
Most headsets feature adjustable sliders on each side to arrange for fit, but something that the Mindframe Prime does differently that I really appreciated was a single pliable piece of plastic seated across the upper middle of the headset. As you put it on, it helps find a good fit for your head every time.
I really liked this approach, as left and right adjustments can sometimes get disrupted, and you end up putting on your headset and feeling like you just got in your car and the drivers seat isn’t quite in the right spot.
The only thing I’ll say that can be a negative when it comes to the comfort of this headset is its overall weight. I can handle it just fine, and in fact the density feels good and sturdy to me. However, my wife gave it a try also and commented that she felt “like a bobblehead” – so those with smaller heads might be overwhelmed by the size and weight. This can definitely detract from comfort in the long run.
One other minor gripe – no headphone jack connectivity. The Mindframe Prime only connects via USB – a necessary limitation due to the requirement to run power for the Peltier effect described above. While I can’t fault Omen for not trying to re-engineer thermoelectric cooling, with such a great headset, I would love to have some overlap with my console use…which has been extensive given my time with Ghost of Tsushima…
Overall, the Mindframe Prime headset is likely to check all the boxes and provide an excellent and comfortable fit for hours on end.
The Mindframe Prime is accessible through Omen’s Command Center software, where you’ll find the nitty-gritty details when it comes to optimizing your sound experience. The main page features a 10-band Equalizer, as well as a number of “factory” set presets that optimize various game types, such as first-person shooters, MOBAs, racing games and more.
You can also set numerous custom presets that are more to your specifications, and quickly activate them through the same command center.
There’s also a toggle in this command center to turn on 7.1 Surround Sound options, as well as the dual noise-canceling feature on the microphone (more on that in a bit). There’s also a tab to adjust the active cooling level. An HP staffer that we connected with for the product briefing actually runs the active cooling on low-medium due to particular sensitivity in his ears. Good to know…
Of course, no gaming peripheral would be complete without RGB settings! You can set either a static color or gradual alternating patterns.
The detail in sound control is a departure from the original Mindframe series, and a welcome addition to be sure. Audiophiles will delight in the extra control, and of course it plays directly into the quality of the sound itself.
I’ve mentioned before that I’m not an audiophile by any means. I consider myself a standard consumer – a gamer interested in good quality sound for my media consumption and gaming.
With that in mind, I consider the HP Omen Mindframe Prime to have some spectacular sound quality for the price-point. I spent some time playing A Plague Tale: Innocence with it on, and got to listen for the detailed squeaking of thousands and thousands of ravenous mice. I did a side-by-side comparison between my previous Victrix PRO AF headset and the Mindframe Prime, and was pleased to notice a substantive improvement…able to more easily pick out individual sounds as well as place them in different areas within the scene.
I fired up Call of Duty: Warzone (even though I’m terrible at it) to try out the FPS preset, as well as the “Footsteps” preset, and was impressed that it helped me to identify, with decent precision, where my enemy was, as we shared a building together. If I was more skilled, I probably could have used that information to secure a kill!
I also watched a few episodes of anime with this headset, including some bone-crunching action in God of High School and the more ethereal Re:Zero Season 2. The 7.1 surround sound option definitely helped to immerse me in both of these shows.
Music is, of course, a joy to listen to with the Mindframe Prime as well. These things get loud, by the way. On my PC I was usually between a 4-12 on a scale of 100 and it was plenty loud, so if you’d like to lose you hearing before you’re 40, these things have got your back.
With powerful bass and clean mids, the sound quality is solid overall.
One of the notable features of the Mindframe Prime’s microphone is the dual microphone noise cancelling. It detects external noise that’s not coming from your mouth and actively works to, well, cancel it. Are you that one guy on your discord voice channel that’s always clacking away on your mechanical keyboard? Never fear! You no longer have to fear getting server muted!
For a headset mic, it delivers smooth sound in digital calls, online conferencing and more. It is actually taking the place of my much more expensive podcast mic for day-to-day activities.
If you’re looking for a great headset under $150 that combines stellar sound quality with exceptional comfort, the Mindframe Prime is where it’s at. Even non-gamers will appreciate the comfort and control that it provides, especially as more and more of us are having to turn our home computers into office machines.
Definitely pick up a pair!
Thanks again to HP/Omen for the review copy!