Active Cooling at a Cost


The HP Omen Mindframe Prime might look like an ordinary gaming headset on the surface, but it holds a secret within; built-in active cooling to keep you cool and collected during intense gaming sessions. It’s one of the first headsets to shrink the tech small enough to fit into a gaming headset, but doing so meant HP has cut corners in other respects – the question is whether the end result was worth it.

I break down all you need to know about the future-focused Omen Mindframe Prime right here.  

Design and build

Despite a market packed full of gaming headsets of all shapes and sizes, HP has managed to design something that still manages to stand out – although whether that’s a good thing or bad thing is very much down to personal taste. If you like the outlandish, in-your-face gamer-esque aesthetic then you’ll feel right at home donning the Omen Mindframe Prime, available in both white and black variants.

You’ll find a hard plastic outer shell, but thankfully, you shouldn’t come into contact with it thanks to the self-adjusting suspension headband placed below. It’s a nice alternative to a cushioned hard shell that works pretty much as advertised, with the cushioned headband helping displace some of the weight and pressure that builds up over longer gaming sessions.

I didn’t notice the vice-like grip present on some gaming headsets either, although granted that’ll very much depend on the shape and size of your head.

The focus on comfort extends to the earcups themselves, with the oval-shaped cups clad in soft, breathable cushioning that rest around your ears, not directly on them. The cups are larger than the competition, and it does make the headset look bulky overall, I’d argue that the added comfort is worth it – it’s always substance over style with me.

With active cooling built into the earcups – more on that later – it shouldn’t come as a surprise that the headphones are heavier than the competition. At 530g, it’s 139g heavier than the Turtle Beach Elite Pro 2, but while there is a bit of heft compared to lightweight gaming headsets, the suspension headband does help quite a lot to alleviate that weight to a negligible level.

I didn’t get the feeling that the headset was substantially heavier than others I’ve used recently when using it, anyway.  

Comfort aside, you’ll find a flip-to-mute microphone, meaning you’ll (hopefully) never accidentally slate your squad on mic, and you’ll find on-ear volume controls to crank the volume up on-the-fly too. The mic arm itself is a little bit rigid, making it difficult to get it as close to my mouth as I’d like, but I didn’t have any complaints about audio quality from my party during testing.

Oh, and let’s not forget about RGBs – what would a gaming headset be without lighting? It’s a more subtle approach than some flashy alternatives, like the Logitech G935, sporting subtle RGB illumination on the earcups customisable via the OMEN Command Center software for PC.

No need to worry about lighting draining battery life either, as the headset is wired-only and connects via USB-A – although with active cooling built in, that’s not really a surprise. The USB-A connectivity means it’s compatible with PC officially, but I’ve use it without issue on both the PS4 and PS5.

Active cooling in a gaming headset

The highlight of the Mindframe Prime is undoubtedly the FrostCap Ear Cooling technology, providing active cooling within the earcups themselves, with the aim of keeping you cool even during the most intense gaming sessions – and believe it or not, it actually works as advertised.

The FrostCap technology works by using thermoelectric coolers built into the earcups to cool aluminium plates that sit near your (but not on) your ears. The idea is that the plates cool the air within the earcup, siphoning the heat to a heatsink behind the acoustic chambers, and it’ll reach maximum cooling within around 10 minutes of being plugged in.

The interior then becomes noticeably cool to the touch, and it’ll keep your ears nice and chilled through even marathon gaming sessions. You’ll even see condensation build up on the aluminium plates, showcasing just how well the tech works. Even if you’re not a marathon gamer like I am, it’ll be handy for those that live in warmer climates.  

It’s an impressive feat of engineering, there’s no doubt about it, but it’s not perfect.

For one, the heatsink causes the plastic exterior of the earcups to warm up over time. It’s not hot by any means, but it’s certainly warm to the touch.

The other, bigger, drawback is that you can’t actually control the cooling directly on the headset – you’ll need to install HP’s OMEN Command Center to adjust between the three levels of cooling. You can’t even disable the tech on the headset itself. That’s a bit of a headache, especially if you were looking to use the headset at a friend’s house or at LAN events.

Still, if active cooling is a must-have, the Mindframe Prime is a solid option.

Audio quality

The headset is comfortable and it’ll keep you cool, but rather frustratingly for a premium headset, the audio quality isn’t quite up to standard.

The headset lacks the clarity required in a gaming headset, making it harder to pick up the detail in higher-pitched sounds like the sound of ammo shells hitting the floor in a shooter or the snapping of a branch underfoot in an open-world RPG.

It’s not limited to the highs though; the midrange lacks presence and the bass sounds muffled at times too, making for an audio experience similar to that of entry-level gaming headsets – not those that cost upwards of £100. It’s nowhere near as immersive as it should be, and frankly, that’s a bit of a shame.

The virtual 7.1 surround sound does improve things, but honestly, there are much better implementations of virtual surround sound at a similar price in our roundup of the best gaming headsets.   

Price

The HP Omen Mindframe Prime went on sale for £189.99/$199.99 but the price has dropped significantly since launch, with the headset now available for £113.99 directly from HP or even cheaper at £107.37 on Amazon in the UK at the time of writing. Those in the US can enjoy discounts too, available for $119.99 from HP.

If you’re on the market for something a little cheaper, our selection of the best budget gaming headsets might be a good place to look.

Verdict

The HP Omen Mindframe Prime is a mixed bag; it’s undoubtedly a comfortable gaming headset that’ll keep you cool even during intense gaming sessions thanks to the combination of built-in active cooling, large breathable earcups and a soft, supportive headstrap, but it’s not perfect.

You can’t control the active cooling from the headset itself, only via software for PC, there aren’t any independent mic controls to control gain, and most importantly, the audio quality isn’t up to scratch compared to similarly priced headsets.

If you really want to experience active cooling then the Mindframe Prime is a good choice, but there are certainly better all-round gaming headsets at a cheaper pricepoint.

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