With so many folks now working from it has become apparent that the headset game of many people is lacking.
We’ve heard microphones that sound like they’re stuck in tin cans, microphones that pick up every sound around the speaker but their voice and worse.
There exists the need then to take a look at headsets that offer a more premium experience and it just so happens that we have two, rather pricey headsets on our desk right now.
The OMEN by HP Mindframe Premium headset was offered up for review we jumped at the chance. The headset sports OMEN’s Frostcap technology which acts as an air-conditioner for your ears.
The Mindframe carries a price tag of R2 086 but is it snake oil or a product worth considering?
We’re going to be frank and say that it’s hard to tell in isolation. Comparing a cheap headset we use daily to the OMEN is unfair and so we’ll also be looking at the Logitech G Pro X headset with Blue Vo!ce technology.
At a similar price of R2 199, the G Pro X is a contender but are the Mindframe’s extra features worth more than Blue’s microphone tech?
At this price point there is no room for materials that feel cheap but a balance needs to be struck because the last thing you really want is 3kg of metal on your head for hours at a time.
The Mindframe sports a plastic headband with a degree of flexibility that helps when pushing one earcup to the side to hear the room around you. The cans themselves are sturdy with a closed-back design and some RGB lighting that can be customised.
The headphones sit on your head with a floating headband and it does help to make the headset feel a lot lighter than it really is.
The G Pro X features a standard headband with varying degrees of adjustment. There is a bit of flex in the headband but not enough to be concerning. The closed-back design is present here again but there is a concern we feel warrants mentioning.
In two separate review units we received from Logitech, touching the steel back of the earcups caused the audio to distort. We’ve noted this problem in another set that we tested at an electronics store earlier this month.
We’re not sure what the problem is here and as this we’ve now experienced this issue three times, it’s worth mentioning.
Both headsets sport a braided cable but then when it comes to connectivity things change.
The G Pro X can be connected to your PC via the standard 3.5mm headphone and microphone jacks as well as via a DAC. We’ll get to the DAC a bit later but this is the difference between the G Pro X and the standard G Pro and the only difference.
As for the Mindframe the only connectivity you get is a USB connector.
While the G Pro X can have its cables and microphone disconnected for use away from your PC, the Mindframe has no removable parts giving us the impression that it’s meant to live on your desk.
Both headsets require their software to be installed in order to access the features present in both.
Let’s start with G Hub, Logitech’s solution.
From here you can adjust your equaliser for your earphones and microphone. This is where the DAC (digital to analogue converter) we mentioned earlier comes in.
With the DAC plugged in and the headphone connected to the DAC you are able to select several presets for your voice as you can see below.
Customisation is possible and the degree of control you’re given is quite incredible. Our one and only gripe is with the headphone equaliser. There are only five bands you can adjust and this lacks the fine grain control we really expect from an equaliser.
The result is a very flat sound and rather small sound stage. More on that later.
The OMEN Command Center is the solution for the Mindframe and while options are limited, there is a lot happening here.
The Audio Lab features a 10-band equaliser as well as toggles for noise cancellation, 7.1 surround sound and quick select menus for different EQ presets. This translates into the most customisable sound experience we’ve had this year and HP has done very well with this software.
Omen Command Center also allows you to change the lighting and cooling settings for the Mindframe.
Both the G Pro X and Mindframe have decent sound but there is a clear winner here.
The G Pro X’s minimal EQ options really hurt it here. The overall sound profile is very muddy compared to other headsets we’ve used. This can be fixed very slightly with a clever EQ but the limited options mean you’re only going to get so far.
High-pitched noises are uncomfortable once you clean up the low-end muddiness but without cleaning it up, the G Pro X just blends sounds together into a colourful mess.
The issue with touching the earcups here is more prominent than ever especially if you want to push the ear cups into your head to hear something quiet in a game, song or movie.
The Mindframe however, is another kind of beast.
Whether you’re at full volume or at 10 percent volume you will be able to hear every instrument and vocal as clear as if you were watching the artists perform in front of you.
The bass thumps but isn’t uncomfortable. The treble tones are nicely rounded out at higher frequencies and the aural experience overall will leave you with a smile on your face.
In games the Mindframe is also fantastic. While playing Destiny 2’s PvP mode I could hear the sound of an opponents approaching footsteps clearly and comms with my teammates were always clear with a slight bit of attenuation adding to the clarity.
My only gripe when it comes to sound for both of these headsets is the virtual surround sound. Virtual surround sound is hit and miss in most instances.
So which of these is worth the money. Speaking honestly, both.
The problem with the Mindframe is that its USB connector means it is only good for use at a PC while the G Pro X can be used as a regular pair of headphones when you aren’t stuck at your desk.
That isn’t necessarily a mark against the Mindframe though as between the two, I reach for the Mindframe when I want to listen to music or play a bit of PvP in Destiny 2.
In terms of sound quality, the Mindframe is the winner but only by a very narrow margin. Despite its minimal options in terms of EQ, the sound quality is good and worthy of the price tag it carries.
To answer the question we posed in the headline, yes, it is absolutely worth having a decent headset and spending a bit more money than you’d like will get a pair of cans that will serve you for a good few years and the sound quality is absolutely worth it.
While you may not need your ears to be cooled or a pro sounding microphone, we can’t deny that the overall sound and build quality of pricey headphones is worth it.
Were we to pick just one of these headsets we’d opt for the Mindframe based purely on its sound stage and audio quality. But even then, picking the right headset for you is largely down to personal preference.