If there’s one thing I will never forget about the Mindframe Prime Gaming Headset, it has to be how difficult it was to unbox it. Without any exaggeration, it took me a good 15 minutes just to get my hands on the cans. I don’t why HP felt the need to pack the headset as if it ran the risk of falling out of its packaging, but there were way too many unnecessary materials involved. Every single part of the headset was tightly tied to a cardboard frame, and the frame was so firmly attached to several other elements of packaging that the process eventually involved a little destruction of the box, apart from a significant amount of time and annoyance.
Setting Up the Prime
I put on my current favorite Android MMORPG, World of Kings, as soon as I got my hands on the Prime. I plugged its connecting cable into my laptop’s USB-A port. Right away, red RGB lights emit from the Prime’s earcups and mic. A bright red diamond appears on the exterior of the cups and a thin red stripe outlines the rim of the mic, only when it’s muted though. If you pull the lift-to-mute mic down, its light turns off. The light along with a specific beep the mic produces each time it’s lifted and lowered are indicators of the device being muted and unmuted respectively.
Plugging the device into my laptop also instantly sent a pop-up notification on the screen letting me know that a device has been detected. It took around a minute for the Prime to be successfully connected the first time. I’ve come across headsets with faster connectivity but considering this was just a one-time thing, I didn’t mind at all. The second time I plugged it in, it was good-to-go in a few seconds.
Gaming on the Prime
World of Kings is all about battles. And it’s not a nice experience if your headset isn’t designed to make the duels come alive. With the kind of bass that the Prime delivered, there was constant thumping in my chest the entire time I was gaming. The sound of horses galloping, heavy footsteps, swords and guns is over-emphasized and made significantly dramatic. It turned my game fairly theatrical. There is also a strong focus on highlighting voice. The excessive amount of narration in the game is delivered on a separate layer form the bass, so the two don’t clash.
While the bass is strong, it sometimes comes off as overbearing. It accompanies almost every action in the game. Even those actions that do not need to have such strong bass accompanied with them, for instance, pulling the gun’s trigger, carried an overly strong low-end tone. It feels as if it that the only element that’s present in the entire soundstage. It also overshines treble to a great extent. High-frequency music or high-pitched screams weren’t emphasized as well as low-frequency was. It got to a point where it exhausted my ears with its domineering thump and I felt like I needed a little sharpness or tinniness as a break.
Prime’s mic is brilliant. It picked my voice in milliseconds and transferred my partner’s voice crystal clear. There were no distortions and zero lag. The process of muting and unmuting was fast and easy. While I appreciate the mic for being lift-to-mute, I wish it was also detachable. I would’ve liked to use this gorgeous pair of cans for purposes other than gaming as well. Though the mic offers little flexibility in terms of being able to move towards or away from your face, it is not the most rigid mic I’ve come across. It is slim, subtle and sufficiently flexible. It is easy to ignore when you’ve raised to mute it and that makes me feel better about its non-detachability.
Navigating the Prime
The Mindframe Prime is a quite aesthetically pleasing device. Featuring a black plastic body with hints of red, it doesn’t come off as a midrange headset. It offers a solid plastic frame with a leather extender headband underneath that facilitates adjustability. The earcups are stuffed with generous foam cushioning and provide passive noise isolation to a good extent. The inside of the earcups have metal grilles that are usually covered with a thin layer of fabric in most headsets but are left bare on the Prime. However, the thick cushioning creates earcup pretty deep. And it’s highly unlikely that your cartilage is ever going to touch the grille and cause you discomfort.
The headset’s connecting cable is quite long and made of braided nylon. Unlike plastic ones, these kinds of cables take a while to undergo wear and tear and look more appealing visually as well. The Prime hosts just a volume dial on its right earcup. Its position is intuitive and I was able to locate it right away the first time I donned the headset.
In terms of ergonomics, the Prime offers a fairly secure fit. Its earcups are snug against my ears and leave little space for ambient sounds to enter. I gamed on it for quite a while and didn’t feel it sliding down my ears at any point. I just wish the headband had slightly advanced adjustability settings. While the cans offered a good fit, they had the tendency of slightly sliding backward whenever I leaned back in my trusty gaming chair. Prime is not what you would call a bulky headset. It isn’t one of those devices that dissolve in your head after a while though. You will be able to feel something sitting on your head. However, it doesn’t exhaust your noggin. I had the Prime on for hours and didn’t feel any discomfort.
Is the Prime Worth It?
The Mindframe Prime is a solid headset. HP has made quite an upgrade in its Omen Series, considering the Headset 800 is the Prime’s predecessor. There’s a chance of some finding its $135 price tag a little too much. However, I believe HP has appropriately priced it. Offering an impressive mic, a decent gaming experience, an appealing design and a comfortable fit, Prime is a great headset to invest in.
Is It Hardcore?
I wish that bass on the Mindframe Prime was a little less overpowering than it was. Apart from that, it aced every category. Design, ergonomics, mic quality, controls; everything was spot on.