One of the biggest PC brands in the world, HP has been around for quite a while now and has likely made an appearance in just about every Western household. That said, not everyone is aware of their entrance into the peripherals industry. When I stumbled upon the HP Omen Headset 800, I knew I had to get my hands on it. HP’s reputation alone leads one to believe a device they haven’t even tried will be solid. And this assumption proved correct. The Omen 800, apart from a couple of minor flaws, stayed true to HP’s elite product quality.
Way Too Attractive
The first thought that occurred to me as I took the box out of the carton was how the big red and black box made for some rather aesthetically pleasing packaging. After admiring the box for a few seconds, I opened it to find some really cool HP Omen stickers, a guide and a pair of red and black cans as stunning as the box they came in. I instantly gave the company a point for being thoughtful and creative enough to include some cool stickers with their product. Another point was given right after I looked at the headset over from every angle. It left me thoroughly impressed with its ultra minimal design, smart color scheme and fine details such as a tiny red wire matching the red Omen logo on the exterior of the earcups.
Metal Frame Felt Slightly Unnecessary
Here is where my first gripe with the Omen 800 arose. The headset has a split metal headband that resides on top of the leather headband that hugs the apex of your skull. Personally, I am not the biggest fan of the inclusion of a second headband. First of all, it felt very tottery. In addition to looking and feeling unstable, it proved cumbersome to handle and made me feel like there’s just too much going on with the headset. More importantly, the addition of a significant amount of metal makes the headset considerably heavier to carry. Unfortunately, it also can’t be folded for easy stowing. Thus I deducted a point from its portability factor.
The metal frame also felt slightly sharp on its edges and made the headset a little uncomfortable to hold. Lastly, it was overall rather clunky and made the overall experience noisy whenever it would hit against the exterior of the earcups. I understand and appreciate the effort HP put into making the Omen 800 unique with the inclusion of an extra frame. But I just feel like they could’ve weighed the pros and cons of it a bit more.
Full Points (Almost) for Convenience
The most attention-grabbing aspect of the Omen 800 has to be its over-sized earcups. I don’t think you can truly understand how large they are until they’re in your hands. They’re huge. And very comfortable. They’re the kind of plushy leatherette earcups that get lost in your head, and you forget you’re even wearing them after a few hours of putting them on. They may feel flimsy in your hands, but once they’re planted on your head, you forget about the existence of the metal headband. You can just feel the leather headband that sits on the top of your skull.
Engineered for gaming, the Omen 800 came through in terms of comfort and undoubtedly proved that it’s suitable for long gaming sessions. What’s better, the headset doesn’t come with ANC, but these huge over-ear earcups didn’t make you feel like it’s lacking due to a remarkable amount of passive noise isolation.
I just wish the headset could’ve been more snug than it was, hugging my ears a little more tightly. I had no complaints when I was listening to music on my laptop, but as soon as I shifted the angle of my head to play games on my phone, I felt the Omen 800 sliding a little and found myself shifting it back in place every few seconds.
Thankfully, the Omen 800 is a fairly simple headset in terms of navigation and controls. There is only a volume dial and a mute/unmute switch on the controller. The switch is tactile so every time you mute/unmute the headset, you hear a reassuring click. The wire is, fortunately, quite long and that further enhances convenience. It splits into separate outputs for audio and mic but comes with an adapter for devices that have a single input port, thus making the headset ideal for mobile gaming.
I’d just like to add that, as much as I liked the simple navigation, I wish HP had implemented the controls on the headset itself. Especially since the wire is quite long, I can imagine struggling with it to find the controller during an intense game of Call of Duty Mobile. I also find the addition of a controller a little old-fashioned. I’d have rather preferred an intuitive layout on the exterior of my earcups instead.
Phenomenal 3D Audio
If you want an immersive gaming experience where you can feel everything in 3D, the Omen 800 is the perfect headset. It’s bass-heavy and delivers power. It’s been a while since I’ve had an experience as interesting as I did with this headset playing COD Mobile. The 800’s positional audio let me know the exact direction footsteps, bomb blasts and my squad members’ voices were coming from. The highly impressive 53mm neodymium drivers delivered loudness with clarity and depth. The soundstage offered a clear warm sound overall.
There was a fairly loud pool party happening in the backyard while I was testing the Omen 800. It was almost unbelievable how the huge cups managed to silence all background noise so well. Excited by the bass performance on the headset, I also tested it with Do I Wanna Know? by the Arctic Monkeys, a bass-heavy track. Here the 800 offered up a deep bass that I could feel in my throat. I must add though, the song lost a little detail and precision in its instruments when I turned the volume all the way up. The cups’ speakers got muddy in higher decibels and it felt like all the instruments had been clustered together.
If the sound stage was a little wider, each instrument could’ve been discerned separately. However, at the end of the day, the Omen 800 is a gaming headset. So as long as it provides a great aural gaming experience, which it does, it’s done its job in spades.
A Brilliant Mic
3D reminds of the retractable and very flexible boom mic that the Omen 800 hosts. A lot of audio peripheral companies fail to keep mic flexibility in mind producing otherwise great headsets with stiff mic arms. The EPOS GSP 370 is an example of an otherwise phenomenal headset that lacks a flexible boom mic. HP, even though it hasn’t been in the headset game very long, knew exactly what to offer in their mic. The 800 did a brilliant job at picking up my voice and transferring it to my squad members. I called a friend to test the mic and he specifically mentioned how my voice came off extremely clear and three-dimensional.
The Omen 800 undeniably did have room for improvement. However, a comfortable fit, superb audio and a great mic at $80 is an excellent offer. Throughout my experience with the 800, I didn’t, even once, feel like I was testing a device this cheap. HP made sure to hide its price tag by delivering fairly great features.
Is it Hardcore?
The Omen 800 was comfortable, attractive and provided a brilliant performance. Considering its incredibly low $79 price, I strongly recommend it.