Why it matters: When gaming, headsets are practically a requirement anymore. Not only do they improve the quality of the sound, but they are necessary for communication in multiplayer games. You can get some earbud headsets for pretty cheap, but for great clarity, nothing beats a set of cans.
One of the problems with over-ear headsets is the heat that gets trapped in the cups. I can only wear my SteelSeries Siberia 800 headset for about an hour or so before I need to give my ears a break from the heat.
HP may have the answer to your hot ear woes with the launch of its OMEN Mindframe headset. The cans were designed to complement its line of gaming computers and accessories, but its real selling feature is that it is the “world’s first” refrigerated headset.
Now let me clarify what is meant by refrigerated. The ear cups use what HP calls “Frost Cap” technology. Essentially each can has a thermoelectric device that uses voltage changes to transfer heat from the inside of the cup to the outside. It's like having a mini heat pump inside your headphones.
It sounds a bit gimmicky, but Windows Central got to try a set and walked away impressed. Using a SEEK thermal camera, WC was able to show that in a room with an ambient temperature of 72F, the insides of the cups maintained a cool 66 degrees, while the outside plating warmed up to 90F.
“Touching the inner metal of the speaker panel and [sic] you can feel a substantial cooling effect compared to the warmer outside of the ear cup where the heat was transferred to by the thermoelectric device,” noted Windows Central. “Those outer ear cups do get warm too, akin to how smaller devices feel when being actively charged. It's not bad, just different.”
So the outside of the cans do not get hot enough to burn, but just warm enough to keep the ears comfortable. The headset’s cooling functionality can vary depending on how much heat a person radiates and the temperature within the room, but generally, the cooling effect is significant enough to be felt.
The OMEN Mindframe includes built-in 7.1 virtual surround sound, RGB lighting, breathable fabric on the cups, and a volume knob on the right headphone. It also has a fold-away noise-canceling mic with adjustable mic monitoring so you can hear your voice in realtime through the phones. The mic also auto-mutes when folded.
The only negative takeaways are that it is USB Type-A only — no 3.5mm or wireless options. It also lacks advanced audio settings such as a built-in equalizer.
The headset is fairly expensive clocking in at about $200, but that is about what I paid for my SteelSeries a few years ago. The cooling tech alone is worth the price for me. OMEN Mindframes are not up on the HP store website yet, but since the embargo was lifted yesterday, we can expect to be seeing them soon.
Image via Windows Central