HP is better known for selling pre-built PCs, be it notebooks or desktops. The company also makes mice, keyboards, and a whole host of other hardware, but HP gaming mice really haven't been up to scratch compared to the competition. That is until HP launched its Omen sub-brand for gaming, and the HP Omen Photon is one wireless mouse I can recommend.
$104 at HPBottom line: A great mouse from HP for gamers that needs but a little more refining.
- High-quality build
- Long battery life
- Low latency wireless
- Qi charging
- Accurate sensor
- Slightly too narrow
- Optional thumb grips awkward to use
HP supplied Windows Central with a HP Photon and HP Outpost mousepad to really see how the mouse performs with the compatible Qi wireless charging pointer surface. While the two products are offered separately, it's clear HP designed the Photon with the Outpost in mind.
You'll love how the HP Omen Photon performs
There are plenty of good gaming mice available, especially for gamers who prefer wireless pointers. Both the Razer Basilisk Ultimate and Logitech G502 Lightspeed are amazing, but HP thought it could give it a shot and released the HP Photon. It has a lot to get right to take on the competition.
Luckily, HP designed the mouse to match its existing Omen collection of gaming peripherals. It's a sleek-looking black plastic shell with a giant illuminated Omen logo on the palm rest, as well as a secondary RGB light located within the scroll wheel. It's difficult to design a mouse that doesn't look like other mice without ruining the ergonomics.
While the Photon may look pleasant to the eye, the mouse has some handy features that make it intriguing. The most important feature here is the ambidextrous nature of the design. HP managed to create a mouse for both right- and left-handed gamers without making it feel awkward to use for either.
This flexibility is achieved by including optional magnetic buttons for the side. In total, there are four side buttons, two on either side, but you can use a cover instead to prevent you from misclicking. For lefties, you may want the left two buttons covered, likewise on the right for right-handed gamers — or you can have all four active. To make a genuinely ambidextrous mouse, HP had to make the Photon a little on the slim side.
With the four buttons installed, you have up to 11 programmable buttons in total. That's a fair collection of buttons to map for all your games, making the Photon a contender as an MMO mouse.
As well as the four magnetic side buttons, HP also bundles two different types of side grips. I found the ones preinstalled to be a little uncomfortable to use, much preferring the flat side grips to allow your thumb and little finger to glide along the mousepad, but having the choice is excellent.
For raw specifications, the HP Photon has a solid sensor in the PixArt PAW3335. The mouse performs well in-game at various CPI settings, depending on personal preference. It's a little on the heavy side, being a wireless mouse, coming in at just over 140g, though the built-in battery is capable of lasting for up to 50 hours on a single charge.
For gaming, the mouse performs very well with the PAW3335 sensor from PixArt. Whether you enjoy strategy games, RPGs or shooters like Apex Legends, the HP Photon is more than up for the task. It's not the most comfortable pointer, especially compared to the SteelSeries Rival 600 or Razer Viper, but it's not so bad as to cause RSI.
Where the HP Photon sets itself aside from other wireless gaming mice is the included Qi charging capability. Should a Qi charging pad be located nearby, the HP Photon can be placed upon it to draw power. This is incredibly handy, not having you remove batteries or mess around with any USB cabling — though there is a micro-USB port if you want to charge using a cable.
The HP Photon makes use of the Omen Command Center, which is required to toy around with polling rate, CPI settings, programmable buttons, RGB lighting (disabling extends battery life to a whopping 72 hours), and more. The software suite isn't anything special but does allow you to get in and change settings and is available through the Microsoft Store.
The software suite even has handy tutorials to walk newcomers through various settings and macros that can be configured from within — a nice touch to prevent anyone truly messing up their mouse (though you can easily reset everything to factory settings).
Where the HP Omen Photon needs improving
I'm unsure as to what causes this mouse to be slightly awkward to use. It could be how narrow it is, but after using other mice, you need to spend a decent amount of time getting accustomed to how the Photon feels in hand. It's not uncomfortable, but compared to other mice at this price point or lower, it would be great to see the ergonomics altered.
I found the side grips installed by default a little too awkward to use as they added to the overall dimensions of the mouse and prevented my thumb and little finger from resting on the mouse surface. It would also be nice to see HP add internal storage to the Photon too. Being able to save all your settings for use at LAN events on other PCs or your gaming laptop would be a welcomed addition.
Should you buy HP Omen Photon?
The HP Photon is a stellar wireless mouse if you're all about performance. It has a high polling rate, an excellent sensor, solid build, and is weighty enough to get you through each session, it just isn't the most comfortable mouse out there, and at this price point, it really should be. Still, on the flip side, the Photon is ambidextrous and works for all gamers.
While you don't technically require the HP Outpost mousepad to enjoy using the HP Photon to its maximum potential, the built-in Qi charging of HP's mousepad does make it more convenient to charge the wireless mouse after a heated gaming session. Even if you don't buy the Outpost, this is still an excellent mouse.
HP's first decent gaming mouse
Whether you own an HP Omen gaming desktop or desire a wireless gaming mouse with Qi wireless charging, the HP Photon is worth considering.
Rich Edmonds was formerly a Senior Editor of PC hardware at Windows Central, covering everything related to PC components and NAS. He's been involved in technology for more than a decade and knows a thing or two about the magic inside a PC chassis. You can follow him on Twitter at @RichEdmonds.