Gaming headsets seem to be a favorite accessory these days with many makes and models seemingly coming from every manufacturer of PCs. In the last few years, HP launched its OMEN line of gaming laptops, desktops, and accessories.
The OMEN 800 headset joins the club as premium, wired experience, but costs just $79 – far below what many of the high-end headsets costs. Moreover, they're the kind of headset you can wear all day without any discomfort. The one shortcoming? You may look a bit goofy.
About this review
HP sent a loaner pair of the OMEN 800 Headset for review. The suggested retail price is $79.99, but they can be found cheaper from retailers at around $68. See more at HP.com (opens in new tab).
See at Amazon (opens in new tab)
HP OMEN Headset 800 specifications
Being wired-only the OMEN Headset 800 doesn't bring any ground-breaking technology, or whiz-bang trademarked names for proprietary features, but it does give users the basics executed to near perfection.
|Sound||DTS Headphone:X (with OMEN PCs)|
|Headphone Style||Noise-isolating leatherette over-the-ear cushions|
Lightweight suspension headband
|Cable||3.3 feet (1M) braided|
|Connector||Separate microphone and speaker line|
Included 3.5mm to single 4-pole connector
|Driver||53mm neodymium driver|
|Volume control||On cable|
|Microphone Style||Retractable and flexible boom mic|
|Dimensions||8.07 x 8.58 x 4.49 in|
There's a lot lacking compared to something like the Razer Thresher Ultimate, which brings wireless, optical audio, or insane frequency response ranges — but at just $79 versus $250 or more these are more comparable to the Razer Kraken 7.1 v2 at $89 or the $79 Corsair VOID PRO RGB. There is also no active noise-cancellation for the microphone or native digital 7.1 audio support (though you can use Dolby Atmos for Headphones built into Windows 10).
Straightforward design with kickin' drivers
HP matched the OMEN 800 Headset's design to its general range of OMEN gaming PCs and laptops. That means black with red accents, but unlike its computers, there is no red LED lighting. Without those LEDs, it means there is no separate USB cable for power or a battery to recharge.
The most prominent feature of the OMEN 800 Headset are the massive 53mm neodymium drivers. The drivers are encapsulated in huge, over-the-ear leatherette ear cups. I prefer the over-the-ear design, and the OMENs give outstanding clearance and never touched any part of my ears and didn't pinch my head. Instead, they almost feel loose just giving enough pressure on the sides to make a seal without feeling like you are wearing much.
The headset never slid from my head nor did I ever have to readjust them.
The one-meter braided cable splits near the bottom into separate volume and microphone 3.5mm jacks. Out of the box, however, those lines are brought together with the included single 3.5mm four-pole single line adapter for laptops or devices that do not separate those channels.
About a quarter of the way down on the cable is a volume wheel with clearly marked '+' and '-' labels. There is also a very tactile mute switch for the microphone.
Another fantastic design choice not found in budget headsets is the red retractable microphone boom. This design lets you push the receiver back into the headset for gaming alone or if you want to use them for a movie or music. Pulling out the boom is easy and being flexible you can position it easily in front of your mouth or away from it to prevent detectable breathing. That elasticity is necessary since there is no active noise cancellation going on here.
At 431g (0.95lbs), the OMEN 800 Headset is among the lightest headsets in its class. The one downside to the overall design of the OMEN 800 Headset is the enormous ear cups when compared to "regular" headphones. The cups extend no less than 2.5 inches (6.35 cm) from the head, which is massive. While looking like Princess Leia or Lobot is fun, it's not a look that everyone necessarily wants. The tradeoff for such big ear cups is comfort making it worth the possible silly looks from your family.
HP OMEN Headset 800 – Comfort to the max
Put me in the category of people who are very sensitive to wearing earphones for extended periods. I'm very susceptible to discomfort at the skull apex.
The HP OMEN Headset 800 feature a suspension headband design where the soft, leatherette band is separated from the metal wire frame, which hovers above the band. That's very different from many headphones like the Razer Kraken or Corsair VOID PRO that have just a single, thick band configuration that weighs on your head.
Typically, you don't find suspension headband designs in budget-range gaming headsets, yet the OMEN Headset 800 does, which speaks very favorably. In fact, although there are slightly lighter headsets, the OMEN Headset 800 is easily the most comfortable headset I have worn — even beating out the Razer Thresher Ultimate, which was already very enjoyable.
During my testing, I wore the OMEN's for hours during some Destiny 2 gaming sessions or even just at the PC while working on Skype calls or music. Never did I develop and soreness on my head. The OMEN's feel as they are lightly resting around your head (on the ears and apex) without ever feeling like I was being squeezed. HP did an outstanding job for human factors and ergonomics testing.
A solid aural experience
There is no 7.1 Dolby digital playback with the OMEN 800 Headset. Instead, you get excellent stereo output through those 53mm drivers.
Users running the Windows 10 Creators Update (from Spring 2017) can optionally use Dolby Atmos for Headphones or Windows Sonic for Headphones. Both Dolby Atmos and Windows Sonic simulate spatial sound through software giving more precise direction audio detection during gaming or when watching a movie. Those enhancements are available on the Xbox One as well.
The audio was clear, crisp and consistent with the OMEN 800 Headset. The sound was not as rich as headphones in the $200 range, but it was significantly better than standard wired earbuds with improved frequency response. Due to the ear-cup design, most background noises was successfully blocked so while I could make out typing on my keyboard, it was quieter.
The microphone is also quite capable, picking up my speech with no issues while not being highly susceptible to breathing during gameplay. It's not the best, but for this price range it got the job done and never disappointed.
HP OMEN 800 Headset is a suggested buy
If you do not own a gaming headset, then you really should fix that even if just playing casually. The experience is much more immersive, even over really great speakers.
You might think that you need to spend $150 or more to get good audio – but you don't. The HP OMEN 800 Headset is a testament to that, and at just $79 it delivers excellent sound while also winning for being the most comfortable headset I have worn yet. You lose things like wireless audio, Dolby 7.1, active noise cancellation, or fancy LED lighting, but those aren't ever necessary, they're just nice to have.
The HP OMEN 800 Headset nails all the basics. Excellent sound, large speaker drivers, supreme comfort, and a nifty retractable microphone letting you use the headphones for non-gaming experiences. It does all of this while coming in well below $100 putting in reach of even casual gamers. The only negative seems to be giant ear cups that are far from flattering, but at least it results in needed "space" between your ears and speakers while also remaining comfortable.
If you need regular gaming headphones that won't hurt your head – or your finances – check out the OMEN 800 Headset.
See at Amazon (opens in new tab)
- Most comfortable gaming headset yet.
- Large 53mm audio drivers deliver.
- Excellent price point.
- Retractable microphone boom is convenient.
- Relatively conservative and toned-down design.
- No Dolby 7.1 digital audio.
- Lacks noise-cancelling microphone.
- Very large ear cups may look funny to others.
Daniel Rubino is the Executive Editor of Windows Central, head reviewer, podcast co-host, and analyst. He has been covering Microsoft here since 2007, back when this site was called WMExperts (and later Windows Phone Central). His interests include Windows, Microsoft Surface, laptops, next-gen computing, and arguing with people on the internet.
Although the design is overall neat, the side logo makes it look very cheap. I mean generally, what does it even represent? It's way too detailed to be an eye catcher.
Thanks Dan... How does the comfort level compare to the Hyperex CloudX or Cloud II? My cloudX headset is almost getting to the point of being uncomfortable to wear.
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