HP Omen Photon and Outpost Review – A Compelling Hardware Duo

    Product: HP Omen Photon and Outpost
    Intended Use: General Gaming
    Manufacturer: Omen
    MSRP: $129.99/$99.99

When looking at a new mouse to pick up, it’s crucial for the product to exceed your expectations. Looking at a mouse with only two stand-out features is concerning when compared to others that offer a well-rounded user experience. That said, depending on how well the hardware does in those two categories should also be taken into consideration depending on your personal needs.

Today, we’re taking a look at Omen’s Photon Mouse and Outpost Mousepad. The two are separate products but were created to work seamlessly together, which they definitely do. However, what that Photon does well, doesn’t entirely make up for its shortcomings, and the Outpost doesn’t pick up the slack.

Let’s begin by looking at the Outpost, which has a beautiful aesthetic and the option of soft or hard texture padding. That said, there is no finger tab to quickly switch the padding, which required the use of a blade to change. However, the most impressive feature the mousepad offers is wireless charging functionality, and it perhaps its strongest selling point.

The Outpost has a sturdy and durable braided wire, that does require a bit of extra managing on your desk due to how stiff it is. There are two different ways to set up the charging, using either a USB-C or two USB A ports. The only difference here is that the USB-C option will allow you to use all of the wireless features as well as the lights built into the mousepad. The USB A option only lights up the logo and allows for wireless charging.

The RGB settings are an excellent touch for the mousepad, so using USB-C is definitely the way to go when setting up your workstation. The ambient lighting added a nice touch to my workspace and wasn’t distracting during day-to-day usage. I would say that the only thing the mousepad is missing is a cell phone kick-stand.

HP Omen Photon and Outpost

Now, onto the Photon mouse. Out of the box, the mouse has a nice weight to it, which is reasonable considering there aren’t additional weight options. Other peripherals for mouse include a left and right wing, which are both removable.

I typically don’t like using the right wing on a mouse, but this one managed to change my mind. This is because of the smooth gliders found on the bottom of the Photon, two of them being on the wings. So, removing the wings removes gliders from the mouse, which tends to create friction when moving across the mousepad. Would I prefer not to have them on? Sure, but the mouse is definitely better with them.

The Photon has two DPI buttons for up and down with 8 DPI speeds. These settings can’t be programmed, which is a shame considering this has become a standard feature on high-end mice. Furthermore, there’s no button on the mouse used to change profiles, nor can you add or change the profile button through the programmable buttons. However, the software auto recognizes profiles based on the program you are running, but this doesn’t entirely make up for the absence of a profile button.

HP Omen Photon and Outpost

One really nice feature about the Photon is the extra side buttons that can add to the right side of the mouse if you need more macros or hotkeys. The mouse continued to impress me by giving the user the ability to take off all the buttons on one side entirely and change the side the buttons are on. The mouse also has a wheel that features two macro buttons, left push or right push, which is fun to use.

My experience with the Photon was pleasant, thanks to the aesthetic design and customizable options. Still, I would have liked to see one or two more RGB light zones, but this isn’t a big deal at all. The best part about the mouse ended up being how comfortable it was in hand. With two different sized wing grips and ambidextrous options, it was possible to make the mouse fit my use style.

The biggest issue with the mouse that I found after extended use was that the left click button was squeaky. This could very well be a manufacturing issue, but it made the mouse sound like it has been used for two years. Be sure to watch the video to hear what it sounds like.

HP Omen Photon and Outpost

Omen’s software was simple and easy to understand. For a mouse with some sophisticated functionality, the UI was straightforward, even when diving into the advanced options. However, the software can only be used in windows mode at this time, but still, it’s the most accessible software that I’ve had to learn yet, which I appreciated. Also, DPI settings were easy to navigate, allowing more than 3 DPI speeds.

Getting deeper into the software settings, you’ll find that the mouse and mousepad profiles, such as colors, hotkeys, settings, and DPI, can be customized according to a game. Furthermore, the software recognizes games you recently played, and you can customize settings for each of them separately. Both products automatically change profiles when you load up a new title. I tried this with multiple games, and it worked like a charm. I ended up really liking how easy it was to create these profiles across different software. While this is offered for other products, I found this experience to be the most user friendly.

HP Omen Photon and Outpost

The Photon and Outpost are an excellent mouse and mousepad combo. The problem is that the Photon costs about $120, and the mouse pad costs $99.99, adding up to over $200 of gaming hardware. Given that these two products work well together, it might be better to weigh your other options if you’re going to spending so much on new hardware.

What the Photon does do, it does exceptionally well. The style and comfort of the product rival many high-end mice that I have used, but it seemed to leave out many standard features that I would have expected for a mouse for this price. The same goes for the Outpost. Sure, the wireless charging is excellent, but if you don’t require this, then you can save your money.

However, if you have the funds to purchase these two products together, then you’ll most likely be thrilled with the outcome. The customizable features on the Photon make it fun to play around with and get the most out of the product. The added ability to sync the two products together will only improve that experience.

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Mark DiMattei

Designer/Producer - Art is my Thunder Stone to your soon to be Raichu. Former video game nerd with a love for all things images and visual creativity. Currently waiting for Halo Infinite. Instagram: @markd_arts