HP Omen appear to be going all in on optical mechanical peripherals this yr, as they’ve not solely gone and caught a bunch of sunshine beams of their Omen Reactor gaming mouse, however their new Omen Sequencer keyboard is totally chock stuffed with them. The thought is to provide each of them lightning quick response instances, as the dearth of shifting elements signifies that every gadget’s respective switches can reset quite a bit faster than their totally mechanical counterparts.
In the Sequencer’s case, HP declare its 0.2ms response time makes it 10x sooner than your common mechanical change. They fail to say the particular model of change they really examined it towards, nevertheless it certain makes for some compelling advertising copy. In fact, I can barely inform the distinction between common mechanical keyboard switches, not to mention detect whether or not one’s 10x faster than the opposite. The solely factor that’s actually vital to me is how a lot noise they make and the way straightforward they’re to kind on (okay, two issues) – and man alive does the Sequencer make one hell of a racket.
In equity, I wouldn’t say the Omen Sequencer was any extra grating on the ears than the Razer Huntsman, which was additionally of the optical-mechanical change persuasion. Needless to say, although, for those who’re not so keen on the CLICKIES and the CLACKIES it’s possible you’ll need to take into account a barely quieter keyboard. Indeed, if I had been to placed on the far more frequent Cherry MX scale of loud to deafening, the Sequencer would positively be up there on the latter finish of the spectrum alongside, if not past, the Cherry MX Blue change.
For all their noise and irritation, nonetheless, the Sequencer’s optical mechanical switches do present a welcome degree of tactile suggestions for common typing – far more so than their linear Blue rivals. In this sense, they virtually have extra in frequent with Cherry’s bumpy MX Brown switches, as you’ll be able to really feel a definite form of step happen earlier than you attain the tip of a key press.
Does this make the Sequencer extra nice to kind on? In some methods, sure, as I do know precisely once I’ve pressed every key, however I additionally felt that, for all of HP’s tremendous duper velocity claims, my typing velocity truly slowed down due to it. It in all probability doesn’t assist that the so-called ‘English layout’ appears to have extra in frequent with a conventional US format than a UK one (half-height Enter keys are the DEVIL), however loads of my early hours with the keyboard had been both spent going again over errors I’d made as a result of I’d misjudged the spacing, or simply typically getting slowed down with every subsequent key press.
The latter isn’t essentially a foul factor, in fact, and the spacing is one thing I finally bought used to over time. Indeed, each of those issues weren’t actually a difficulty when it got here to enjoying games both, as mashing the WASD keys in fast succession felt simply as responsive as another mechanical keyboard I’ve examined not too long ago. That’s the issue, although – even when all these different keyboards aren’t technically as quick because the Omen Sequencer, they certain as heck really feel like they’re, which in flip makes them really feel nippier and extra comfy to kind on for lengthy intervals of time.
The one factor I want all keyboards might have, although, is the Sequencer’s big crimson quantity curler. With its grooved steel texture and easy rolling motion, that is palms down the perfect quantity management I’ve ever come throughout. Initially, I assumed it is likely to be a fraction too near the devoted media keys beneath it, however HP have pitched the angle excellent, permitting you to glide a full three fingers over it with out bumping into the remainder of its keys.
It’s a real masterpiece of design, and I additionally reasonably preferred the cheeky USB passthrough port tucked away within the rear lower off nook on the different finish of the keyboard as nicely. At first, I assumed its angled edges had been merely a little bit of foolish ‘gamer’ design, however I used to be pleasantly stunned to see it getting used like this.
Elsewhere, the Sequencer has your pretty customary set of further controls, comparable to a devoted gaming mode key that locks the Windows button, and 5 programmable macro keys alongside the far left hand aspect. I’m normally a bit cautious of getting macro keys to this point over on a keyboard, as 9 instances out of ten I normally mistake the bottom macro key for Ctrl. Fortunately, there’s a large sufficient hole right here to stop that from taking place regularly, even when it does add to the Sequencer’s general bulk within the course of.
To make use of stated macro keys, you’ll need to obtain the Omen Command Centre app from the Microsoft Store. I’ll admit I used to be a bit upset with the dearth of choices accessible right here once I examined the HP Omen Reactor mouse, however with the Sequencer I’m much less fussed about what’s on provide. You nonetheless get the identical recordable macro choices (keyboard shortcuts, utility launchers, in-game textual content messages and multi-key mixtures with customisable delay choices), however on a keyboard that’s all I’d ever actually need to use these keys for anyway.
You can even use the Command Centre to create your individual customized RGB lighting zones along with full keyboard color schemes, too, permitting you to select and select which keys get illuminated and which of them keep off. Whatever you determine to select, although, you’ll in all probability be happy to listen to the Sequencer’s lighting is pretty innocuous in comparison with loads of different mechanical keyboards on the market, as its largely closed-in key caps stop loads of the sunshine from spilling out onto the primary board. There’s a teensy little bit of underglow current, however most of it’s coming from the letter and quantity cut-outs.
On the entire, there’s quite a bit to love concerning the HP Omen Sequencer, regardless of it feeling a bit stodgy to kind on as an on a regular basis keyboard. There’s not solely that magnificent crimson quantity curler within the prime nook, however its RGB lighting additionally gained’t make your eyes bleed once you’ve bought it going full rainbow. Throw in USB passthrough and its devoted macro and media buttons and also you’ve just about bought every thing you might presumably ask for.
The solely drawback is the value, because the Omen Sequencer will presently set you again a whopping £160 / $180. Its anodised aluminium body does go a good distance in making it really feel like a premium keyboard (did I point out that beautiful quantity curler?), however that’s nonetheless some huge cash to pay for one thing I’m not fully glad to have as my primary typing board. I’d be keen to reside with it only for the sake of that attractive, scarlet marvel, however actually, there are different higher and faster-feeling gaming keyboards on the market that can in all probability serve you simply as nicely within the grand scheme of issues, comparable to our present best gaming keyboard crown holder, the £120 / $130 Cherry-based Fnatic Streak, or the even cheaper £96 / $80 HyperX Alloy Elite.