You just picked up your brand-spankin' new gaming laptop and now you need a gaming mouse, but not just any gaming mouse. Let me introduce you to the HP Omen Photon, a premium ambidextrous gaming mouse. For $129, the Omen Photon offers smooth wireless connectivity and precise responsiveness, all accompanied by solid software. And while the mouse is kind of pricey, especially since it could be more comfortable, the Omen Photon is a solid gaming mouse overall.
The Omen Photon is long and slender (5.11 x 2.38 x 1.73 inches), sporting a symmetrical, ovular design. The Photon's palm rest, stamped with an RGB-lit Omen logo, floats on the mouse above the stylish, rigid base. Just above that is a gap shaped like an upward arrow, which divides the palm rest from the left and right clickers. Sitting snugly between the left and right-click buttons are the two DPI buttons; above that is an RGB-lit, clickable scroll wheel.
Meanwhile, the Photon's most unique design choices are located on its sides. The Photon features four magnetic thumb buttons, two on either side. You can use all four, or you can prioritize a particular side, depending on whether you're left- or right-handed. If you don't want them, you can swap them out for plain plastic plates.
And right below the side buttons are thumb and pinkie rests, which are also swappable and removable, thanks to the power of magnets. When both rests are attached, the mouse measures 5.11 x 3.85 x 1.73 inches.
Toward the front-end of the Photon mouse, you'll find a micro USB port, and on the underside of the mouse, there's an outline where the Qi wireless charging battery is located.
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The Photon's ambidextrous design and swappable rests are convenient and practical, but it's not exactly the most comfortable gadget. Its oval design doesn't fit the contours of my hand that well, and the pinkie rest arches inward too much, causing my ring finger to stack on top of my pinkie in an awkward position. The thumb rest is more comfortable, but like the palm rest, it doesn't line up with the contours of my thumb. On top of that, the scroll wheel gets stiff if you go too long without using it.
The Omen Photon is powered by the Omen Command Center, which allows you to customize the DPI, lighting and macros.
You can set the DPI on eight specific levels, with a range of 100 to 16,000. And within the same Settings tab, you can customize the polling rate (how often the mouse communicates with the PC) and the liftoff distance (how far you can lift the mouse from the surface before the sensor stops tracking).
In the Lighting tab, you can customize the colors, animation and speed of the lighting on the Omen logo and the scroll wheel. There are three animations available: Color Cycle, Breathing and Blinking. There are also four color schemes: Spectrum (rainbow), Volcano, Jungle and Ocean. You can create your own themes, using up to three colors.
In the Macros tab, you have the option to customize all 11 buttons on the Omen Photon, which includes the left- and right-click buttons, scroll wheel, left and right scroll wheel clicks, four side buttons and two DPI buttons.
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Besides being wireless (via USB dongle), the Photon offers another useful feature with Qi wireless charging. In addition, there's the Omen Command Center, which features a Power tab, which monitors the battery life of the Photon. According to HP, the Omen Photon can survive for 50 hours on a charge. However, the Omen Photon comes with a micro USB cable, so you can use it in a wired configuration as well.
Despite the Omen Photon not being the most comfortable mouse, I found it very responsive while gaming. I queued up a match in Overwatch, and during the skirmish, I shot Hanzo in the nethers with Ana's sleep dart, then followed up by demolishing him with several well-placed rifle shots.
Next I tried Stick Fight: The Game and precisely punched one of my opponents to death, then accurately fired a snake gun (a gun filled with snakes) at another one's face.
The Omen Photon was also smooth as I performed heart surgery in Surgeon Simulator. Finally, I played Sid Meier's Civilization VI, where commanding infantry and picking out state policies was a cinch.
HP's Omen Photon gaming mouse features an accessible design and a solid software. It also reacts well under pressure -- specifically when I'm under pressure. However, the $129 price can give gamers some pause. That hesitation is well-deserved, since the Omen Photon is not the most comfortable mouse around.
If you're looking for a cheaper, more comfortable mouse and can do without wireless connectivity, consider getting the Logitech G502 Proteus Core gaming mouse, which'll run you only $53 now. It offers a super-comfortable design, big buttons in a smart layout, a customizable scroll wheel and optional weight adjustments.
But overall, the Omen Photon is a good choice, especially if you're looking for an ambidextrous, wireless gaming mouse.
Credit: Laptop Mag