In the small-but-growing wireless, mechanical keyboard field, the HP Omen Spacer Wireless TKL Keyboard is one of the few tenkeyless (TKL) gaming keyboards. Considering that competitive gamers often like compact keyboards, it’s a smart feature combination. The $159.99 Omen Spacer offers a satisfying typing feel and lengthy battery life, but it lacks the robust customization that you’d typically find in a premium gaming keyboard.
The HP Omen Spacer is a surprisingly simple gaming keyboard. Its keys are set in an almost-standard, 87-key TKL layout. The screen lock key has been replaced with a much more useful Omen key, a button that launches the keyboard’s Omen Game Hub configuration software. If you don’t use the software, you can use Game Hub to switch the Omen key to act as a screen lock key. At 1.47 by 14.5 by 5.47 inches (HWD), it’s fairly large for a TKL, a format which people often consider, in part, to make room on their desks. It’s even larger when you factor in the detachable wrist rest, which adds another 4 inches of depth.
The wrist rest, which magnetically connects to the keyboard, is lightly padded. It’s built more for looks than comfort. I always appreciate when a keyboard comes with a wrist rest, but this one’s not particularly comfortable.
The Omen Spacer carries a monolithic, brutalist look. It has a black base and black keycaps that are set against white-and-red backlit keys. The legends come in a thick, blocky font. The base and wrist rests are thick and tall, with sharp corners that poke you if you approach them from the wrong angle. Unlike most gaming keyboards, the Omen Spacer doesn’t let you soften the look by changing the keyboard’s lighting. Although you can change the lighting pattern or toggle specific lighting zones, the colors aren’t customizable. Per-key RGB customization is standard practice for gaming keyboards, especially mechanical keyboards that cost more than $100. It’s curious and disappointing to see HP falter on these basics.
There are a few small, surprising omissions in the Omen Spacer’s design. It’s the first keyboard we’ve reviewed in years, gaming or otherwise, without adjustable feet to let you tilt the keyboard. In addition, the keyboard’s base lacks a storage slot for the wireless dongle. Quality-of-life considerations like these, even small ones, make all the difference in crafting a keyboard that feels luxurious or basic. Too often, the Spacer feels like the latter.
Underneath the caps, the HP Omen Spacer features Cherry MX Brown mechanical switches. Cherry Brown is a tactile switch, so there’s a physical bump you can feel when the key actuates. They require more push than linear switches like Cherry MX Reds, which are more common in gaming keyboards. While it is, again, a curious choice—most gaming keyboard companies, when they only use one switch, go linear—this isn’t a bad choice. Unless you strongly prefer the loud clack of a clicky-style switch, Cherry Browns provide a comfortable feel for both gaming and typing. It’s exactly the kind of switch you want if you game and work on the same PC, which more of us do these days.
As with other recent wireless gaming peripherals, such as the HP Omen Vector Wireless Mouse, HP nails the Omen Spacer’s wireless elements. The keyboard connects to devices via a 2.4 GHz wireless connection that provides a smooth connection with no noticeable lag, even in crowded wireless airspace. Is it disappointing that the Omen Spacer doesn’t also have Bluetooth support, which would expand its utility? Yes, but it’s realistically not a deal breaker for PC gaming.
The highlight here, as with the Omen Vector, is the battery life. According to HP, the Omen Spacer can last up to 75 hours on a single charge. That is, of course, with the backlighting off. In my experience, the battery lasts between 25-30 hours of regular, but not continuous, use with the backlighting on high. That’s good. Most wireless keyboards get less than half their max battery output with the lighting cranked to more than 50 percent brightness. When you need to juice the Omen Spacer, its USB-C cable doubles as a wired connection.
The Omen Spacer has limited software-based customization options. Accessed through HP’s Omen Gaming Hub app, formerly known as Omen Command Center, the customization options let you toggle some—or all—of the keyboard’s lighting. Or, you can set a pattern. Shockingly, you cannot remap keys. Instead, HP set aside five function-key shortcuts, Fn+F1 through Fn+F5, as open shortcuts that you can use for custom macros and other functions. This is highly restrictive, considering that practically every gaming keyboard lets you customize your device however you please. It’s confounding that HP would forego such basic features.
In fairness, the features that are present are clear and easy to navigate. Omen Gaming Hub is slick, and can double as an inter-platform game launcher that facilitates remote play on Omen PCs. The app requests lots of data about your PC, so I recommend you avoid using it for anything other than configuring the keyboard.
Filling the Void
Wireless, mechanical, gaming keyboards are few and far between. Wireless, mechanical, gaming TKLs are almost non-existent. The HP Omen Spacer helps fills that void, and it boasts a good typing feel, solid connectivity, and long battery life. That said, the $159.99 keyboard lacks the deep customization features that are commonplace in premium-priced gaming keyboards. If you don’t mind a cord and no configuration software, the $90 Drop ENTR is an excellent, tenkeyless, mechanical keyboard that’s an Editors’ Choice winner.
HP Omen Spacer Wireless TKL Keyboard
The Bottom Line
Wireless, mechanical, tenkeyless keyboards aren’t easy to find. HP’s gaming-focused entry in that small category offers many cool, top-level features, but lacks a few basic ones that you’d expect in a high-end keyboard.
HP Omen Spacer Wireless TKL Keyboard Specs
|Number of Keys||87|
|Interface||USB Wired, RF Wireless|
|Key Switch Type||Cherry MX Brown|
|Media Controls||Shared With Other Keys|
|Dedicated Shortcut Keys||No|
|Onboard Profile Storage||No|
|N-Key Rollover Support||Yes|
|Palm Rest||Detachable (Magnetic)|