The HyperX Cloud is the first entry in the headset market for Kingston’s gaming brand, and it’s an impressive first step that checks off a lot of boxes in terms of what we look for in a good headset. Read on to find out why we are looking forward to what HyperX might do next.
We’ll admit that we were surprised when we got the announcement saying that HyperX was expanding their portfolio with a headset. We had come to know them as a brand that was synonymous with high performance memory modules and storage media – the kind of stuff that is usually reviewed using a series of benchmarking suites. Audio is a much more subjective field, so the Cloud was always going to be an intriguing fusion of two worlds.
Coming in at a retail price of under $100, HyperX is targeting the market segment occupied by the likes of the Steelseries Siberia V2 and the Razer Kraken. It faces some tough competition, which is why Kingston used Qpad’s expertise in the development of the HyperX Cloud. The fact that HyperX is taking the audio industry seriously is also illustrated by the fact that they’re planning on expanding their range of audio products later with products that are already in development. Be that as it may, the Cloud is already a mature product and deserves our attention.
The headset features large 53mm drivers, which are the biggest drivers we’ve tested so far. Their frequency response is 15 – 25,000 Hz and they’re packed in very comfortable closed ear cups – we’ll discuss this in more detail soon. The headset has an aluminum frame so it manages to deliver a strong build quality despite its modest weight. The mic is detachable, and HyperX provides a neat little plug to cover up the mic connector when you’re not using it. The box also comes with all the necessary cables, an airplane adapter and interchangeable ear cups should you want to change from leather to velours. The headband is leather-covered, with stitching alongside the edges that reminded us of the (amazing) Fidelio L2. This is especially true for the Cloud’s original red version and less so for the now-available white version.
Rounding off the package are a handy little carry bag, an adapter for smartphones/tablets, an (optional) audio control box and a lengthy (2m) extension cable. It’s the most impressive selection of accessories we’ve come across in this price range, and our only remark was that there is no single jack cable option (though an adapter cable is provided so your mic jack isn’t dangling when not using the mic). In terms of design we also really liked the HyperX Cloud – it’s telling us that its focus is on delivering excellent sound quality at an affordable price without wanting to appear too flashy for its own good. Our one remark in this area is that we found the large HyperX logo on the earcups to be a little ‘loud’ for our tastes – though this is subjective.
Comfort could also be regarded as a subjective measurement, but our test results here were the same no matter who tried the headset: the HyperX Cloud is the most comfortable gaming headset in its price range. This is true both for short-term wear and longer gaming sessions and only open-back headphones come close but are considered less than ideal for louder environments. Combining a light-weight frame with plenty of room inside the circumaural ear cups, it’s easy to forget you’re actually wearing these.
But all this has only been about the headset’s physical characteristics – how does it actually sound though? Well, this is where the Cloud’s roots shine through in a positive way. Qpad’s original design wasn’t necessarily a gaming headset and geared towards a wider audience, giving the Cloud’s performance a much wider range than you might expect from a gaming headset. Music sounds rich and detailed no matter the genre, and even movies benefit from its clear soundscape and good separation of tones.
Having a headset that’s so well equipped for everyday listening does come at a price, as the Cloud wasn’t designed around the positional audio that hardcore FPS gamers require. We’ve heard better in other headsets, but this only really affects those who are very serious about positional audio and those gamers might prefer a dedicated 7.1 headset. If you’re not in that select group, this headset performs great during games – no matter the genre.
So in summary, for those looking for an affordable headset that performs well in games but also adds the bonus of delivering top quality sound in music and movies, you can’t go wrong with the HyperX Cloud. Kingston’s gaming brand has made a real statement with this headset, and it’s that their audio efforts are to be taken seriously.