Aug 04, 2014 Mufaddal Fakhruddin
HyperX is practically a household name when it comes to performance-based hardware. Its RAMs and SSDs are well renowned, and you will always find them as a part of some of the best gaming rigs out there. With the company’s recent activities in the eSports scene, it seems they are also ready to delve into the world of gaming peripherals as well. The HyperX Cloud is the very first result of the endeavor, a fantastic gaming headset that knocks it out of the park within and beyond its price range.
The HyperX Cloud costs $99, and for that price, I mostly expected a basic headset with a cheap design and decent sound quality. But HyperX is in no mood to make a loose first impression.
Understanding that they maybe a little new to the field, HyperX has employed peripheral maker Q-Pad to design and build the Cloud, which bears a striking resemblance to one of its own products, the QH-90. Both the headsets costs about the same and carries a similar high-quality design which is, quite frankly, unseen on a $99 headset.
The HyperX Cloud blends a strange fusion of the classic oval headset design with some modern sensibilities. The result is a very pecuilar looking headset, one that’s not outright handsome but has enough style to not lean on the amateur side.
At the very least, the design is clean and simple. It’s also fairly light, with its aluminum frame seemingly adding no weight. The rest of the hardware is draped in a smooth matte black finish which gives it a touch of class, with the finishing touch coming from pleasant orange stitching on the headband.
HyperX has made sure the Cloud is a complete package. It comes with all sorts of accessories, including a padded mesh carry bag, 2m extension cable, an extended cable with a control box, a 4-pin smartphone adapter, a detachable microphone, and an airline adapter. It also includes an additional pair of velour earcups which can be changed from the default pleather ones.
This is where I found out why the headset is named ‘Cloud‘. HyperX wasn’t alluding to some secret cloud-computing capabilities, but the comfort of the headset. And I must say, never has a headset had a more accurate name than this.
On both its pleather and velour paddings, the HyperX Cloud remained a highly comfortable headset. It rivals, and even betters the comfort offered by the Sennhesier G4ME One, which I had claimed in my review to be one of the most comfortable headset I had ever used.
The HyperX Cloud has a gentle clamp force and fits snugly on your head. The embrace of the headset is so light and soft, I regularly forgot I had them on in my many multi-hour gaming sessions. I also never felt hot around the ears which is always a case when using pleather ear cups.
I have used many headsets before, but I have never truly appreciated, or understood what complete comfort could bring to your listening experience. The HyperX Cloud is simply incredible in this regard.
The HyperX Cloud features a closed-back design, so don’t expect a large soundstage. Still, the “hi-fi capable” 53mm drivers do well to produce a well-rounded auditory experience, and they have a nice airy quality to them that doesn’t show the design’s limitation.
I tested the headset on a number of games, primarily the Destiny Beta and BioShock Infinite Burial at Sea DLCs. The HyperX Cloud remained a very good companion in my game time, with a perfectly tight bass response to support the audio. It does lean ever so slightly on the treble a little and does get screechy at high volume, but it’s a non-issue if you keep the volume in check. I am talking about really high volume here, so the headset can get sufficiently loud without starting to being bothersome.
Another aspect of the HyperX Cloud that impresses is its stereo separation and positional audio capabilities. Playing PvP in Destiny, it was absolutely crucial that I get enough feedback from the headset to help track my foes. The HyperX Cloud had no problems here. I knew the sound sources without looking at them and was able to position myself to take advantage of the situation. This bodes well for the company if it ever plans to deploy these headsets in eSports tournaments.
The only knock against the HyperX Cloud is that it requires a lot of power to perform to its full potential. Unlike other gaming headsets, the HyperX Cloud uses 60 nominal impedance to power itself as compared to the usual 30 nominal impedance. This means that unless the device you are connected to is capable of outputting the required power, the headset will under-perform. I surprisingly noticed this on my office PC while playing TitanFall. The PC uses a built-in RealTek sound card and the headset was simply ‘missing’ certain sounds and had a weird bass response. This was also the case with the PS4, although the audio was simply low instead of lacking. On my home PC, which uses a Creative Sound Blaster Xi-Fi sound card, the headset had absolutely no problem.
In terms of functionality, the HyperX Cloud takes cross-platform readiness quite seriously. Its plethora of included connectors make it adaptable to a lot of devices, including, yes, even the PS4 and Xbox One. I specifically tried the headset with a PS4 which had no problems picking up my voice commands. Even during online chat, my voice remained perfectly clear.
Speaking of online chat, the HyperX Cloud’s detachable microphone is yet another high quality accessory. While it may not be sufficient to do a voice-over, it’s more than acceptable for Skype and online chatting during games. Below is a sample of the mic’s quality with me reading a passage from Alice in the Wonderland by Lewis Carroll:
HyperX is off to a very strong start with the Cloud. It’s a superb product, and for its price, is a remarkably comprehensive package. Its versatility and excellent sound quality gives it an edge over the competition, and it’s easily one of the best headsets I have used, toppling even some of the more expensive headsets in the market.
Seriously, if you are out looking for an affordable albeit high-quality headset that does everything except make you toast in the morning, the HyperX Cloud is tough to beat. This is the good stuff.
+Top-notch sound quality
+Premium and sturdy build
+Comprehensive package for the price
-Can get a little screechy at really high volumes
-Needs more power than usual
Mufaddal Fakhruddin is an editor at Tbreak and sister site, IGN Middle East. He likes puns and poor jokes, and wishes he could do parkour. Follow him on Twitter, it will make him happy.
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