HyperX Cloud Headset Review
HyperX is now officially its own Gaming brand and free from the possible shackles of Kingston Technology; and sometime ago at a press event in London, we got our first look at the new HyperX Cloud (KHX-H3CL/WR) headset. Well, today we now have a review sample of the HyperX Cloud to take a good look at and see what HyperX can bring to the world of Gaming headsets.
The HyperX Cloud is a circumaural, closed back stereo headset featuring 53mm Drivers and a detachable microphone. The headset also sports memory foam ear-cups, in-line control box, additional velour ear-cushions and braided cables.
The headset came in a smart red and grey box with a large image of the Cloud headset on the front. As you can see from the front of the box the new HyperX brand is there in all of its glory, but the word Kingston is nowhere to be found! Looking at the bottom left corner of the box we can also see that this headset comes with a 2 year warranty.
The back of the box shows another image of the Cloud highlighting the following:
- ALUMINIUM BUILD
- SOFT LEATHER BAND
- CLOSED EAR CUPS
- 53MM DRIVERS
- AUDIO CONTROL BOX
- DETACHABLE MIC
- LEATHER + VELOUR CUPS
The left side of the box also highlights similar features. On the right side of the box we find further information regarding this ‘PRO GAMING HEADSET’. It is here that you get some idea of the Cloud’s origins; ‘Hyper X has worked with QPAD to upgrade this award-wining product’…
Within the the outer box we find a cool black inner box adorned with the new HyperX brand logo.
Removing the lid of the inner box allows us to see what’s within. What is within is also extremely well packaged, not necessarily the best presentation, but undeniably packed with loving care…
In the box we find the following:
- HyperX Cloud headset
- Carry pouch
- Additional Velour ear-cushions
- Detachable microphone
- Audio splitter adapter
- Extension Cable
- Audio control box
- Splitter cable
At the time of review the HyperX Cloud has a RRP of €99 (£82) with a 2 year warranty.
courtesy of HyperX
- Designed in Sweden and recommended by the world’s most elite gaming organizations
- Ideal for PC gaming plus tablets, mobile phones and PS4 consoles
- Airplane adapter compatible
- Frequency response: 15–25.000 Hz
- Transducer type: dynamic, closed Ø 53mm driver
- SPL Sound pressure level: 98 ±3 dB
- Transducer type: Condenser (back electret)
- Polar Pattern: Cardioid
- Frequency response: 100–12.000 Hz
- SPL Sound pressure level: 98 ±3 dB
As the HyperX Cloud is based (heavily) on the QPAD QH-90 headset, I will use some of the original review text and highlight where the Cloud differs from the QH-90.
First impressions of the HyperX Cloud are nothing short of excellent from the packaging, to the headset and the included extras. The headset is just a joy to look at it appears to be well engineered with all of the materials used being of a very high standard. Everything about the HyperX Cloud seems to shout quality. There’s little to separate the two products here the Kingston may just have the edge in terms of looks thanks to its smarter headband and braided cables.
The left ear-cup features a non-detachable audio cable that is about 100cm in length and also a socket for the detachable microphone, the right ear-cup has no specific features to speak of. Here you can see that HyperX has switched to braided cabling for the main audio cable.
The backs of the ear-cups feature a soft touch rubber type coating that’s got a particularly nice quality feel to it. The ear-cups have a small degree of horizontal swivel and a far larger degree of vertical swivel, ensuring that comfort levels remain high and that the ear-cup sits snug on the side of the head. A single wire on each ear-cup connects the cup to the headband. Here we also see one of the main visual differences of the Cloud headset with its smart metallic black ear-cup covers with their red HyperX logos (looks good too!). Although a little illumination here wouldn’t have gone a miss…
The leather clad headband features a very nice embroidered HyperX logo in black (black on black, hmm; I guess they went for the subtle approach!) The headband itself is made from aluminium so there’s no reason for the headband to snap (this can happen with plastic headbands!). The foam used on the inner section of the headband does not appear to be memory foam, but it does appear to be relatively soft. And as the inner part of the band is completely covered, it should help with the overall comfort level of the headset. The Cloud headset also sports a funky red stitching around the outside, that helps to make up for the black on black logo, overall it’s subtle but still looks good.
The headband is adjustable by approximately 36mm per side, this is not much adjustability and I have concerns for those with a larger than average head size. This is brought about not by the adjustability per se but by the fact that the headset, at its smallest setting, it is extremely small indeed! No change here for the HyperX Cloud, if you’ve got a BIG head you may need to look elsewhere I’m afraid.
Each of the Closed Back ear-cups feature leather ear-pads with memory foam and within each cup you will find a 53mm Driver (the largest Driver we have seen to date in a headset!). Kindly HyperX have also provided a set of velour ear cushions, should you prefer those…
The microphone connects to the left ear-cup, by way of a small 3.5mm socket. This socket has small black cover/plug that can be used when the microphone is not in use. Funnily enough this still sports its QPAD logo! 😮
The noise-cancelling condenser microphone, found at the end of a very flexible boom (pipe-cleaner style) features a windscreen (foam bobble) at the end. The boom is, somewhat obviously detachable, as can be seen from the image below and is approximately 150mm in length. The foam bobble at the end helps keep unwanted noise and moisture away from the microphone, so things like breathing, a slight knock, even sniffing are less likely to be picked-up. Seems like a good idea to me…
The flexibility of the microphone boom is excellent and is one of the best I’ve used, the microphone can be placed exactly where you want it, and more importantly, it stays there!
The in-line control box (the headset will function without the control box, but some functionality is obviously lost) found at the end of the separate 1m cord features a volume control wheel on one side and a microphone mute switch on the other. Atop the control box we find a ‘mobile phone button’, this seems rather strange to me as this is a Gaming headset, yet a ‘mobile phone button’ seems to take pride of place on the control box!? And in the HyperX Cloud version of this headset, this has still not been modified, now that is disappointing… 🙁 HyperX have at least added a nice HyperX logo to one side of the control box, a red volume control switch and a braided cable. Again, it would have been nice (cool) to of seen some illumination here.
There’s also a couple of extra cables, the first of which is a basic 2m extension cable for the headset, the second allows the headphone out and mic to be combined into a single 3.5mm Jack plug. It’s interesting to note that HyperX have not braided these cables, which seems a little bit of a shame (or dare I say a corner cut), but it’s just a niggle I guess…
As the HyperX Cloud would be classed as a mid-range headset it will be paired up with the on-board audio of our Test Motherboard the MSI Z87-G45 GAMING, this MB from MSI features an Realtek ALC1150 chipset with MSI’s Audio Boost technology.
The HyperX Cloud headset was simply connected to the on-board audio via the two (headphone/mic) 3.5mm Jack plugs.
The HyperX Cloud was tested using our Intel Test Rig, running Windows 7 64bit (service pack 1) with all necessary Drivers installed. No software is supplied or required for full functionality of the headset.
The following games were used during testing:
- Battlefield 4
- Survarium (Beta)
- Metro 2033 (benchmark)
- Unigine Heaven (benchmark)
- Unigine Valley (benchmark)
The performance of a headset is predominately based upon what it sounds like, therefore what we have here is my opinion on what I think about the audio performance of the HyperX Cloud headset; of course this is somewhat subjective.
As I have already stated the Cloud is based heavily on the QPAD QH-90 headset, so much of this is the same, as it sounds exactly the same. Therefore my opinion is exactly the same, here’s what was said before:
The easiest way to describe the audio performance of the QH-90 is excellent, as good as any headset that I have heard, in fact I think I might say that it’s the best Stereo based headset that I have heard to date (I guess I’ve said it now!). Why, is somewhat more difficult to describe, but let’s start with some basics that I like. There’s a real honesty about the QH-90 as there’s no Surround Sound, no Virtual Surround Sound, no software and no sound processor! What this means is that there’s very little in the way between your soundcard and the 53mm Drivers at the ends of the cable. Maybe this is a placebo, but the headset sounds honest too, there’s not too much or to little of anything, each individual sound seems to get faithfully reproduced.
There’s real depth to the sound too, each individual sound can be heard as though the sounds have been layered one on top of the other. The bass reproduction is also good but not outstanding, but again I think that’s a good thing as overpowering bass in a headset can just drown everything else out. Crank up the volume and the QH-90 copes well, in fact the sound takes on a more edgier (is that a word, I think it is!) note, bringing the headset to life even more! At high volumes there’s no real sign of distortion either, thanks to those massive 53mm Drivers. The closed back design of the ear-cups also do a good job of keeping the sound in and ambient noise out.
So what HyperX have here, in terms of audio performance, is one of the best sounding headsets on the market today; teaming up with QPAD has been an undeniably wise choice! 😉
Luckily HyperX have not messed with QPAD’s winning formula. In fact you could say that they’ve actually managed to enhance it! HyperX have added another set of ear-cushions with this second set being made from velour. This is great if you you have issues with the leather ones making your ears a little sweaty! I actually prefer the leather ones as I find that velour ones squeak on the frame of my glasses. HyperX Cloud gives you the choice though, nice one!
The detachable microphone that comes with the QPAD QH-90 headset is also excellent. After getting the microphone settings dialled into our VOIP program of choice (Razer Comms) I had no complaints from my online friends. In fact, the microphone was complimented even further by one person in particular (thanks Charlie), suggesting that this microphone sounded more like Me when compared to others that have been used in the past!
The boom is particularly flexible ensuring that the mic can be placed not only close to your mouth, but also ensures that it stays where you put it (unlike some we have seen in the past!). The foam Windscreen (I think that’s the right name) also helps filter out some of the unwanted noise too, particularly useful if you’re a heavy breather (Mark!). Overall an excellent microphone with great pickup that was easy to setup with next to no interference or hiss.
* OF COURSE THIS HAS BEEN SAID BEFORE (TWICE NOW!): – So it’s the perfect headset then? Well it’s damn close…
I’ve got a bit of a gripe (yes because hey still haven’t changed it!) with the in-line control box. The microphone mute switch (slide for on/off), it’s pretty awkward to access, especially if you want to try and find it quickly and the operation of the switch is also a little too stiff. This just makes the switch difficult to use; if a sneeze or a cough (or anything else!) is pending, then it’s actually quicker to pull the microphone out instead of trying to find and use the microphone mute button. The reason for bringing this up at all (as it is minor!) is that on the top of the in-line control box is a beautifully placed large press button switch. But that’s for a mobile phone! I thought that this was a Gaming headset for Gamers!?
It’s a shame that HyperX have not done something about this…
The HyperX Cloud is the first (of hopefully many) products from new dedicated Gaming brand HyperX (formerly Kingston HyperX) and there’s no doubt about it, it’s a damn good debut product. The headset was beautifully packaged and the box contains a whole host of additional accessories. From the extension cable and splitter adapters to the additional Velour ear-cushions. There’s a lot to get excited about hear (soz!). 😉
But it’s really all about how it sounds and it’s in that department that the HyperX Cloud scores extremely well, being one of the finest sounding headsets that I’ve heard. The bass level is very good (perfectly tuned for Gaming), without being over the top. The high ends are shrill and can send a shiver down the spine. But luckily this doesn’t come at the expense of the mid-range, which is all present and correct, proving that those 53mm Drivers are more than capable of the job.
Comfort also is extremely good (no really I mean it!), you put this headset on your head and you’ll probably not going to want to take it off again! This is also helped by the fact that HyperX has included two different ear-cushion types; one velour and the pre-fitted leather ones, now you have a choice!
The microphone also works perfectly well, found at the end of a highly flexible (pipe cleaner style) boom, it features great pickup and good noise reduction.
But if you’ve been reading or if you know your headsets, then you’ll know that all of this has been seen and said before, as the HyperX Cloud is based heavily on the Gold award wining QPAD QH-90 headset reviewed just over a year ago. But that’s no bad thing, HyperX have based their headset on one of the finest headsets available and to some degree (adding additional velour ear-cushions and braided cables among other things) have made it even better. But while all of the good attributes have survived the re-brand one of (in fact the only) frustrating feature of the QPAD QH-90 has also survived. That lovely button on the top of the in-line control box is still only for mobile phones!? It would make so much sense if this was a mute button, as the slide mute switch on the side is far too difficult to get to in a hurry when the Mrs bursts in or that sneeze is coming, shame…
HyperX could have nailed it with the Cloud headset, a little lighting would have given it the edge over its derivative, or they could have just sorted that control box a little more. But what we have in the end is one of the best headsets made a little better, I just hope they’re not going to ask too much more for those bells ‘n whistles…
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Many thanks to HyperX for providing this sample for review