I don’t do a whole lot of up-close computer-based gaming, but when I do, I prefer to have a decent set of headphones to keep the sound to myself so that the rest of the household doesn’t need to hear the full complement of explosions and combat sounds that typically accompany gaming on my Mac. There are an array of headsets out there with gaming microphones built in, many of them in the $300 and up range.
Not everyone can afford this sort of luxury, so most brands have less-expensive versions of their headsets to appeal to a more budget-conscious gamer. The HyperX Cloud is just such a set of headphones aiming for the entry-level gamer who may not have much more than $100 to spend on their gaming audio gear.
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Memory and flash drive maker Kingston has entered the gaming market with its new HyperX branded peripherals, including RAM, flash drives, and headsets marketed to the entry-level gamer.
The HyperX Cloud headset we tested out here is a late addition to an already crowded market, giving the company a steep climb to the sort of scalability that a lower-margin product like this must attain in order to make sense to continue making. Other brands have similarly-priced headsets, as well, notably the Plantronics Rig system or the Razer Kraken Pro, which seem to be close competitors for gamer dollars.
Taken as a set of gaming headphones on its own, however, the HyperX Cloud set is a decent gaming rig, with two styles of memory-foam ear cups, one covered in a soft glossy leatherette, the other in a fuzzy velour-like material. Both will keep your head and ears happy for long gaming sessions, as will the well-cushioned, comfortable leatherette-covered headband that keeps the headset on tightly without a lot of pressure on your head.
The removable microphone works just fine as both an in-game communication device as well as a way to chat on your iPhone when out and about, if you don’t mind looking like a huge gamer with the fuzzy pop guard on the end of the boom mic. Of course, you can always pull the adjustable mic off of the headset and use them purely for audio, too.
The headset comes with an in-line volume and microphone push to talk button extension, along with a standard PC-style green and pink headset/mic double audio jack, which can then be plugged into an adapter that turns those into one three-ring iPhone-style mini-jack. They’ve made sure all gaming sources of audio (save USB) can be routed to the headset, including the Playstation 4, which has a 3-ring jack in its new DualShock 4 controllers.
The sound of the headset is good enough for pretty much anything I was able to throw at it via the Mac, iPhone, iPad, or PlayStation 4, though the overall sound quality seems kind of flat, as compared to a couple other headsets I’ve used. These function just fine, however, and will work for most of us non-audiophiles when just playing music from our devices.
While you don’t want to expect high-end Dolby surround sound from this HyperX Cloud gaming headset, the stereo separation was good for both music and gaming applications. The ear cups help block sound from your environment, though they don’t keep the sound of your game from being heard.
Ultimately, this entry-level set of headphones is a quality peripheral for around $80 at Amazon, which should fit most everyone’s budget. They’re comfy enough to game in for a long time, and the sound is good enough to satisfy most of us. If you’re looking for an affordable set of comfortable gaming headphones that will work with all your gaming devices, the HyperX Cloud headset from Kingston may be your best bet.
HyperX Cloud gaming headset by Kingston ($79.99 Amazon)
The good: great price for the feature set; second set of ear cups will let you customize your own comfort; a wide variety of input options.
The bad: The headphones don’t keep the sound in as much as they should.
The verdict: For $80, you can’t go wrong here.
Buy from Amazon