HyperX Cloud II Gaming Headset Review

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For years, Kingston’s gamer-centric HyperX brand has been at the front of gaming memory solutions: Solid State Drives, Memory modules, and even USB Sticks. Lately, they’ve decided to branch out in the world of gaming audio headsets. Breaking into what I consider an already extremely competitive headset market that’s definitely a challenging endeavor. So how does the Cloud II Headset, an update to the original Cloud headset released only a year ago, stack up to the competition?

  • Features
    • Advanced USB audio control box with built-in DSP sound card
    • Hi-Fi capable with 53mm drivers for supreme audio quality
    • Hardware-driven virtual 7.1 surround sound
    • Comfortable, 100% memory foam on headband and leatherette cushions
    • Pro-Gaming optimized with closed cup design for passive noise cancellation
    • Compatible – USB connectivity for PC & Mac. Stereo compatible with PS4, Xbox One1and mobile

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Packaging

The Cloud II headset comes in a hefty box. Inside was another gray box that neatly houses the headset. The first thing you’ll notice is that design is very tame compared to other brands of gaming headsets, opting to look more like a pair of headphones, especially when the microphone itself is detachable. The mic itself is bendable and comes with a wind screen to keep out unwanted noises. The cord comes out of the left ear car and is not detachable. Out of the box, the headset is equipped with leatherette ear cups and headband with the HyperX logo threaded across the top. Kingston also includes a pair of fuzzy velour cups should those be your cup of tea.

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In the place of the inline controls is a USB sound card with a 3.5mm jack that the headset cord plugs into. The module itself doubles as a DAC and handles the audio processing. On the controls are the volume for both listening and mic levels. A switch allows you to toggle the mic on or off. The 7.1 virtual surround audio can be activated through the button in the middle, only if it’s plugged into a computer. Surprisingly, the Cloud II even comes with an airplane headphone jack adapter. Lastly, a mesh bag that you can store the headphone and accessories in.

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Modesty Speaks Volume

While other companies are opting to give their headsets a futuristic vibe, the Cloud II sticks to what already works and layers on top of that. For example, the little details like the clip on the back on the sound card or the closed design allowing for passive noise cancelling stands for welcomed functionality. From the onset, it seems that Kingston intended the Cloud II to be used beyond just simply another gaming headset. At first glance, the Cloud II looks like a pair of high-end headphones rather than a headset thanks to the detachable microphone. Removing it practically makes it indistinguishable from any other typical headphone which is great when you want to bring it along with you on the go.

The headset itself is extremely comfortable to wear for hours on end and the fact that they were generous enough to include an extra pair of ear cups and even accessories gives the Cloud II a lot of value. Whether or not you will use them is up to the person, but having the option means Kingston clearly wants people to take these cans everywhere. The separation of the sound card from the headphone does sometime poses a little problem as it dangles quite a bit if you don’t use the clip and as a result the 3.5mm plug will come off the plug if there’s ever a sharp tug or pull on accident.

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Punching Quality

The Cloud II boasts very clean and powerful sound for its price range. I fired up Ultra Street Fighter VI on PC and took the pair through some rigorous testing. Hits and grunts came out crisp and clear to the ear as I dished out punches and kicks. The sound of the fireball impacts gave out some nifty bass. Next, I decided to try out the 7.1 virtual surround sound built in to the sound card. I tested it in Left 4 Dead 2 and hoped it would help me hear those sneaky zombies hiding in unseen places. Pressing the button instantly knocked up the sounds up a notch, however it seems to do just that and nothing more. Upon careful listening, it does increases the range of sound with the unfortunately side effect of amplifying a distinct static at low volumes. That isn’t to say it’s not bad, rather it does add some faint echo effect to all the sound that simulates the surround feeling.

The detachable microphone is unremarkably the weakest aspect of the Cloud II. While it’s passable for gaming communication and VoIP applications, it doesn’t quite reach the level of professional quality needed for recordings. The sound card and windscreen helps keep external noises away, but in the process slightly distorts your own voice as well though it’s barely noticeable.

Packing Heat

The HyperX Cloud II may sound fancy with its naming, but it’s certainly generous in its offerings. Taking the experiences they’ve had honing some of the best memory solution in the business, HyperX has created a gaming headset that goes should make other companies re-evaluate that’s what’s really important than bright led accents and removable face plates. Add to the fact the whole thing sells for under 100 bucks almost makes it a steal. Anyone looking for a headset that packs loads of features without breaking the bank should take a good hard look at the Cloud II.

Rating: 4/5 Atoms

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Hokan Lo
Hokan Lo 324 posts

Hokan Lo is a contributing writer and photographer for Nerd Reactor. He likes Pizza Butts and Mello Yellow. You can contact him on twitter @colorinlive. <a href="http://nerdreactor.com/about/">Meet the Nerd Reactor Team</a>