Review: The HyperX Cloud Pro headset offers comfort and performance in a slick package
Kingston Technology's HyperX brand has a well-established reputation in the world of gaming thanks to their extensive selection of high-performance RAM and SSDs. Their move into the world of peripherals, though, is a relatively recent development. Their SteelSeries Siberia model has been out for a while now, and has received almost universally positive reviews. Their new HyperX Cloud Pro gaming headset, set to be released on April 28th, represents the company's attempt at a slightly higher-end headset model -- and it is, in just about every way, a big success.
The high-quality experience offered by the HyperX Cloud Pro begins before you even take the headset out of the box. That's because the Cloud offers some of the most intelligent and useful packaging I've ever encountered in the world of gaming peripherals. After sliding off the outside cover, you're presented with this:
Rather than a lot of hard plastic to cut through or a cheap box you'll discard and never use again, the HyperX Cloud comes packed in a black box that's sturdy, functional, and actually rather elegant. The box is simple to open, doesn't fall apart, and actually seems designed to be used to store and transport your headset for months or years down the road. Also, unlike so many examples of gaming peripheral packaging, this is something I could actually imagine displaying on my desk or in my home, since it lacks garish colors or childish "extreme and cool!" fonts and graphics.
Once you've actually opened the box, you have chance to see exactly what you're getting with the HyperX Cloud:
At $100, the Cloud sits roughly in the middle of the market in terms of price, but it's also true that $100 is a significant investment for a lot of people. Fortunately, HyperX has provided several useful extras for your money. The Cloud comes complete with cord extenders and adapters that should be all you need to use the headset to listen to music, talk on the phone, or game on your PC or console of choice. You also get the convenience of a detachable microphone (though the little piece of rubber that normally covers the microphone port seems like it will inevitably get lost, which is a shame), a quality mesh travel bag, and even an alternate set of red-centered covers for the earpieces. I didn't like these red ones much myself, both because I prefer the simple black color and because I found the fuzzy material of the red covers less comfortable than the cool leatherette of the black ones, but having options is always a nice thing.
The HyperX Cloud was developed by Kingston in conjunction with a Swedish company known as QPAD, and the Cloud is a re-branded, updated, and enhanced version of that company's QH-90 headset. There are plenty of reviews of the QH-90 online praising that headset's sound quality, and the Cloud hits all the same high marks. The headset's specs boast "Hi-Fi capable 53mm drivers" and "15 -- 25.000 Hz frequency response," but in reality those numbers can't actually tell you a great deal about the sound quality of the headset.
I found the sound quality on the Cloud to be superb, with all the different levels coming through perfectly. A big pet peeve of mine with headsets is overpowering bass, so I was happy to find that that wasn't an issue with the Cloud. The bass was there, appropriately present, but it didn't distort or drown out the other sounds. Critically, the earpieces do a great job of blocking out external sounds, so you can focus on your game, music, or movie. I played a lot of the game Daylight using the Cloud headset, and found that it did a fantastic job of presenting the intricately layered audio that is so essential to creating that game's atmosphere.
During my testing, I found the microphone to be very good at its job. I would have preferred that it be a bit more forgiving in terms of placement near your face, since the "sweet spot" to avoid a volume drop-off or the dreaded "Is the microphone in your mouth?" effect isn't very large, but it's in the same boat as basically every other quality gaming headset in that regard. Once I had located the right spot for the microphone it did a good job of staying in place and avoided picking up the sound of breathing, which are essential features for me.
Construction and Appearance
The most interesting thing about the Cloud for me is its aluminum frame, which is most apparent in the arcing half-circles that attach the headpiece to the earpieces. This frame represents something of a double-edged sword in terms of portability for the Cloud, as I experienced when I took the headset with me to travel to PAX East this year. I used the Cloud as my headphones throughout my trip, which meant that it spent a lot of time stuffed into a pocket of my laptop bag under the seat in front of me on my flights. The sturdy aluminum frame did a great job of protecting the earpieces from damage during this rather rough treatment, but since the frame has a limited amount of flex it also meant that I couldn't compress the Cloud in my bag quite as much as I could with other headsets. It also features a resilient braided cord, which resists wear and tear far better than cheaper alternatives but is also slightly thicker. With the Cloud you're accepting a bit more bulk in exchange for high-quality construction and durability.
The Cloud looks really slick for the most part, and I like the dominant black color with the subtle red accents; this is a headset that I wasn't embarrassed to use as headphones out in public. The only problem I have with the way it looks has to do with the two little cords that provide the audio to the earpieces and arc out from the headpiece. I found that they looked a little odd sticking out like that, and though it seem strong enough I found myself worrying that they would get caught on something and damaged. I'm not sure what HyperX could have done differently with the cords, but as they are they're a minor oddity on an otherwise sleek and fantastic piece.
I wore the Cloud for hours at a time and it never became uncomfortable. Their aluminium frame means it's extremely light, and the leatherette material of the black earpiece covers stays cool against your skin. The headband and ear cushions are soft and padded -- Kingston even boasts about the ear cushions being "memory foam." The aluminum frame's natural arc means that the Cloud distributes its weight more evenly than other headsets. I found that it felt less like it was resting on my head and more like it was "perching" on it, holding itself out and away from my head in all the right places and touching only where it needed to.
Here are the criteria I consider most important for judging the HyperX Cloud Pro gaming headset:
#1 Performance -- 9/10
The Cloud sounds great and is very clear and blocks outside noise well. The microphone is a standard high-quality gaming mic.
#2 Comfort -- 10/10
I have about a dozen gaming headsets lying around my office I could use at any given time to listen to music while I work, and I always pick the HyperX Cloud because it feels the best.
#3 Appearance -- 9/10
The shape, color, and subtle logo use are all great. The twin cords above and behind the earpieces are a little odd.
#4 Durability -- 9/10
The aluminum frame is strong and can withstand being shoved into your luggage.
#5 Extras -- 9/10
In addition to a quality headset you get a nice box, a travel bag, a detachable mic, and a set of alternate red covers for the ear cushions.
Overall score: 9.2
The HyperX Cloud is a great choice if you're looking for a well-designed headset you can wear for hours. It should work well for your gaming needs, but it's also one of the few gaming headsets that could be equally at home as your day-to-day headphones.
GameCrate reviews represent the opinions of the GameCrate writer who wrote them, and not necessarily those of Newegg.