The HyperX Cloud Stinger aims to be a no-nonsense, affordable gaming headset, perfect for gamers looking for something that just works while giving them more money to spend on a new graphics card. But how does it perform? Let’s find out.
Design and Comfort
The headset itself is made of plastic, and has a matte finish to prevent fingerprint smudges. On the headphone end, the Cloud Stinger is a pair of circumaural, closed back cans. It connects to your PC, Xbox, PS4, or Wii with a rubber 3.5 mm cable, which you unfortunately can’t detach from the headset.
You can easily slide the headphones up or down to adjust the height, and you can also twist the headphones to lay flat on your shoulders, so you can keep the headphones comfortably around your neck while they’re not on your ears – though taking advantage of this feature didn’t feel that much more comfortable in my actual usage.
When wearing them, however, the Cloud Stinger is one of the more comfortable headsets I’ve ever worn. HyperX boasts that they put a special brand of memory foam for ear padding to help alleviate some of the discomfort and annoyance of having a set of headphones on, and you know what? It really worked. The Cloud Stinger nicely cupped around my ear and didn’t dig my glasses into the side of my face, like some headphones have done to me in the past.
I used the Cloud Stingers for four hours straight at one point and hardly felt any fatigue or discomfort. That’s huge for me, since even some of my favorite pairs of headphones start to annoy me after an hour or two. The foam padding on the headband also prevented the plastic headband from digging into my skull (which is something that has inspired me to throw multiple pairs of headphones across the room in a fit of rage). It’s touches like these that make the Cloud Stinger feel less like a budget choice and more like a high-end option.
Features and Performance
The Cloud Stinger falls a little short when it comes to sound quality, however. That’s not to say it’s bad—it’s more than passable, especially considering the price. I spent some time listening to a wide variety of music, watched some streaming movies and TV shows, and of course played a few games. For music, I found the Cloud Stinger to be lacking in some oomph in the low end and some clarity in the highs.
Though vocals and the mid-range came through nicely on the music I listened to, it was nothing spectacular. For video, things were more than adequate—there were no crackles or hisses, and the sheer comfort of the headphones meant I never needed to take them off to give my ears a break.
I found the performance to be roughly the same in games, though everything sounded slightly distant, especially dialogue. I also experienced a slight distortion when I pumped the volume on the Cloud Stinger to the max, so I recommend listening with the volume somewhere in the middle.
You can easily adjust the volume with a slider under the right ear—not the easiest to quickly access if you’re in the middle of a deathmatch, but still pretty handy, since you can stay in-game without alt-tabbing out.
The microphone is fully adjustable. I absolutely loved how there’s no mute switch—you just flip the microphone upward. No more embarrassing yourself on chat because you can’t find the mute button when you have to tell your roommate you’ll do your dishes after this round. Just flip the mike up. You do have to make sure it’s completely upward, however (you’ll hear a little click as confirmation). One minor bummer is the mic can’t be removed.
The sound quality of the mic was average. Sometimes it would feel slightly tinny, but nothing out of the ordinary for a headset microphone. It did cancel out background noise, which is really helpful when you have a bunch of roommates and your gaming PC is right in the middle of the living room.
Overall, the best thing the Cloud Stinger has going for it is its comfort. A comfortable pair of headphones goes a long way, especially for a gaming headset where you’re going to be wearing it for long stretches at a time. But the sound quality left me feeling a little underwhelmed. If you need a budget gaming headset and aren’t an audiophile, you’ll be more than happy with the Cloud Stinger. But I’ll still be reaching for a higher-end pair of headphones when I need to do some serious listening.