Kingston’s first wired gaming headset, the HyperX Cloud, was generally well received by gamers and many media outlets, but it wasn’t quite perfect. Thankfully, the company has really stepped it up for 2015 with a must-buy new model that’s fantastic for the price point. At only $100, the HyperX Cloud II Gaming Headset does double duty as solid gaming and music cans that won’t break your wallet wide open. This nicely upgraded model packs in spare ear cups, a virtual 7.1 DSP USB surround sound card, airplane adapter and even includes a carrying case that fits everything you get inside the big box. While made for PC, PS4 and Xbox One use, you can certainly plug it into anything that has a standard 3.5mm jack and get your head bopping to the beat of whatever you want to listen to.
Inside the outer box is an imposing red box that has a nice note inside thanking you for purchasing the HyperX Cloud II and welcoming you to your new world of sonic bliss. The headphones and accessories are well-packed and presented with a quick-start guide, basic info sheet and oddly enough, a listing of potentially hazardous materials used in their manufacturing (not so conveniently. It’s mostly in Chinese!). There’s no step-by-step manual included, but you can hop online and download a PDF manual if you need one.
The headphones are a sturdy, closed-cup design with dynamic 53mm speakers. They fit comfortably on the head and look a lot less low-key than some other gaming headsets on the market today. Kingston very wisely realized that some gamers wanted a multipurpose set of ‘phones that they could wear indoors and out and not look like Lobot or someone cosplaying as a gaming geek. Gunmetal and black or red and black are your color choices and both feature brushed aluminum ear cup holders and a nice stitched leatherette band with the HyperX logo. That headband is made of memory foam, so it’s comfortable even after a few hours. Yes, even if your game-playing skills stink, you’ll look like a pro while wearing these.
The headphones have a permanently attached 3-foot braided cable, which is perfect for portable devices or sitting down in front of your PC or laptop. But you’ll definitely need that USB surround sound card and its longer extension cable if you’re using this with a console and you want to sit a comfortable distance from your TV. If you’re just sitting down with an older console that doesn’t need a simulated surround boost, you probably want to buy a standard 3.5mm extension cable. The sound card won’t fit into anything pre-PlayStation 2 without a USB port. For the record, about a dozen different systems, from a PC and laptop, to consoles from a Sega Genesis up to a borrowed PS4, were tested with these headphones, and they worked like a champ each time.
Sound quality is superb overall, making the HyperX Cloud II perfect for gaming and music purposes. The unit also ships with a flexible microphone that plugs into a jack in the bottom of the left ear cup. One caveat is the little rubber plug that covers that jack is removable, and unless you pop it into the travel bag or box for safekeeping, you’ll probably lose it. Otherwise the design melds form and function flawlessly. That DSP sound card clips onto whatever you’re wearing and has volume controls for the audio and microphone and a center button that turns the simulated 7.1 surround on and off. The sound boost is noticeable, but not true 7.1 at all. Then again, only the most picky audiophile will gripe about this.
The microphone is excellent, and I actually noted less to no pickup of background noise than with a few more expensive headphones I own. After a few weeks on and off of switching back and forth between three pairs of cans, I’ve found myself reaching for the HyperX Cloud II automatically when I need to dive into a game and shut out the outside world for a bit. I generally don’t listen to music while out and about, as I prefer to keep my eyes and ears open in the big city for whatever randomness NYC throws in my face. That said, for review purposes, I wore these on a trip downtown, and someone wearing a pair of original HyperX headphones came up asked if mine were better than the original. That was a definite “Yes!” and a more definite sale, as the guy said it was his birthday that week, and he wanted to get a gift for himself. Hey, I try to do at least one good deed a day, folks.
Edited by: Avery Osborn
Don’t Just Be Fit. Be Gamer Fit.