When I received a press release regarding the Kingston HyperX Cloud headset I was immediately intrigued. Here is a company that I have used for years for solid state drives, RAM, and thumb drives and now, with their HyperX line they were breaking into the gaming and high performance market. Knowing that they were a company that has always put quality before quantity (their flash drives are some of the best in the business), I wanted to get my hands on a headset and when Kingston sent a headset out to me I was absolutely over-joyed and I would not be lying if I said I could not wait to get the unit.
Every time a package came in I would tear into the box hoping to get find a Kingston HyperX box and on more than one occasion I found myself a little disappointed that it was not in the shipping package. When it did come though I was grinning from ear to ear and the anticipation was nigh uncontrollable; looking back I do not think I have been that excited for a headset to come in since the amazing SteelSeries Siberia Elite Anniversary Editions. The big question though, is whether this sub-$100 headset can stand up to the competition or if it suffers from some of the same quality issues that other inexpensive gaming headsets do; read on to find out that answers.
First I need to comment about the overall presentation of the headset; the Kingston HyperX Cloud headset comes in a relatively small yet very sturdy box that is only slightly larger than the headset. The heavy material the box is made from (the shipping weight is near on 6 pounds) gives the perfect first impression and makes the headset feel very "elite." Once you open the package the high-quality presentation continues on with a well wrapped and packed headset nestled tightly in dense protective foam. Kingston seriously took time and effort to package the headset in just the right way that it shows off all of the glorious curves of the Cloud without looking ridiculous in a massive wadding of foam and plastic. It is an excellent presentation that helps build confidence in the Kingston HyperX brand's first foray into the audio world.
While getting the package and pulling out the headset is a joy, the HyperX Cloud is much nicer to look at when it is outside of its stoic packaging. The model of the Cloud that I received is the extra-sleek looking white version as it has a bit more character than the all black model. Other than the matte white and aluminum-backed cups (that have the extra nice looking HyperX logo on them), the very first feature to draw the eye would be the stitched leather band with the HyperX name embroidered into it. The plush band prevents the beautiful brushed aluminum bar that makes up the backbone of the headset's form from chafing your skull. Not only does the entire unit simply ooze quality, but various cable connections, detachable microphone and leatherette ear cups that you can switch out for a pair of ultra smooth cloth felt cups ensure that the HyperX will work with devices ranging from tablets and PCs to the PlayStation 4. Having such a rich and amazing build quality while surprising is a testament to Kingston bringing their core values from their SSD and RAM development departments to the HyperX peripherals department.
Though I can argue that looking good is important in any peripheral, the most important aspect for a headset is how it sounds. The Kingston HyperX Cloud uses a series of 53mm neodymium that give a solid range of audio, though I would like a tad more bass out of them (but that is me being picky). The highs are oh-so-clean; listening to audio ranging from a myriad of Final Fantasy games to artists like Christina Perri, Adele and Alicia keys who all can hit these highs that on lesser devices will absolutely wreck a speaker. The HyperX Clouds handle those just fine without a single warble, static, or pop and after having the headset nearly glued to my head the last week, show no sign of where and tear.
The midrange audio reproduction is excellent and in fact, one of the first songs played on the headset was Jeremy by Pearl Jam and the words that slipped out of a friend's mouth was "Holy [expletive], these things make Eddie Vedder of Pearl Jam sound good!" (mind you, I enjoy Pearl Jam and my friend does not). Realistically the headset can handle any range thrown at it, whether it is the midrange vocals like Live, Pearl Jam, and John Legend, or the firing of weapons in video games like Battlefield 3, the HyperX Cloud's performance is spot on. The lows, while they could be better, were clean and clear though Benedict Cumberbatch's voice as Smaug in The Hobbit: Desolation of Smaug could have been reproduced a little better but that was one of the only instances that I truly said that. Listening to bass-heavy music like Sublime or Pitbull yields a pleasant and clean tone that responds quickly to the audio.
I think that the Kingston HyperX Cloud headset is the breakout headset this year. While the audio is a short step down from the SteelSeries Siberia Elite Anniversary Edition (that received a 10 for 10 here at Chalgyr's Game Room) the sheer difference in cost makes the HyperX Cloud headset a must buy. You will be getting some of the best audio possible at less than $100 that hooks up to not only your PC or Mac, but to your PlayStation 4. On top of the pure build quality of the Kingston HyperX Cloud, the passive noise canceling is some of the best in the business which helps to ensure you hear exactly what you want to hear with no background noise infiltrating your games, movies, or music playlists.
Overall I cannot but be impressed by the quality of the Kingston HyperX Cloud, from the care that is shown in its packaging to the quality of the audio that the headset produces; this is by far one of my favorite headsets I have ever had the pleasure of testing.
Review by Robert