Kingston HyperX Cloud Review

Manufacturer: Kingston
UK price (as reviewed):
£64.99 (inc VAT)
US price (as reviewed): $79.99 (ex Tax)

The HyperX Cloud headset was announced by Kingston earlier this year, though we only had our first brief hands on with it at Gamescom a few months after. We immediately felt familiar with the hardware, unsurprising since it's actually a rebrand of the Qpad QH-90, which just happens to be our favourite stereo gaming headset. As such, though the hardware itself isn't new or overly interesting, the move does make sense. The world of gaming peripherals is very much about branding now (something Corsair recognised with the recent launch of Corsair Gaming), and having a strong presence at eSports events and on the heads or at the fingertips of professional gamers can be just as important for generating sales and interest as traditional reviews like this, if not more so. Qpad is not really a big player in that market, so a more gamer-oriented rebrand helps them as well by exposing their hardware to a wider audience.

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We were surprised to learn that the Kingston HyperX Cloud, at around £65, is about £15 cheaper than the Qpad QH-90. This did leave us briefly wondering what Kingston's margins are like on the headset, but ultimately that's not our concern. The fact that you can now get this Qpad hardware in the form of the HyperX Cloud for this price is a brilliant start.

The build quality is excellent. The main frame throughout the headband and holding the earcups in place is aluminium, which is flexible enough to allow a good fit but equally very strong and also lightweight – in many ways it's the perfect material for a headset. Even the stitching across the headband is lovely, and we also think the HyperX Cloud is a step up aesthetically from the plainer Qpad design, especially this black and white edition.

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Comfort is where everything comes together for this headset, as it excels beyond anything else we've experienced. Once again, the lightweight frame coupled with the leather coated memory foam earcups and headband makes it a joy to use. Both earcups can be extended a fair distance easily and they have enough freedom of movement to fit very naturally to the shape of your head without feeling loose or flimsy. The earcups are also roomy, and while the leather does mean you get quite a tight seal, the pressure exerted is well balanced so that they don't clamp down too forcefully, and long sessions will result in warmth but not overheating.

The standard non-detachable cable is now braided as opposed to just rubber coated for superior quality. It ends in a pair of 3.5mm jacks, but a generous selection of accessories opens it up to a wide range of uses. There's a line-in controller with volume and mic mute controls, as well as a button to play and pause music while on the go, which is handy as an adaptor for mobile users with a single TRRS 3.5mm jack is also supplied. Next is a 2m extension cable, handy if you're playing on a bigger screen. There's also the detachable microphone, which is highly flexible and records sound well, and a bag to put everything in.

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All of the above mentioned accessories are included with the Qpad too, but Kingston has a couple of its own additions. Firstly is the adaptor for aeroplane seats and second is a secondary set of standard foam earcups without leather coating. These are firmer and not quite as comfortable, but they are more breathable than their counterparts, so might appeal to those prone to overheating or who are always gaming for many hours at a time. They can be a bit fiddly to change, but it shouldn't take more than a few minutes. We also would have liked a clip on the in-line controller, as there's a lot of cable between it and the headset, but otherwise it's very generous bundle

Sound is as good as ever from the two 53mm drivers, and again high-end reproduction is fantastic and really brings out the finer details of your music. Individual, single channel crash symbols were still easy to pick out amongst the bass, multiple guitars, vocals and percussion (all of which were clear too) in heavy metalcore tracks, for example, while a selection of electronic music confirmed the Cloud's abilities across the whole spectrum. As before, the bass could use a touch more bass, but that's really nitpicking – it's still pleasant and easy to hear, it just doesn't dominate as it does in so many gaming headsets. Therefore, explosions and other actions sequences may not be quite as boomy as you're used to in games, but overall we preferred the more balanced soundscape in the games we played with.

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There's also no distortion at the highest volume and leakage is very low too. It's worth noting, however, that the second set of earcups do make bass notes less apparent, and sound was a bit too dominated by the crystal clear highs as a result. Nevertheless, this may actually be of benefit in certain competitive games, as footsteps would be easier to pick out, for example.

Conclusion

Given the starting hardware, it would have been difficult for Kingston to go wrong with the HyperX Cloud, but even so it produced a fantastic product. With the braided cable, aeroplane adaptor and replacement earcups, Kingston is actually offering more for your money, for almost 20 percent less actual money – it's hard to argue with a deal like that. It may not have fancy audio features like simulated or real surround sound or active noise cancellation, but the line-in controller gives you some basics, the sound reproduction is excellent and the comfort unmatched. This is truly a headset to beat.
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  • Sound Quality
    38 / 40
  • Design
    28 / 30
  • Value
    29 / 30

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