HyperX Cloud II Wireless Review
If you're even a little bit of a competitive gamer you'll know of the HyperX Cloud line of headsets. It's basically impossible to browse streaming websites without finding multiple streamers using a pair of Cloud cans, and professional players also flock to this product in droves. The Cloud II in particular has been without a doubt one of the most ubiquitous headsets in the world of gaming, and for a while now people have been wondering when HyperX would take the step to make their poster child wireless.
After multiple other wireless HyperX headset releases that day is finally here: the Cloud II cut the cord. This one obviously has a lot to live up to, and with a rechargeable battery capable of up to 30 hours of game time along with an impressive range of 20 meters this looks to be an interesting addition to the wireless headset market but we all know that specs don't tell the whole story. Were compromises made to achieve this wireless capability? Is the sound quality up to scratch? Does is provide a stable connection?
Find out all that and more in our full review!
HyperX Cloud II Wireless - First Impressions
If you know your Clouds you won't be surprised by the wireless version: it looks almost the exact same as its wired sibling, with a few small differences. The ear cup covers are now finished with a matte coating as opposed to the glossy fingerprint magnet material that's found on the wired version. The frame around the cups now has a bit of a curve to it, and the plastic bits that covered the point where the frame attaches to the ear cups are gone, making it look a bit slimmer.
As is tradition with these headsets the Cloud II Wireless focuses on build quality. It's got an extremely flexible and durable aluminum frame along with generous amounts of padding, complete with a really nice stitching job on the headband. The reliable and comfortable build quality has always been a selling point for these headsets and luckily HyperX hasn't made any big changes.
This particular headset comes with HyperX red accents. I'm no fan of the color red but it's not a neon 'in your face' kind of color so it doesn't bother me personally, and if past releases are anything to go by HyperX should be releasing these in other colorways in the future.
Inside the box you get the usual paperwork along with the wireless dongle, the detachable mic, a pop filter for said mic, an unusually short USB-C cable, and of course the headset itself. That's everything you need to use the headset but I do miss those replacement velours ear cushions that HyperX includes with their wired Cloud II. I personally don't like using faux leather ear cushions for extended periods of time so for me that would've definitely been a bonus.
There's also the fact that the included USB-C cable is pretty darn short. You can use this headset while you're charging it and even though you're not likely to encounter a drained battery if you remember to plug it in at night it would help a bit if the included cable actually allowed you to use it while charging. It's just too short for that, unless you regularly game with your head resting on your PC case.
Of course pretty much everyone will have a longer USB-C cable lying around these days so it's not a big deal but that doesn't change the fact that it could be longer if you ask me.
Build and comfort
As I mentioned before this is one sturdy headset. There are no creaky bits or plasticky parts that feel as if they're bound to give up soon: the whole thing feels very high quality. The aluminum frame is also extremely flexible and bendable, meaning that I can get a comfortable and secure fit on my large dome without any annoying pressure points to be found anywhere.
As far as the long term comfort goes I can only say positive things too: I wore this thing for multiple gaming sessions spanning the entire evening (and parts of the night) and I had no issues at all. That's down to a couple of factors: it's a pretty light headset for being wireless, for one, but the headband also has memory foam padding, meaning that I never felt any pressure on the top of my head. Combine that with the flexibility of the frame that I already mentioned and the thick and soft memory foam ear cushions and you've got yourself one comfy piece of equipment.
There's one caveat here: I would have loved to see some velours ear cushions, as I said before. With these leatherette materials I often get the feeling that my ears are too 'locked in' during long sessions, and I don't like the fact that it's not a very breathable material at all. I found myself moving the ear cups away from my ears a couple of times after a match to let my ears 'breathe' because, to me, closed back headphones with leatherette ear cushions can feel a bit restrictive and almost sticky after time, even when I'm not sweating. That's of course very subjective (I also don't like sitting in leather seats for long periods of time, for example) so if you don't have that problem you have nothing to worry about since these ear cushions are very soft and form to your skull shape really nicely.
Sound and mic
The wired version of the Cloud II is known around the world for its excellent value proposal, offering a nicely balanced sound along with a reliable build quality and superior comfort without any gimmicks driving up the price. I've already established that the build quality and comfort of the wireless version is on par with its wired edition but of course the sound that it delivers is going to be a decisive factor in deciding whether or not this is worth it, and if you're looking for the short answer I've got it here for you: yes it's worth it.
The Cloud II Wireless has a fairly balanced sound: the bass is definitely there but it's not overly bombastic like it can be with some other dedicated gaming headsets, and while the highs can be a bit overdone to the point where they become harsh at higher volumes in some games I didn't regularly find myself being bothered by this so that's excusable in my opinion. Do take note of this if you love to play at higher volumes though.
What's impressive here is the positional audio. I used this headset for a variety of games and in games such as Overwatch, VALORANT, and CS:GO where it's of critical importance to know where your enemies are making noise this Cloud II Wireless really shines. It of course depends on the game you're playing (not even the best headset in the world can save a game with dodgy audio) but I found that I got excellent clarity while playing competitive shooters: the bass isn't overbearing so that explosions drown out more important audio cues and I found it easy to determine where sounds such as reloads and what have you came from.
The Cloud II Wireless also comes with virtual 7.1 Surround Sound. I sometimes like to turn this on for single player games (I never do for competitive shooters) but usually these simulated surround sound modes sound a bit too artificial for me to keep using them for extended periods of time. That's not really the case here: in some games I actually really liked the implementation, and while I could definitely live without it this is one of the better surround sound simulations I've tried in recent times.
In summary I would say that this is an excellent gaming headset. The soundstage gives you a reliable sense of space and the EQ is almost perfectly tuned for gaming but sadly there's no way to change the equalizer settings as of now, meaning that it's a bit disappointing for media consumption. Of course this is subjective (different people like different sound profiles) but for me the highs are a bit too overdone to really enjoy using this headset as a primary device for browsing Netflix and listening to songs.
On to the mic, then. This has been a rather difficult hurdle to take for wireless headsets, and while the Cloud II Wireless does clear that proverbial hurdle it doesn't do so without stumbling. The mic is decent for a wireless headset but if you're planning on using it for content creation or long video/voice calls I would definitely recommend an external microphone. It's clear enough to make callouts when gaming or to talk to your gaming pals a bit between rounds but nothing more than that as far as I'm concerned.
Mic Sound Test
Features and ease of use
The Cloud II Wireless can be used as a plug and play device so you don't really need to download any software if you don't want to. On the right ear cup there's a volume wheel and on the left cup you'll find a charge indicator LED and a mic mute button (muting the mic activates a red LED ring at the mic, which is nice) as well as a power button. You can press that power button to toggle the 7.1 Surround Sound mode, and the mic mute button can be long pressed to toggle sidetone.
Unfortunately there is no reason to mess around in the software at all at this point in time. HyperX's NGENUITY app is nice and clear to use but unfortunately there isn't a lot to do in there if you only have this Cloud II Wireless plugged in. There is no way to adjust the sidetone volume, for example. For those who don't know: sidetone basically plays back whatever you're feeding the mic to you so that you can always hear how you're sounding. I find this feature really useful and always have it activated if the headset I'm using allows me to but it's a bit of a bummer that you can't even adjust the monitoring volume. For me personally it's just about right so I am not bothered by it but others might be.
It's not only the monitoring though: there is no way to change the equalizer or even choose between a couple of presets, meaning that you're stuck with the default sound profile. That's a great one for gaming so this is (again) not a big problem but I do like to use different profiles for media consumption and competitive gaming, for example. It could be a good idea to allow for a bit more customization in the software is all I'm saying.
The wireless aspect works great. I must say that I had two instances where I could hear a crackling in the headset (which definitely wasn't part of the song I was listening to at that time) but I did not have that problem any more when I put the dongle in a different USB port and it's been performing flawlessly for days now so I don't think this is a regularly occurring problem.
Aside from that the Cloud II Wireless delivers an accurate and lag-free wireless experience with an impressive battery life (I got about 28 hours) and range. I kept the headset on my head when I went off to grab a drink during gaming sessions and the sound only cut off when I reached the kitchen (which is on a different floor of the house) so that's definitely impressive.
The Cloud II is a legendary piece of gaming equipment, so anything that succeeds it or bears its name will have to live up to that. Perhaps it's for that reason that HyperX still hasn't announced the Cloud III (or perhaps they just feel like the Cloud II is still more than good enough for today's market; I wouldn't blame them if they thought that) and perhaps that's also why it took so long for them to release a wireless version of their most beloved headset but now that it's finally here I can say that it's definitely worth the name.
Is the Cloud II Wireless the most amazing gaming headset I've ever used? No, it's not. I don't think it pretends to be that though. This is a headset that focuses on doing the job, and doing so without any bells and whistles that ultimately just drive up the price. What you get here is an extremely reliable and comfortable wireless headset with a long lasting battery that offers a great sound for gamers. The mic is 'just' decent, and I would have loved some velours ear cushions and more tuning options in the software but if you're looking to go wireless and you love everything about the wired Cloud II this is a match made in heaven.