Kingston HyperX Cloud II Headset Review. Today we focus on a gaming headset, and this isn’t just any old set either. Let’s backtrack a little first. The very name Kingston, isn’t a one that we all associate with peripherals. We can’t help but think of RAM, it’s the subdivision HyperX that create such products. A name still associated with the like of SSD’s I know, but their other focus is on gaming. HyperX are tightly knitted with eSports and it’s only natural for them to produce gaming related product. Cue the original Cloud headset that amassed a ton of awards, now in 2015 it’s time for a revamp
What should be the next move, when you’ve already developed a multi award-winning product? It’s always a risk to release a new revision. Adding new features is key, but they have to be worthy changes. Design is always a tough call, something new will surely attract additional customers, but change too much and you’ll disgruntle the current ones. So what exactly have Kingston done with V2?
CLOUD I VS II
|HyperX Cloud||HyperX Cloud II|
|Colors||Black, white||Red, gun metal, pink|
|Stereo and mic connection||3.5 mm||3.5 mm (4 poles)|
|53 mm Drivers||?||?|
|Audio control box||?||?|
|Premium USB sound card||?|
|Memory foam ear cups||?||?|
|Memory foam headband||?|
|7.1 virtual surround sound||?|
Right of the bat, more colour choices are now available, however we don’t have the original black or white set yet… but perhaps down the line? (Please!) Logically the reason that Kingston have done this, is because they needed to separate the two models and avoid confusion, as side by side you won’t be able to tell them apart.
All of the original features are still present but we now have extras including a USB sound card with optional 7.1 virtual surround sound, memory foam in the head band,
Pricing on the day of review is in the £70 region.
HyperX™ Cloud II features a newly designed USB sound card audio control box that amplifies audio and voice for an optimal Hi-Fi gaming experience, so you can hear what you’ve been missing. Open up a world of detail other gamers will never know – the rustle of a camper’s boot, the scuttle in a distant vent. It’s independent audio and microphone volume control lets you adjust not only sound volume but also mic volume and easily toggle Surround Sound 7.1 or the mic sound on and off. This next-generation headset generates virtual 7.1 surround sound with distance and depth to enhance your gaming, movie or music experience. Pinpoint your opponents’ location in the game and strike before he sees you coming.
- Advanced USB audio control box with built-in DSP sound card
- Hi-Fi capable with 53mm drivers for supreme audio quality
- Hardware-driven virtual 7.1 surround sound
- Comfortable, 100% memory foam on headband and leatherette cushions
- Pro-Gaming optimized with closed cup design for passive noise cancellation
- Compatible – USB connectivity for PC & Mac. Stereo compatible with PS4, Xbox One (adaptor needed)
- Transducer type: dynamic Ø 53mm with neodynium magnets
- Operating principle: closed
- Frequency response: 15Hz–25,000 Hz
- Nominal impedance: 60 ? per system
- Nominal SPL: 98±3dB
- T.H.D.: < 2%
- Power handling capacity: 150mW
- Sound coupling to the ear: circumaural
- Ambient noise attenuation: approx. 20 dBa
- Headband pressure: 5N
- Weight: 320g
- Weight with microphone and cable: 350g
- Cable length and type: 1m + 2m extension
- Connection: single mini stereo jack plug (3.5 mm)
- Transducer type: condenser (back electret)
- Operating principle: pressure gradient
- Polar pattern: cardioid
- Power supply: AB powering
- Supply voltage: 2V
- Current consumption: max 0.5 mA
- Nominal impedance: ?2.2 k?
- Open circuit voltage: at f = 1 kHz: 20 mV / Pa
- Frequency response: 50–18,000 Hz
- THD: 2% at f = 1 kHz
- Max. SPL: 105dB SPL (THD?1.0% at 1 KHz)
- Microphone output: -39±3dB
- Length mic boom: 150mm (include gooseneck)
- Capsule diameter: Ø6
- Connection: single mini stereo jack plug (3.5mm)
The exterior packaging has had a rethink, updating it and bringing it into the line with the likes of the Kingston HyperX Savage SSD we looked at recently. Black and red are blended to create an almost rustic, industrial like background. With a clear shot of the product in the centre. The key features are listed on the left side, and inside a red portion, there’s a real emphasis on the new control box and general compatibility. It’s worth noting, with the exception of the upcoming revision version, Xbox one controllers require an adaptor for usage. Tucked neatly into the lower left corner, we see the product has a two-year warranty, which is very fair given how much usage these types of product see!
Around the back we are given an overview of features, and while Kingston have tried to spread them out, due to the vast array of languages and such, it does feel a little overwhelming at first glance.
Inside the main box, is a further classy box housing the actual headphones and accessory kit. The choice to lock them down securely with a large foam pad is welcome, ensuring the product arrives in the best condition possible. The silver colour used on the card frame is tied to the colour headset you purchase, so expect some variation.
Glancing closer at the accessories kit what we find is an additional set of ear cups, which differs to ones attached to the headset already. Providing you the choice of either fabric or leatherette.
Also present is a plug-in mic, audio splitter (airplane style) and carry pouch, with draw string. The final addition is the new in line control system( part of usb sound card) , which has had a major design overhaul.
Moving away from the basic controller on V1, which only offered volume control via a simple dial. With Cloud II we have individual control for both volume levels. Allowing control for main output and microphone, a separate mic mute setting in the form of a slider. Finally in the centre, the virtual 7.1 audio function.
Being a USB device, this accessory is only applicable for PC & Mac usage only. Upon inserting the USB cable, the HyperX logo glows red, likewise when the 7.1 feature is enabled it also glows red
[First Look & Impressions]
As I referenced earlier, side by side you’d not be able to tell old and new apart. This isn’t a negative point however, as the saying goes “If it isn’t broke, don’t fix it!” The headband now has a layer of memory foam on cloud II, improving further the comfort from V1. The branding has been stitched rather than printed to ensure longevity, and is edging is finished with a complimenting stitch too (silver here, but changes depending on model)
Size is adjusted in the traditional, pull to expand method. This is where the quality and craftsmanship really shines on the cloud II, with solid metal framing in the band, connecting the main cups. Again colour differences are expected between models. (Silver here, Red anodized and pink available) Being made of metal, durability is certain, with no chances of breakages, or degrading in strength over time. To aid with comfort and suitability for all, the cups are attached on swivel arms. Either cup is accented with a large HyperX logo
As referenced earlier, the microphone is addition rather than fixed, or retractable. To keep the port discrete and dust free, we find a small cover hiding the mic slot.
Naturally the mic is flexible, can be curved and set as you desire
[Usage & Comfort]
As I product reviewer it’s my responsibility to deliver a truthful, fair and accurate analysis. I work with many product types, and for the bulk of which I have a predetermined testing method. These methods are set to ensure one product can be directly compared to the next. However some peripherals such as this, keyboards and mice are the exceptions. There is no industry standard benchmarks or test method. The method I devised on based on a realistic usage of such products… Simply using them!
The product has been used daily now for over a month, to its say to safe I’m now familiar with the product. As we don’t focus on performance alone, this time period ensures durability and comfort testing too.
On day one I needed to make only a small adjustment to the sizing, I also enlisted the help of my children and friends, who concluded across the board that size options are more than adequate, with no one person finding them too small or large. Product weight was an initial concern, due the materials used on the Cloud II, the advantages we’ve covered already but the overall weight counter balanced well, with no obvious sense of them being too much.
Comfort comes from the main contact points, the headband and actual ear cups. I opted to spend most of the review period with the leather options, as I find the fabric just not me liking ( in general, not these specific ones, the choice is appreciated though!) Comfort was without a doubt the best I’ve worked with to date.
Comfort I cannot stress enough, its superior… Most often it’s the headband that causes me irritation over time, either being tight or just plain uncomfortable. No such issue on the Cloud II with the loose feeling but gripping band and memory foam, longer sessions were hassle free. As the cup material is matching and has the same pros, after very long sessions I found no drawbacks.
The real stand out point here with the cloud II, is the versatility in the form of compatibility with PC, Mac, Mobile devices and consoles. While destined to be used any gaming situation, knowing you can transfer over from PC to console in seconds is a real plus. No need to check your drawers for adaptor and converters, we all know such items get up through the night and hide anyway…
Performance, as I stated is subjective, as we all have different perceptions and expectations. I used the product on PC and console, with music and gaming. The overall audio balance is right where it should be, neither overpowering in any one area, nor lacking either. Sound leakage is minimal, and ability to block exterior noise is great without feeling tight. PC and Mac users can benefit front the USB sound card, before I even mention the 7.1 side of things. When the USB card is used, it’s a real eye (ear) opening experience, showing just how much difference there really is between it and on board motherboard solutions that the bulk of us actually use. The 7.1 feature again, subjective and each will perceive it differently. The gains are obvious in the right game or environment. I’m just not a fan of the tech in general. Personally I have a real 7.1 setup in living room, gathering dust and yearning to be used once again. For a software solution it does a fair job of enhancing the experience.
The single area that some may feel the cloud II is lacking is in microphone quality, don’t get me wrong it’s a good mic, especially for online gaming. More than enough for skyping and such too. Just don’t kid yourself into thinking you’ll be able to use the product for recording anything else. While able and decent all around, the noise cancellation does fall down a touch on occasion.
Build quality is way above anything I’ve had the pleasure to work with, and this is positively echoed with amazing comfort levels. It’s much more versatile than most headsets on the market too, switching from one device to next with no burden. Design wise, it ticks all the boxes for a solid gaming headset, with some unique and refreshing colour options too. Pricing is in the £70 region depending on where from and what colour you select, based on my experience I think that’s great value
We feel the Cloud II is easily an “Editor’s choice” award winning product, but must compliment them further with the “Design” award! For those sleek visual and comfort
We would like to thank Kingston for providing the review sample, and eagerly await more from them, in the near future!