HyperX Cloud Alpha Headset Announced!
A short while ago, I predicted that the fine folks at HyperX must be working on a new wireless gaming headset. Wireless is a huge growth market in audio right now, and every other major player in the gaming headset space already has at least one model that has cut the cord.
Then HyperX tweeted this picture of some headphone ear cup supports.
“Awesome!,” I thought to myself. “They’re gonna do it!”
But they didn’t do it.
HyperX Cloud Alpha Overview
The Cloud Alpha is a new $99 headset from HyperX. It looks like this.
Aside from the holes in the ear cup forks, it’s not a huge difference from the old Takstar Pro 80 design that served as the basis for most of the other Cloud headsets.
However, I don’t think they’re working with Takstar any more.
The cable is now detachable. Yes! The Cloud II has needed this feature for approximately two years. Detachable cables are the norm now in this price range, and hopefully this will force Razer to finally start doing this too.
The drivers are now 50mm units, inside a new “Dual chamber” ear cup. I’m not sure about this. They’re probably the same drivers that HyperX designed for the Cloud Revolver, which means that the Takstar Pro 80 drivers are finally gone. I really liked the sound of those drivers, but I guess it makes sense to finally leave them behind after using them for so long? Still, they were like DT770 drivers but for less money.
I just hope the new ones sound good. So for now I’ll be optimistic.
The pads are flat and the headband is larger. I’m sure they’ll be comfy. HyperX is one of the only companies that tries to make all of their gaming headsets absurdly comfy.
I only have three complaints from what we know so far. But they’re kind of bumming me out.
They cut out some extras. You don’t get extra ear pads or a USB sound card in the box any more, but you’re still paying $99.
In a world where the Logitech G433 exists…this is a tough sell.
Humorously, at the bottom of this page, HyperX has a little chart comparing the Cloud Alpha to the G433, implying that the Alpha is better features-wise. But they leave out that the G433 includes extra pads and a DTS Headphone: X sound card. They also leave out that its 40mm drivers are made out of a proprietary low-distortion mesh material, and hope you’ll just consider the bigger driver size to be better.
Heck, the Alpha would lose on that same chart to HyperX’s older Cloud II, if I want to be really picky. Kind of funny right?
It’s not awful that these extras are gone, but it’ll be tougher to compete in the market against Razer and Logitech’s headsets without those bonuses in the box…unless the sound is mind-blowing.
They’re not wireless. HyperX already sells a ton of wired headset models across different price ranges. This new one probably should have been wireless, at least for PC users. I know that adding wireless for console gamers tends to be tougher because you need a full base station thanks to arcane manufacturer rules…but most wireless PC headsets achieve console compatibility with a detachable cable.
Will the Alpha get a wireless revision down the line? Probably? I hope?
Unless HyperX is just absurdly dedicated to the notion of wired gaming.
But Corsair and Logitech both have wireless models in this price range, and Razer and Steelseries are not that far off. So it’s weird to launch a big new wired headset right now and not at least hint that a wireless model is coming.
They’ve already got the Revolver for people that want a premium wired product. Maybe their contract with Takstar ran out?
It’s a Gamestop Exclusive.
I don’t like this.
To be clear, I’d be saying the same exact thing if it were exclusive to any other retailer.
It’s frustrating when this happens, in my opinion. I’m sure that Gamestop paid some money for this, and they’re hoping that headset-obsessed gamers like me will come shop there rather than waiting for the exclusivity window to expire.
But headsets aren’t game consoles. Consoles need exclusive software to sell hardware to customers. Headsets are a whole different business.
It’s actually pretty common for retailers to get exclusive peripherals these days…but usually it’s a special color or edition, and not a “full” exclusive. If Gamestop had a special edition but I could get the regular Alpha everywhere, I’d be less bummed.
I hope the business made sense for HyperX. Maybe Gamestop wrote them a big check. Maybe they’re really going to push it in their marketing. Or maybe, this is HyperX trying to make the best of a low supply/soft launch situation.
I’m not going to buy and review these until they’re available everywhere.
This is the first HyperX headset that hasn’t made total sense to me. Normally their products are very appealing. I’m curious to hear how this one sounds, and feel it on my head…but the lack of surround sound, wireless, and the in-box extras they’re known for is a little puzzling.
Logitech already sells a headset at this same price that blows the Alpha out of the water, features-wise, and it’s great whether you’re on PC or console.
HyperX already sells a headset for $20 more with exceptional audio performance and premium comfort features…and they have a surround version as well.
I expected a little bit more from this, honestly.