NOTE: HyperX kindly sent me an evaluation unit of both this headset and their new Chargeplay Base to review, alongside marketing assets and information, but no money changed hands and I had full editorial control over this article.
As per my reviews policy, this article will never be monetized, but additional content about this headset I write in the future may be.
HyperX is on a roll lately, updating their iconic headset lineup with “S” models that add their new custom virtual surround sound alongside other cosmetic upgrades.
This happened first with the Cloud Alpha S, which came in a blue color scheme, added bass adjustment sliders and better padding, and included a surround sound dongle in the box.
Now, the wireless Cloud Flight receives the same treatment. HyperX cut the red lighting and wired connection option, but added virtual surround sound, better pads, customizable control buttons, and Qi wireless charging. That last feature feels like a glimpse into the future of gaming peripherals.
The HyperX Cloud Flight S is a closed-back, wireless gaming headset that retails for $159. You can find its official product page here. It only connects by syncing to its wireless USB dongle, and it’s compatible with PC, PS4, or a docked Nintendo Switch.
To get full surround sound input support, you’ll need to use them with a Windows 10 PC, and you’ll probably also want to install the new version of HyperX Ngenuity from the Windows 10 Store. That software allows you to customize the four control buttons on the left ear cup, and control all the settings without touching the headset.
HyperX includes a detachable microphone and a USB charging cable in the box. Although the cable charges the headset adequately, wireless charging is one of my favorite new features here, and I’d personally recommend taking advantage of it if you’re spending the ~$20 price premium on this headset over the standard Flight.
If you already own a wireless charger, odds are high that it supports Qi, the open charging standard that’s used by iPhones and many Android products. The Cloud Flight S should charge on any wireless pad that supports this standard, or if you feel like buying a HyperX-branded one, they offer the Chargeplay Base for $59 (official page). The base offers two charging pads with red lights, and a USB-C power adapter.
Battery life is great, with a rating of up to 30 hours per charge thanks to the lack of lighting in the headset. This number seems about right to me, I got 28 hours on a full charge at fifty percent volume, and with some mic usage.
Not much has changed with the Flight’s sound over its different iterations. I recently reviewed the Xbox-focused CloudX Flight, and the sound in this new S model is quite similar.
That’s a good thing.
The Flight has a balanced sound profile with a little fun right where it counts. The bass is nice and full of punch. The mids are accurate without sounding too veiled or sharp. And the treble is clean and free of fatiguing peaks or sibilance. It’s a wonderful sound profile for games, movies, or music. Casual listeners and audiophiles will both likely be pleased with the quality on offer.
If you’re a fan of HyperX’s impressive bass and you want a wireless headset, I enjoyed the low end response on this new S model a touch more than on the CloudX Flight I reviewed recently. That’s probably thanks to the new thicker ear pads, which I’ll talk more about below.
As far as the virtual surround goes, it’s only fully supported on PC, where the Flight S shows up in Windows 10 as a true 7.1 device as long as you configure it that way in your sound control panel. The surround mode has great virtual speaker placement, though turning it on also engages some additional EQ that brings more punch to the bass, extra bite to the treble, and more volume overall.
This EQ profile isn’t as natural as the default stereo sound of the headset, and there’s no way to turn it off even in HyperX’s new Ngenuity software. I found myself lowering the volume by several notches with the virtual surround turned on due to the more-intense treble.
The Flight S supports custom surround profiles for a handful of games (shown above), but they activate automatically when Ngenuity detects that a specific game is running. The Cloud Alpha S allowed users to download different firmware updates with different active profiles, and I wish that the Flight S allowed for manual control of these settings. It’d be nice to see more about what these profiles actually are, or use them in games they weren’t “optimized” for.
On a Switch or PS4 you can still turn the virtual surround on, but in both cases you’ll be up-mixing a stereo signal, and the Flight S doesn’t sound as good doing that as it does with a full 7.1 input on PC. I’d recommend leaving them set to stereo mode on a console.
HyperX took an already-comfy headset and made comfort improvements. They didn’t change the headband pad, which is still a basic-but-serviceable large pad. Instead, the ear pads got a big upgrade. They’re thicker, plusher, and slower to rebound than the pads on the original model. The inside wall of the pad has a thick layer of foam in case your ears somehow manage to make contact in there, too.
The nicer padding means that these seal a little more readily over my glasses, and as a result it’s easier for me to achieve a nice bass response. They’re also a little more isolating than the other versions of the Flight.
On my large head, I can wear these adjusted to six of their eleven available clicks, so they should fit just about any head size.
The increased ear padding helps balance the slightly higher-than-average clamping force of the headset, and I found these extremely comfortable from the first moment I put them on. HyperX usually nails it on comfort, and the Flight S is no exception.
The design of the Flight S has several nice upgrades over the original version.
In order to make the left ear cup balance on a wireless charge stand without the whole headset flopping onto your desk, HyperX had to redesign the rotation hinges. They’re now reinforced with metal pieces, and small metal nubs that lock the rotation firmly into place. These click with a satisfying snap, and keep the headset secure when you place it on a charge pad.
I love this little change. The hinges on the other Flight models always felt loose for my tastes, and this fixes that entirely.
The backs of the ear cups are now coated in a nice rubber material, which has a high-end feel. The headband still has a metal core, and the adjustments firmly click into place just like the new locking rotation pieces.
For those of you who hate exposed cables running between ear cups, HyperX has now fully enclosed those cables on this version of the Flight behind some glossy black plastic shields. While I enjoyed the pop of color from the green exposed cable on the CloudX Flight, the enclosed design here helps give the newer headset a more premium feel.
All-in-all, this is a great refresh of the headset’s design, and the stronger hinges fix my main issue with the old design.
The microphone is essentially identical to the one used on the other Cloud Flight models. It has a little LED in the tip to tell you when it’s muted, a good tone with plenty of bass pickup, and a decent amount of background noise cancellation.
You can use the top button on the left ear cup (on default settings) to activate a nice sidetone feature, and the bottom button to mute the microphone.
Wireless mics are not often the best-sounding because of the limited bandwidth available, but I think this one sounds solid. It’s great for voice chat, but not the best choice for streaming or podcasting. You’ll hear some digital compression noise in the audio, but it’s still reasonably good for a wireless microphone.
The convenience of wireless charging adds a surprising amount of fun and usability to this headset. Plopping the Cloud Flight S down on a wireless charge pad and walking away is significantly easier than hooking up a micro USB cable. If you have a dual-device charger like HyperX’s Chargeplay base, you can leave your headset charging and at the ready while still having room for your phone or a different device.
I thought this would all be a bit silly when I first heard about it, but it turns out I love this. It’s great to just grab the headset off the charge pad and start listening without worrying about the battery, and I like that it’s effectively both stored and charging at the same time.
This is the first wireless headset I’m aware of that has this feature, and it gives the Cloud Flight S a futuristic edge on other wireless headsets at this price point.
This is a very smart refresh of the Cloud Flight that’s also a little forward-looking. Sure, it lost the wired connection and the LED lights, but it gained wireless charging, a sleeker design, better pads, and a solid implementation of virtual surround. And the sound got a slight bump in bass quality thanks to the redesign.
I think all those features are easily worth the small price premium over the standard Flight, which has a current MSRP of $139. When the older model first launched at this same higher $159 price point a couple of years ago, it was ten dollars more than the rest of the headsets in its category, and I wasn’t sure why.
The Flight S adds enough features to be more than worthy of that price, and HyperX’s wireless lineup makes more sense as a whole, from a value perspective.