HyperX Cloud Stinger 2021 Pink Colorway Gaming Headset Review

A bold new cosmetic refresh makes this budget choice stand out again

Photo taken by the author.

The HyperX Cloud Stinger launched in 2016, and since then it has seen numerous small updates and additions, ranging from wireless models to surround sound dongles to different padding and driver size options. Although they’ve mixed up the accent colors on some of the models, and produced one wireless option in a PS5 color scheme, the vast majority of the Cloud Stinger family comes covered in matte black paint.

So many gaming headsets are painted black, and although you can spend more and get RGB lights, I’ve been yearning for years for more color options in gaming headsets.

With the new pink colorway for the classic Cloud Stinger headset, HyperX has come to my rescue. It’s a cosmetic update, sure, but it’s so nicely executed that it makes this legendary budget headset exciting again. It’s a wonderful taste of what the gaming audio market could look like if it embraced color options.

NOTE: HyperX sent me a final retail version of this headset to review, alongside marketing assets and technical details. I don’t get a kickback if you buy one, I don’t use affiliate links, and I don’t make money if you read this. You can support me through my donate button.

Read my full reviews policy here.

OVERVIEW

The HyperX Cloud Stinger (official site here) sells for $49.99. The new pink colorway includes all the same features as the standard black color option. It has a flip-up-to-mute microphone, a volume slider on the back of the right ear cup, an attached 4-pole 3.5mm cable, and a splitter for PC connections with dedicated mic and headphone jacks.

You won’t need a special amplifier or anything to use the headset. It’s very efficient and easy to drive, and produces plenty of volume out of game console controllers and my PC’s built-in headphone jack.

SOUND QUALITY

Just as it has since launch, the pink Cloud Stinger offers an excellent, fun sound for gaming. The bass is detailed, accurate, and strong. The midrange is a bit bright compared to neutral, with a dip in the lower mids that helps separate them from the bass. And the highs are a little crisp and intense, which should help bring out positional details.

Overall, this has what some audiophiles unfairly deride as a “v-shaped” signature, but I think it sounds great and works well for game soundtracks. The cool tone of the midrange means that vocals in music or podcasts sound a bit sharper and more clinical than they would on a perfectly neutral pair of headphones. However, that slight edge should help voice chat to come through more cleanly over game audio, and should help with hearing details over the top of bass and explosions.

The bass depth and accuracy is the most impressive thing about the sound of the Cloud Stinger, and it stays clean and powerful without muddying up the rest of the signature thanks to the brighter midrange tuning. You’ll get all the fun rumble of the sub-bass region in action games while still hearing dialog and everything else going on.

If your main listening task is games, you’ll love the Cloud Stinger. They’re not as refined for music listening, but still work decently.

COMFORT

HyperX hasn’t skimped on comfort in the Cloud Stinger in spite of the low price. The headband has a huge adjustment range and the ear cups have plenty of swivel, so these should work for any head shape. The headband pad is massive and plush. And the ear pads are filled with a nice memory foam.

I’m used to adjusting my headsets all the way out towards the maximum end of their range, but I only have to go halfway out on the Cloud Stinger.

The leatherette on my pink version’s ear pads is a little bit softer-feeling than the leatherette on the black models I’ve used in the past. I’m not sure if this is an intentional change or just down to regular material variations, but either way it’s excellent. The ear pads are nice enough that they’d fit just as well on a headset priced twice as high, and the angled drivers mean that my ears don’t touch anything inside the cups.

As long as you’re okay with a traditional adjustable headband design and don’t need a suspension system to be happy, you’ll love the comfort of the Cloud Stinger. It’s also reasonably comfortable to wear around the neck thanks to the rotating ear cups.

DESIGN/BUILD

The new pink colorway is completely awesome. It has a smooth, creamy, wonderful finish to it that makes the headset look like a delicious bowl of ice cream. It’s beautifully pastel, and the gray accent color complements it well. The HyperX logos have a bit of sheen, and both the upper part of each ear cup under the forks and the edge under the ear pads have a glossy coating, which contrasts well against the matte finish everywhere else.

Like the other Stingers, these also feel nice in the hands in spite of their affordable price. The plastic body doesn’t creak or chatter, and the metal-reinforced adjustment sliders have a nice soft click to them when you pull them in and out. The cable isn’t braided, but it’s still easy to straighten out, and I like that it perfectly matches the gray accent color.

Only the basic rotation hinges, a few exposed screws, and the permanently- attached design of the mic and cable hint at the low cost of this headset. The pink color takes a solid design and turns it into a complete aesthetic win.

FEATURES/MIC

The launch model of the Stinger I owned in 2017 had a smooth volume slider on the back of the right ear cup, but two others I’ve had since then had a stepped slider with notches placed throughout the travel range. I didn’t like the notched slider at all, as I thought it felt more clunky than precise.

I’m happy to report that my pink Stinger has a smooth volume slider on it, so that’s a great step back towards what worked in the first place. There’s just a hint of channel imbalance that sometimes presents itself about two thirds of the way up the adjustment range, but it’s much more balanced I’d expect from an analog volume control at this price. I usually leave volume controls at the max and control my volume on the device due to small issues like this, but on the Stinger I happily used the slider.

The microphone is the same decent capsule present on many other Stinger models, with a focus on noise suppression and vocal clarity over perfect accuracy. It’s a great microphone for all voice chat tasks, but not quite the best choice if you’re hoping to produce a podcast or something more intense like that. Still, it’s a good mic for this price point. And the flip-up-to-mute function has a nice solid click that feels like it fell out of a more expensive headset. Here’s a quick test I recorded.

FINAL THOUGHTS

In a recent headset showdown article I wrote, the Roccat ELO X Stereo just edged out the Cloud Stinger by a hair, but the new aesthetic of this pink color option and the softer leatherette material both bring HyperX’s classic model right back into the competition.

This isn’t a true update of the Cloud Stinger as far as performance goes, but it is a wonderful aesthetic upgrade, and a perfect example of howmheadset designs benefit from colors. It has always been weird to me that every new headset launch is almost always black or white. Or bright eye-searing green, if it’s Razer.

The pink Cloud Stinger shows that the same designs can look great in a whole variety of colors. And I love that HyperX put these out for the same price as the standard model, unlike that time that Corsair charged thirty additional dollars for a different color. They also didn’t feel the need to bolt cat ears onto it.

I’m still eager to see a true Cloud Stinger 2 someday, but in the meantime the original Stinger is still a great choice, and this new color gives me hope that we’re finally seeing the end of the “all black all the time” design rut that the market has been in for so many years.

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