HyperX Cloud Stinger Wireless Gaming Headset Review
Budget wireless audio excellence
I’ve been yearning for a quality wireless HyperX headset that I could recommend without any hesitation or caveats for a couple of years now.
HyperX, it seems, didn’t share my desires.
Sure, the gaming peripheral company has already released both the Cloud Flight and the Cloud Mix…but neither of them totally did it for me.
The Flight was the first out of the gate, but it launched for $10 more than the competition at the time, with a touchy microphone and a design that took a few steps back from the build of other similarly-priced products, with exposed ear cup cables and a lot of plastic.
I never thought HyperX, a brand known for their high price-to-performance ratio, would launch a more expensive wireless option after that, but that’s exactly what they did with the Cloud Mix. It combined the features of the Cloud Alpha with Bluetooth functionality…in a less comfortable, smaller frame, and with an inflated $200 price tag. And unlike the implication in the name, and the half-as-expensive Steelseries Arctis 3 Bluetooth, it can’t actually mix the two audio sources together.
Normally, HyperX audio products are an easy recommendation for people who want performance and value. Their two previous wireless headsets had solid audio performance, but all sorts of little issues, and prices that were just a bit too high.
Fortunately, with the newly launched Cloud Stinger Wireless, I can finally unreservedly recommend a HyperX wireless gaming headset…as long as you want to use it with a PC, PS4, or Switch.
HyperX’s new Cloud Stinger Wireless is $99, and it comes in two variants. But they’re really just different colors. The “For PS4” edition is black with blue trim, and the “For PC” edition is all black, but they are otherwise exactly the same headset with exactly the same performance and extras.
So feel free to choose whichever color you want. I bought the black one.
Featuring a closed-back design, a flip-up-to-mute microphone, and a battery rating of 17 hours at medium listening volumes, the Cloud Stinger Wireless takes aim at the Corsair HS70, Void Pro Wireless, and Razer Nari Essential, among others.
Impressively, it also offers sound improvements over the original wired Cloud Stinger I wasn’t expecting, and depending on your feature needs, might be a better overall buy than the $160 Cloud Flight.
After my last two wireless HyperX experiences, and fearing that their new focus is solely on the higher end of the market, I cynically expected that this headset would feature identical sound to the original Cloud Stinger, but with a wireless module added.
I’m pleasantly surprised to report that I was wrong.
I like the old Cloud Stinger. I still have one in my house, and I still use it sometimes. But it has a v-shaped signature, with a scooped out lower mid range that gives the highs and the lows a prominent focus. This is a pretty safe design for a “fun” gaming headset sound, but it’s not as accurate to the original source audio as the performance of other gaming headsets.
The Cloud Stinger Wireless completely fixes the scooped mid range of the wired model, and adds a little bit more oomph in the lower bass as well. The result is a gently warm, impressive, engaging sound that’s similar to other products in the HyperX lineup.
I love the way these sound.
I’m not sure if they’re fixing the old model’s issues with changes to the hardware design, or DSP correction in the electronics, but either way it does the trick. Bass is powerful and accurate, the mid range has a pleasant tone on both male and female vocals, and there’s still just enough treble presence to bring out details and footsteps without causing fatigue.
Soundstage is also still impressive for a closed-back pair, and imaging on my pair seems accurate as well with no noticeable channel imbalance at any volume.
I’d have to be super jaded or invest in expensive measurement equipment to nitpick this sound at this price point in a wireless gaming product. They sound better than the original Stinger, and they sound great when stacked up against other Cloud products. That’s wonderful.
Like most of HyperX’s other headsets, the Cloud Stinger Wireless is exceptionally comfy, even on my big head, and even when I’m wearing glasses. I’ve worn them for multi-hour sessions numerous times, with no issues other than a little warmth and sweat from the leatherette.
I’m used to extending headsets and headphones almost all the way out to the limits of their adjustment. It’s usually the first thing I do when trying a new pair.
Just like its wired cousin, the Cloud Stinger Wireless has 12 clicks of adjustment on each side. And just like the wired model…I only have to extend them halfway. There’s so much adjustment room here that I think these should fit basically any head.
The ear pad openings are nice and wide, and the angled drivers keep everything inside the cup out of the way of my ears. Nice memory foam is used inside the ear pads, and although the headband pad only uses “standard” foam, it’s big and squishy enough that it’s not a problem. The headband pad does a good job of distributing what little weight there is here across the whole head.
Believe it or not, the Cloud Stinger Wireless is a tiny bit lighter than its wired forebear, at 270g vs 275. Normally wireless headsets are a little heavier since they need to hold a battery, but HyperX trimmed some material off the microphone and etched the HyperX logo into the cups, saving precious mass alongside the excised cable.
I don’t know if I’ve ever seen this happen before, where a wireless model lost weight compared to its wired counterpart.
One of my frustrations with the Cloud Mix was the way its slightly smaller size impacted the comfort. That size reduction helped keep its weight down, but made it a bit less comfy than the Alpha it was based on.
The Cloud Stinger Wireless has no comfort issues for me whatsoever.
The Stinger Wireless uses the same frame and materials as the original Cloud Stinger, save for the slight weight trimming I mentioned above.
But that’s okay. And I think the changes to the design have appeal beyond their weight reductions. The thinner microphone, while still permanently attached, is more visually appealing, and looks a little less silly if you decide to wear these out and about. It’s also more flexible and adjustable than the original model.
And the removal of the obvious HyperX logo color is a first for the company. The etched-in non-colored logos give these a sleek, professional look that none of their other headsets really have, especially if you opt for the black version.
Materials-wise, it uses a plastic frame with steel reinforcement in the headband, and steel adjustment sliders. And if you’re someone that doesn’t like exposed screws, prepare for disappointment as there are little screws all over the place.
Still, it’s a Cloud Stinger but made more subtle, and it feels nice enough in the hands and on the head for the price.
HyperX employed the same USB wireless dongle that the Cloud Flight uses here on the Stinger Wireless, and that’s a good decision.
It’ll work out of the box with a PC, PS4, or docked Nintendo Switch. The volume knob on the back of the right ear cup spins endlessly and controls the digital volume level, and it does seem to save this volume between sessions and devices.
The 17 hour battery life claim is accurate in my testing. The power light uses an LED that progresses from green-orange-red to show you descending power percentage levels, and the headset has no audio prompts other than simple beeps when you turn it on and off, or hit the extreme ends of its volume range.
I got about 40 feet of wireless range in my apartment before it started to cut out. The wireless dongle is the only way to connect this headset to anything, there’s no wired connection option available. Recharging uses micro USB, which is great for compatibility but bad for the USB-C fans out there. The power light changes colors during charging to give you an idea of how far along you are, just like it does when in use, which is a nice touch.
The ear pads are removable in case you feel like doing that, or need to buy replacements from HyperX, and it comes with their standard 2 year warranty.
My only complaint about this mic is that the thinner design of the adjustment arm, combined with a stiffer/higher quality rotation hinge, means that it’s not as easy to flip up to mute as on the original Cloud Stinger.
But that’s a teeny tiny complaint.
The mic has a good, natural, reasonably clear tone to it, with only a hint of the muffled digital compression that often plagues wireless headset microphones. It’s on the same level as the wired Cloud Stinger, and doesn’t sound as good or clean as the Cloud Flight’s microphone. The noise gate on the microphone isn’t super aggressive, thankfully, meaning you can talk at a normal volume and be picked up.
Background noise cancellation is exceptional, and there’s probably both acoustic and digital trickery in play here.
There’s no mic monitoring/sidetone feature, which is not a huge issue for me in a lower-priced headset but might irritate some of you. I don’t blast my games loud enough that they block out my voice, but if you’re a loud listener, the isolation of the leatherette here might have you wishing this had sidetone.
If you’re wondering whether these will get loud enough for you, the answer is a resounding yes. I listened to Spotify comfortably at about 25 percent volume, and cranked it up to 48 or so in high dynamic range games like Assassin’s Creed Origins. And that was plenty of volume. So the amplifier can bring it.
You can hear some quick mic tests I recorded right here.
The Cloud Stinger Wireless has better, more balanced sound than its wired predecessor, an enhanced subtle design, and the same great comfort. It doesn’t have some of the frills of more expensive wireless headsets, but acquits itself very well at its $99 price point.
Of HyperX’s wireless lineup, the Stinger is the only one that really embodies their old ethos of value for the money. It’s got the perfect combination of features at this price and a solid battery, and it’s a great and more comfortable alternative to the Corsair HS70.
It doesn’t have the red lights, longer battery life, wired mode, or detachable mic of the Cloud Flight…but if you don’t need those features, I’d go for this one every single time. It’s a better deal compared to its price analogues than the Cloud Flight is at $159.
I’ve had a great time listening to this over the last few days, and I plan to keep on using it.