HyperX CloudX Flight Wireless Gaming Headset Review
HyperX’s CloudX Flight is a new wireless gaming headset designed exclusively for Xbox One consoles and Windows 10 computers. It’s a re-imagining of the original Cloud Flight, adding native Xbox Wireless support, game/chat balance buttons, mic monitoring, and green LED lights.
It costs more than the original non-X model thanks to the expensive licensing associated with making an Xbox headset, and it has no backup wired connection option.
If you’re a die-hard Xbox user, it still manages to just barely clear the bar.
The HyperX CloudX Flight (official product page) is a wireless-only, closed-back gaming headset that sells for $159. It includes a detachable mic, a USB dongle, and a short micro-USB charging cable. I bought mine for full price from Best Buy, the main brick-and-mortar retail partner for this headset in the US. Here’s my review policy.
In order to work with Microsoft’s consoles, wireless headsets need special tech licensed from the platform holder, unlike the PS4 and Switch which will both output stereo audio to many generic USB devices. Xbox wireless headsets often cost more than others on the market, because of the extra licensing and hardware costs involved. The connection uses a Microsoft-proprietary variant of Wi-Fi Direct.
Peripheral companies employ one of two different designs for their official Xbox headsets. They either incorporate an Xbox Wireless chip directly into the hardware, or use a licensed USB dongle that the console thinks is a wired controller.
The CloudX Flight uses the latter option. They’re near-identical in terms of audio quality and latency performance. However, the integrated chip method lets you turn on the console directly with your headset and see how much battery life remains, both features I missed here. On the plus side, the CloudX Flight’s dongle means it’ll work on Windows 10 PCs without the need to buy an Xbox controller adapter.
In a vacuum, the higher $159 price point makes some amount of sense against the $139 price of the non-X Flight. However, that older model works wirelessly with PS4, Switch (docked), PC, and Mac, and has a wired backup connection for use with all other devices…though in wired mode the mic doesn’t work.
The standard Flight also regularly goes on sale for $99, making the price of this CloudX variant seem all the more silly.
The CloudX Flight has a natural, balanced sound profile, with the same clean consumer-friendly sound that other HyperX headphones are known for. It has some extra oomph in the mid bass, a vibrant midrange that’s more cold and prominent than some might like, and a bump in the treble that adds a little extra sparkle and should help you pick out small footstep noises.
It compares favorably sound-wise to the Cloud Alpha, one of my standards for headset audio. The Alpha sounds richer and warmer, and less clinical. Both are within the same general ballpark for sound quality. I think the Alpha’s punchier sound will appeal more to most gamers, but on certain days I prefer the extra bite of the Flight’s midrange and treble.
Since the headset only uses a wireless connection to the dongle, it’d be bad if the compression killed the sound quality. Fortunately, the dongle pumps out solid-sounding audio with no noticeable lag or interruptions. I had to walk to the other end of my apartment, about 40 feet away, before the connection died, and the sound quality was great till I got there.
Other competing Xbox Wireless headsets have built-in selectable EQ modes. You can find this feature on the Astro A20, the Turtle Beach Stealth 700, The RIG 800, and the Arctis 9X Wireless, just to name a few. It’s a shame HyperX didn’t include this option here, given the high price point and the locked-down nature of the headset. If you don’t like the default sound signature, and you want to kick up the bass impact or warm up the mid range a bit…you can’t.
True to its name and its legacy, the HyperX CloudX Flight is a comfortable headset. It’s a bit tight the first time you wear it, but the clamp relaxes after a session or two.
The ear pads use a slow-rebounding memory foam, though they’re more compact and thinner than the pads on the Cloud Alpha and Cloud Mix. The interior foam is soft in case your ears bump into the back wall of the cup, and the odds of that happening are higher than on many other HyperX products as the inner walls aren’t angled. I have minimal contact in there, but it’s still fine.
Up top, the headband pad is thinner than I’d like. It gets the job done, and at 288g the headset isn’t too heavy, but the headband pad isn’t as dense as I’d like, and it doesn’t use memory foam, squishing flat with the lightest force.
Adjustment range shouldn’t be a problem for anyone. I only have to extend it about halfway through its eleven click range, and I have a larger head. The cups also have ample rotation and tilt both vertically and horizontally, so finding a good seal is easy.
The industrial design here is identical to the original Cloud Flight, but now with “Xbox Green” LEDs. Even the light inside the USB dongle is green.
In spite of its plastic frame, the CloudX Flight feels robust. The hinges feel pleasant, and during two weeks of regular use I’ve noticed zero creaks, squeaks, or pops. The plastic has a nice matte finish to it, and feels just premium enough for the price.
Most of the controls reside on the side of the left ear cup, but the buttons feel premium thanks to a soft touch finish. This sort of finish tends to wear out over time as it’s exposed to dirt and finger oil, but I still think it’s a good design choice.
The cable running between the two ear cups is exposed (and bright green), but fortunately it’s tucked into a channel and reinforced with thick rubber, so I don’t think it’ll get damaged at all.
HyperX rates the battery life at 30 hours, when using a medium volume and no lighting. That seems right in my testing…though as mentioned above, the integrated battery meter on the Xbox can’t read battery life from dongle-based headsets like this one, so you’ll have to rely on the headset’s power light to warn you when your juice is low.
If you turn the green lights on, battery life drops to around 12 hours, and you can squeeze out 18 if you toggle to “breathing” mode. Changing the lighting mode requires you to short-press the power button while the headset is on, and sometimes this didn’t respond correctly and I had to push it again. I spent most of my testing process with the lights off.
The game/chat balance function has ten different steps to it, and a beep indicating the middle. The integrated digital volume wheel on the back of the right cup is nice and smooth. In Windows, setting the OS volume control doesn’t do anything. Your system will pump out max volume no matter what, and you’ll have to set your desired volume with the wheel on the headset.
I wish that HyperX had thrown one of their trademark cloth bags in the box, considering the inflated price . They could have even put a bright green HyperX logo on it.
The microphone is a solid performer. It has some noticeable digital compression to it, but it cancels out background noises well. When I reviewed the original Cloud Flight in 2018, I didn’t like the aggressive noise gate applied to the mic. The noise gate is still present on this model, but toned down, which is great. I didn’t have to shout to get the microphone to respond.
You can activate a side tone feature by holding down the mic mute button on the left ear cup, and it sounds great. In fact, the side tone sounds better than the final mic output.
If you must have a wireless Xbox headset from HyperX, this is your only choice. I wish it offered more for its slight price premium over the standard model other than Xbox functionality, side tone, and green lights.
It’s also up against some stiff competition. The Astro A20 sells for about $119, and copies its feature set blow-for-blow, losing only the removable mic. It also has different EQ modes and larger, softer ear pads. And that’s just one of the many compelling alternatives to this.
The HyperX CloudX Flight is a thoroughly competent product that is exactly what it claims to be, and nothing more. It’s neither exciting, nor extremely flawed. The price is probably too high, and just a couple more features would have pushed it to the top of the pile.
If you’re a HyperX fan and you want their best Xbox-specific offering, well, here you go. But you can use any of their other headsets wired to an Xbox controller, and either save some money or get more features in the process.
A hypothetical CloudX Stinger Wireless, with Xbox support integrated into the hardware and a $99 price point, would excite me more in today’s crowded market.