HyperX CloudX Review: The Best Deal in Over-Ear Headphones gets a Hard Case and some Xbox Branding!
UPDATE 5/26/18: The new version of this took out all of the extras. This is lame and stupid, even with the new slightly lower price, in my opinion. If you get the old black box version it’ll be like the one I reviewed, but if your box is white all you get is the headset.
The HyperX Cloud II is still the best overall deal in closed over-ear headphones. I recommend it all the time. Based on the well-regarded Takstar Pro 80, HyperX adds a microphone, extra velour pads, a mesh carrying bag, and an extension cable with built in surround processing, should you want it. You get it all for 99 bucks.
Now, HyperX/Kingston has teamed up with Microsoft to release the CloudX, an officially Xbox-licensed headset. They’re designed for Xbox One and Windows 10, but they’ll work with anything that has a headphone jack.
They’re a whole lot like the Cloud II, except the bundle now has a hard case. And it’s all still just 99 bucks.
So, they’re basically perfect.
I disliked only two things about the Cloud II, and they were minor quibbles. The cable wasn’t removable, and the mesh bag was nothing special.
The CloudX trounces one of those dislikes. And it’s better for it!
That mesh bag is now gone in the CloudX bundle.
You still get almost everything else: headphones, detachable mic, extra set of velour pads, and an extension splitter cable with older-style PC connectors. The surround controller is gone, replaced by an okay inline controller (more on that below).
Instead of the mesh bag, you get this beast of a hard case:
Look at this thing! It’s quite solid and well-made for the price that this set costs. In fact,I can’t think of another $99 dollar headphone that comes with a hard case this nice. Or a case this nice at all. Heck, many $300 dollar headphones only come with soft cases…
AHEM Beats Solo 3 Wireless COUGH
GRUMBLE Bose Soundlink Around-Ear II AHEM
I could go on. But I won’t.
The case is pretty big, but still portable enough to jam in a bag. It has to be big because the CloudX’s don’t fold down at all. And actually, if you’ve ever shopped for a headphone case on Amazon, you’ve probably seen this one come up; it’s a somewhat-common and popular OEM headphone case designed to fit a wide variety of production headphone models. HyperX hasn’t simply bought those and jammed them in the CloudX box, they’ve taken the time to stitch a little logo on the side. A nice touch!
Holy crap, all these words about the case, and no mention of how these sound.
They sound great. Fantastic even. They have a sound reminiscent of the Audio Technica M50X, the Internet’s favorite headphone (tm). The bass is punchy and satisfying, the mids are strong and natural, and the highs are nice and sparkly, without being fatiguing. I love a good sparkly high tone, and these deliver. I sold my old Cloud II’s quite some time ago, and I’d forgotten just how good the detail and clarity were on these. The headphones come with nice soft pleather ear cups installed, and the extra velour ones have “Xbox Green” foam on the inside. That green foam is the only obvious bit of Xbox branding on the whole thing. The velour ear cups will town down the bass and give you a slightly more open sound, should you desire that.
These are still Takstar Pro 80’s at their core, which means they have 53mm drivers and a slightly higher-than-normal impedance load of 64 ohms. This basically means you’ll have to bump your volume up a notch or two more than you’re used to, but they’re still efficient enough to be powered by all sorts of basic devices. No special amp needed.
Comfort is still market-leading. Seriously. It’s up there with Bose and Sony levels of comfort. I often say that Bose and Sony are the only two big electronics companies that seem to care about long-wearing comfort in headphones. HyperX has your back too. Or your ears rather. These will disappear on your head, and you could wear them all day without any pain.
The included mic is pretty good. The inline volume control is…well, it’s there. The cable is still non-removable, and the inline control is about a foot away from the left earcup. It has a mic mute switch, which is nice, but the volume control is merely adequate. It’s uses an analog dial to cut power to the headphones in steps, and some of the steps have sound in only one ear cup. You’ll probably want to leave it cranked all the way, and control volume on your device. It works in a pinch as a mute switch. It’s the only part of the whole package that feels less-than-premium.
If you’re looking for the best overall deal in closed over-ear headphones, particularly for gaming, then this is still it. You get a whole bunch of extra stuff for relatively little money. You get premium-grade sound that’s good enough to compete with just about anything out there. You get a cool hard case. And you get a volume control that’s sort of okay.
I’ve been at this headphone nonsense for a long time, and the budget performers are consistently more fun and impressive than the high end headphones. Everyone expects an expensive headphone to be good, but when a cheaper one is a strong competitor, that’s to be celebrated. It should make everyone else take notice and up their game.
HyperX rules the budget headphone scene, not just for gaming. You can’t go wrong with any of the current Cloud models, from the Core to the Revolver. If you want a hard case that’s decent, the CloudX is your only option, and they’re absolutely worth every penny and then some.
PS- The folks at Hyper X recently announced a $50 dollar headset called the Cloud Stinger, which comes out later this year. I can’t wait to see if that lives up to the rest of the line. But honestly, the price points for the Cloud line as it exists are so good and fair that you should probably just dive in right now if you’re looking to buy. If you just want the core headphone without the extras, the Cloud Core is only $69 bucks.