HyperX CloudX Stinger Core Wireless Xbox Gaming Headset Review

Photo taken by the author.

I’ll get this out of the way right up front: if you’re looking for the most comfortable $99 Xbox Wireless headset, then the new HyperX CloudX Stinger Core Wireless is the one to buy.

It won’t win any “short name” competitions, but this new Xbox Wireless headset from the clever designers at HyperX perfectly nails the blend of price and performance that the company is so famous for.

In a market segment that often comes with inflated consumer costs thanks to the extra licensing fees associated with the Xbox Wireless tech, HyperX has delivered an excellent value product that has everything you need and nothing you don’t.

Note: HyperX sent me an early production unit of this headset to review, alongside marketing assets and information. I had full editorial control over this article, and I don’t receive any type of kickback or incentive if you decide to buy the headset. I don’t use affiliate links in any of my stories. For more about my reviews policy, click here.

Photo taken by the author.

OVERVIEW

The HyperX CloudX Stinger Core Wireless sells for $99.99(official site here), putting it at a competitive price against both the popular Turtle Beach Stealth 600 Gen 2 and the official Xbox Wireless Headset. The HyperX pair doesn’t have the secondary Bluetooth connection of that latter model (or other more expensive options), but it has much better sound performance.

In the box, you get the headset itself, some instructions, and a short USB-C charging cable. It’s wonderful that more companies are adopting this modern plug standard, and the old stack of micro USB cables in my closet might finally soon be retired.

The headset connects over the Xbox Wireless protocol, a proprietary system developed by Microsoft that’s based on Wi-Fi direct. That means you must use this with an Xbox, or an Xbox Wireless Adapter on PC. It doesn’t have any kind of wired backup connection or PlayStation support, though you can charge it over USB-C while it’s in use, so you don’t have to worry too much if you forget to plug it in before a long session — though the included .5m cable is short enough you might have to swap to your own depending on your setup.

Confused about the differences between the “Standard” and “Core” Cloud Stingers? In the past there were three big ones: driver size, ear cup rotation, and ear pad material. The standard variant has larger 50mm drivers, fully rotating ear cup hinges for easy neck wearing, and nicer leatherette ear pads as opposed to cloth-covered ones for maximum bass response and isolation.

The new CloudX Stinger Core Wireless retains the smaller drivers and more basic swivel, but it was upgraded with the classic iconic HyperX memory foam ear pads with a leatherette covering. It was such a pleasant surprise to discover this when the headset first arrived, and over many hours of listening on Xbox Series S and PC, the delights just kept on coming.

Photo taken by the author.

SOUND QUALITY

Like other Cloud Stinger models I’ve tested, the CloudX Stinger Core Wireless has an amped-up, fun, energetic sound. It has plenty of exciting rumble in the low end, combined with a clean and bright upper midrange and enough treble detail that all help you achieve full game immersion.

For music, the slightly cold and clinical nature of the higher frequencies might make things sound more brash than you’re used to, but it’s still balanced nicely with the powerful thump of the low end, and I’d rather have this type of sound than a muddy midrange.

All of the sculpting to the sound range here is tastefully done, giving these a powerful and impressive sound that’s sure to wow you right from your first listen. It’s not going to outperform higher end studio gear as far as accuracy, but this is a gaming headset that’s not meant to do that.

The quality of the raw audio signal is great thanks to the high bandwidth of Xbox Wireless, and I didn’t experience any noticeable latency or compression issues. If you forced me to nitpick the sound from an audiophile perspective, I’d say that the treble and midrange are occasionally too harsh depending on the material and that the bass is sometimes a few decibels too aggressive.

But again, that would be ridiculous to do because this is a gaming headset first and this signature is perfect for that. The soundstage is nice and wide thanks to the angled drivers and tastefully boosted sound. It doesn’t have the hilarious bass bloat of the official Xbox wireless model, and it’s more fun-sounding and less restrained than the Stealth 600 on its default EQ mode.

HyperX still makes some of the best ear pads in the business. Photo taken by the author.

COMFORT

HyperX puts “Cloud” in the name of their headsets because comfort is a top priority, and the CloudX Stinger Core Wireless more than lives up to that standard. It comes with the same great memory foam inside the pads that you’ll find on other HyperX headsets. You can just see its trademark red color peaking out through the vent holes on the inside of the pads.

This foam rebounds nice and slowly, allowing it to form a perfect and comfortable seal around my head and glasses in the first few minutes of wear. The leatherette cover does start to feel warm after around thirty minutes or so, but it’s not unpleasant. And the angled drivers and large cups mean that nothing touches my ears. I’m a fan of leatherette for its enhanced isolation and better bass response, so I’m happy HyperX included it here. The CloudX Stinger Core Wireless has enough of a seal to block out my loud gaming PC fans, so it should be adequate for most settings.

Comfort excellence continues with the headband, both for padding and adjustment. The pad is a thick squishy piece of foam that’s just as supple as the headbands on HyperX’s more expensive models. And in spite of having a larger head, I only have to extend the headset to its fifth click out of a possible twelve. That’s remarkable considering that I usually wear headsets near their maximum size.

The cups have plenty of swivel in all directions to help achieve a great fit too, even though they don’t rotate flat to sit more comfortably around your shoulders. And the 275g weight makes this one of the lightest wireless headsets on the market. It really does achieve that “I forgot it’s there” level of comfort that the company is famous for. The light weight, balanced clamp, and famous ear pads make this the most comfortable Xbox headset I’ve ever tested, just edging out both the Kaira Pro and Stealth 700 Gen 2.

Photo taken by the author.

BUILD/DESIGN

While the industrial design of the Stinger series hasn’t changed that much since it launched, there’s no reason to mess with a good thing. I like the new Xbox-friendly color scheme of the CloudX Stinger Core Wireless. Its gray, black, and green accents are a nice departure from HyperX’s other colorways. And the steel adjustment mechanisms have a sturdy click and heft that I like much more than the all-plastic frame of the Stealth 600 Gen 2.

The ear cup hinges do rotate more freely than I’d like, and as they’re not really damped or padded they kind of clack into the frame when you’re handling the headset. However, I haven’t experienced any creaks, squeaks, or other obvious build issues in a couple weeks of moderate use. The Stinger series has always been built beyond its price, and this one is no exception in spite of the light frame.

Although the mic is permanently attached, the flexible boom makes it easy to curve it along the profile of the headset so it doesn’t look as much like an antenna when it’s flipped up. Also, the matching colors of the mic help it blend perfectly with the headset.

Thanks to the nicer ear pads and Xbox aesthetic, this sits closer to the standard Stinger Wireless I reviewed before than the other Core models, and that helps justify its price.

Photo taken by the author.

FEATURES/MIC

Battery life is rated at 17 hours depending on volume and mic use, and that seems accurate in my testing. The volume can get very loud, so be cautious with the volume dial on the back of the left ear cup. The right cup has a game/chat balance dial that only functions on Xbox consoles, not PC, and it gets the job done.

My favorite two extra features here are the mic itself and the built-in sidetone. The mic is one of the better-sounding in the HyperX lineup, particularly for their wireless models, thanks to the high bandwidth that Xbox Wireless provides. Here’s a short sample I recorded.

If you tap the power button you can turn on real time mic sidetone, and it works perfectly. I love to see this feature at the hardware level. The mic mutes when you flip it up, and a small beep plays in the speakers when you do so to let you know it’s working. When you turn the headset on or off, a new voice prompt lets you know what state you’re in, which was a nice little surprise since I was expecting the arcane beeps of other HyperX wireless pairs.

The CloudX Stinger Core Wireless doesn’t include a code for Dolby Atmos in the box, but its sound signature works perfectly well with that system and also with the free Windows Sonic option that’s built into the Xbox and Windows 10.

Official marketing photo provided by HyperX.

FINAL THOUGHTS

I love this headset. This was my first time listening to a “Core” Stinger model, and now I wish I had tried one sooner. It kept surprising me, and it’s clear that it was built by a group of people that have been at this for a long while. It does everything fundamental exactly right, and comes in at a price that I think is reasonable. The sound profile isn’t the most flat or neutral technically-speaking, but the careful boosts make the headset fun and exciting to listen to. I’ve been spoiled by the accurate brilliance of recent studio headphones like the Sennheiser HD560S, but I still loved listening to this HyperX headset.

Comfort is top tier. It’s a truly best-in-class wearing experience like many of the company’s other headsets, and the build uses more metal in it than several of their competitors in the price range, and pads that are a step up from other “Core” products in their family.

While this does come with a slight price premium over the standard “Core” Stinger Wireless models on the market, that helps cover the licensing costs of the Xbox tech, and I think the upgraded pads help soften that blow a bit.

I can’t level one single reasonable complaint at this headset — except that the included USB-C charging cable is entirely too short to use while playing at just .5m. I had to use a different one I had on hand instead to play while charging since I don’t sit with my head against the Xbox. A 2m cable would have been perfect but maybe HyperX is already up against their price wall here considering the amount of relative value on offer.

If you’re looking for the new best $99 Xbox Wireless headset, this is it, hands-down. It’s my new default recommendation if you don’t need any bonus frills like a Bluetooth connection, and the extreme wearing comfort means I’ll keep reaching for this even over those fancier models long into the future.

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