If you're a big music listener, gamer and just someone that uses headphones a lot at home (and on the go) then the chances are you're probably fed up of swapping headphones from your PS4 to the TV or to your HiFi and back again. Of course, if you're like me and somewhat obsessed with headphones then you probably have multiple pairs already, if that's the case then you can stop reading now. However, if you're more sensible - and not one of the 1% - then you'll be interested in a set of headphones that can basically be used for everything, give or take. Kingston's HyperX Cloud headset is a pair of cans poised to do just that, and while 'Kingston' is definitely an unlikely name for something like this, they were designed in conjunction with QPAD, a name familiar with most PC gamers. So, read on to see what I thought about the HyperX, which have been on and off my head for the last few weeks.
Let's get the technical stuff out of the way first, these feature 53mm drivers with a frequency response of 15 Hz to 25,000 Hz which isn't exactly amazing, but in a 53mm driver, it's more than good enough. The box claims that the HyperX Cloud is compatible with your PC, your smartphone, your PS4 and your Mac. While there's no Xbox 360 support (thanks to the ridiculous way Microsoft do things) there is word of people getting it to work with the Xbox One, but it's not officially supported. In the box though, there's all manner of connectors and adapters. First thing's first, there's an airplane adapter, followed by a 3.5mm headphone and mic extension cable, a voice control box (that also extends the cable's length), a 3.5mm mini jack to combine audio and mic into one for your smartphone and tablet and there's a handy pouch with a front pocket to keep everything together. It's an impressive array of accessories and pretty much ensures that this will work with everything, but I would have much preferred a detachable cable for mobile use as you'll note in the pictures below it's not the most attractive connection, but it's not a deal breaker.
In terms of design, these are a closed-ear pair of full-size headphones and there somewhat open, allowing some of the noise to escape, which might annoy others a little depending on your volume however, this does add to the sound which is nice. The ear cups themselves aren't what you'd call open-back however, and these will completely cover your eyes quite nicely and I found them to comfortable. There's a black pair with a little red trim and a white/black pair available and they both look pretty nice, we have the white pair for review here.
Before I move to the build quality of the HyperX Cloud, I'll get to the important stuff; sound. Where music is concerned I used these to listen to all sorts of 'contemporary' music from Metallica, Ed Sheeran, Taylor Swift, CHVRCHES, Fall Out Boy, Yellowcard to all sorts of other stuff. What I found was that the 53mm driver wasn't shy with the bass, but the soundstage sounded a little too wide, and at times the treble ran away and the high notes were a little too piercing at times. Overall though, I was fairly happy with them plugged directly into my Xperia Z2 and with my FiiO E11K headphone amp they sounded pretty excellent at this sort of price point, and I could happily listen for hours with no ear fatigue at all. These are designed for gaming though, and I tested them on my tablet and my PC with games like F1 2014, Elder Scrolls Online and Wolfenstein: The New Order. These are an excellent pair of gaming cans, and the detachable microphone sounded good and while it still had that "headset" tone to it, it was clean and fairly crisp. The HyperX Cloud is more geared towards those listening at home, and they're great for that, but I wouldn't feel conscious wearing these in public and while they don't do a great job of drowning out noises from the street they work fairly well.
Bottom line on sound quality; they could do with a little more push towards the mids and those high notes could do with reigning in, but they're great for music listeners and gamers alike. There's some good presence to the lows and highs here with a nice, wide sound-stage to boot. You'll hear sounds you wouldn't have done previously (depending on which set you're coming from) and they don't color sound too much, but again I wish their was more mid-range here. To answer the question above, are these the perfect "do-it-all" headset? At this sort of price point, I'd say they come very close to that, but as always, spending more money will get you a better sound, but the versatility is hard to argue with here.
On to build quality and these are fairly decent pair of cans, the HyperX has a nice, thick padded headband that's very comfortable and you get two options of ear pads in the box; real leather or velour. I changed almost immediately to the velour pads and it was easy to do and they sit really nicely on my head, being light helps in this regard. The piece that connects the ear cup to the band is metal and it adds to the overall design here on the white pair I have here. Adjusting them is nice and simple and just takes a push or pull, but they do have a habit of moving on my head into different positions, still this didn't give me any uncomfort, so no complaints here. All-in-all, they're built to a decent standard and they don't feel cheap at all. Little details like the cover that plugs the hole left by the detachable mic are appreciated and the whole package feels above the asking price. one thing that did bug me a little bit was the cable that leaves the band and connects to the ear cup either side is a little long and looks a tadge unsightly. Still, the cable that's used to connect to your device is braided, thick and feels well-made, the same is true of the cable on the talk box.
In closing, I'm impressed with Kingston's offering here and while they're certainly not the best-looking set of cans I've seen or used over the years, they're excellent for indoor use. Which is exactly what they were built for, and if you've been looking for a high-quality set of headphones that are good for listening on the couch, don't need to be powered over USB and don't always need a giganticly long cable all the time then the HyperX Cloud are a good set to look into. They're available in black or white and retail for $80 and for everything you're getting here, that's a pretty good deal.