HyperX Cloud II Wireless headset reviewFor a company that had never made a gaming headset before 2014, HyperX really took the market by storm. Millions of unit sales later, HyperX has ranked in the US as the best-selling PC gaming headset brand for several years now. One of the company's best-selling products is the sub-$100 HyperX Cloud II -- the original launched in 2015 and now there's a wireless version of this classic. The original received rare reviews at the time, it's still available and has been sold millions of times. The Cloud Wireless II gaming headset builds upon this legacy by cutting the cord -- the new model offers 2.4GHz wireless connectivity, up to 30 hours of battery life, and 20 meters of wireless range. But is it as good as the original? Read on to find out!
The Cloud II Wireless has launched a couple of months ago for $149.99, at the moment availability still seems very limited. Before writing this review, I checked availability on the website of several large US and EU-based e-tailers but it's out of stock everywhere. Even the HyperX webshop lists it as temporarily unavailable. If I had to guess, this is another example of the semiconductor shortages that are affecting a lot of products right now. The original Cloud II is readily available so perhaps the wireless component is the culprit here. Demand for a lot of products is very high but manufacturers are unable to bring enough product to the market.
HyperX Cloud II Wireless product packaging and contentsHyperX uses a red/white color scheme for its box designs. Inside the cardboard box is a quickstart guide and a plastic shell with the Cloud II Wireless, the detachable microphone, the USB charging cable, and the wireless USB receiver. No complaints about the retail packaging, it's sturdy, easy to open and everything can properly be recycled. The optional NGENUITY software can be downloaded via the HyperX website.
The classic goes wirelessAt the moment, the Cloud II Wireless is exclusively available in hallmark red/black HyperX color scheme. The headset has a detachable microphone, an aluminum frame, and two 53mm drivers. It uses a circumaural design with a closed back, this means your ears are completely surrounded by the Cloud II Wireless' earcups. This makes a headset bulkier but the big advantage is that it blocks out more external noises, so you get a more immersive experience when listening to music or playing video games.
The red frame is made from aluminum and looks very durable, it's definitely not one of the weak points of the Cloud II Wireless. The headband is adjustable in size, the aluminum frame has some notches that lock it securely into place. The earcups are made from plastic and feature a large, red HyperX logo. The earpads and the headband padding are covered with what HyperX calls "premium leatherette." The red stitching on the black headband completes the peripheral's red/black look.
Overall it's a decent design that shouldn't get too dirty. It's not exactly a very low-key headset, but it doesn't look excessively extravagant either. It largely uses the same design as the original Cloud II so there are no RGB LEDs to be found here. That's probably a good thing on a wireless headset -- as this feature would drain a lot of the battery life. One thing I'm not entirely sold on is the exposed wiring. It gives the Cloud II Wireless a somewhat industrial look, which is not a bad thing. My main gripe here is that it feels a bit too exposed, but the wires don't feel flimsy so it's probably not a major concern in terms of potential product failure.
Cloud II Wireless specificationsThe HyperX Cloud II Wireless looks similar to the original Cloud II -- but it's not exactly the same headset. Both Cloud II products feature 53mm dynamic drivers with neodymium magnets, but the headphone and microphone specifications of both models are not identical. The original has a higher frequency response than the Wireless version, both for the headphone and the microphone.
- Driver: Dynamic, 53mm with neodymium magnets
- Type: Circumaural, Closed back
- Frequency response: 15Hz–20kHz
- Impedance: 60 Ohm
- Sound pressure level: 104dBSPL/mW at 1kHz
- T.H.D.: ? 1%
- Weight: 300g
- Weight with mic: 309g
- Cable length and type: USB charge cable (0.5m)
- Battery life: 30 hours
- Wireless Range: 2.4 GHz, Up to 20 meters
Microphone:One of the things that surprised me when I checked the specifications is that the Cloud II Wireless actually weighs less than the original. The headphone itself weighs 300g and the microphone adds another 9g. So despite the inclusion of a li-ion battery, HyperX managed to shave weight off the headset! The original weighs 320g (350g with microphone and cable included).
- Element: Electret condenser microphone
- Polar pattern: Bi-directional, Noise-cancelling
- Frequency response: 50Hz-6.8kHz
- Sensitivity: -20dBV (1V/Pa at 1kHz)
Excellent but basic on-headphone controlsI applaud HyperX for the way the company integrated the controls into the headset, everything is very easy to use. The right earcup has a large and comfortable to use sound level dial. The dial is very pleasant to use and allows you to precisely finetune the volume in steps of 2 percent.
The left earcup has two buttons and a battery level/charging indicator LED. A three-second press of the power button lets you switch the device on or off -- and there's also a dedicated button to turn the microphone on/off. The power LED is solid green when the headset is fully charged, then it starts blinking green and under 20 percent its color turns to red to warn you that you're about to run out of juice. For more precise battery level measurements you need to use the HyperX NGENUITY application. Overall the controls are rather basic, they work well but there are no extras like music controls.
Microphone is detachableThe left earcup of the headphone has a 3.5mm jack for the noise-cancelling microphone. This jack can exclusively be used for a microphone, it's not possible to hook up the headset to a 3.5mm audio output. This is perhaps one of the weakest points of the Cloud II Wireless, but more about that will follow later in this review. A detachable microphone is a great feature as it gives you more comfort in use cases where you don't need the microphone -- like when you're watching a movie or listening to music. The microphone cord feels sturdy and can be bent to your desired angle. HyperX includes a foam wind muff to help reduce undesired noise. The microphone has a LED indicator ring that lights up red when you've disabled the microphone via the on-headset controls or via the NGENUITY application. In the first photo below, you can also see the USB Type-C charging port.
Excellent comfort for all-day useIn terms of wearing comfort, I can only write good things about the Cloud II Wireless. The headset doesn't feel particularly heavy and uses decent clamping force to ensure it stays properly on your head. The earcups feature memory foam with a pleather finish -- it's not as durable as real leather but it looks better than velvet earcups and is easier to keep clean. Similarly, I have no complaints about the headband. It uses the same leatherette as the earcups and feels very comfortable on my head. I have no issues with wearing the Cloud II Wireless for several hours in a row. It's not an extremely low-weight headset but it's definitely designed properly.
Amazingly long battery lifeThe Cloud II Wireless has an integrated lithium-ion battery that promises a battery life of up to 30 hours. Based on my initial testing this seems rather accurate. Battery life is a big issue for a lot of wireless products but in the case of this headset it is not something that concerns me. The battery drain is very slow and the headset is good for at least several days of intense use before it needs to be plugged in for charging -- with a couple of hours of use every evening it will easily last over a week. Included with the headset is a USB charging cable, it plugs into the USB Type-C port of the Cloud II Wireless and connects to a standard USB Type-A port. Depending on how low you drain the battery, charging will take about one and a half to two hours. It's possible to use the headset while it's charging -- but this will require the use of a longer cable as the included charging cable is just 500mm long.
Excellent wireless reception -- good audio quality tooWireless connectivity adds a lot of freedom. Being able to do a quick supply run to the kitchen without having to take the headset off your head is a great feeling. The Cloud II Wireless comes with a 2.4GHz wireless receiver that plugs into a USB Type-A port. The USB dongle has a small red indicator LED. HyperX promises 20 meters of wireless range, which is probably not a problem if there's a clear range of sight. Obstacles will reduce this range somewhat but in my open-space living room, it works excellent, and even a brick wall isn't a problem. When I go upstairs it starts skipping some beats but my home does have thick ceilings with a lot of concrete and steel.
The wireless receiver is pretty long so it's not ideal if you want to use it on the couch with a laptop -- it's mainly suited for desktop PCs and desktop replacement laptops. Some consoles like the Sony PS4 and Nintendo Switch are also supported, but overall I think compatibility is a big problem for the Cloud II Wireless. It's a great headset if you want to use it exclusively for PC gaming but it's not versatile enough for all-round use.
There is no 3.5mm audio input jack so it's impossible to use the Cloud II Wireless with most audio gear. Furthermore, it only works in tandem with the included 2.4GHz wireless receiver. What I'm really missing here is Bluetooth support. This would allow you to use the Cloud II Wireless for a lot more use cases. With Bluetooth support, it would be possible to link it to your smartphone, tablet, laptop, and a ton of other Bluetooth devices. It's the single biggest flaw of the Cloud II Wireless.
The circumaural design of the headphone blocks out a lot of external noise and pulls you straight into the game as it muffles away a lot of (real-world) environmental noises. Gaming sound is crystal clear, allowing you to easily hear player movements and shots. Music performance in a lot of genres is surprisingly good too but the sound profile is tuned rather bass-heavy. The mid-range is decent too but the higher-end is a bit lagging. Overall the audio quality is decently balanced to sound pleasing enough for the average user. It won't blow away audiophiles but it sounds good for a wireless gaming headset in this price range. The virtual 7.1 surround sound is more of a gimmick -- you can give it a try but it's no replacement for true surround sound.
The microphone is pretty standard -- nothing to rave about. It's comparable to what you get from a lot of gaming headsets. It's good enough for gaming sessions, work-from-home Zoom or Teams meetings, or online learning sessions. But it's not the sort of quality you'd desire for more professional streams.
Cloud II Wireless NGENUITY software -- extremely basicIt's possible to use the headset without the installation of extra software but to gain access to the full feature set you need the HyperX NGENUITY application. A download link can be found on the HyperX website, it's a relatively simple Windows Store application that offers a one-stop location to control the settings of all your HyperX gear. There is almost no customization though, there's no equalizer to adust the sound profile nor is there an option to turn off the microphone's noise cancellation feature. What you do get are basic headphone and microphone mute and volume adjustment settings. Other than this, there's an option to turn on the virtual 7.1 surround sound and a mic monitoring feature. The latter can be used to listen to your voice to ensure you're not speaking too loudly.
Somewhat hidden behind the battery level indicator is an option to adjust the headset's power off behavior. By default, it's configured to shut down after 20 minutes of no signal. There are three other options: Never, 10 minutes, and 30 minutes. The battery level indicator is about the only reason why you need the software -- unless you really want the virtual 7.1 surround or the mic monitoring.
Key takeaway -- good product with one big limitationIn terms of wearing comfort and freedom of movement, the Cloud II Wireless is a big step up versus its wired brother. The 2.4GHz wireless connectivity doesn't skip a beat and allows you to roam freely through your room. From a work-from-home perspective, it's a very satisfying experience to be able to sneak away to the kitchen for a supply run without having to miss the conversation. The headset design is well-made and offers great comfort -- even for all-day use. For its price range, the Cloud II Wireless offers good sound quality and I'm really impressed by the almost endless battery life. But I can't help but be disappointed that HyperX didn't implement Bluetooth support. It's such a missed opportunity that would have made the Cloud II Wireless a lot more versatile.
The Good Stuf
- Very long battery life
- Good audio quality
- Excellent wearing comfort
- Easy-to-use earcup controls
- Excellent 2.4GHz wireless connectivity
The Bad Stuff
- Lack of Bluetooth and 3.5mm jack restricts compatibility
- Limited customization options
DVHARDWARE gives the HyperX Cloud II Wireless 7.1 headset an 8.5/10 and our Seal of Approval.
Added: March 12th 2021
Product reviewed: HyperX Cloud II Wireless headset
Reviewer: Thomas De Maesschalck