June 13, 2021

HyperX Cloud II Wireless review

[ad_1]

If there was one thing holding back the HyperX Cloud Flight from claiming the number one spot in my best wireless headset rankings, it’s that it just wasn’t quite as comfortable as some of its rivals. Happily, HyperX’s latest wireless gaming headset, the Cloud II Wireless, fixes this problem instantly. It still weighs an identical 300g without its detachable microphone, but its leatherette memory foam headband and ear cushions sit much more easily on my head this time round, keeping the dreaded head pinch at bay for hours. HyperX have also improved the build quality of the Cloud II Wireless, opting for a lovely red aluminium frame (and equally lovely red stitching) instead of the swathes of plastic found on the Cloud Flight. The end result is a headset that feels much more befitting of its £150 / $150 price, and a worthy contender for one of my favourite wireless headsets yet.

As I’ve said on previous occasions, I’m a sucker for HyperX’s signature scarlet red and black colour scheme (red is, after all, my favourite colour), and the Cloud II Wireless is easily one of their best-looking headsets yet. The aluminium frame contrasts well with the matt black ear cups, and it generally feels a lot more upmarket than the similarly-priced Cloud Flight. The Cloud II Wireless has also ditched the Flight’s LED lighting, too, which means you now no longer have to compromise the headset’s excellent 30 hour battery life for an extra touch of style.

30 hours still isn’t a patch on the EPOS Sennheiser GSP 370‘s 100 hour battery life, mind, but it’s still pretty good compared to a lot of its rivals. My current favourite, the Steelseries Arctis 7, is still only rated for 24 hours, for example, while the Logitech G Pro X Wireless only has enough stamina for 20 hours. My current budget pick, meanwhile, the Corsair HS70 Pro Wireless comes in with even less at its maximum of up to 16 hours.


The Cloud II Wireless is pretty easy to use, too. Its on-ear volume wheel has a smooth, yet slightly resistant scroll motion that gives you plenty of control over small volume adjustments, and its convex microphone mute button on the back of the left earcup makes it very easy to distinguish from the concave power button that sits right next to it. The only mildly irritating thing about it is that its bundled USB-C charging cable is very short – just 50cm – which is too short to let you use it at the same time it’s charging. This is very quickly remedied by pairing it with a longer USB cable, of course, but it’s a shame HyperX didn’t include a longer one in the box to start off with.

Still, in terms of overall audio quality, I have absolutely no complaints. Its 2.4GHz wireless adapter has a rated range of 20m – much like the Cloud Flight – and it was only when I put a couple of stone walls between me and my PC (which pretty much equates to me walking from the back of my house where my PC is to the front window) that the signal from its USB dongle started to cut out – and that’s with several other wireless devices running in various rooms, too. Handy, say, if you’re after a wireless headset that can also double up as a general pair of music headphones when you’re away from your PC.

As a gaming headset, though, the Cloud II Wireless is a real beaut. For example, Doom (2016) had a wonderful sense of depth to its pumping metal soundtrack, but at no point did its bass overwhelm the rest of the action. Super Shotgun shells sounded as powerful as you’d expect, and I was still able to delight in the squishy, squelchy effects of tearing off horrible demon limbs when executing a glory kill. I was also able to pinpoint any wayward stragglers with ease, and I felt completely immersed in what I was doing. Most importantly, there was no lag between me clicking my mouse and the sound of my shotgun tearing through my ears.


HyperX's Cloud II Wireless gaming headset USB dongle and charging cable

Similarly with Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice, the flurry of voices inside Senua’s head sounded very warm and natural, and the game’s 3D binaural soundtrack felt like they were coming at me from all angles. The other environmental sounds sounded well balanced against the dialogue, too, with the deep rumbling thunder of the game’s opening cutscene coming through just as clearly as the gentle water trickles off Senua’s oar.

This sense of balance was maintained in Final Fantasy XV, too, whose rich, soaring orchestral score felt well-pitted against the trampling boots and zippy-zap teleportation effects of its busy battle scenes. At no point did any element of its soundscape feel like it was dominating the rest of it, and every track was a real pleasure to listen to.

That warm, rich detail carried over to normal music listening, too. Everything from rock and pop bands to my current video game soundtrack of choice Grindstone sounded brilliant on the Cloud II Wireless, and there was nothing it couldn’t handle. It’s probably also one of the only gaming headsets I’ve tested whose 7.1 virtual surround sound didn’t immediately destroy the overall soundscape as well. The Cloud II Wireless isn’t compatible with HyperX’s NGenuity software, so you’ll have to set it up using Windows’ sound control panel, but you can toggle it on and off by simply pressing the power button (as you have to hold it down for three seconds to actually turn it off).

Admittedly, as impressed as I was with the Windows demo, I couldn’t say I actually noticed much of a difference when I enabled its 7.1 surround feature for playing games. Indeed, it was only when I had something big and boisterous like the battle music from Octopath Traveler being pumped down my ears that I was able to detect a very small, almost imperceptible widening of the overall soundscape. The soundstage felt a teensy, tiny bit broader with 7.1 switched on, but the effect was so subtle that it might as well not be there at all. Still, at least it doesn’t have a negative effect on the headset’s audio quality, which is more than I can say for the vast majority of other 7.1 surround sound gaming headsets.


HyperX's Cloud II Wireless gaming headset

Finally, the Cloud II Wireless’ detachable bi-directional microphone put in a pretty good performance as well. When I recorded myself talking in Audacity, for example, my voice sounded clear and natural, and I really had to make an effort for any breathy, plosive wind pop effects to come through on my recording. As such, you should be able to chat to your mates without issue, provided you position its bendable boom arm a suitable distance away from your mouth. You can also switch on the microphone’s sidetone setting by holding down the mute button for three seconds, which makes it much easier to hear yourself talk when you’ve got the headset on. Its built-in noise-cancelling tech did a good job of filtering out ambient background noise as well, although I was still able to hear some of my keyboard taps while typing. Still, it was pretty subtle in the grand scheme of things, and I doubt you’d notice it against the backdrop of a game. If you’re hoping to play a game while pretending you’re on a work Zoom call, though, you’ll probably get busted.

Overall, though, the HyperX Cloud II Wireless is an outstanding gaming headset. It offers a tangible improvement on their older Cloud Flight headset, both in terms of comfort and general build quality, and its superb audio makes it just as good for gaming as it does for regular music. You also get a good mic and all the on-ear controls you need for easy use, and you don’t have to worry about installing any additional software to set it up or get the best out of it. Instead, you can just start using it straight out of the box with zero hassle.

At £150 / $150, it’s still quite expensive as gaming headsets go, but there really is a lot to like here. The Steelseries Arctis 7 is currently a smidge cheaper (in the UK at least) at £130 / $149, which comes with Steelseries’ unique ChatMix slider so you can filter out all music / in-game chat, but as mentioned above, its battery life only stands at 24 hours rather than 30. Personally, I’d probably prefer a longer battery life to the Chatmix slider, but others may feel differently. Ultimately, both headsets have much to recommend them, and I think you’ll be very pleased indeed with whichever one you decide to go for.

[ad_2]

Source link