When it comes to splurging on PC peripherals, headsets can sometimes wind up an afterthought. The mouse comes first, and a good keyboard can last years. The budget gaming headset market is also full of clones and second-rate manufacturers, making it difficult to find quality products.
The Stinger series from HyperX has always served as an entry-level gaming headset from a reputable brand, and the Stinger 2 carries that legacy as the latest release. Here’s a hands-on review of the Cloud Stinger 2, the newest budget gaming headset from HyperX.
If you’re looking for a quick review of the HyperX Cloud Stinger 2 gaming headset:
When it comes to the tangibles like sound and build quality, the Cloud Stinger 2 punches well above its weight class. Surround sound is excellent and the voice quality is very reasonable for the price. The Stinger 2 is fairly barebones when it comes to features, but a budget gamer who prioritizes great sound and comfort can’t go wrong with these $50 cans.
Disclaimer: WIN.gg received a free Cloud Stinger 2 from HyperX before the official release. There may be minor variations between our review headset and the release model.
Any Cloud Stinger 2 review should keep the intended customer in mind. At $50, this headset is meant for relatively newer gamers who want a quality brand headset at a reasonable price. It’s not fair to compare it to high-end luxury wireless headsets like the Arctis 7+ or EPOS H3 Hybrid. Logical alternatives to the Stinger 2 are the Logitech G435 and Turtle Beach Recon 70X.
HyperX advertises the Cloud Stinger 2 as compatible with all of the following gaming platforms.
The box for the HyperX Stinger 2 includes a 3.5 millimeter connection cable, a quick start guide, a foam microphone filter, and a two-year activation code for DTS Headphone:X. The connection also allows the HyperX Cloud Stinger 2 to work as a normal pair of headphones with most personal music devices.
The Cloud Stinger 2 brings a few features from HyperX’s premium headset down to the budget category.
In terms of features, the Cloud Stinger 2 doesn’t advertise itself as the flahiest headset on the market. It features black plastic all over with color-matched faux leather under the headband. It has HyperX logos and some texture on the earcups, but that’s it. This headset does not feature any RGB, and the only colored element is the volume knob.
As for sound, HyperX places emphasis on the Stinger 2’s DTS Headphone:X spatial audio technology. The proprietary surround sound system appears to enhance directional audio, but exactly what it does is anyone’s guess. Both ear cups house 50 millimeter drivers with over ear cushions. In our review, the ear cups are just wide enough to barely touch the edges of the ear.
The microphone is about as simple as it can get. The poseable cable leads to a small directional mic. The arm can fold up into the headset to mute, but there’s no cubby to store it in. It also makes a very loud and satisfying click when locked into mute, which allows the user to notice it if it gets bumped out of position.
As far as user interface goes, the Stinger 2 is extremely barebones with only a red volume knob under the right ear cup. Aside from that textured slider, there are no other accessories attached to the headset. The cups themselves turn 90 degrees into the chest, which can make it comfortable during short breaks.
Despite its low price tag of $50, a quick review of the Cloud Stinger 2 reveals great audio and convincing materials.
We’re still not exactly sure what DTS Headphone:X is, but the surround sound quality on the Stinger 2 is on par with some luxury headset options. After a few minutes of adjusting, it became easy to tell the direction of enemies in both Valorant and Counter-Strike: Global Offensive. Games with more immersive audio like Deep Rock Galactic and Elden Ring also sounded great.
While we only got two weeks to get comfortable with this headset, the Stinger 2 feels well-built. The plastic on the ear cups feels thick and resists bends. The headband also feels solid with very little twist to it.
It’s difficult to judge the potential lifetime of such a new headset, but our testing has yet to discover any noticeable flaws with our Stinger 2 review model. The plastic continues to hold up just as new with no mechanical problems whatsoever after two weeks. The included foam microphone filter attracts cat and human hair alike, but it’s entirely optional and easily removable.
Voice quality isn’t the first thing gamers look for in a budget headset review, but your friends will thank you for picking up the HyperX Cloud Stinger 2. The microphone is on par with more expensive headsets, and the wired connection keeps input crisp with low latency. The microphone’s design isn’t anything to write home about, but whatever internals HyperX cooked up for the Stinger 2 are doing a great job.
While it passes core areas with flying colors, there are a few traits of the Stinger Cloud 2 that could disappoint certain gamers.
Many headset manufacturers try to spice up their cheaper products with customizable RGB or a wild design. The Stinger 2 has neither of those things, which may disappoint gamers who like to show off. The headset is completely matte black with only a red volume knob to break up the silhouette. A lack of aesthetic features is expected at $50, but there really isn’t anything that sets this set apart from the crowd at first glance.
In addition, the 3.5 millimeter cable for the HyperX Cloud Stinger 2 isn’t as robust as some other budget options. It’s a round, slightly sticky plastic cable with no braiding. Even after a decent amount of use, it still hasn’t entirely lost its wound-up factory shape. This makes us worry that the cable will be the first thing to break on many Cloud Stinger 2s. It is also not easily replaceable with another 3.5 mm cable.
Let’s review the specs of the HyperX Cloud Stinger 2 compared to two of its budget headset alternatives.
|HyperX Cloud Stinger 2||Logitech G435 LIGHTSPEED||Turtle Beach Recon 70X|
|3.5 mm connection||Wireless dongle||3.5 mm connection|
|372 gram weight||164 gram weight||476 gram weight|
|No lighting||No lighting||No lighting|
|Wired only||18 hour battery life||Wired only|
|Volume knob||Volume buttons||Volume knob|
When looking purely at the stats, the HyperX Cloud Stinger 2 strikes a happy balance between multiple features. It has the nicest onboard media controls and weighs in between both the G435 and Recon 70X. For gamers struggling to pick between these headphones, the Stinger 2 may sway them with its subtle appearance and great surround sound.
However, the other alternatives to the Stinger 2 beat it on in some key areas. Logitech’s budget option is the only one with a wireless connection option, though wireless isn’t always an attractive option. The Turtle Beach choice is compatible with more platforms and is also somewhat cheaper. Gamers who demand an X-factor in their budget headsets may need to look elsewhere.
With all of its features laid bare, the Stinger 2 is a budget gaming headset that trades all frills for great, simple performance. Its surround sound is good enough to hang with the flagships while its robust design continues to impress after weeks of testing. It’s probably the least flashy option on most online marketplaces, but budget gamers who prioritize quality over features have found what they’re looking for.
Gamers who want to start taking esports titles like Valorant and Counter-Strike: Global Offensive seriously could benefit from this headset the most. It pairs excellent spatial audio with comfort for long practice sessions. It also doesn’t break the bank, freeing up the budget for a new mouse or keyboard. Ultimately, the HyperX Cloud Stinger 2 is an excellent budget choice for a first gaming headset.