HyperX Cloud II review: Is this classic headphone still the best?
Aug 25, 2022
HyperX sits in the upper echelons of the gaming headsets list, but is its Cloud II model still among the best for gaming?
HyperX has a healthy variety of gaming headsets, but audiophiles and video games fans still stick to the classic Cloud II model. Since 2015, HyperX Cloud II has been a go-to headset for long hours of gaming. The company later built on everything good that Cloud II had to offer, but the headset’s cult following remains large. For $69.99, HyperX Cloud II nails the basics and goes beyond in select areas.
This HyperX Cloud II review comes after three years of using the headset
The HyperX Cloud II is an enduring brand for good reason, and sits alongside the likes of the Artemis Spectrum and Razer Kraken as a favorite for gaming marathons. The sleek-looking headset checks all the gaming boxes, from comfortable earpads to a lengthy cord that ensures full range of motion for your head. It weighs 320 grams including its microphone and cable, making it a slightly bulky set. Velour pads, a detachable mic, and surround sound means the HyperX Cloud II has all the fixings a gamer could want. With a relatively low $70 price tag, the HyperX Cloud II is a strong pickup for anyone shopping around for a new gaming headset.
Still, the HyperX Cloud II isn’t perfect. From a comfort and size perspective, the headset isn’t ideal for everyone and it has 7.1 surround sound which doesn’t match more expensive headsets.
|Attractive build||Below-average surround sound|
|Detachable mic||Earpads aren’t the most comfortable|
|Comfortable headband||Bulky design|
Here’s why HyperX Cloud II is still popular
Since 2015, companies have rolled out gaming paraphernalia with cutting-edge tech and attractive designs. Yet serious gamers keep returning to HyperX Cloud II, a model released in 2014. Its versatility is likely the selling point as it ticks almost every box there is for headphones despite being advertised as a gaming headset. HyperX Cloud II stands out with its understated design, clear audio, and noise-canceling boom mic. It’s a simple headset that provides comfort and a competitive edge without breaking the bank. For $69.99, the HyperX Cloud II is an easy pick for gaming, listening to music, or anything else.
Despite being relatively large, the HyperX Cloud II remains portable as it transforms into an on-the-go headset with a few detachments. Its heavy-duty yet sleek design is undoubtedly a selling point for users who like understated gaming accessories.
It connects with USB through a three-foot-long cable that ends at a 3.5mm plug. It has a USB sound card for extra control options but besides that, the cord isn’t detachable. It’s still long enough to offer everyday usage. The build is still on the larger side, but it’s easy to carry around in a bag or case.
The HyperX Cloud II is compatible with gaming PCs, PlayStation 4 and 5, the Xbox One, Switch, and mobile phones, and games on every platform sound excellent. So, they’re also a good pick to listen to music while resting or working out.
What accessories come with the HyperX Cloud II?
The box for the headset is jam-packed with accessories. Here’s what’s included in the HyperX Cloud II box:
- 1 HyperX Cloud II Headset
- 1 detachable microphone
- 1 spare set of velour ear cushions
- 1 USB control box
- 1 airplane headphone adapter
- 1 mesh bag
The tiny sound card connects the plug with the headset and offers options. This includes a dedicated mute switch on the side, which is helpful in a variety of circumstances. HyperX’s noise cancellation is good, but isn’t perfect. For those play video games in a lively room, be aware that it can’t effectively combat disruptive noise like a friend yelling into his mic. The mic blocks out background noise well, but will still pick up nearby conversations.
The signature HyperX lights on the soundcard are the only frills for the headset. The HyperX Cloud II is free of ostentatious RGB lightning or any frills designed to make it look prettier. The 7.1 Dolby glows when the sound card is plugged in, but that’s it. A clip is provided at the back to wrap the long cord better.
Worth noting is that it’s worth changing the settings when moving from one activity to another. What might be ideal for listening to music or watching a movie can be ear-piercingly loud and may feel unnatural when switching to a shooter like Counter-Strike or Valorant.
The best parts of HyperX Cloud II
Gaming headsets are often visually loud, with RGB lining the edges and a mic that can be big enough to be visible when watching videos. The HyperX Cloud II is purely built for function. It still satisfies the demands of users looking to enjoy a good movie, though.
The HyperX Cloud II offers crystal-clear audio for Netflix binge sessions and its removable boom mic is very handy. To avoid breathing into the mic, users can also twist and turn the mic all the way back. Even after three years of bending the pipe, the mic is still flexible.
The comfortable headband on HyperX Cloud II is worth mentioning as it’s one of the best parts of the headest. Unlike other competitors like Razer, HyperX Cloud II’s headband isn’t bulky. Instead, it’s lined with a soft material on top of slim metal. The only downside is that the material started falling out after three years of usage. The ear pads may also come loose, but they’re replaceable. The leatherette is passable but may last longer when used with care. Adjustments, like increasing headband length, are still easy after extended use.
The feather-soft pads are sweat absorbent and facilitate marathon gaming. They are attached with red metal brackets that are adjustable. The closed-back, over-ear design may not be ideal for all-day headphone use, but some may prefer the design.
The earpads are stamped with the HyperX logo in deep red color in the same aesthetic. Besides the logo and frame, the set has nothing notable for visual entertainment.
HyperX Cloud II doesn’t have the best 7.1 surround sound
The HyperX Cloud II is a great option, but a gaming headset under $70 is bound to have a downside. This particular model is no exception to this rule. An average surround sound and flimsy ear cushions are the HyperX Cloud II’s cons.
HyperX Cloud II has a handy 7.1 surround sound feature that’s a button away. As evident from the name, the Dolby feature creates a sense of surround sound, activating actual audio positioning. Theoretically, this feature should help players locate their enemies more precisely on the map with the help of audio cues. Unfortunately, that doesn’t work in practice because the audio feels louder and sharper to the point of distraction.
This was on full display in CSGO, a game where listening for enemies’ footsteps is critical. The surround sound made the footstep sound louder, but not necessarily easier to track. While it helped in a few instances, it also changes the sounds of gunfire and grenades in a way that made it a net negative.
Besides surround sound, the durability of the earpads is worth mentioning. While the headset comes with a spare pair, they don’t necessarily attach as easily and aren’t precisely the same as the original. The unit this review is based on started feeling much firmer on the ears after two years of usage, and the headband’s materials started to fray. It’s not pretty to look at these days, but it’s still fully functional at this point.
HyperX Cloud II alternatives
We found HyperX Cloud II promising in our three years of usage, but its cons can be deal-breakers for some users. If you’re looking for headphones with optimal surround sound and a feather-light build, look no further than Razer BlackShark V2 X.
The multi-platform headsets weigh 240 grams, which is 33% lighter than HyperX Cloud II. At $59.99, it’s actually cheaper. It’s also a good pick for former Cloud II users looking for a new set as it’s similar to the HyperX headsets.
For those who are loyal to the HyperX brand, try switching to the wireless Cloud Stinger. It’s light despite looking hefty. Fans of the HyperX Cloud II may also dislike the slight RGB and typical gaming design. However, it’s much lighter and comparatively portable in practice.