What does a $150 headset sound like? What does a $150 headset sound like? These are questions I asked myself after I signed on to review the new headset from HyperX, the Cloud II Wireless. It’s a new version of the pre-existing Cloud II from HyperX, but sans wires. I have never owned or used a headset at this price tier before, the fanciest I ever got was a Zelda-branded Astro-something I got a deep discount on. So really, the Cloud II Wireless is my measuring stick. And I have to say, I’m super stoked to have this thing right before the PS5 launches. It has some usability issues, but as far as the basic functions it has, I’ve never had a better one of these before.
The feature set for the Cloud II Wireless seems pretty standard, with a couple of exceptions. It has a power and mute button, a USB-C charge port, and a volume wheel. Those are the only physical components on the headset. The microphone is removable via simple auxiliary input, so I assume you can swap it out for another if you want to. The wireless receiver is, for better or worse, a USB dongle that’s about the size and shape of a standard flash drive. The USB-C port is one of the stars of the show, giving this thing access to a lot of juice very quickly. There’s no funky plastic in the way or anything, and the battery has such a long life I haven’t had to plug it back in since the first time I charged it. The other big deal, to me, is that this headset supports 7.1 surround.
Also, like the headline says, it’s comfy AF. In my experience headsets of this size, with the big, pillowy muffs, get uncomfortable pretty quickly. They often feel heavy, which puts strain on your head and eventually your ears. But I’ve been able to use the Cloud II Wireless for longer than I ever have before with a set of headphones. The cushions on the muff are ridiculously soft, with tons of give that still lets them cover my ears. And while the cushion on the top band has less of a notable presence, that’s actually a testimony to the comfort level here. The skeleton of this device is aluminum-based, making it super, duper light. I barely notice it’s on the top of my head.
The top-shelf ergonomics extend to the buttons and volume wheel on the device. I was unsure at first, because they’re on the back of the muffs, which felt weird at first. But I realized using my thumb on either hand was the way to go, and the volume wheel is so smooth (yet sturdy!) I keep wanting to just play with it. The power and mute buttons are stacked on top of each other, but the different feel to them (concave and convex) make them easy to tell apart. And from there it’s a matter of long and short presses to activate the set’s various functions.
The microphone is pretty standard, although you can use the mic button to activate sidetone, in case you need to hear yourself for various reasons. But the star of the show here is the 7.1 virtual surround sound. When you have the headset on all you have to do is press the power button and it’ll switch modes. The difference is immediately noticeable, and video games that utilize surround sound really pop off. And since the muffs are so comfortable and the volume wheel is so thorough, it almost feels like the sounds are in the same room as me and part of my surroundings, rather than sound being pumped into my ear canals.
HyperX also touts its own software, Ngenuity (it’s in beta) which I was able to download no problem on the Windows 10 store. If you’re using the Cloud II Wireless on your PC, this allows you to toggle various functions with the software rather than the buttons on the device. You can also create your own presets, and have them lined up, organized, and labeled however you want. You can also find presets online, download them, and use them easily. This is also the software you’ll use for firmware updates, though out of the box I didn’t need to perform any updates.
HyperX states that the Cloud II Wireless supports PC, PS4, and Switch. Presumably it will work with the PS5, which I’m excited to try out. But I was able to try on all three of those other platforms, and it was plug and play with no issues. I have a Switch Lite, so I couldn’t use the dock’s USB ports. However, a USB-A to USB-C adapter (I had a USB-C hub/ethernet device handy for example) works without any issues. Super Mario Galaxy’s soundtrack just swallows your entire soul with this headset on, let me tell you.
There are a few issues. One, the headset doesn’t do a great job indicating what it’s set to. I can’t really see the light supposed to tell me the mic is muted, and there’s no indicator that surround sound is on or off either. I mean, besides hearing it. The USB dongle also being drive-sized seems dated? I feel like I’m going to break it if I look at it funny. It’s also weird that headsets like this don’t come with any adapters for more varied use, but they’re cheap and you probably have some anyway, so that isn’t a huge deal. The functionality of the Ngenuity software also seems a little lacking in more “fun” features, such as an equalizer, recording, or tweaks for things like mic volume or noise cancelling. That doesn’t seem like a big deal to me, but for folks used to paying this much for headsets they may come away disappointed, especially since other headsets at similar prices seem to have more bells and whistles.
In case you were wondering, Castlevania III sounds GREAT.
If you want sound quality, battery life, and especially if you want comfort, the HyperX Cloud II Wireless is definitely for you if it fits the budget. It may not have a bunch of cool bonuses or real serious audiophile tweaking, but out of the box this thing’s a beast. The sound quality and virtual 7.1 surround are huge selling points, and the light weight and ludicrously spongy cushions are just, chef’s kiss, y’all. Frankly, I see myself using this way more to listen to my “videogame” videogames, rather than using it to chat with people online. This is a headset that I want to try with games with killer soundtracks, and it’s so good I want to just go down the list on my compatible consoles and drown myself in music. Being able to remove the mic makes that use case way less awkward, too. I'll definitely be using this well after the editorial content cycle.
- Feels so good on my ear flesh
- I heard the extremely funky bass in Honeyhive Galaxy for the first time
- USB-C charging!
- Hard to know settings like mute at a glace
- Software is good for what it does, but it doesn't offer much additional tweaking or fine-tuning
- USB powered so it needs additional stuff that doesn't come in the box to expand use (also no Xbox, but that's on Microsoft for being an outlier for every headset)
This device was provided by HyperX for review