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Is The HyperX Cloud II Any Good?

The HyperX Cloud II is a legendary gaming headset that, despite being released back in 2015, remains a popular choice for gamers seeking high-quality sound, comfort, and value. As a computer hardware enthusiast who has tested dozens of gaming headsets over the years, I‘ve always had a soft spot for the Cloud II. It hits that sweet spot of premium performance and features without an exorbitant price tag.

So is the HyperX Cloud II still worth buying in 2023? Let‘s dive in and find out! But first, a quick history lesson…

HyperX Cloud II Release Date and Initial Reception

The HyperX Cloud II officially launched on February 9, 2015. The headset made a big splash, immediately earning praise from professional reviewers and everyday gamers alike.

Respected outlets like Tom‘s Guide, PCMag, and TechRadar all gave the Cloud II strong reviews at launch, citing its excellent sound quality, deep comfortable earcups, detachable mic, and sturdy aluminum frame. Many remarked that the headset performed like premium headsets costing over $100-150, despite the Cloud II‘s more reasonable $99 MSRP.

Users on Reddit and gaming forums also raved about the Cloud II upon release, with many longtime PC gamers calling it one of the best values in headsets they had ever seen. The positive word-of-mouth helped establish HyperX as a major player in the gaming peripheral space.

But enough about the past, let‘s get into the nitty-gritty of what makes the HyperX Cloud II special and how it stacks up today!

Key Features of the HyperX Cloud II

One of the most impressive aspects of the Cloud II is how many premium features HyperX packed in at a mainstream price point. The headset sports 53mm neodymium magnet drivers – a large size typically found only in pricey audiophile headphones. This allows the Cloud II to produce incredibly rich, detailed game audio and music playback.

The Cloud II was also one of the first gaming headsets to introduce virtual 7.1 surround sound. While it‘s not "true" surround since the audio is still coming from two drivers, HyperX‘s virtual surround DSP does an admirable job providing a wider, more immersive soundstage. It‘s especially great for first-person shooter games where hearing enemy footsteps and pinpointing directional audio cues can give you an advantage.

Some other notable specs and features of the HyperX Cloud II include:

  • Detachable noise-cancelling microphone
  • Premium leatherette and memory foam earpads
  • Durable aluminum frame
  • Audio and microphone volume control box
  • Large 15-25kHz frequency response range
  • Compatibility with PC, Mac, PS4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, VR, and mobile devices

The Cloud II‘s detachable boom mic is also a cut above many competitors. When connected, it provides clear voice quality for in-game chat and can be quickly muted by flipping it up. But it also makes the Cloud II viable as a premium pair of stereo headphones when you want to listen to music on the go.

Impressive Sound Quality and Comfort

I‘ve been using the HyperX Cloud II as my main PC gaming headset on and off since 2016. Even today, I‘m continually impressed by the headset‘s sound quality.

The 53mm drivers provide punchy, undistorted bass, rich mids, and crisp highs. Positional audio is precisely placed in the wide 7.1 surround soundstage. From the tense footstep-tracking and bombastic firefights of Counter-Strike to the engrossing ambient sounds of Skyrim, the Cloud II makes games more engaging and immersive without you having to crank up the volume to unsafe levels.

I also frequently use the Cloud II as my daily music headphones with the mic detached. While you can find more detailed audio from dedicated $300+ audiophile headphones, most people would be hard-pressed to complain about the Cloud II‘s musical performance. Across genres from heavy metal to jazz to electronic, music sounds full, lively, and distortion-free.

The HyperX Cloud II is also one of the most comfortable headsets I‘ve worn for marathon gaming sessions. The expansive leatherette earcups and memory foam padding feel pillowy-soft and put very little pressure on the head and jaw. Even wearing the headset with glasses is no problem, which can‘t be said for some competitors.

Build Quality and Design

At first glance, the HyperX Cloud II has a fairly understated look compared to many gaming headsets with their sharp angles and RGB lighting. But I appreciate the subtle red stitching and brushed aluminum forks, which feel very durable and resistant to wear and tear. You can tell HyperX engineered these to last for years of daily use and trips to LAN tournaments.

The braided cable and inline remote also earn high marks for quality. The cable is thick and tangle-resistant, with a rubber coating around the 3.5mm jack to prevent fraying. The remote has a premium-feeling aluminum chassis with very clicky, responsive buttons.

While not exactly a "portable" headset, the Cloud II‘s closed-back design blocks out a decent amount of external noise. The over-ear cups form a comfortable seal that allows you to focus on your game or music even in noisy environments. And at just 12 ounces, the headset is fairly lightweight and easy to toss in a bag and take on the go.

How They Compare: HyperX Cloud II vs. The Competition

At the time of the Cloud II‘s release, its closest competitors were headsets like the Razer Kraken Pro V2, Logitech G430, Sennheiser GAME ONE, and Corsair VOID PRO. And in most cases, the HyperX came out on top in overall value.

The Razer Kraken Pro V2 was around the same price and also well-reviewed for comfort. But the Cloud II pulled ahead with its detachable mic, superior noise isolation, and cross-platform compatibility.

The Sennheiser GAME ONE has incredible sound quality that some say tops the Cloud II. But it‘s also almost twice the price, putting it in a different class.

The Corsair VOID PRO boasts similar virtual 7.1 surround and a unique "floating headband" design. But the Cloud II is more portable, versatile, and durable.

Logitech‘s G430 is a solid budget option. But with smaller drivers, all-plastic construction, and a non-detachable mic, the Cloud II is worth the extra investment for most folks.

Of course, many new headsets have launched since 2015 that give the Cloud II tougher competition. The SteelSeries Arctis 5 and Corsair HS60 PRO come to mind as newer mid-range headsets with solid performance. But given that you can often find the Cloud II for less than $70 on sale now, it remains one of the better values out there in 2023.

HyperX Cloud II Versions, Pricing and Value

Over the years, HyperX has released a few different variations of the Cloud II. But the core design and features have remained largely the same. You can find the original wired model in gunmetal, red, pink, and a limited edition all-black. The MSRP remains $99, but the headset frequently goes on sale for around $69 these days.

In 2020, HyperX released the Cloud II Wireless, bringing Bluetooth 5.0 and a 20-meter range to the classic design. Battery life is rated at an impressive 30 hours. The wireless version has an MSRP of $149 but is often on sale for $120-130.

So which is the better value? Frankly, both are great deals for what you get. If you don‘t mind being tethered to a 3.5mm audio cable, the original Cloud II is an absolute steal at under $70. You‘d be hard-pressed to find a better-performing headset for that price.

The Cloud II Wireless is pricier, but the added convenience of being wire-free can be a game-changer. I also love that you can connect it to your PC and phone simultaneously to mix Discord chat and music/podcasts. And not having to worry about recharging throughout a full day of Zoom meetings and gaming sessions is awesome.

Regardless of which model you go with, you‘re getting a dependable, great-sounding, exceptionally comfortable headset. HyperX backs both versions with a two-year warranty and their highly-rated customer support, so you can game or jam with confidence.

Frequently Asked Questions

What‘s the difference between the HyperX Cloud II and HyperX Cloud Alpha?
The Cloud Alpha is a newer design that builds on the Cloud II with dual-chamber 50mm drivers for better separation of bass and mids/highs. It‘s a stellar headset in its own right but costs a bit more than the Cloud II.

Is the HyperX Cloud II good for music?
Absolutely! The Cloud II‘s large 53mm drivers, wide frequency response range, and Hi-Res Audio certification make it excellent for jamming to music between gaming sessions. It‘s my go-to "do-everything" headphones.

Does the HyperX Cloud II work with PS5 and Xbox Series X?
Yes, you can use the Cloud II‘s 3.5mm audio cable to connect to the PS5 and Xbox Series X/S controllers. However, note that the USB-powered virtual 7.1 surround is only available when connected to a PC or Mac.

Can you replace the earpads on the HyperX Cloud II?
Yes, the Cloud II has soft leatherette earpads that can be easily removed and replaced if they get worn out from years of use. HyperX and several third-party brands sell affordable replacement earpads.

Conclusion

From its initial release in 2015 to today, the HyperX Cloud II has earned its reputation as one of the best all-around gaming headsets on the market. With its powerful sound, plush comfort, durable aluminum build, detachable mic, and multi-platform versatility, it‘s an absolute gem for the price.

As a computer geek who has owned more headsets than I care to admit, I always find myself coming back to the Cloud II as an everyday workhorse. While there are certainly more advanced headsets out there, few can match the complete package of performance and value HyperX has delivered here.

If you‘re in the market for a dependable wired gaming headset under $100, the HyperX Cloud II should be at the top of your list. And if you have a bit more budget for wireless freedom, the Cloud II Wireless is a worthy upgrade. Either way, you‘ll join legions of happy HyperX customers who have enjoyed the Cloud II for years of gaming bliss.