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Is the HyperX Cloud Stinger Core Wireless Any Good?

As someone who spends an unhealthy amount of time gaming and even more time obsessing over PC gaming gear, I‘m always on the lookout for that perfect combination of performance, comfort and price in a headset. Few brands have impressed me as consistently as HyperX in those regards. Their budget-friendly Cloud Stinger line has produced some excellent entry-level headsets, and the new Cloud Stinger Core Wireless aims to bring that same HyperX magic to the sub-$100 wireless category. After spending a few weeks testing it extensively, I‘m ready to share my full review of the HyperX Cloud Stinger Core Wireless and help you determine if it deserves a spot in your gaming setup.

Before we dive in, let‘s quickly cover the basics. The Cloud Stinger Core Wireless launched in September 2021 at an MSRP of $79.99. It‘s remained at that price since then, though you can sometimes find it on sale for around $60. That puts it in direct competition with other affordable wireless options like the Razer Barracuda X, SteelSeries Arctis 1 Wireless, and Corsair Void RGB Elite Wireless.

Inside the box, you get the headset itself, a USB-C wireless dongle, USB-A to USB-C charging cable, and a detachable boom microphone. It‘s a fairly basic package, but HyperX is clearly aiming to keep costs down. The headset is available in an all-black color scheme with red accents, or an all-white version designed for PlayStation consoles.

Let‘s start with the design and build quality. If you‘ve used other HyperX headsets before, the Cloud Stinger Core Wireless will look very familiar. It has an understated, all-plastic frame with large oval ear cups and a padded leatherette headband. There‘s a small HyperX logo on each ear cup that lights up when the headset is powered on. While the plastic construction definitely gives away the budget nature of the headset, it still feels sturdy and well-built. The steel sliders allow for easy size adjustment and the headband has just the right amount of clamp force to feel secure without being uncomfortable.

At 240 grams, the Cloud Stinger Core Wireless is impressively lightweight, especially for a wireless headset. Combined with the plush memory foam ear pads and padded headband, this makes for a headset you can wear for multi-hour gaming sessions without any notable discomfort or fatigue. The closed-back earcups provide good noise isolation and don‘t leak a lot of sound, so you can crank up the volume without disturbing anyone around you.

On the left earcup, you‘ll find power and mute buttons, a volume wheel, USB-C charging port, detachable mic jack, and a slot for storing the USB dongle when not in use. The controls are well-placed and easy to access, though the volume wheel is a bit too recessed for my liking – a minor gripe. The detachable mic is a nice bonus at this price point and makes the headset usable for non-gaming purposes.

Let‘s move on to the most important part – audio performance. The Cloud Stinger Core Wireless uses 40mm dynamic drivers with a frequency response range of 20Hz-20,000Hz. In my testing across multiple games and music genres, I was consistently impressed with the sound quality, especially given the affordable price.

The first thing that stood out to me was the clarity and detail in the mid-range frequencies. Dialogue in games was crisp and easy to understand even in noisy multiplayer matches. Subtle environmental sounds came through cleanly and created an immersive soundstage. The headset also produced a respectable amount of bass – enough to make explosions sound punchy but not so much as to overwhelm the mids and highs. While you obviously don‘t get the same level of detail and separation as you would on a high-end $200+ headset, I had no complaints with the overall tonal balance.

Perhaps the most pleasant surprise was the virtual 7.1 surround sound implementation. The Cloud Stinger Core Wireless supports DTS Headphone: X Spatial Audio, which can be enabled in the HyperX Ngenuity software. This provides a noticeable boost to positional audio in games. I was able to pinpoint the location of enemy footsteps and gunfire with impressive accuracy in Halo Infinite and Call of Duty: Warzone. The virtual surround effect isn‘t as convincing as a true multi-speaker setup, but it‘s a nice bonus feature at this price and something you don‘t see on many sub-$100 wireless headsets.

Of course, sound quality is only half the equation with gaming headsets. A good microphone is just as important for multiplayer communication. While I wouldn‘t recommend the Cloud Stinger Core‘s mic for anything beyond gaming, it handles voice chat extremely well.

The unidirectional, noise-cancelling mic did an excellent job blocking out background noise and focusing on my voice, even when using my mechanical keyboard right next to it. Teammates reported that my voice came through loud and clear with no distortion or clipping even at high volumes. The convenient flip-to-mute function works well and makes it easy to quickly cut your mic when needed.

HyperX claims the Cloud Stinger Core Wireless can last up to 17 hours on a single charge. In my experience, that number is pretty accurate for mixed usage including games and music at 50% volume. Heavier use at max volume will drain the battery faster, but you can still easily get 10+ hours which is more than enough for a full day of gaming. And when you do need to recharge, it only takes around 3 hours to go from empty to full.

The 2.4GHz wireless connection provided stable, lag-free audio across my 1100 sq. ft. apartment. Using the USB-C dongle, I never once experienced a dropped connection or audio cutout even with multiple walls between the headset and receiver. The 20-meter range should be more than enough for the vast majority of gaming setups.

One downside of the Cloud Stinger Core is the lack of Bluetooth connectivity. It would have been nice to pair the headset with my phone for on-the-go music listening, but the lack of Bluetooth helps keep the cost and weight down. For PC and PlayStation gamers, the USB dongle is really all you need.

The headset works with PC, PlayStation 4/5, and Nintendo Switch in docked mode. Xbox consoles are notably absent from that list since the headset doesn‘t support Microsoft‘s proprietary Xbox Wireless protocol. The USB-C dongle is much appreciated for connecting to a modern gaming laptop or Switch, though I do wish HyperX had included a USB-A adapter in the box for desktop use.

From a software perspective, the Cloud Stinger Core Wireless works with the HyperX Ngenuity app on Windows. The app is very basic, only allowing you to toggle the 7.1 surround sound on and off. There are no EQ presets or microphone settings to play with. Honestly, the headset sounds great out of the box so I didn‘t mind the lack of customization. But if you‘re someone who likes to tinker with audio profiles, this might be a dealbreaker.

So where does that leave us? At an MSRP of $79.99, the HyperX Cloud Stinger Core Wireless is an absolute steal. You‘d be hard pressed to find another wireless gaming headset that offers this combination of audio quality, comfort, and features at this price point. Yes, you can get slightly better sound and build quality by spending more on something like the SteelSeries Arctis 7 or Razer BlackShark V2 Pro, but for most gamers, I think the Cloud Stinger Core hits the sweet spot of price and performance.

The 7.1 virtual surround sound and lightweight, comfortable design are standout features. Audiophiles may be left wanting a bit more detail and soundstage, and those with large heads may find the ear cups too shallow, but those are about the only caveats I can think of. Battery life is good but not class leading, the lack of Bluetooth limits mobile use, and Xbox gamers will need to look elsewhere. But if you game primarily on PC or PlayStation and want a affordable, high-quality wireless headset, the HyperX Cloud Stinger Core absolutely deserves your consideration.

I hope this in-depth review has helped you decide if the HyperX Cloud Stinger Core Wireless is the right gaming headset for you. Let me know in the comments what you think of the headset and what other gaming audio products you‘d like to see me review next. Thanks for reading!

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