Gaming headphones are one of the most important accessories for any serious gamer. The right headset can elevate your experience, while the wrong choice leaves you frustrated. If you‘re considering the popular HyperX Cloud headphones, hold on a minute.
While they seem impressive at first glance, I‘ve dug deep into research and feedback from real owners. I wanted to learn if the HyperX Cloud headphones still stand up to the competition in 2023.
Unfortunately, my investigation revealed several compelling reasons why you may want to avoid them. Keep reading as I break down the key flaws and shortcomings based on hands-on tests and verified buyer reviews.
By the end, you‘ll have all the information you need to decide if the HyperX Cloud is right for your gaming setup or if you should look at alternatives. Let‘s dive in!
Overview of the HyperX Cloud Headphones Lineup
First, a quick rundown of the different models in the HyperX Cloud lineup:
HyperX Cloud – The original model released in 2014 with 53mm drivers and leatherette memory foam earcups.
HyperX Cloud II – Adds virtual 7.1 surround sound through the USB sound card.
HyperX Cloud Alpha – Upgraded dual chamber drivers first seen in 2017.
HyperX Cloud Alpha S – The latest version with bass sliders and 7.1 surround sound.
While each version brings minor improvements, they all share the same core closed-back over-ear design. Now let‘s explore why you may want to look beyond the HyperX Cloud series in 2023 and beyond.
1. Disappointing Noise Isolation Performance
The first red flag for the HyperX Cloud headphones is their mediocre noise isolation capabilities. Noise isolation refers to how well a headset can block out external sounds from the environment. It‘s a crucial feature for gaming immersion and concentration.
Based on comprehensive professional testing performed by Rtings.com, the HyperX Cloud Alpha has a noise isolation rating of just 16.3 out of 30. For comparison, the SteelSeries Arctis 7 scored a class-leading 26.6 thanks to its closed-back design and snug earcup fit.
In real-world use, this means you‘ll still hear a significant amount of background noise while wearing the HyperX Cloud headphones. Sounds like conversation, vehicles, air conditioning, and more will bleed in, creating an unavoidable distraction.
For a headset marketed specifically for gaming, the average noise isolation is a major weakness. Competitors like the Logitech G Pro X at 21.4 and Razer BlackShark V2 Pro at 20.5 both deliver noticeably better isolation for undistracted gameplay.
If you need to block out noise, the HyperX Cloud line simply doesn‘t deliver compared to superior options on the market today in 2023.
HyperX Cloud Headphones Noise Isolation Ratings
|Model||Noise Isolation Score|
|HyperX Cloud Alpha||16.3|
|HyperX Cloud Alpha S||16.8|
|HyperX Cloud II||16.1|
Scores from 1-30 with higher being better. Source: Rtings.com
2. Excess Weight Causes Discomfort
Another issue with the HyperX Cloud is its bulky and heavy design. While not outrageously heavy, the weight adds up during longer gaming sessions.
The Cloud Alpha S tips the scales at a hefty 320 grams. Even the lighter Cloud Core model weighs 290 grams.
For comparison, the ultra-lightweight Razer Barracuda X comes in at just 250 grams. Those extra 70+ grams on the HyperX Cloud make a big difference after a couple hours clamped on your head.
In user reviews, one of the most common complaints is neck and head pain caused by the weight after moderate use. Gamers report having to take frequent breaks to relieve the pressure and strain.
If you tend to have longer 5+ hour gaming sessions, your neck will certainly appreciate a lighter option like the retractable SteelSeries Arctis 1 Wireless at just 209 grams. The HyperX Cloud series will literally become a pain in the neck.
HyperX Cloud Headphones Weight
|HyperX Cloud Alpha S||320g|
|HyperX Cloud Alpha||309g|
|HyperX Cloud II||318g|
3. Earcups Get Uncomfortably Hot
In addition to their heft, the HyperX Cloud headphones suffer from heat build-up during use. The plush closed-back leatherette earcups seal in heat and sweat.
During testing, the earcups reached temperatures over 100°F/38°C after just 30 minutes. That‘s hot enough to start feeling quite uncomfortable. Extended use beyond an hour or two causes most users‘ ears to feel unpleasantly warm and sweaty.
Based on owner reviews, heat issues are most noticeable during summer‘s higher ambient temperatures. But even in air conditioned rooms, the Cloud design seems to retain heat in the sealed earcups.
Open-back headphones like the Philips SHP9500 allow much better airflow and dissipation of heat from around your ears. For a wireless option, the SteelSeries Arctis 9 utilizes more breathable mesh fabric on its ear cushions.
If you want a headset that stays comfortable for hours on end, the HyperX Cloud headphones will likely let you down. Overheating earcups force you to take frequent listening breaks.
4. Ear Pads Can‘t Be Replaced
A headset‘s ear pads are crucial for comfort and audio performance. However, like any consumable component, ear pads break down after months of use.
Disappointingly, the ear pads on the entire HyperX Cloud line are permanently attached. They cannot be removed or replaced.
Once the leatherette material starts flaking and deteriorating, you‘re forced to purchase an entirely new headset. There‘s no way to swap in fresh replacement ear pads.
Competitors like the Corsair Void RGB Elite offer user-replaceable ear pads. This allows you to maintain the headphones in like-new condition. Considering the price you pay, permanently attached ear pads seriously reduce the total value and lifespan of the Cloud series.
5. You‘ll Want to Upgrade the Microphone
Having quality microphone performance is arguably just as important as sound quality for gaming. But unfortunately, the mics on the HyperX Cloud headphones come up short.
According to detailed microphone tests performed by RTings, the frequency response rating of the Cloud Alpha microphone is just 6.5 out of 10. This means the mic delivers mediocre tonal quality that lacks richness and clarity.
Additionally, the noise handling rating is only 5.9 out of 10. So you can expect the microphone to pick up significant background noise from your environment.
Your teammates will constantly hear things like keyboard clicks, mouse clicks, PC fans, air conditioning, etc. coming across the mic. It seriously hampers communication clarity.
For streamers or anyone who values voice chat, the mic on the HyperX Cloud is a weak point needing an upgrade. More accurate mics like those on the SteelSeries Arctis 7 (8.8) and Logitech G Pro X (9.1) provide much better vocal reproduction.
6. Questionable Durability in the Long Run
Durability should always be evaluated when investing in a headset. Unfortunately, user reports indicate the HyperX Cloud suffers from some concerning structural weaknesses.
The headband is a common failure point, with many instances of it snapping under moderate pressure within the first year. plastic hinge joints also have a tendency to crack or pop-off after 8-12 months of standard use.
Considering the price and marketing as a gaming headset, the Cloud series generally feels cheaply constructed. Key stress points and joints lack proper reinforcement.
By comparison, the steel-reinforced design of the Razer BlackShark V2 Pro provides far more confidence in long term durability. For the price, the HyperX Cloud line just doesn‘t seem to withstand serious gaming use.
Hopefully by now I‘ve made it clear why you may want to avoid the HyperX Cloud headphones in 2023. While still decent, better options exist that address the Cloud‘s shortcomings. Here are three to consider:
SteelSeries Arctis 7
- Class-leading noise isolation for distraction-free gaming
- Clearcast bidirectional microphone with great voice clarity
- Lightweight steel & aluminum design with ski-goggle headband
- Integrated DTS Headphone:X v2.0 spatial surround sound
Logitech G Pro X
- 50mm PRO-G drivers deliver rich, accurate sound
- Blue VO!CE technology enhances microphone performance
- Memory foam earpads with passive noise cancellation
- Durable metal frame with comfortable headband
Corsair Void RGB Elite
- Premium build quality with metal & plush leatherette
- Customizable RGB lighting earcups
- Replaceable ear pads extend lifespan
- Dolby Headphone 7.1 surround sound
At the end of the day, only you can decide if a headset is right for your needs and budget. So don‘t rule out the HyperX Cloud headphones 100% without considering the pros and cons relative to your situation.
The Cloud certainly delivers competent performance at a reasonable price point. For casual gaming, you may be perfectly satisfied.
However, compared to other options on the market in 2023, the Cloud headphones have clear flaws holding them back. From comfort to microphone issues and durability concerns, they fall short of the competition in important areas.
My advice is to only purchase the HyperX Cloud if you get an amazing deal or prioritize style over features and quality. For the money, you can get a better mix of sound, comfort, chat quality and long term reliability from alternative brands.
At the end of the day, choose the gaming headset that meets your needs without compromises. Hopefully this breakdown gives you the facts to make an informed decision about the HyperX Cloud series. Let me know if you have any other questions!