Product: Hyper X Cloud II Headset
Reviewed on: PC
This device was supplied by the manufacturer for the purpose of review.
The first thing you’ll notice about the HyperX Cloud II is not the headphones themselves, but rather just how enormous its packaging is. As if to convey a message of “the thing inside this box will be awesome”, the whole deal comes in a bright orange box. It resembles something a pair of shoes might come in, with the HyperX logo emblazoned on it. The innermost part of its lid has a somewhat long-winded message from HyperX founder Anders Willumson thanking the buyer for their support and singing the praises of the Cloud headset and their product line in general.
“As passionate gamers our ourselves,” the message proclaims, “we take to the details to make an exceptional product that you can notice and feel the difference.”
Big words to live up to, for sure. But the Cloud II headset is nearly good enough to live up to the rambling copy put forth by its creators. Though I am someone not all that familiar with the world of gaming headsets, I at first found myself at a loss at how to review the Cloud II. What was I supposed to make note of? What was important besides how games sounded coming through the earpiece? But after using them for quite some time, I can firmly say that even with my level of inexperience I found that there was a lot to like about the Hyper X Cloud II headset.
Look and Feel
For your 90 or so dollars, you get the headset itself, a microphone, volume control remote, a pair of replacement ear membranes and a power splitter. All of these items fit nicely into the foam cut out found in the Cloud II’s box and are made of a durable plastic that seems that it would not break easily. Each component is colored a stark white to match the headset itself and form a rather pleasing image when the whole deal is connected. The Cloud II itself is of similar quality and features a padded headband accented on the top with a leather band bearing the HyperX logo. A pair of metallic bands that bind the head part to the earphone, and a pair of plastic shells that serve as the outermost part of the padded earpiece.
All of these materials are well constructed, feel just about right when worn -in no small part to the quality of the cushioning used here, and in general just seem nice overall. All of this goes a long way to making the Cloud II a comfortable headset and one that seems as if it would not break easily. If I were rating this headset on construction and ease of use alone, it would certainly merit an 8/10 easily.
Of course, the real test of a headset is how much it enhances your gaming experience, and the Cloud II certainly delivers on this front. There are, however, a few minor things that hold it back from being great. The two games I played with most during my test run using the Cloud II were Touhou 14: Double Dealing Character and Shovel Knight: Plague of Shadows. Both are games that require quite a bit of concentration to play correctly and feature notable soundtracks filled with excellent music. In all, both made for great test runs with the new headset and helped to highlight both its strength and weaknesses.
In the case of Touhou, a bullet hell style shooter, requires precise timing and movement. The Cloud II did an excellent job of canceling outside noises and allowing me to focus 100% of my attention on the game itself. Allowing for some rather intense concentration on my part, and rather hilariously, finally allowed me to stick with things to defeat the game’s final boss, and served to highlight the game’s soundtrack. Which sounds way better without random outside noise drowning out elements of it. Fair warning, however, the level of volume on my computer, a Sony Vio, correlated very poorly to the volume used by the headset. So when I started Double Dealing Character, at the volume I typically played it at without headphones. The sound came through with such volume and force that I found my ears ringing for a minute or so afterwards. I guess, lesson learned.
Much like Touhou, Shovel Knight came through with great clarity, but the highlight had to be the sound effects. Plague Knight’s various explosives and other magical items sounded unusually crisp when coming through the Cloud II’s speakers and served as an excellent accompaniment to the game’s soundtrack. Sure, the game sounds just fine on its own, but it DOES sound many times better when isolated from the noise of the outside world.
The quality of sound the Cloud II has to offer is good, but ultimately dragged down by issues with volume control. The fact that it’s often hard to tell just how loud a game will be before putting the headset on. This problem aside, I would recommend the Cloud II to those in our audience looking to pick up a headset to enhance their gaming experience.
The HyperX Cloud II headset earns an 8/10.
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