HyperX Cloud Alpha S (2019) review

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HyperX Cloud Alpha S
  • HyperX Cloud Alpha S
  • HyperX Cloud Alpha S
  • Expert Rating

    4.00 / 5

Pros

  • Comfortable to wear
  • Dual-chambered audio sounds great
  • 7.1 support is a great addition

Cons

  • Adequate microphone
  • More expensive than the first Alpha and not terribly different

Bottom Line

Even if the Cloud Alpha S no longer qualifies as the best cheap gaming headset, it’s still a pretty good gaming headset.

Would you buy this?

  • Price

    $ 229.00 (AUD)

Should I buy the HyperX Cloud Alpha S gaming headset?

If you’re happy with your current Cloud Alpha, there’s not a huge amount of improvements here to make the new Cloud Alpha S worth the upgrade. On the other hand, the Cloud Alpha S is definitely the superior of the two. 

How could it not be? It’s got all the same strengths and more. However, it relies on a lot of the same design and tech where other brands have evolved in the years since its predecessor launched. 

Still, if you’re a newcomer looking for a gaming headset that’s comfortable to wear, sounds good and doesn’t rely on too much third-party software, it’s a strong place to start your search. 

Price when reviewed

In Australia, the HyperX Cloud Alpha S retails for AU$229.

HyperX Cloud Alpha S gaming headset full review

The Cloud Alpha S is definitely the superior headset over the original Cloud Alpha but it relies on a lot of the same design and tech where other brands have evolved in the years since its predecessor launched. 

The most noticeable change here is the color-shift. The original Cloud Alpha went for crimson red. The new Cloud Alpha S goes in on ocean blue. Beyond the coat of paint, the other big addition that’s been made this time around is support for 7.1 surround sound via a USB-connected sound card. 

Credit: HyperX

Under the hood, the HyperX Cloud Alpha S boasts custom designed 50mm dual chamber drivers,  a leatherette-stitched headband, detachable in-line microphone and support for basically every gaming platform out there. 

For better or worse, HyperX haven’t messed with the formula too much here. If you’re expecting a little more, it might be time to take a look at some of the other options. However, if your original Cloud Alpha is getting a little old in the tooth, the addition of 7.1 surround sound might make this a natural replacement. 

Even if the Cloud Alpha S no longer qualifies as the best cheap gaming headset, it’s still a pretty good gaming headset.

Price

In Australia, you can buy the HyperX Cloud Alpha S for AU$229 through the following retailers:

Design & Build

The original Cloud Alpha was the set of HyperX headphones that made me fall in love with the brand. When it came to design, performance and - most importantly - pricing, the first Alpha swung way above its weight. 

HyperX’s inevitable follow-up didn’t hit me quite as hard. Part of this is down to familiarity, part of this is down to having reviewed a LOT of gaming headsets since then (the best of which can be found here) and part of this is down to the slightly-higher price. 

Credit: HyperX

Still, the new HyperX Cloud Alpha S doesn’t mess too much with the blueprint. Like the name suggests, it’s more of a buffed version of its namesake than it is an outright successor. 

The most immediately-noticeable change here is the color-shift. The original Cloud Alpha had a crimson-red aesthetic to it. The new Cloud Alpha S opts for a cooler ocean blue tone instead. Otherwise, the newer headset still hits most of the same beats. The HyperX Cloud Alpha S features custom designed 50mm dual chamber drivers,  a leatherette-stitched headband, detachable in-line microphone and support for basically every gaming platform known to man. 

Beyond the new look, the other big addition that’s been made this time around is support for 7.1 surround sound via a USB-connected sound card. 

Credit: HyperX

If you want to get that more immersive surround sound gaming experience, this is a great inclusion - and it’s something we actually wished that the original Cloud Alpha had, so it seems like HyperX are listening to feedback. The dongle itself also offers up shortcut buttons that allow you to privilege voice chat over in-game sound effects and vice-versa.

The other small change here is the addition of a set of bass sliders on each of the Cloud Alpha’s two earcups. As you might expect, these allow you to modify the bass on short notice - which can be neat in certain circumstances. 

As with the first HyperX Cloud Alpha, the Cloud Alpha S also comes bundled with a soft fabric carry-case. This is a small inclusion but it does add a little bit of premium energy that helps separate the headset from the rest of the range. 

For better or worse, HyperX haven’t messed with the formula too much here. If you’re expecting a little more, it might be time to take a look at some of the other options. However, if your original Cloud Alpha is getting a little old in the tooth, the addition of 7.1 surround sound might make this a natural replacement. 

Features & Sound Quality

In my original review, I wrote that “If you think the hype around the dual-chambered design sounds good, let me tell you, the real thing sounds even better” and the Cloud Alpha’s signature design choice continues to pay dividends the second time around. 

The HyperX Cloud Alpha S provides a comfortable and compellingly immersive gaming headset experience. I wouldn’t say it sounds exceptional enough to sate the appetite of audiophiles but, if you play a lot of PC games, you’ll probably have a more than good enough time with it.

Credit: HyperX

The Cloud Alpha S has been my go-to gaming headset for the past few weeks and I’ve little to complain about. It’s a little heavy on the ears over time but it sounds fine in action, especially once you toggle on the 7.1 surround sound. Overwatch, John Wick Hex, Remnant: From The Ashes, Destiny 2: Shadowkeep and Apex Legends all sounded striking through the earcups on this thing. I wouldn’t say they sounded the best I’ve heard ever heard them but, for $229, they sounded more than adequate. 

The one thing that the Cloud Alpha S doesn’t really bring to the table compared to some of the other options is RGB lightning. Some people may not care about this but if you’re someone who does and wants their headset to contribute to a larger visual orchestra of peripheral illumination tech, that’s definitely a downside to choosing this over something that can offer such integrations.  

The flipside of this is that the Cloud Alpha S is relatively plug and play. You don’t have to worry about any third party software. You can just buy it and use it - which is easy to like. 

Credit: HyperX

The other thing that leaves a sour taste in my mouth is the absence of any real improvement to the mic quality on the HyperX Cloud Alpha S. Sure, it’s a perfectly fine gaming microphone. However, in a world where Logitech are now leveraging their partnership with Blue to provide significant improvements on this front, the Cloud Alpha S feels a little outgunned.

The Bottom Line

Although I do like it a fair amount, there are a few things I can’t shake when it comes to the HyperX Cloud Alpha S. 

If you’re expecting a gaming headset that impresses you just as much as the original Cloud Alpha - like I was - you’re probably going to be a little disappointed. The small improvements and additions here only barely feel like they cover the difference in the price-tag.  

The Cloud Alpha S is a better headset that the original but it's not a particularly different one. 

Credit: HyperX

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