Gaming laptops are traditionally full of compromises.
HyperX Cloud Flight review: HyperX makes the jump to wireless but doesn't reach its usual heights
- Battery life
- Comfortable design
- Audio quality a weakpoint
- Noise pollution an issue
If you want good battery life, comfortable design and are satisfied with decent sound quality, these might fit the bill. Unfortunately, without any virtual surround sound or noise-cancellation tech, the HyperX Cloud Flight headphones make the jump to wireless but lose something in the process.
Price$ 229.00 (AUD)
In retrospect, HyperX’s Cloud Alpha gaming headphones were very much a high-point for the brand in 2017. Utilising a new dual-chambered design, it did a great job of cementing HyperX not just as a brand that can nail the basics but also one that can push the envelope.
Accordingly, the company’s recent CES showcase saw them continue to flesh out their once-skinny product roster to better compete with the giants of the gaming accessory space like Razer and SteelSeries. On one side, this involves offering RGB-variants of its popular keyboard and mice hardware. On the other, it involves taking its headset range wireless with the new Cloud Flight.
The HyperX Cloud Flight is a wireless gaming headset that comes with an integrated (but easily detachable) microphone and 50mm drivers. Like the Cloud Alpha, the Cloud Flight comes TeamSpeak and Discord certified. However, unlike its dual-chambered cousin, it’s boasts a plastic-heavy design, incorporating 90-degree rotating ear cups and customizable LED lighting effects.
The Cloud Flight relies on a wireless dongle that can be used with a PC, PS4 or PS4 Pro. Beyond that, it’s also bundled with a 3.5mm audio cable that allows it to be used with other devices with via its own 3.5mm headphone jack.
Setup & Design
At first glance, the Cloud Flight looks and feels much closer to the budget-friendly Cloud Stinger than anything else on the HyperX menu. It’s mostly plastic, with a little bit of give on both the headband itself and the rotating earcups. Overall, the Cloud Flight headphones are light to wear but not nearly as comfortable as more premium entries in the company’s headset range are.
Regardless, true to the brand's strength, the Cloud Flight is as plug-and-play as these things come. Rather than rely on Bluetooth pairing, the Cloud Flight is wirelessly tethered a USB dongle. Once this is plugged in, the headphones are automatically detected and connected - though you may occasionally have to mess around with your PC's audio mixer a little to make sure that the microphone on the Cloud Flight works as intended.
Once you’re wearing them, there are only two physical buttons to consider on the Cloud Flight: the volume slider on the right earcup and the on/off toggle on the left. Both the former and latter work as fine as you can expect these things to. Personally, I probably would have preferred a more solid set of volume up and down buttons than the radial slider included here. However, this is almost-certainly going to be a matter of preference. Your mileage may vary.
Still, beyond functionality, this really does look and feel like just most HyperX headsets do. On this front, at least, little has been lost in the leap to wireless.
During my time with the HyperX Cloud Flight headphones, I came away with a sense that these headphones really are more focused on form over function.
For both long and shorter gaming sessions, they proved pretty comfortable to wear. And in terms of connectivity, the Cloud Flight headphones were consistently reliable. 99.9% of the time, audio came through pretty-seamlessly and without any hitching.
What’s more, the Cloud Flight headphones are good for a solid 30 hours of playback per charge. This is approximately double that offered by both Razer’s Man’O’War and Logitech’s G533 - making them a fairly competitive on this particular front.
Unfortunately, the quality of the audio itself was a little disappointing. Compared to the crisp output of the Cloud Alpha, the Cloud Flight came across as a lot more ordinary. Things weren’t helped much by the fact that the headset doesn’t do a particularly great of isolating you from outside noise. Over time, leakage proved to be enough of an issue that, really, it worked to offset a lot of the gains HyperX have made here.
The Bottom Line
With these shortcomings (and a price that’s less competitive than HyperX are usually known for) in mind, whether or not the Cloud Flight headset is worth your money is ultimately going to come down to the battery life. Without the virtual surround sound or noise-cancellation tech found in the competition, the HyperX Cloud Flight headphones see the brand make the jump to wireless but lose something of themselves in the process.
If you want good battery life, comfortable design and are satisfied with decent sound quality, these might fit the bill. Unfortunately, and otherwise, they feel like the byproduct of a brand that wants to play in the wireless gaming headset space but hasn’t quite nailed down what their take on the formula should look like. They feel like a first effort, and while first efforts can lead to awesome things later down the line, they’re sometimes hard to recommend without caveat in the moment.
The HyperX Cloud Flight Wireless Headset is available for a local RRP of $229.
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