By Matt Elliott
Until now, Kingston’s line of HyperX gaming headsets was stubbornly wired-only. With the HyperX Cloud Flight (See it on Amazon), Kingston has finally introduced a wireless model. Perhaps HyperX was just taking its time until it got everything just right, because the Cloud Flight is a stellar first effort. The Cloud Flight boasts a winning combination of immersive stereo sound, luxurious comfort, and a versatile design.
As the first and only wireless model in the HyperX line of gaming headsets, the $159.99 Cloud Flight sits perched right at the top of the company’s product line. It’s going up against the SteelSeries Arctis 7, Logitech G533, Corsair Void Pro, Razer ManO’War, and other high-end wireless headsets. We evaluated most of the big ones last year, so now it’s time to see how this new upstart stacks up.
Design and Features
The Cloud Flight features HyperX’s familiar red-and-black color scheme, but tones it down a bit this time. There’s no red contrast stitching or any other flashes of red save the red wire that peeks out from the top of each earcup. When powered on, the “HX” logo on the outside of each earcup glows or pulses red. With its detachable microphone and understated design, the HyperX Cloud Flight does not look out of place when used as a wired headset when you’re out and about with your phone or tablet.
The Cloud Flight works right out of the box. Just plug in the included USB wireless transmitter and you’re ready to start gaming. The USB dongle transmits via a 2.4GHz connection rather than Bluetooth, and the transmitter and headset are paired out of the box. In addition to the USB dongle, you’ll find two cables in the box: a 4.5-foot audio cable with 3.5mm jacks for using the headset in wired mode, and there’s a USB charging cable. The Cloud Flight works wirelessly with PCs and the PS4, but you’ll need to use a wired connection with an Xbox One and Nintendo Switch, as well as phones and tablets.
The Cloud Flight is exceedingly comfortable. The earcups feature soft, memory foam padding covered in synthetic leather. The headband also has soft, pleather padding. The earcups sat snug against the sides of my head without being too tight. For me it was a perfect fit. And the headband extends to allow for a fairly wide range of height adjustment. At 293 grams with the microphone attached (or 283 grams without it), the Cloud Flight is light enough to remain comfortable for long stretches but heavy enough that it doesn’t feel like a cheap or flimsy.
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At its price, however, I had hoped for sturdier metal fasteners for the earcups, but instead nearly the entire headset is plastic. The only bit of metal you’ll find is the internal band inside the headband when you extend the earcups to adjust the fit.
In addition to being supremely comfortable, the Cloud Flight is easy to use thanks its smart control layout. You get a nubby volume slider on the right earcup. On the left earcup, you just need to press the bottom half of the outside cover to mute the microphone — way easier to find than a tiny mute button. On the bottom of the left earcup are inputs for the detachable microphone, 3.5mm audio cable for wired mode, and USB charging cable. The power button also sits on the left earcup, and you can use it after powering on the headset to cycle through the three modes for the LED lights that make the “HX” logo glow a steady red, pulse red, or turn off. There’s no software to speak of, as there aren’t any controls to tinker with.
The HyperX Cloud Flight is rated for an impressive 30 hours of battery life, but you’ll only hit that number with the LED lights turned off. Its battery life drops to 18 hours for the pulsing “breathing” mode and 13 hours if the lights are continually on.
The earcups rotate to lay flat on your chest when you take them off, which helps create a comfortable fit against your head and also makes the headphones less of a nuisance when you take them off and wear them around your neck. Inside the earcups are 50mm drivers, which I have found to offer bigger, fuller sound than headsets with 40mm drivers.
The Cloud Flight may feature big drivers but only stereo sound, so there’s no surround sound here. The similarly-priced SteelSeries Arctis 7 does offer virtual 7.1 surround sound that expands the sound field, but with smaller 40mm drivers. Logitech’s $150 wireless offering does offer 7.1 surround sound, as does Corsair’s Void Pro.
To test the Cloud Flight, I played several games on a PC and then connected it to an iPhone to test how it handled music playback. First up, was Battlefield on my PC, and the game’s sounds were well balanced. Lower frequencies such as bombs exploding nearby and the rumble of tanks, sounded powerful but not at the expense of the mids and highs. Dialog remained clear, and gunfire sounded crisp. The sound field felt larger with the SteelSeries Arctis 7 though thanks to its 7.1 virtual surround sound, where I could hear enemies approaching from ahead and sneaking up from behind.
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In Overwatch, the sound was also big but well-balanced; heavy weapon fire and the constant explosions did not drown out the crunch of footsteps and the constant chatter between characters. And with both games, I did not experience any lag in the audio, a chief concern for any wireless gaming headset.
I tested the mic by making a voice recording. The recording sounded clean but a bit flat. Better a bit flat than muddy, however.
Finally, I connected the Cloud Flight to an iPhone X and fired up Spotify. I used two songs at the opposite ends of both the genre and frequency spectrums: Steely Dan’s “Dirty Work” and DMX’s “X Gon’ Give It To Ya.” The former I used to test high and mid-frequencies and the latter to test bass response. The Cloud Flight breezed through both song tests. The highs and mids of the keyboards and vocals on “Dirty Work” sounded clean and warm, and DMX’s anthem did not lack punch in the low frequencies; DMX’s raspy voice and pumping bass could be powerfully felt.
The HyperX Cloud Flight has an MSRP of $159.99, and since it’s just launching it’s the same price on Amazon:
- See the HyperX Cloud Flight on Amazon