A challenger has arrived! Kingston’s HyperX line has been putting out some quality products for quite some time now and the HyperX Cloud Stinger gaming headset is no exception. During unboxing, I found the packaging of the Cloud Stinger and the color scheme of all black with only a splash of red in the HyperX logo a bit plain. However, upon inspection, I was immediately impressed by the design of the headphones. While lightweight, they still felt very sturdy and I had zero fear of them easily breaking.
The Cloud Stinger is advertised as a gaming headset, but it also works perfectly with Mac and phones — unlike many gaming headsets now, the Cloud Stinger uses a 3.5 mm connection instead of a USB connection (sorry iPhone 7 and Moto Z users). That means there is no need for any driver installations, so switching from device to device is seamless and quick. I first tested these headphones on Dead Rising 4, and they performed very well; I could hear zombies to my left, to my right, and behind me with clarity.
The last game that I tested the Cloud Stinger on was Halo 5: Guardians. As we all know, a standout of Halo games is the background music and while I was able to hear my party chat, the gameplay, and shots being fired clearly, the headset did not produce any strong highs or lows. I listened to some Norah Jones and Prince songs and was a bit unimpressed with the sound; it sounded a bit dull. While bass comes out just fine, it lacks that little crispness in higher end headphones. Also of note, is that the microphone picks up everything, which is both good and bad.
The microphone has a nice feature where if you rotate it upwards until you hear a small click, the mic will be muted. It does have an inconvenience in that the mic can only rotate up or down — there’s a little give if you want to move the boom mic closer to or away from your face, but not enough to make it reliably stay in place. I assume that it was designed this way to work in conjunction with the rotate up to turn off mic feature. There is also no mic volume adjustment
Now let’s look at some features of the Cloud Stinger that really stood out. First, it comes with memory foam and premium leatherette ear muffs. I wore these headphones for about seven hours and they were very comfortable; so, one can definitely comfortably play in these headphones for hours on end. There are also 12 notches on the steel slider to accommodate different head sizes, as well as 90 rotating ear cups to allow them to rest on your neck comfortably when you take a break or want to stop wearing them for a bit. The Cloud Stinger comes with a 3.5 mm jack that is a good length for using with a phone or laptop, but it also comes with a splitter for microphone and audio for use in gaming devices. I found the length of the headphones with the splitter to be more than enough when gaming on an Xbox One. Lastly, one of my favorite features with these headphones is definitely the volume control. There is a volume control under the right ear cup and makes volume adjustment quick and easy. Most headsets have a volume/mic control along the cable and it makes it a bit harder to quickly adjust volume sometimes.