When it comes to value for the dollar, there are few headset makers higher regarded than HyperX. Last year, we applauded the Cloud Alpha headset for delivering quality far above its price point. Today at CES, the company unveiled its brand new wireless headset, the HyperX Cloud Flight. We were lucky enough to spend the last couple weeks with it and are here to share our thoughts. Does it live up to HyperX’s reputation? This is our review.
- MSRP: $159.99
- Wireless Range: Up to 20 meters
- Driver: Dynamic,50mm with neodymium magnets
- Type: Circumaural,Closed-back
- Frequency Response: Wireless: 20Hz–20,000Hz, Analog:15Hz–23,000Hz
- Impedance: 32 Ohms
- Sound Pressure Level: 106dBSPL/mWat1kHz
- Weight: 300g (315g with mic)
- Cable length and type: USB charge cable (1m), detachable 3.5mm headphone cable (1.3m)
- Element: Electret condenser microphone
- Polar Pattern: Noise-cancelling
- Frequency Response: 100Hz - 7,000Hz
- Sensitivity: -45dBV (0dB=1V/Pa, 1kHz)
- Battery Life: 30 hours 1–LED off, 18 hours–Breathing LED, 13 hours–Solid LED
It’s no secret that I adored the HyperX Cloud Alpha. It’s easily one of my all-time favorite gaming headsets, and I’ve recommended it to pretty much anyone will listen. For $100, you really can’t find much better in a stereo headset. When I hopped on the line with HyperX to discuss the Cloud Flight, I was excited. I was also genuinely curious: would they be able to maintain that above-its-class quality while cutting the cord in their first ever wireless headset?
In a way, the Flight feels a bit like a statement. Compared against its competitor headsets, like the Plantronics RIG 800 and Steelseries’ Arctis 5, the Flight features larger 50mm drivers, a dramatically improved battery life of 30 hours, and an expansive range of 49 - 65 feet. HyperX is trying to carve out their space in an already crowded market, and the Flight is a solid first entry toward that goal.
First things first. The Cloud Flight is a Stereo headset, not surround sound. That’s an important point as the vast majority of wireless gaming headsets feature some form of surround, whether its Dolby, DTS, or something else. It’s a bit of a surprise to come across a wireless headphone that doesn’t. In the world of audio, like so many other things, though, it’s often better to have a device that knows its purpose and serves it well. That’s the Cloud Alpha. It’s stereo sound, but good stereo sound, which is better than mediocre surround any day - and for competitive shooters, stereo is what you want.
The Cloud Flights carry the same distinctive red and black look as the other headsets in the HyperX family. When the LEDs are enabled, the HX branding on either ear cup is lit up in bright red. They look good but also dramatically lower the battery life. This is the case on all illuminated wireless headsets, and if you leave them on, you’ll still get a respectable 13 hours. Breathe mode will raise that to 18 hours and turning them off entirely will net you the full 30 hours. In my experience, leaving them on usually netted me about 10 hours before needing a charge, but I also keep my volume a bit higher than the 50% HyperX tested at, so this is to be expected.
If you do need to charge mid-match, the Flights can be charged and used at the same time. The headset uses a generic micro-USB connection, so you can use any cable
I like the aesthetic on the Cloud Flights. It’s simple and doesn’t buy into the Gamer Chic one of our fellow writers recently referred to as alien. The entire unit is matte black and only accented with the red wires leading to each driver and the white (or red) HyperX logos. You could remove the mic and wear these out and about without feeling silly and that kind of versatility is important for a $160 pair of headphones.
They also feel well made, though there is more plastic in their build than I would like. The headband features HyperX’s steel slider, so you don’t have to worry about it breaking in two over time. Coming from the Cloud Alphas with their stitched fabric headband and metal driver housings, casing the headband in plastic again feels like a step back. The stitching on the Alpha were distinctive and unique, and removed a common point of breakage. The Flights are more in line with every other gaming headset. That said, after having snapped plastic headphones in the past, I stretched these until they were nearly flat and gave them a good twist to boot. Not only did they not not break, they didn’t so much as creak, so I feel confident that they’re made for the long haul.
The headset is also quite comfortable to wear. The earcups are slightly larger than the Alphas, which allowed them to fit nicely over my ears and to take a bit longer before needing a vent. The pleather material is also improved and feels more resilient to the touch. It seals out noise well, but it also means they’ll get warm over time, even with the extra room. It might even seal a little too good. Pushing on either earcup made the diaphragms actually pop in my ears. Still, if you want to seal out the outside world and sink into a game, these are the headphones for you.
That noise isolation also works wonderfully to boost your awareness in-game. When used wirelessly, the Flights transmit at the standard 20-20000Hz frequency response range. If you plug them in, you’ll extend that to 15-23000Hz. Combined with the large 50mm neodymium drivers and low impedance, these headphones produce a very full sound that is rich and detailed. Positional audio is spot on, even amidst the chaos of layered, explosive audio cues. In PUBG, being able to tell the direction of footsteps and gunshots can make the difference between life and death. With the Flights, I could close my eyes and just listen and know exactly where my enemy was.
When it comes to sound signature, the Flights tend toward the warmer side. Bass is powerful but not overwhelming. Hiding in the bushes from an oncoming tank in Battlefield 1, the rumble is much more pronounced than it is with the Alphas. This is largely due to the Flights not making use of the firm’s new Dual Chamber Drivers which, HyperX tells me, was not included due to the Alphas and Flights being developed concurrently. The highs are definitely tuned up, too, allowing that sub-bass growl to be paired with the pings and cracks of the passing treads and the muddy stomps of the soldiers looking for a ride. The soundstage is also fairly wide, which is great for a wider sense of space.
One thing that is notably absent from the scene is any kind of controlling software. Even though the headset is easy to control with the buttons on the left and right ear housings, it would have been nice to have some additional EQ options. As it stands, you’re limited to what’s present in the Windows settings and that’s not much. The counter to this, however, is that the device is entirely plug and play. You can use them on PC or PlayStation quickly and easily with nothing to fuss about with. Still, at this price, it would have been nice to have some EQ bands to customize for different types of content.
Lastly, we come to the microphone. HyperX has always impressed me with the quality of their headset mics. Here, the company has a new challenge to overcome. Wireless headset microphones always suffer some compression without the wire, and the Flight is no exception, but they are an improvement over many others currently in this price range. The microphone also does a great job of isolating your voice and removing any background noise. Have a listen:
The Cloud Flight is another excellent headset from HyperX. They sound great, with a full bodied sound and excellent positional audio for competitive games. The lack of software is a drawback, as is the reverting to a plastic frame around the steel headband, but these issues are buoyed by the exceptional battery life, great wireless range, and the improved comfort with the revised ear cushions. If you’re looking for a wireless headset that knows what it wants to do, deliver great, competition level stereo sound in video games, the Cloud Flights are a solid pick.
- Revised cushions are quite comfortable
- Full-bodied sound
- Great positional audio
- Above average wireless microphone
- No additional software for EQ tweaking
- Headband feels like a step back
The product discussed in this article was provided by the manufacturer for the purposes of review.