Gaming headphones have come such a long way in the last couple of years, particularly those of the wireless variety. Gone are the days of terrible sound and blink-and-you’ll-miss-it battery lives. Now, if you aren’t providing premium quality sound, no-one wants a bar of you. HyperX has always seemed to be a gaming peripheral maker that knew this better than anyone else in the space. In the Cloud Flight wireless headset, they’ve created what might be their best audio work to date.
I say this in most of my gaming headset reviews but I only have a few things that I look for when covering tech like this. I want them to be lightweight and I want them to sound great. Given the short list of criteria, its surprising that so many fail to impress me. The Cloud Flight impressed the hell out of me. For a pair of premium-tier wireless cans with a battery that’ll last you several days, these are incredibly lightweight and efficient. They never sag on the ears or cause aches from extended use, indeed its quite easy to forget they’re on your head at all. You can still run them as a cabled headset which is a nice touch, and the charge time isn’t particularly long should you run out of juice.
The big surprise for me on these cans was the addition of active noise cancellation. You can feel them seal your ears in a little when you put them on to deaden external noise. In a wireless gaming headset, this is extremely rare indeed and generally reserved only for the top tier gear. It’s also often a drain on the battery and while it does impede your overall uptime somewhat, it’s not the charge guzzler I’d expected at all.
They also sound like a million bucks which is a big win for HyperX in my book. The surround works a treat, picking out high and low range sound in the rear channels to give you excellent spatial awareness in titles like Overwatch and Fortnite while still being well-tuned enough to use for music and movies when you’re not gaming. The mic is crisp and clear, and only picks up minimal audio bleed from within the cans. This has been a bug bear on other HyperX headsets for me, including the otherwise stellar Cloud Alpha, and it’s nice to see HyperX has been working on that.
They connect to your PC with a simple USB dongle and connect immediately without a problem. My Windows 10 machine instantly recognised the headset and we were off to the races.
Design-wise these headphones are very much in line with the Cloud Alpha red-and-black but have a more rounded shape to the cups proper. The material they use on the earmuffs is extremely soft and very comfortable. The mic is still the thin, bendy stalk that comes on the Cloud Alpha model and the outer left earcup has been given over to a huge mute button so you can shut everything up at a moment’s notice. The cups themselves have little red LED’s behind them that light up the HyperX logo. I personally don’t care for bells and whistles like this, my focus is always on function over form, but if you’re into the whole glowy lights thing then I’m sure you’ll like them just fine.
If I sound shocked its because I am. I’d gotten so used to gaming headphones being a waste of time and money that its strange to see the whole industry working to turn that around. You’re getting the kind of quality on these cans I’d ordinarily expect from a much bigger name in home audio and I think HyperX are to be commended for that. They are absolutely not messing around with these things, iteration to iteration, and it’s great to see.
At $229 AUD they do sit at the highest end of HyperX’s current pricing scale, but they’re worth every cent. If you’re looking at a wireless kit and don’t mind dropping the extra change, then you’ll find the Cloud Flight has precious little competition.
Score: 9.0 out of 10
Highlights: Great sound; Great design; Great feel; Good price
Lowlights: Charge cord could be longer
Price: $229 AUD
Review conducted using a retail model provided by the manufacturer.