It’s been six years since Kingston’s HyperX gaming division released its Cloud gaming headset. Then, near the end of 2020, the gaming division that will soon be a part of HP, unleased a wave of new and updated gaming peripherals and within the portfolio, was the 2nd generation HyperX Cloud II Wireless gaming headphones.
Much like its predecessor, there is an air of familiarity to the Cloud II but unlike its predecessor, HyperX has chosen an all wireless route with them. What do I mean by that? Keep reading to find out.
What Is It?
To the select few among you, if you’ve ever owned a pair of the original HyperX Cloud headphones, simply imagine the look, shape, and feel of those 1st generation headphones sans the long thick wire, and you’re up-to-date with the design. Really.
Aside from Kingston’s decision to cut the cord – literally and figuratively – on the Cloud II Wireless and bring it into the…well, wireless age, the headphones’ design really is a reflection of the “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” proverb. Again, like its predecessor, the Cloud II Wireless utilises the same lightweight, aluminium frame to form the yoke and joints, its signature memory foam covered with a black leatherette; earcups made of hard and sturdy plastic, and last but not least, large dynamic 53mm drivers, built with neodymium magnets.
Moving on, while the Cloud II Wireless are effectively wireless headphones, it doesn’t use the run-of-the-mill Bluetooth standard. Instead, it comes connected to PCs and console via a proprietary USB-A dongle that bridges both headphones and machines via the 2.4GHz wireless standard, which is both a good and bad thing. More on that later. Oh, and it is also able to maintain a connection up to a maximum distance of 20 metres.
Of course, no gaming headphone is complete without a microphone and to that end, the Cloud II Wireless is also equipped with its own detachable, bi-directional, noise-cancelling microphone.
Price-wise, the Cloud II Wireless retails at RM709.
Is It Any Good?
In regards to its comfort, the Cloud II Wireless isn’t as stiff as it looks. Despite its appearance, the yoke is actually quite lithe with its touch and barely clamps down hard enough to give me a headache, especially when I use it over prolonged periods.
Still speaking of its comfort, the memory foam earcups are also a contributing factor to its overall comfort; they’re light and feel cool on my skin and that, in turn, means that the sweat build-up around my ears isn’t as great as other headphones I have used in the past.
As I mentioned earlier, connectivity for the Cloud II Wireless is conducted via its dedicated USB dongle and 2.4GHz frequency, instead of a more conventional Bluetooth connection. Doing this ensures that the connection between the headphones and whatever system the dongle is plugged into is uninterrupted and free from any wireless interference.
As for its overall audio performance, the Cloud II Wireless feels well balanced; in its default stereo mode, neither of the three pitches takes a backseat from each other. Sound staging is moderately decent and while these headphones weren’t designed to provide an optimal or enhanced music listening experience, I can still pick out some instruments and decipher which side of the room they’re coming from.
Turn on the onboard 7.1 Virtual Surround, and everything perks up. Noises that are usually subtle or heard in the background automatically enhanced and brought forward. Sound staging is also artificially amplified and provides that much needed clarity when gaming or watching movies that support the same level of surround sound. That said, I don’t recommend turning it on if your intention is to listen to music, for obvious reasons.
As for the detachable microphone’s performance, people I have spoken to through it via Discord and calls via messaging apps like Telegram and WhatsApp say that the throughput is clear if not a little hollow, but showed no signs of breaking or distortion.
Lastly, the 30-hour battery endurance of the Cloud II Wireless is worth a mention. Kingston clearly put a lot of thought into the battery capacity of these headphones and being able to use them for several hours at a time. Even better is that they also have a smart battery manager that automatically powers down the headphones if no content is being played for several minutes. Also, charging is done via USB-C.
The Bad Stuff. Tell Me.
While there is a lot to love about the Cloud II Wireless, they sadly aren’t without flaw. One of these headphones’ greatest strength is also its greatest drawback, and that is the 2.4GHz wireless standard. While it guarantees a seamless audio streaming experience, the lack of any other wireless standards means that these headphones are restricted to PCs and consoles. All of which must also have a USB-A port in order for it to function.
On that note, the Cloud II Wireless is also devoid of any wired connectivity; it is strictly a wireless headset and there is no 3.5mm cable or jack on it, and the built-in USB-C port is only good for charging, and nothing else.
Another issue I take with the Cloud II Wireless is with its indicators and lack thereof. I’ll start with the microphone: if and when you choose to mute the audio output, you simply push the button at the back of the left earcup, and the rim of the mouthpiece automatically glows red. Press it again, and the red light turns off and you’re free to speak.
Yet, for reasons unknown, Kingston didn’t provide that same consideration for the 7.1 Virtual Surround sound. There is no physical indicator – save for a brief pause and silence you hear in the headphones after toggling – to let you know if the feature is on or off. In fact, the only way to determine if the 7.1 is active is to quite literally play it by ear.
Should I Buy It?
The HyperX Cloud II Wireless is, in my honest opinion, a one-trick pony that is strictly, if not single-mindedly dedicated to its design. While it is devoid of Bluetooth and wired connectivity options, streaming via the 2.4GHz waveband means that you are guaranteed a seamless and unfettered audio experience, be it in a gaming or working environment.
At RM709 and the fact that the Cloud II Wireless are not travel-friendly, you would be forgiven for averting your gaze and attention to other, more robust wireless headphones. However, if you’re looking for a pair of cable-free, gaming-grade headphones, then these may just be for you.