Page 2 - Physical Look - Hardware
While the other two available colors of pure black and a black-red mix are aimed at the gamer-centric crowd, this HyperX Cloud II headset is a different beast catering towards those who like a lighter shade of red. Being a writer here at APH Networks for almost two years now, I realize it is important to not stereotype products for specific customers, especially when the only difference is the color scheme, but the pink is surely designed for a certain group of users. It may not be my favorite color, but it definitely is eye-catching. Continuing on, the HyperX Cloud II is the exact same headset as the original Cloud. Thus, much like the original Cloud, the second iteration has the soft-touch rubber areas around the ears and on the side of the headband. You will feel these areas every time you adjust your headset. Then there are the two brushed metal areas on both sides of the ears, which feels very refined, and are branded with the shortened HyperX logo in a magenta-pink. The headband at the top is leather and white in color, and is stitched on the sides with a similar shade of pink. The HyperX logo is sewn at the top once again, except in white threading this time. While I compared the HyperX Cloud we received to a panda bear crossed with a storm trooper, the Cloud II feels much more like Hello Kitty. I cannot shake the pinkness, and the first thing I thought of when I saw this headset was one of my friends who is a girl. She adores Hello Kitty, and really all this headset needs are a couple of pointed ears. As for overall appearances, the HyperX Cloud II looks like it could fit in anywhere for any use, and does not look out of place, whether you are at a LAN party or listening to music on the bus. Build quality for the headset is excellent too. The headset is very sturdy, and extraneous noises from flexing or moving the headset are kept to a minimum. The metal arms are also very tough despite the pinkish hues, and do not flex whatsoever.
One of the first differences from the original Kingston HyperX Cloud is found at the bottom, where a single four pole 3.5mm audio plug can be found. Once again, it is gold-plated. This means users can use the headset out of the box in most smart devices like tablets or phones, without needing any additional adapters. The plug is wrapped in a white rubber end, which is grippy, making unplugging the headset very easy. A white braided cable connects the plugs to the headset. This cable is longer than the original Cloud at approximately 1.1m. As this is intended to be used with the provided USB remote, this kind of length is expected, but I would like to see a longer cable, especially when it is used with your phone. The cable is permanently attached to the headset, just like the original.
As we move on to the ears, we get to the white leather padded ear pads. One thing I should address with the color is the fact white can easy get stained, whether by dirt or sweat. As with the original headset, this has memory foam underneath too. The result is a very plushy and a "cloud" like experience, haha. The white leather ear cups are shown above, but velour ear cups are also included with the Kingston HyperX Cloud II. After trying both, I can say the leather gets a better seal on the ears, while the velour provides a more open feel. Exchanging the cups between the two types of fabric is easy, as they slide on all sides to fit around the headset. They also hold well in place without moving around too much. The ear cups, as we have seen from the original headset, is oval in shape, and fits more closely to human ears. Fit will vary between users, but I can say this ear pads cover the ear fully, just as I would expect from any over-the-ear headset. Underneath this area are the 53mm drivers, with a frequency response of 15Hz to 25KHz. Rated impedance of this unit is 60 ohms.
The two pink metal arms holding the speakers are as sturdy as the original headset, and while they may look thin, they do not flex at all. They are notched to allow users to feel incremental changes. The headset should fit on most heads, as it gets large enough to go around my crown. At the top of the headset is the leather headband. The white color once again may be a problem for easy staining, but I have yet to see any issues after a few weeks of use. The white headband uses the same memory foam found on the ears, which is still just as comfortable. The pink thread is also very eye-catching, and looks pretty slick. At the top, the HyperX logo is embroidered in white, which looks really nice. Even though the logo may not be completely visible on first glance, it still is a pretty touch. All this threading work adds a bit of class which you cannot find in other gaming headsets.
As for the headset itself, the Kingston HyperX Cloud II applies 5N of force on your head. Practically speaking, this force is not really noticeable, and the headset strikes the balance between putting too much and too little pressure on you. The past Kingston HyperX Cloud has been my daily headset, and the second iteration is just as comfortable to wear for longer periods. The headset weighs in at 350g, which is the same weight as the original headset.
At the very bottom on the left side of the headset, we find a detachable microphone. While majority of the headset is the same as the original HyperX Cloud, the microphone is actually different, but you may not notice it right away. Similarities we see are found in areas like the gooseneck holding the microphone, which is very flexible, and can be easily shaped. In addition, it is rigid enough to stay in place after adjustment. Once again, this microphone is a unidirectional microphone. It would be quite lame to pull the same One Direction jokes here, but that is just the story of my life. Anyway, the preference of the microphone will vary between users, but as for myself, a single direction microphone is the one thing I want from every headset. Otherwise, you will also notice the windscreen on the microphone is also shorter, but still does a decent job in reducing external noises. Thus the only difference between the two microphones are the frequency response. The original microphone was rated from 100Hz to 12KHz, while this one has a wider range between 50Hz to 18KHz. If you ever want to mute your microphone, this can be done by a switch found on the USB remote.
Speaking of which, a USB remote with a built-in DAC comes with the Kingston HyperX Cloud II. This is quite different from the original HyperX Cloud, which came with a remote, but still plugged into the 3.5mm audio jacks. The remote cable also adds over 210 cm in cable length to extend your total wire length to over three meters. The remote has several functions, including adjusting the headset volume, microphone volume, and muting the microphone as aforementioned. In addition, a small button near the middle with the label "7.1" can be found in the middle. This button turns on the virtual 7.1 surround sound for some more encompassing sound. When it is active, the translucent part of the button shines pink. Kingston has noted this is a "hardware-driven virtual 7.1 surround sound", which probably refers to the USB sound card included creating the virtual channels. Otherwise, we will see how this actually sounds like in real life situations in our audio inspection stage. A translucent HyperX logo is also found on the remote, and it glows pink when the remote is plugged in. At the back there is a clothing clip, which allows the remote to attach to the person without dangling in space.
Other accessories included with the Kingston HyperX Cloud II include a white mesh drawstring pouch, which is large enough to hold the headset comfortably. There is a Velcro sealed pocket in the front of this pouch for holding accessories, such as the remote or the detachable microphone. There are two additional velour earmuffs, filled with the same memory foam as we have in the leather cups. A two-prong airplane adapter is also found here. As you can see here, all the accessories come in white to match the overall theme. I have to say I am quite glad Kingston played it safe with the pink on the accessories, especially when they could have gone all out. Rather, this keeps the headset's additional parts clean and classy.
Overall, the headset is practically the same, with the most notable difference coming in the way it plugs into your source. Otherwise, the microphone included has a wider range in terms of input frequencies, and the color I selected is quite noticeably different. So when we turn our eyes, or in this case our ears, to the audio analysis, how will the HyperX Cloud II perform? Is it going to be the same story as the original? I guess we will see on the next page!
1. Introduction, Packaging, Specifications
2. Physical Look - Hardware
3. Subjective Audio Analysis