Page 2 – Physical Look – Hardware
The Kingston HyperX Cloud gaming headset follows a white and black color theme, just like the Cooler Master Storm Ceres 500. However, I cannot really say it is as gamer-centric as the Ceres was, as there are quite a few areas where this headset is simply better. For one, all the white parts of the headset have a soft-rubber coating, including around the ears and on the side of the headband. This makes even adjusting or just holding the headset a pleasant experience in the hands. There are metallic areas, including in the middle of the ears, as well as the two arms to hold each ear in place. These do not feel unrefined or unintentional, but rather, add even more to the first-class design. The headband at the top has white stitching around the entire outside, while the HyperX logo is sewn on the top of the headset. Ask me how to sum up the Kingston HyperX Cloud for aesthetics, and I would say it is a mix between a panda bear and a storm trooper. Why? We get the nice soft touch in the hands, but we also get a refined and intentional design. The HyperX Cloud is also a good mix between a gaming and casual headset, because by looks, it is not out of place at LAN parties or on the bus. In terms of build quality, the headset is also very sturdy, and produces very little sound when adjusting the headset. The metal arms on both sides are also very strong, and do not allow for much flex.
Starting at the bottom, we have two 3.5mm audio and microphone plugs; both of which are gold-plated. The bands around each respective plug are color coded, so you can differentiate between the two. The plug itself also has the headset and the microphone symbols on each, so there are absolutely no ambiguities. The plugs itself are just the standard rubber plug, but it is grippy, so unplugging your headphones is easy. The braided cable holding these two plugs are actually one of the shortest cables we have seen on gaming headsets in general. Usually, we get some huge three meter length that is almost unreasonably long, but Kingston has opted for a shorter 1m cable. In fact, this was actually too short to use with my desktop, but luckily, I used the remote extension cable to make it longer. Finally, I should note the cable is fixed, and cannot be removed from the headset end. I do not really have a preference with either way, but if you like the Func HS-260’s modular plugs, you cannot do the same with the HyperX Cloud.
Continuing our journey up the headset, we are greeted by the leatherette padded earmuffs. Kingston has advertised these ears are actually padded with memory foam to garner even better comfort. The result is a great wearing experience, as it really is a great plushy feeling. In the picture I have the leather shown, but velour earcups are also included with the Kingston HyperX Cloud, so users do have a choice. I have tried both of these, and they both feel great on the ears. Swapping out the padding is easy, but not as straightforward as the Func HS-260. I did take a few minutes more just to stretch all sides to fit around the headset, but once it was in, it did not slip around at all. Another thing to note is the earcups are actually oval in shape. While the Func HS-260 expected us all to be like Mickey or Minnie Mouse with circular ears, the Kingston HyperX Cloud is shaped closer to a human ear, and it results in a good fit. Underneath these earcups are, of course, the actual drivers, which contains 53mm units, with a frequency response of 15Hz to 25000Hz. Rated impedance of the HyperX Cloud is 60 ohms.
Two metal arms connect the ears to the headband, and these are quite a bit sturdier than it looks. While the metal may look thin, inferring flimsy quality, these arms stay in place, and do not offer any flex at all. They are also notched, so users can feel each increment as they pull out the earcups. The arms do not extend as far as I would like, though. While I know I have a big head, this could be trouble for users with heads even larger than mine. The Kingston HyperX Cloud was just able to fit my head, but of course, usage will vary based on your physical dimensions. At the top is the leather headband and, much like the earmuffs, it is quite plushy. The headband also employs the same memory foam inside, and has a stitched lining with white thread around the black leather. At the very top is the HyperX logo embroidered in black. This is both subtle and classy. The headband itself is still quite flexible, and can fit various shapes of heads. Once again, it is the small things that really make the HyperX Cloud into a great looking headset.
According to Kingston, the headset applies approximately 5N of force on your head. For your information, a single newton is the force required to push a one kilogram object at an acceleration of one meter per second squared (Good job, engineer. - Editor). Practically speaking, I can say it really does not push too hard on the ears or your head, and you can wear it comfortably for hours before needing to take them off. The headset weighs in at around 350g, and while this is actually 30g heavier than the Func HS-260, the comfortable earmuffs and headband mean you really will not feel much pressure overall.
Working our way back down we see the microphone of the Kingston HyperX Cloud gaming headset. This microphone, unlike the cable, can be removed, and Kingston even provided a small cap cover to hide the input in case you have removed the mic. The gooseneck holding the microphone in place is fairly flexible, and can be easily shaped without having to readjust it all the time. This microphone is a very directional microphone, rather than an omnidirectional. What makes this beautiful is it picks up sound from only one direction. And no, not the band of five guys, but literally one direction. Therefore, you can play your favorite One Direction song without your one direction microphone picking it up. While some users may prefer the omnidirectional mic, I personally like this implementation as it removes the noise from other external sounds. The microphone also comes with a microphone windshield to remove external white noise, such as heavy breathing, or even the slight draft in your room. To mute the microphone, you will have to use the remote included with your HyperX Cloud.
As I have stated before, Kingston really did throw in almost every accessory imaginable, so I will do a quick run through of what is included. The first thing is the two meter, unbraided extension cable. While I do not know why anyone would need 10 feet of moving when they are gaming, Kingston has made sure even these outliers are not left out. Next is the mesh bag, which is quite handy. It has a large opening at the top with a draw string and a front pouch with a Velcro seal. I was able to put everything in this mesh bag, even the extra earmuffs, without any trouble. Speaking of which, the velour earcups are located at the top-right corner of the photo, and once again feels really good on the ears. Underneath is the airplane adapter and mobile phone adapter, which are both self-explanatory.
At the bottom is the remote cable to extend the entire cord by an extra meter while providing some functionality. For one, the mute switch for the microphone and the volume control for the headset are both located on the sides. Secondly, there is a large black button, which allows users to use it with their smartphones in order to pick up incoming calls, and play/pause music. Trying this functionality out with an Android phone proved to be useful, and Kingston has stated this will work with Apple products too. Of course, most Apple users probably will be out lining up for the iPhone 6 rather than seeing this review, so it is a shame for them, haha. One oddity with the remote though is how far it is down the headset cord. To use the remote, you have to attach it at the end of the attached 1m cable, meaning the remote is actually quite a bit further away from the headset, in comparison to other headsets. This could be annoying, as you have to fish out the remote from the ground before being able to mute your microphone.
The Kingston HyperX Cloud really hits quite a few right notes when it comes to build and design. From the small refinements to the many extras, this headset is definitely one good headset to look at and to wear. But how does it sound? While this is Kingston’s first foray into gaming audio, this is neither the first headset from QPad or Takstar. I guess now is as good as any time to plug this headset in and get the full picture.
1. Introduction, Packaging, Specifications
2. Physical Look - Hardware
3. Subjective Audio Analysis