HyperX Cloud Alpha

Over the last few years, we’ve seen an explosion in affordable gaming headsets like the $99 (£199, AU$169) Logitech G433, $79 (£54, AU$99) Astro A10 and the $99(£84, AU$159) SteelSeries Arctis 5. And, even if HyperX already released the Cloud Stinger ahead of these headsets, it’s now bringing in a slightly more mid-range HyperX Cloud Alpha that increases the quality without raising prices too much.

In fact, at $99 (£99, AU$169), the HyperX Cloud Alpha is one of the best gaming headsets in its price bracket, even if it doesn’t have the same versatility as some comparable headsets. Plus, with Black Friday and Cyber Monday incoming, we’re expecting prices to drop drastically. 

Design

If you’ve seen the previous two iterations of HyperX’s Cloud and Cloud II gaming headsets, the Alpha will look fairly familiar – though there have been improvements.

The new slotted metal frame gives the headset a more industrial look than the crescents of solid metal used in previous HyperX Cloud products. At the same time, we appreciate the fact that the peripheral maker has finally given the headset one cohesive, anodized look, matching the plastic bits to the aluminum frame.

HyperX has also padded out the cushions on the both the ear cups and headband with thicker and spongier foam. The pliable cushions help make wearing the headset for long play sessions more bearable.

However, even with these small improvements, this still really isn’t a headset we would be caught outside with. Its blaring style sticks out in the streets more than the Logitech G433’s subdued sports-mesh wrapped exterior or the SteelSeries Arctis 5’s massive cans.

Performance

Moreover, the Cloud Alpha’s sound profile lends it to being one of the best gaming headsets, but not much more than that.

With the HyperX Cloud Alpha, the manufacturer introduces a new dual chamber driver for better audio and less distortion. Basically, this added complexity allows for the bass to reverberate in its own space while mid-tones bounce off the closed backend of the headphones. Sure enough, during our testing, the Cloud Alpha produces fuller mid-tones and booming bass.

Unfortunately, the lows don’t get nearly as much attention and become a bit muddled. Luckily, this will only factor with certain songs and the subtle dialogue of a Scorsese flick. If you’re looking for a gaming headset that works just as well for listening to music regularly, you’re better off with the Logitech G433.

Although the Cloud Alpha only offers stereo sound compared to the DTS 7.1 surround sound on the Logitech G433 and SteelSeries Arctis 5, HyperX’s meager 2.1 channels sound fully baked and less artificial than its competitors’ simulated surround audio.

Even without the directional audio, I could clearly tell from whether a Winston was dropping in or if a Reaper was trying to get a sneaky “Play of the Game” in Overwatch

Final verdict

The HyperX Cloud Alpha isn’t the one-all-be-all headset its competitors are trying to sell. Instead, it’s a well-conceived gaming headset that makes subtle, but significant improvements over its predecessor. For $99 (£99, AU$169), you won’t find a better sounding stereo gaming headset, but you’ll have to look elsewhere for something more versatile.



from TechRadar - Technology Reviews http://www.techradar.com/reviews/hyperx-cloud-alpha