What does a gamer want from one of the best gaming headsets? At home, personalised immersive audio, sure. But we bet most gamers also appreciate the option to use their gaming headset while out and about and on the go. And that's where the HyperX Cloud Mix enters the arena, very much with a mix of abilities.
The HyperX Cloud Mix is two products in one – a gaming headset and a pair of Bluetooth headphones. In theory, this approach means the Cloud Mix can be used on your commute during the day (or keep you entertained while working from home, of course) then switch duties and become a gaming headset in the evening.
Support for Hi-Res Audio is available when plugged into a PC, Mac or game console, while in Bluetooth mode HyperX claims up to 20 hours of battery life. The detachable mic and subtle design also mean the Cloud Mix won’t look out of place when worn in public.
For more detail on the versatility of the HyperX Cloud Mix read on.
HyperX Cloud Mix review: Design and setup
The design of the HyperX Cloud Mix doesn’t subscribe to the usual gaming headset recipe. This is a far subtler headset than many others designed for gaming, while offering a premium feel thanks to the rubberised matte-black finish and leather-like ear pads and headband.
It is a relatively compact headset too, and despite not folding in half or rotating to lay flat, it shouldn’t take up too much space if you do indeed take it out the house as intended.
The braided cables and metal construction give the Cloud Mix a quality look and feel without adding too much weight. The reach of each ear cup can be extended by a couple of inches to help you find the right fit, and the detachable microphone is one of the most adjustable we’ve ever seen. It might sound like a small detail, but how the mic can be bent to exactly the right position, and how it stays precisely in place, is impressive.
Comfort is excellent at first, with the soft, padded ear cups fitting neatly around your ears without putting any pressure on them. However, we found these aren't the comfiest for longer gaming or listening sessions. Although the surface area of each pad looks quite large, it feels much smaller when they are on, putting more pressure on the sides of our head than we’d like. It’s probably not a deal-breaker if you’re happy with everything else the HyperX Cloud Mix offers, but it isn’t as comfortable as some alternatives.
The included audio cable has in-line controls for adjusting the volume and muting the microphone, but because the volume wheel is exposed on two sides it isn’t immediately obvious which way to turn it. The mic mute switch works fine, but we’d like to have a clothing clip as it can be tricky locating the volume dial while concentrating on a game.
Buttons on the headphones themselves can only be used when in Bluetooth mode. These include power and volume buttons on the right, and a single play/pause button on the left. Next to the detachable microphone you will see an integrated mic that is used when in Bluetooth mode.
Setting up the HyperX Cloud Mix is as simple as plugging them into your game controller or computer with the included audio cable, and away you go. Equally familiar is how the headphones pair to any Bluetooth device, like a smartphone or tablet. Just switch them on without the audio cable attached, and they will automatically enter pairing mode (as declared by a voice that also states the battery percentage).
HyperX Cloud Mix review: Features and audio
Being a dual-purpose headset, the Cloud Mix features a detachable microphone for gaming sessions and an integrated one for when connected to a smartphone or computer over Bluetooth 4.2. The former is of far greater quality than the latter, and everyone we played with said how much better our voice sounded compared to our usual (and admittedly much cheaper) headset.
The integrated mic isn’t in the same league, but handles calls as well as you might expect from a regular pair of Bluetooth earphones connected to a smartphone.
As for the speakers, the headset uses a pair of 40mm drivers with a broad 10-40,000Hz frequency response range. The Cloud Mix supports the aptX sound codec and is compatible with Hi-Res Audio, which are both useful additions and help to sell the HyperX as a quality dual-purpose headset.
Gaming audio through a wired connection to our Xbox controller was impressive, with no distortion even at maximum volume. There is plenty of acoustic detail here, with sounds of all manner coming through cleanly and distinctly. Playing Forza Horizon 4, for example, the sounds of wailing exhausts and screeching tyres don’t drown out the subtler sounds of weather, wildlife and passing vehicles. In rich, expansive environments like this a quality headset can bring a game to life, and the Cloud Mix certainly achieves that.
HyperX’s custom-tuned virtual 7.1 surround sound also does a decent job of putting the user in the centre of a sphere of sound, but given the inherent limitations of a stereo headset it’s not on par with a true 7.1 or Atmos setup.
Bass is plenty strong enough while gaming, and there’s an impression that the headset is tuned to deliver first-person shooters with a bigger punch than other genres. But for music we thought the audio felt a little flat. It’s fine, but anyone who truly enjoys quality music will likely want a pair of headphones designed exclusively for music, not one trying to do everything.
HyperX Cloud Mix review: Price and verdict
The HyperX Cloud Mix is currently priced at a little down right now from its recommended retail price, meaning there are some good deals to be had on it. If you feel the headset really can fulfil the duty of gaming, music, movies and everything else, then that is excellent value for money. Indeed, if you are yet to buy any quality headphones, the Cloud Mix could boost the sound of your console gaming, PC movie watching and smartphone music listening all at once.
But we suspect that for many buyers this will be a gaming headset and nothing else. It might sometimes be convenient to use the Cloud Mix for gaming one minute and music the next, but those occasions are likely few and far between.
Instead when seen as a gaming headset the Cloud Mix produced great sound, has an excellent microphone, is very easy to set up and use, and is neatly designed. It feels like it is built to last and, while a little tighter on the head than some others, should be a comfortable fit for most buyers.
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