HyperX Cloud Stinger S review: surround sound audio on a budget

The HyperX Cloud Stinger S headphones offer great value for Windows gamers

HyperX Cloud Stinger S
(Image credit: HyperX)
T3 Verdict

The HyperX Cloud Stinger S gives you some very good audio performance for your money, with virtual 7.1 surround sound thrown in. While the headphones can't compete with the best on the market, they're comfortable to wear and appealing at this price point.

Reasons to buy
  • +

    Virtual 7.1 surround sound

  • +

    Excellent audio fidelity for the price

  • +

    Won't cost you very much

Reasons to avoid
  • -

    On-board controls are a bit basic

  • -

    Slightly cheap feel

  • -

    Not many customization options

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The HyperX Cloud Stinger S headphones offer you affordable, immersive, wired audio for games and movies on your PC. While the headset might lack the premium materials and the high fidelity sound of pricier devices, it certainly offers decent value for your money.

There are actually quite a few models in the HyperX Cloud Stinger range, covering wired and wireless headphones, and PC, Xbox and PlayStation – if you find that this particular headset isn't the right fit for you, then you've got plenty of other options to pick from.

This Cloud Stinger S model is one of the more premium and newer offerings in the series, with 50 mm drivers (rather than 40 mm), full memory foam padding, and superior build equality. Despite that, it still costs less than many headsets from rival manufacturers.

While it's sold as a PC headset, only the surround sound USB adapter and associated software need Windows: You can use the 3.5 mm plug with any device. Read through the rest of our HyperX Cloud Stinger S review to see if this is the right headset for you.

HyperX Cloud Stinger S review: design and setup

HyperX Cloud Stinger S

(Image credit: Future)

You can just plug the HyperX Cloud Stinger S headset into a spare 3.5 mm audio jack, but in order to use the 7.1 surround sound you'll need to use the USB dongle adapter that comes supplied, and download some free software from the HyperX website. Once you've done that, getting the headphones up and running on Windows is very straightforward and only took us a few minutes.

We like the thick, comfortable, padded headband that the Cloud Stinger S comes fitted with, and the steel sliders that attach to the actual cans themselves add a reassuring touch of quality. There is some plastic cheapness in the feel of the headset when you hold it and adjust it, but this doesn't translate into the feeling of actually having them on your head.

In terms of how comfortable the headset is to wear, we had no complaints, and were able to wear the cushioned earpads on our head for several hours at a time without any major discomfort or heat. Of course a wired option gives you less freedom than a wireless headset, but the 2.5 metre cable really helps here (it's probably going to be too long for your needs rather than too short).

There's also a volume control slider on the bottom of the right headphone, but this has a rather imprecise and cheap feel to it. It's a nice extra to have for quickly adjusting the volume of the sound coming into your ears, but it's by no means the best feature of the HyperX Cloud Stinger S, and you may prefer to do without it.

HyperX Cloud Stinger S review: features and audio

HyperX Cloud Stinger S

(Image credit: HyperX)

Audio performance from the HyperX Cloud Stinger S impresses, overall. Sound detail is crisp and clean whether you're listening at very low volumes or very high ones, and we tested the headset with a variety of music tracks, Netflix shows and movies, and games – it didn't disappoint in any category, and considering the price you're paying, gives you a fine audio experience.

When it comes to the virtual 7.1 surround sound, it works better in some cases than in others. Where it really makes a difference is in games, with sounds of cars, people and animals often coming into earshot behind us (though not all at the same time). Of course this is only artificial surround sound, so it doesn't compare to the real experience, but it's still pretty good.

Bass is tough and strong without being overbearing, while mid-range and treble both pack a punch when necessary. Of course without having multiple pairs of ears it's hard to compare different models of headphones against each other directly, but we can safely say the HyperX Cloud Stinger S provides a superior level of audio quality without quite getting up to the bar set by the very best devices in the business.

As for microphone performance, the quality of the audio passing through it seemed satisfactory enough based on our testing – and we do like the swivel-to-mute feature that means you can silence yourself just by moving the mic up (very handy for those video chats as well as for communicating with your friends in games).

HyperX Cloud Stinger S review: price and verdict

HyperX Cloud Stinger S

(Image credit: HyperX)

For the price that you can get this for – around £60 in the UK at the time of writing, but check the widgets on this page for the latest deals – the HyperX Cloud Stinger S represents a very good deal indeed if you're looking to upgrade the audio you get from your Windows PC. Across the board, whether it's games or movies or video chats, the headset makes a difference to what you're hearing.

It's also worth emphasising how comfortable the headphones are to wear as well, perhaps more comfortable than you would expect from a pair of headphones at the budget end of the market. That comfort makes up for a slightly cheap feel to the build quality here, though we don't think you'll have any problems with longevity or reliability.

Before you part with your money we'd recommend checking out all the other excellent gaming headsets on the market at multiple price points – not least the other models in this same series from the HyperX brand. You might feel that you prefer the freedom that a wireless headset gives you, or you might want to pay a bit more to get audio that's even more immersive.

However, if you're looking for the best sound for your buck, the HyperX Cloud Stinger S headset has to be up there on your shortlist. While the headphones have their weaknesses, we were impressed with the audio quality and the comfort of the Cloud Stinger S, and for most people those will be the two major priorities.

David Nield

Dave has over 20 years' experience in the tech journalism industry, covering hardware and software across mobile, computing, smart home, home entertainment, wearables, gaming and the web – you can find his writing online, in print, and even in the occasional scientific paper, across major tech titles like T3, TechRadar, Gizmodo and Wired. Outside of work, he enjoys long walks in the countryside, skiing down mountains, watching football matches (as long as his team is winning) and keeping up with the latest movies.