HyperX Cloud Stinger Wireless review: Great, for a specific audience
- Sleek, inconspicuous design.
- So comfortable it barely feels like you're wearing a headset.
- Clean and powerful audio.
- Volume wheel is a handy addition.
- Only compatible with PS4 and PC.
- No option to wire in as a backup.
- No mic controls built in.
HyperX is a well-established name in the gaming headset space. Its Cloud line spans more than half a dozen different models, each of which targets a slightly different audience.
For the original wired version of the Cloud Stinger, that audience was budget-conscious gamers wanting comfort and performance in equal measure. The new wireless edition of the headset adds the convenience of a cable-free set-up, but it comes at a notable cost to both compatibility and your wallet.
Up to this point, most HyperX headsets like the HyperX Cloud Mix have stuck with the industrial design aesthetic that permeates many HyperX products. Essentially, that amounts to a lot of hard edges and exposed metal.
With the Cloud Stinger, HyperX has gone for a sleeker and more subtle look. Smooth black plastic encases the entire apparatus. The only remnant of industrial design are the steel sliders visible when adjusting the headset beyond its standard size.
HyperX has upped its game on the comfort front, too. While I haven't had issues with previous HyperX headsets, the Cloud Stinger sits so snugly that it's easy to forget it's even there. I put it through multiple extended sessions playing games and listening to music, and each time it seemed to meld with my head such that I couldn't even feel it.
The focus on comfort goes even further than that. You can rotate both ear cups a full 90 degrees, resting them flat on your collarbone when not in use or tilting them up to function like mini speakers. The mic is fully flexible as well, bending freely to accommodate your preferred configuration. The only downside is that the mic is fixed to the headset and can't be removed, making the Cloud Stinger a little awkward to store and travel with.
I'm yet to be disappointed by the performance of a HyperX product, and the Cloud Stinger doesn't change that. Audio rings in clear at all volumes, with the bass hitting hard and heavy. This is great for music but even better when gaming on PS4 or PC, as it helps you pick up on subtle audio cues like approaching footsteps or incoming fire. The combined power and clarity does justice to the increasingly rich video game soundscapes too, heightening the atmosphere as you delve deeper into fantastical worlds.
Mic audio is slightly less impressive. It's clear enough that you shouldn't have any problems communicating with your teammates, but at the same time it's nothing to write home about. Speech is a little tinny, and the noise-gating struggles to filter out breathing and other unintentional mouth sounds.
I also found myself slightly disappointed by the wireless range of the Cloud Stinger. Walking to the opposite side of my (relatively small) house from my PC or PS4 would cause the audio to drop out completely. In contrast, I had no problems doing the same with the HyperX Cloud Mix. It's not a major issue by any stretch, but it is a notable shortcoming for a purely wireless headset.
On a more positive note, the battery in the Cloud Stinger provides plenty of juice to fuel long gaming sessions. HyperX claims it can last as long as 17 hours on a single charge, and this aligns with my testing. For reference, I had the volume set relatively low since I have very little background noise in my home environment. If you're not so fortunate or you simply prefer cranking the volume up, battery life is going to take a hit.
A lot of wireless gaming headsets include 3.5mm audio jacks, just in case you want to avoid battery drain or potential disconnections. The Cloud Stinger does not. It is purely a wireless-only headset, which limits both its versatility and its compatibility – it will only sync up with a PS4 or a PC. This is fine if you only plan on using it with either of those two devices, but it becomes a much harder sell for folks with a range of gaming consoles and other devices that would benefit from the Cloud Stinger's convenient set-up and high-quality audio.
There is a wired version of the Cloud Stinger available, but that hits the opposite problem of only working with devices that have a 3.5mm audio jack. It's too bad there isn't a version of the Cloud Stinger that supports both wired and wireless connections.
That said, it's worth calling out just how simple setting up the Cloud Stinger is. There's no mucking around with pairing and unpairing Bluetooth devices – just plug in the included USB dongle, turn on the headset and you're good to go.
Just as handy is the volume wheel located beneath the right ear cup. Adjusting a wheel is much faster and easier than fiddling with volume buttons, and it's a feature I greatly appreciated when playing games with unevenly-mixed audio.
Unfortunately, the mic holds the Cloud Stinger back in the feature department too. Not only does it lack any sort of push-to-talk functionality, there's no mute switch either. Instead, you have to swivel the mic up into a vertical orientation to turn it off. That's okay if you plan on playing silent from the get-go, but it's not particularly convenient if you're gaming in a loud environment or only want to chat intermittently.
The HyperX Cloud Stinger is a quality gaming headset held back by its limited compatibility. If all you own is a PS4 or PC and you hate wired headsets with a passion, the Cloud Stinger is well worth considering. However, if you're after a more versatile headset for use with a wide array of devices, you'll probably want to look elsewhere.
Pricing and availability
The wireless version of the HyperX Cloud Stinger retails for $185 and is available from JB Hi-Fi, Amazon, EB Games, mwave and other computer retailers.
Buy HyperX Cloud Stinger Wireless from Amazon AU
Free yourself from cables with the lightweight HyperX Cloud Stinger Wireless for PS4 and PC.View details