Over the last few years, the best gaming headsets have been the star of the show, with products like the $99 (£199, AU$169) Logitech G433, $79 (£54, AU$99) Astor A10 and the $99 (£84, AU$159) SteelSeries Arctis 5. HyperX did already release its awesome Cloud Stinger ahead of these other headsets, but now it has upped the game with a more mid-range HyperX Cloud Alpha that ups the quality without making the prices skyrocket.
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.
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.
Moreover, the Cloud Alpha’s sound profile lends it to being one of the best gaming headsets, but not much more than that.
The HyperX Cloud Alphy may only offer stereo sound, compared to the DTS 7.1 surround sound on the Logitech G433 and SteelSeries Arctis 5, but HyperX’s 2.1 channels sound fully baked and less artificial than its competitors simulated surround sound.
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.
With the Cloud Alpha, HyperX brings a new dual-chamber driver for better audio with less distortion. Basically, the upped complexity of this new driver allows the bass to have its own space while mid-tones jump off the closed back of the headset. Luckily, the HyperX Cloud Alpha proved to feature fuller mid-tones and more robust bass during our testing.
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.
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.