The best gaming headsets keep getting better and better over the years, with headsets like the $99 (£199, AU$169) Logitech G433, $79 (£54, AU$99) Astro A10 and the $99 (£84, AU$159) SteelSeries Arctis 5. HyperX did already release the awesome Cloud Stinger ahead of these other headsets, but it’s upped the game with the sublime HyperX Cloud Alpha – a mid-range headset that brings greater quality without a higher price tag.
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.
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.
This is thanks to the new dual-chamber driver in the HyperX Cloud Alpha, which brings better audio with less distortion. Basically, the heightened 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 has richer mid-tones and more robust bass than a lot of the competition.
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 simulated surround sound, we were able to tell whether Winston was dropping in or if a Reaper was trying to get a sneaky ‘Play of the Game’ in Overwatch.
It’s not all rosy though – the lows lose some definition and can get muddy. Luckily, this will only be a problem with certain songs and the subtle dialogue of a Scorsese film. If you’re looking for a gaming headset that works just as well for listening to music, you’d be better off with something like 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.