MEGATech Reviews: HyperX Cloud Stinger Gaming Headset
Can a $50 gaming headset really deliver the kind of comfort and quality that serious gamers demand from their gear? The HyperX Cloud Stinger sure thinks it can.
Pros
  • Remarkably affordable
  • Very good sound quality
  • Comfortable memory foam
Cons
  • Cheaper build compared to other Cloud headsets
  • No detachable microphone
  • Rotating hinge is too loose
8Overall Score

If you want to be a serious gamer, you'd better have more than just a serious gaming PC. You'd better have all the other serious gaming PC peripherals, like an exceptional mechanical keyboard and an awesome gaming mouse. And for sound, you want to have an incredible gaming headset too. But what if your budget is something less than incredible?

Slotting in at a remarkably low price, the HyperX Cloud Stinger Gaming Headset is cheaper than most, but does that mean it comes up short in the audio department too? Or does it fully deserve to be a part of the exceptional HyperX Cloud headset product line?

The Cheap and Cheerful Alternative

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We've been very impressed with the Cloud line of gaming headsets from Kingston's HyperX division. The first Cloud was an utter surprise, the Cloud II made things even better and the Cloud Revolver moved the furthest up the premium scale. Even then, these headsets are priced far lower than what you might find as an equivalent from a competitor.

Even so, the Cloud family (barring any sales and discounts) has generally been just north of the $100 mark. With the HyperX Cloud Stinger, Kingston Technology is really giving the entry-level gamer a legitimate option at incredible sound. It's fifty bucks. You can easily spend that much on a set of rather mediocre earbuds. Of course, at less than half the price of its stablemates, the Stinger does have to make some sacrifices.

The Tradeoff Conundrum

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Let's start with the positives. The HyperX Cloud Stinger comes with a great set of 50mm directional drivers "for audio precision" along with a noise-cancelling microphone that you can swivel to mute. Unfortunately, the microphone is not detachable. Another big plus is the multi-platform support, including PC, Xbox One, PS4 and Wii U, along with mobile devices.

Unlike all the other Cloud headsets, the ear cups on the Cloud Stinger can rotate 90 degrees. This way, they can comfortably rest on your shoulders when not in use. I did find the rotating hinge to be a little on the looser side, though. I have a habit of removing my headphones one handed and the ear cup would rotate on me every time. I'd like to see either a locking mechanism or a tighter connection.

The most glaring difference that you'll see with the Cloud Stinger, however, is the build. Whereas you'll find a leather-stitched headband on the Cloud II and a "suspension" style design on the Cloud Revolver, all you get here is a rather generic matte black plastic. Thankfully, there's still the memory foam underneath.

And while there is still the adjustable steel slider underneath, it doesn't give the same sense of confidence as the others. I'd also have to wonder whether the rotating ear cup mechanism could prove problematic over time. Similarly, the outside of the ear cups don't look nearly as "premium" as the other headsets either. It's still a good-looking headset; just not as good looking.

Audio Quality

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But how does it sound? That's the more important thing, right? To test the audio quality on this headset, I put it through a number of different scenarios, including watching videos, playing a range of music, and playing a few games (mostly Street Fighter V).

My overall impression is that the sound quality is definitely on point. The lower part of the register hits with plenty of thump, while the mid-range and upper tones are well-defined without suffering from the shrill sharpness you may experience with some other cheaper headsets. While the soundstage isn't quite as rich and full as the Cloud II or Cloud Revolver, it's still remarkably robust with no noticeable distortion.

Without listening to one headset immediately after the other, I probably wouldn't have noticed the difference nearly as much.

Comfort and Flexibility

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The good news is that both ear cups (and the underside of the headband) still get the HyperX signature memory foam. We can't praise this memory foam enough, just like on their other headsets. It's firm enough to give the support you want, yet soft enough as to minimize unnecessary pressure on your ears and head.

This will naturally depend on a number of individual differences, like the size and shape of your head, as well as the size and shape of your ears. For my part, the foam ring fits right around the outside of my ears, just barely. This makes for a very comfortable experience over an extended gaming or music listening session.

Without the suspension design of the Cloud Revolver, the Cloud Stinger isn't nearly as "gravity-free." That said, the steel frame is very easily twisted and contorted, so it can more easily adjust to just about any head size or shape.

MEGATechie Capable Cloud Stinger or MEGATechie Too Stingy Solution?

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To be honest, I didn't exactly have the highest of expectations for this headset. It's almost too cheap to be mentioned in the same breath as $100+ headsets. On some level, it shouldn't. You'll notice right away that it's more plasticky. The audio cable isn't braided or anything fancy like that either. It's just a generic, gummy, plasticky cord. The audio connector isn't gold-plated either.

But these are all minor details that can be easily overlooked when you consider the bigger picture. You still get a very comfortable headset with great quality drivers, a full soundstage, very comfortable memory foam, a noise-cancelling microphone, and a convenient audio slider on the right earcup. It ticks the more important boxes while still achieving the lower price point.

The HyperX Cloud Stinger retails for $49.99. Compare that to about $99 for the Cloud II or about $120 for the Cloud Revolver. If you've got the extra money, I'd say the more expensive Cloud headsets are worth the premium. If you're looking to save a few bucks, though, you won't be disappointed with the Stinger.


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