HyperX’s Cloud Stinger is a simple wireless headset built with gamers in mind. But “simple” isn’t the same as “bad,” and this one gets a tentative recommendation through ease of use and comfort.
There isn’t much to the Cloud Stinger Wireless—no hardware-based surround sound, detachable microphone, not even a configuration tool for Windows. But that simplicity might be precisely what you’re looking for: just plug the receiver into your PC (or as it might be, your Nintendo Switch or PS4) and you’re ready to go.
Light On Weight (and Extras)
The Cloud Stinger’s looks are plain but in a refreshing sort of way. This all-black, plastic headset won’t look out of place in an office, though its large USB-A dongle means it doesn’t travel particularly well. Aside from an embossed “X” logo on either around-the-ear cup, it’s completely unadorned. Even the rotating microphone has a flexible, practical boom that emphasizes function over form.
Which isn’t to say that the design is entirely utilitarian. Big, comfy faux leather pads will cup your ears while the padded band is easy to keep on for a few hours without discomfort. The headset is also surprisingly light at just 9.4 ounces—easily the lightest I’ve used, and considerably lighter than my Anker Souncore Bluetooth headset, despite lasting longer on a charge.
Controls are limited: just a power button on the left ear and a volume knob on the right. I appreciate HyperX keeping things simple here. Too many designs try to get fancy with touch-sensitive controls or buttons integrated into the styling. While there aren’t any programmable buttons, it’s easy enough just to put the thing on and use it. The only thing missing is a dedicated mute/unmute button for the microphone.
One last physical design tough is appreciated: the ear cups rotate ninety degrees for easily laying the Cloud Stinger on a table or hanging flat on a wall. It doesn’t make the headset any easier to pack up, like some folding designs, but it’s more than might be expected. Combined with smooth telescoping action on the band, the hinges keep the thing very comfortable on my oversized Charlie Brown head.
Software: There Isn’t Any. Next!
Okay, so we do need to talk about the software for the Cloud Stinger, or indeed, the lack thereof. Plugging the headset into my PC, I was surprised to see that Windows 10 didn’t ask me to download a designated driver application, as is usually the case with almost any “gaming” accessory from an established brand. Instead, it merely switched the audio input over and started playing sound immediately.
This could be good or bad, depending upon your expectations. It means that finer audio equalizer control is up to Windows or the game or application you’re using at the moment, and you can’t get specific audio profiles based on the hardware. But it also means that, if you’re not inclined to deal with any of that stuff, you don’t have to. And I’ve come to appreciate any PC accessory that doesn’t demand its own spot in my Windows taskbar.
HyperX advertises the Cloud Stinger as compatible with the PlayStation 4 and PS4 Pro. Though I didn’t have an opportunity to test this functionality, I have no reason to doubt it, since the headset also worked fine when I plugged it into my Nintendo Switch dock. That wasn’t the case with the Xbox One—no points off there since Kingston didn’t advertise that as a feature.
One thing I wish was part of the design: the ability for the USB receiver to detect that the headset has been turned off. As it is, when you press the power button on the headset, you’ll need to change the audio output on your PC to switch back to speakers, or just unplug it. On the PS4 and Switch, unplugging the receiver is the only option…which means getting off the couch. It seems like having an on/off state detection feature wouldn’t be too hard to add.
Sound Quality and Battery Life
The Cloud Stinger has adequate sound quality, with a typical audio range of 20-20,000Hz. It won’t blow you away with fidelity or bass, and vocals tend to overpower underlying music and effects on the default setting. That’s probably intentional: if you have a headset with a microphone, you’re looking to chat.
Speaking of which, the sound recording aspect of the headset is, likewise, okay. It lacks the subtle tones and fidelity of a dedicated mic—trying to use this for a local podcast or music recording would be a mistake. But it’s more than adequate for getting your voice over compressed lines on Skype, Discord, or any number of default game clients. I only wish there was a quick way to mute the mic via a button.
Battery life on the included rechargeable battery is impressive, with the headset lasting a combined 15 hours on my PC over several sessions. On a full charge via the MicroUSB cable, it would be almost impossible to drain this thing in a single sitting.
Conclusion: Over and Out
The Cloud Stinger presents an average value with a street price of $100. That’s a better price than you’ll find for most gaming-focused wireless sets. It’s easy enough to find one that’s the same price or a little lower with more features like virtual wireless, but pretty much all of those are on sale or refurbished.
For the extremely comfortable design and simple setup, this headset is an ideal pick for gamers who want easy stereo wireless without any flashy features. It isn’t a good choice if you want higher fidelity or portability, but for the segment it’s aimed at, the Cloud Stinger hits the mark.
Here’s What We Like
- Extremely comfortable
- Simple setup requires no drivers
And What We Don't
- No microphone mute button
- Middling audio and recording quality
- No on/off detection