Design and Comfort, Performance, and Conclusion
The Cloud Flight feels both light and strong – which is ideal, of course. It's a functional design, and as we look around the headset we will take a look at padding and adjustability.
Ear cups have enough movement for a proper fit, and these also swivel to a flat position.
Padding level on the inside of the cup is a leather-like material filled with soft foam, and these fit around the ear for noise isolation.
A thicker pad of the same material is found on the inside of the headband, which is itself metal with a plastic outer layer, and the band adjustment and holds well.
Overall the headband feels strong and appears durable.
On the bottom of the left ear cup are the jacks for the included microphone and the optional 3.5 mm cable, as well as micro USB for charging. The power button, which doubles as the lighting adjustment, is also down here.
The right cup holds the volume control, which is a fairly large dial that I found easy to use while wearing the headset.
Sound and Comfort
In my testing the HyperX Cloud Flight provided full, detailed sound with strong bass from the 50 mm drivers, and gave the overall impression of a dedicated pair of hi-fi headphones. The quality of sound from these Cloud Flight drivers is extremely impressive, and somehow I have managed to miss out on a HyperX headset until now. A more detailed critique would involve describing the sound as having a bit of a recessed midrange and slight bass prominence, which is often called a “scooped” sound. In talking to HyperX a “smile EQ” is essentially what they are going for here, and it can produce a very pleasant effect compared to a completely flat EQ, which can sound a little thin depending on the driver design/application. (I call this a “fun” sound, as opposed to the staunch no-fun approach I take as a malcontented audiophile.) In any case, I found the Cloud Flight to have fantastic, near-audiophile level sound quality, and are as good as any gaming headset I’ve heard so far.
Sound quality alone does not a great headset make, as comfort over longer seasons will make or break the overall experience. Here there should be no worry for prospective purchasers, as the Cloud Flight is lightweight, has plenty of padding, and has a medium clamping force that felt like it was just strong enough to keep them from moving around on my head without feeling tight. And while light and comfortable these still felt well made, and – importantly – I didn’t hear any of those dreaded plasticky creaking sounds when moving around wearing the headset.
Wireless performance and sound quality – while slightly different than the analog performance with the 3.5 mm connection (partly due to the wireless 20Hz–20KHz vs analog 15Hz–23KHz frequency response) – were both excellent. The included dongle does not require any software, simply showing up as a 16-bit, 44.1 KHz audio device (up to 16-bit, 48 KHz) once the adapter is plugged in. I used my Windows 8.1 laptop for testing, intentionally placing it and the attached HyperX dongle in the worst possible location for wireless reception before I began testing range (extreme corner of the house, on the floor behind furniture). I was able to move around throughout my house, upstairs and down, without losing signal.
Latency is very low with the 2.4 GHz connection, and I couldn't detect any lip sync issues when viewing video. Essentially the experience from wired to wireless was identical, though the Cloud Flight can offer slightly better clarity and resolution with a high-quality 3.5 mm analog source. Battery life was similarly excellent, and while I didn't attempt any controlled testing to challenge HyperX's battery life claims I don't doubt them after a full day of wireless use with plenty of charge remaining. About half of that time I had the LED lights on, and for most of the time the volume was at about 50 – 60%. I'll add a quick footnote about the included mic, which does a good job of rejecting background noise and provides good sound quality for a gaming headset mic – though for podcasting or recording I would still use a dedicated microphone.
The HyperX Cloud Flight headset sounds fantastic, is very comfortable, and offers excellent wireless range and battery life. The price is on the premium side for a 2-channel design ($159.99 on Amazon), but if they are in your price range these are really, really good. In fact, HyperX might just have set the standard for gaming headsets with the Cloud Flight.