Before starting this review, you’ve like HyperX Cloud Alpha or the Hyper X Cloud Alpha Pro headset – It’s important to note, these are the EXACT same units. The only difference is that the Cloud Alpha Pro was released to the North American market, but the parts and specifications are exactly the same, so they’re essentially one in the same.
Audio: The audio frequency range of the Cloud Alpha is extremely decent. At the low end, it’s hitting an impressive bass of 13Hz and on the high end it’s maxing out at 27,000Hz. When looking at headsets in this price range, you really want to be looking at the frequency range between various headsets and this is definitely one of the best out there.
Connections: The Cloud Alpha is marketed for all platforms from Xbox and PS to the PC, as it uses a 3.5mm connector. This is one of the main features that put this headset apart from many others. I’m still on the fence on the 3.5mm connector and wished they’d just moved to a USB, but they’re trying to capture a broad audience with the 3.5mm, as you can take these and plug them directly into your smartphone. As you can see from the picture, the Cloud Alpha also has an in-line control for volume and muting/un-muting your microphone. What interesting about these, is that this inline plug-in plugs into the left ear cup as well as your device. For me, if you’ve read any of my previous reviews, this is a game-changer, as we have dogs that tend to get wrapped up in the cables under the desk and then break the headphones. With these Cloud Alpha units, if the dogs got snagged in the cables, the cable would just unplug from the ear up – not ruining the headphones! This is pure genius if you ask me.
Microphone: Unlike other gaming headsets where the microphone swivels out of the way when not in use, the microphone on the Cloud Alpha is different. The microphone on the Cloud Alpha headset plugs in/out of the ear cup, so if you’re not gaming or using the microphone, you can completely disconnect it and use the headset like a pair of headphones. Then, when you need to use a microphone, you just plug it in.
Muting the microphone is done with the line-in volume controller.
It should be noted that since the Cloud Alpha was released, there’s been a steady stream of users experiencing issues where the headset and microphone are recognized by the PC, but the microphone won’t work – this is related to the microphone plug-in that connects to the left ear cup and needs to be pushed firmly into the headset.
The microphone is a noise canceling microphone that comes with a foam cover to eliminate the pop’s that some people experience. I did find though, that although the audio is amazing, the microphone is a bit lacking as it doesn’t pick up the bass very well. My son actually told me that I sounded “nasaly”.
Cushions: The ear cushions on the Cloud Alpha’s are made of a leatherette material, which unlike foam, tends to regulate heat pretty good. As you know, I tend to get hot ears from headphones, so when I find a pair that doesn’t cook my ears, I like to cherish them. So, these headphones, ticked that box.
Another thing that I really liked about the Cloud Alpha’s and actually all of the HyperX models, is that their ear cups and cushions are oval and not round, so they fit your ears perfectly.
Unfortunately, I think there’s a design flaw with these and it’s not just me that thinks this. While the cushions themselves were comfortable, the actual ear cups were not – specifically the internal ear cups. These are the only headset or headphones I’ve tried that do this, but the actual audio drivers inside the cups were pressing into my ear. After about an hour using them, the pain (and I mean PAIN) was getting a bit unbearable, so I took them off and chalked it up to being “new”. After a while I put them back on and within 20 minutes, ear pain again from the internal drivers pressing hard into my ear. Again, I took them off and gave it a day, tried again and same thing. At this point I did a few Google searches to see if anyone else was experiencing this and low and behold, I’m not alone. In fact, a LOT of people are experiencing this issue and what people are saying is that they returned these to the store as they were brutal. This is one of these situations where I think a company should “make good” and do a product recall because of this. This issue directly affects my final verdict on this unit.
Headband & Adjuster: HyperX really outdid themselves in the overall construction of this headset, as it uses an aluminum frame inside the headband that is surrounded by foam. This is virtually unbreakable. The top of the Headband has rich red stitching on the black headband and just looks incredibly sharp. The top of the headband has the HyperX logo pressed into the leatherette.
The adjuster is a continuation of the aluminum where it slides out and has small micro-dimples to lock in place. I really prefer this over most other plastic models as I found it really fit my head nicely with this feature.
The one thing I’m on the fence about, is what I’ve included in the photo above – it’s the wires that plug into the ear cups. They’re a braided cord, but I’m worried that I’m going to get these little 3” wires snagged on something and broken. If that happens, these are ruined.
What I like
With the Cloud Alpha’s I really like how they’ve incorporated a serious, aluminum frame within the headset, which provides flexibility and strength in the unit. I also like the overall audio experience with these headphones. The bass and treble are rich (13Hz – 27,000Hz) and fully immerse the user in game and music.
Lastly, I like that the ear cups and cushions are oval to better shape your ears.
What I Don’t Like
I don’t like that HyperX used a braided cord to wire the actual ear cups. I would have rather seen these integrated into the headset itself somehow. If competitors can use rigid plastic and lay the wires into the plastic, then I’m sure HyperX can do something similar with the aluminum frame. It might increase the thickness of the connector by a few millimeters, but that would be hardly noticeable to anyone.
The big downfall to these units is the proximity of the internal drivers to where you ear rests within the cushions. As I mentioned earlier, I think this is a serious design flaw and as such, HyperX should do a recall, or produce a different ear cushion that gives a bit more space between your ear and these drivers. Something needs to be done for sure.
Verdict – Would I Buy It Again?
I honestly love everything about these headphones except for the external wires to the ear cups and the issue of the internal drivers. I can live with the wires easily enough (I would just need to be extra careful with these), but the internal drivers and the real pain you experience with this headset is a flat-out deal breaker. Seeing that these have been now on the market for a year and HyperX has done nothing to address this issue is extremely poor on their behalf and really reminds me of the ol’ Marie-Antoinette saying of “Let them eat cake!”.
Because of this, I would not buy these or recommend these headphones to anyone and I really question the integrity of a company that won’t address a known design flaw or compensate their customers. If this is the way they deal with design flaws on headsets, I really wonder what they do with other products like RAM, Power Supplies, Keyboards, etc.
Detailed Product Information
Product: HyperX Cloud Alpha Gaming Headset
Cheapest place to buy: Amazon
Warranty: 2 Years
My Rating: 6.5 out of 10