Over the years gaming headsets have remained largely stagnate. Most of the differences stem from sound quality, how it implements wireless, whether or not it has 7.1 or WavesNx technology and things of the like. For this reason I’ve been a big fan of HyperX’s new line of S products. Similar to how the Cloud Alpha S had adjustable bass, the Cloud Flight S supports programmable buttons and Qi wireless charging, making it a rather unique among gaming headsets. Given these features, does it excel at a certain niche or does it rely on novelty to sell the headset?
If you’ve read our other HyperX reviews, you should be fairly familiar with the packaging. Here the Cloud Flight S features the same separated elements in a plastic container we’ve seen in the past and fairly standard for mid-tier headsets. It’s enough to know what you’re getting at a glance, without it being so cheap it feels like an afterthought. Upon taking it out of the box, it isn’t the most substantial headset around.
Unlike some of the other models we’ve reviewed and a good number of other headsets, the Cloud Alpha S is largely constructed out of plastic. Both sliders have metal elements for better durability, with plush and comfortable earpads. I wouldn’t say any of these things are necessarily problems, it makes the headset lighter and stands out less, though I would not they’re not as rigid as some of their other models. As long as you take care of the headset it shouldn’t be an issue and hold up for a good amount of time.
For normal use or most games, stereo will work fairly well. There is enough separation to hear details, without any element being overpowering. I used this to my advantage in a number of games, most notable being Zombie Army 4: Dead War. This allowed me to hear suiciders and other incoming threats well enough to see a notable increase in my hoard performance when using my sound system.
What really impressed me about the Cloud Flight S is the custom tuned 7.1 surround sound, which PlayStation supports wirelessly. On a basic level, 7.1 surround sound mode feels like the sound is further away, when compared to stereo, giving it more space to add details. It’s hard to explain but it’s one of the better 7.1 experience I’ve heard. I was actually surprised how well it replicated the sound stage you’d find in a cave when playing Darksiders Genesis and didn’t encounter a game where it actually detracted from the experience. Admittedly, certain levels, stages and games, like Bayonetta, gained very little from it but anything bigger in scope should be further enhanced.
In addition to having pretty good sound, the mic performed as you might expect. It was clear enough where I feel like I could rely on it for a tough raid or more demanding competitive matches. Like LucidSound, the mic also includes an LED indicator for when the mic is and is not on. It’s an easy way of telling when you’re talking to yourself or that it’s safe to have that conversation that is important enough to keep private but not to the point of needing to give it your undivided attention.
Since the Cloud Flight S supports HyperX NGENUITY software, you’re able to control a couple things with the headset. The most notable is the ability to change what the four buttons on the left side do. Most will likely flock to staples, like game and voice audio volume, adding a mic mute and like play/pause for music, though it’s a nice feature to have. And, if nothing else, the ability to choose where and how you use it allows for a more personal experience, something that is further by the headsets most notable feature, Qi wireless charging.
When I initially read it supported that I was skeptical and even those I spoke with didn’t see the appeal of the feature. It, admittedly, looks a bit odd reading on one side, compared to Astro sitting upright in a cradle, but it’s a feature that makes a lot of sense once you think about it. Qi wireless charging is slowly moving beyond being a neat feature that charges your phone, to something implemented in a number of products. A couple all-in-one computers have started to implement Qi charging in their stands, there are mousepads and other devices that give you wireless connections without ever losing a charge and other clever uses. Giving Cloud Flight S this feels like a nice step forward.
For this review I was using HyperX’s ChargePlay Base and quickly saw the value. When I’m not using it I can set it down in the corner to charge and effortlessly grab it when I want to play. And, as Qi charging becomes more of a norm, this type of configuration will make more functional sense. The only thing to keep in mind is, due to how wireless charging works, the earpad will feel a little warm to the touch for roughly a minute or two.
For all the great things you can do with the Cloud Flight S, there are a couple things to keep in mind. This headset is designed to be strictly wireless, so if you’re hoping to use your headphone jack, it isn’t supported. The dongle is also a USB-A connection, making it easier to use on a PlayStation 4 or most computers, though anyone with a USB-C connection or something a bit more unusual will need to adapt it to work.
Cloud Flight S Verdict
As great as versatility can be, it’s clear HyperX wanted the Cloud Fight S to appeal to a specific niche. Despite that, what it does it actually does very well at a price that is pretty reasonable. With wireless support on PC and no optical connection on PlayStation 4, it makes it an easy pick for anyone looking for a simple wireless headset. In addition to that, the way it simulates 7.1 is pretty good and can make for a more immersive experience. Toss in programmable buttons, plus the ability to wirelessly charge it and you have a headset that is easy to recommend to PlayStation 4 and PC players.
[Editor’s Note: HyperX Cloud Flight S was provided to us for review purposes.]