HyperX Cloud Mix Headset Review: Putting a (Hefty) Price on Features
True to the pedigree HyperX has cultivated over the years, the brand's latest headset, the Bluetooth-capable Cloud Mix, is a well-made, high-quality set of gaming cans. It's comfortable, stylish, and exceptionally functional.
In my time with the headset, it quickly became my go-to for both gaming and listening to music. Rarely, if ever, did it leave my side.
The only thing is that I received the Cloud Mix for free, courtesy of HyperX. While I could easily recommend the headset in a vacuum, it's a harder sell at the lofty price of $200. That's especially true if you consider HyperX is essentially asking you to pay $100 more than the $99 Cloud Alpha for what roughly amounts to "a Bluetooth chip, a built-in mic, and a battery".
And while I do think the Cloud Mix is a little more than that, the long and short is that you really need to want Bluetooth functionality to pay the extra dough. Heck, the Cloud Flight offers fantastic wireless capabilities for $50 less, so finding where the Mix fits in isn't all that clear.
But if you still want to know what the Cloud Mix does right, and what it does wrong, keep reading.
The Cloud Mix looks a lot like the Cloud, Cloud II, and Cloud Alpha. To help the headset fit more into the hybrid gaming/lifestyle category HyperX is shooting for, the headset eschews the brand's typical bright red flourishes for silver and matte black.
But unlike the Cloud Silver, everything from the headband to the aluminum frame and the plush earcups is black; the only silver to be found on the headset comes in the form of the larger-than-they-need-to-be HyperX logos emblazoned on the outside of each earcup.
Since the Cloud Mix is meant to be the most ubiquitous and portable HyperX headset to date, the headset is small all around. That wasn't such a big deal for me, but for those with larger domes and/or ears, that may be an issue.
While downsizing means the Mix weighs a featherlight 260 grams without its detachable mic and 275 grams with it, it also means that the frame isn't as wide as other headsets and the earcups only measure in at 40mm. The earcups are some of HyperX's smallest. Although they're adequately deep, even my smaller ears felt constricted on top and bottom from time to time.
Despite that, I will say that this is one of the more comfortable headsets I've worn. While some have derided the headband as disagreeable over long periods, I never felt any discomfort across the top of my head. The plush single-band headband provides plenty of cushion and the pleatherette around the earcups keeps them from exerting too much pressure across the top of the jaw.
Moving along to the headset's controls and ports, you'll find a 3.5mm jack, microphone port, built-in Bluetooth mic, and a Bluetooth multifunction button on the left earcup. On the right earcup, you'll find the Bluetooth power button, a micro-USB charge port, the Bluetooth volume buttons, and a battery status LED.
Keeping in line with its lifestyle aesthetic, none of the buttons or ports are prominent; if you were to wear this on the subway or while listening to tunes around the house, no one would know this was a gaming-first set of cans.
However, that design choice also means that some of the buttons can be difficult to find when in use. While the Bluetooth volume buttons on the right earcup are defined enough for easy recall, both the Bluetooth power button and the Bluetooth multifunction button are a bit too recessed and smooth for my liking. Eventually, you'll memorize their placement and it won't matter, but I can't help but feel it's a small oversight that could have been better designed.
Thankfully, the in-line volume wheel and mic-mute button found on the headset's 3.5mm braided cable are easy to reach when using the headset in wired mode. Both function as you'd expect, and unlike other in-line controls I've used in the past, I didn't experience any crackling or sound loss when rotating the volume wheel — even after about two months of heavy use.
The Cloud Mix comes with a 4.2-foot detachable headset cable that's used for console gaming, and a 6.5-foot PC extension cable that connects everything to your desktop. With such cable lengths, it's possible that you might not even use the Mix's Bluetooth capabilities if you don't mind being wired to your phone or device.
Of course, you'll get the best quality from the headset's 40mm drivers in wired mode. On PC, the headset was the loudest, providing the richest tones, as would be expected. Since console sound is still transmitted wirelessly from the console to the controller, then to the headphones via the attached cable, I had to crank the volume a bit higher than I would've liked on console, leading to just a tad bit of distortion in games like Doom.
But when playing games like Battlefield 1 and 2016's Hitman on PC, I didn't notice a bit of distortion. Explosions thrummed and bullets cracked through the air; eurobeats thumped across dance floors and coins bounced off concrete with piercing metallic pings.
For the most part, I didn't notice much loss of fidelity when gaming; most sounds remained separate across the low-high spectrum. However, music is where you'll discover the Cloud Mix trends to treble as highs sometimes bleed into each other depending on what you're listening to.
Bluetooth works equally well. Although some fidelity is naturally lost across Bluetooth, there isn't a decided tonal difference between the two modes: bass tones are just as punchy and high tones still fall on the weaker side of things, much like the rest the Mix's Bluetooth has to offer.
While 32-feet of wireless range isn't shabby — I could walk around most of my 2,400-square-foot house without losing signal — it's head-scratching that the Cloud Flight provides more than twice that distance at 65 feet.
On top of that, you'll have to have a Bluetooth-ready device to even use the functionality. On the surface, this is a rather "duh" statement, but chances are only your phone or laptop is Bluetooth ready. Seeing as the Mix doesn't come with a Bluetooth dongle, hooking it up to your computer or console right out of the box — without a secondary purchase — is a very real possibility.
For a $200 headset, that's a pretty big disappointment. For the life of me, I can't feasibly understand why Hi-Res audio is a feature on this headset and a plug-n-play wireless dongle isn't. The latter is far more useful to HyperX's demographic and much more in line with the "lifestyle" ethos of the headset itself.
- Comfortable headband and earcups
- Fantastic portability and overall design
- Good audio quality in both wired and Bluetooth modes
- Smaller design won't suit everyone
- Bluetooth range is shorter than Cloud Flight
- Hi-Res audio capability is nice, but not practical
- No wireless dongle hampers Bluetooth use out of the box
|Driver||Custom dynamic, 40mm w/ neodymium magnets|
|Type||Circumaural, closed back|
|Sound Pressure Level||100dbBSPL/mW at 1kHz|
|Weight w/o mic||260g|
|Weight w/ mic||275g|
|Cable Length||Detachable headset cable: 4.2 feet
PC extension cable: 6.5 feet
Micro USB charging cable: 1.6 feet
|Connection Type||Detachable headset cable: 3.5mm (4-pole)
PC extension cable: 3.5mm stereo/mic plugs
|Battery Life||20 hours|
|Wireless Range||~32 feet|
Info via HyperX's Cloud Mix product page.
Ultimately, the Cloud Mix is a great headset held back by its price: the sound is solid, the design is everything you've come to expect from HyperX, and the quality is top-notch. You could do much worse than the Cloud Mix, that's for sure.
But unless you must have Bluetooth and the ability to listen to Hi-Res audio, the Cloud Alpha is just as capable as the Mix and comes in at half the price.
You can pick up the Cloud Mix at BestBuy at its normal price of $199.99.
[Note: HyperX provided the Cloud Mix used for this review.]