It's the age-old argument and trade-off, do you spend the extra coin on an audiophile-brand set of headphones from someone like Sennheiser or Audio Technica and buy a clip-on or desk microphone, or do you go for the all-in-one package from someone like CM Storm, Razer or Tt eSPORTS?
Kingston is trying to roll both packages into one with its second Cloud series release - the HyperX Cloud II. At first your wallet might tremble at the $100 price tag (if you're used to buying the often-capped-at-$80 gaming brands), but in the end when the dust settles and your character is the one still standing, it'll all be worth it.
I've been using the Tt eSPORTS Shock 3D 7.1 and Dracco Captain, alongside the CM Storm Ceres 500 recently. All three of these headsets sit between $50 - $80 and although $20 extra on the price-tag for a Cloud II might not seem like too much, this headset is located within a different league altogether.
Read on for more discussion, specifications and testing. Don't get me wrong, I wouldn't pass up a $300 pair of AKG headphones for this product, but it's going to give you an audiophile experience much closer than any other headset I've tried to date at a more reasonable price.
With the options to use either a standard 3.5mm connection for 2.0 stereo sound, or to plug into a USB 7.1 surround sound card and volume control device, the Cloud II headset offers you "pure Hi Fi 53mm drivers" pushing out a frequency response of 15Hz-25,000 Hz and a nominal impedance of 60 O per system.
Weighing in at 12.7 ounces (260 grams) total, it's not the lightest offering on the market, but that is certainly made up for with the plush ear cups coupled with an extremely soft synthetic leather headband. As far as the ear-cups are concerned, there are two main options - these include a synthetic leather option or your more traditional cloth covering.
The detachable microphone has its own frequency response of 50-18,000 Hz and nominal impedance of =2.2 kO, all run through the 3.5mm jack connection to the headset structure.
The USB sound card option provides users with virtual surround sound, separate audio and microphone volume adjustments and the ability to toggle its surround-sound features on and off through the press of one button. This control box contains a 2m braided cable, alongside the 1m on offer connected directly to the headset itself.
Pricing & Availability
The Cloud II headset comes in as a high-end pricing alternative for 'gaming class' peripherals, but much lower than most 'audiophile' headsets - sitting it in a weird limbo of brands, pricing and classification. We found it listed on Amazon at the time of writing for a touch under $100.
What's in the box?
Featuring a myriad of different inclusions like the interchangeable ear-cups, a dual-3.5mm adaptor, the detachable microphone and an extremely handy carry pouch, Kingston has certainly ensured that this product comes with the full package of options.
Although still fairly new, it's almost mandatory in my eyes that peripherals of today come with a carry pouch. There's nothing more handy than being able to easily store your precious gaming weapons when travelling to a LAN party, attending a gaming event or simply visiting a friend's house.
The cloth ear cups are a cool inclusion. Preferred by many different users, cloth ear cups are well-known for handling sweat much better, alongside having the possibility for a more 'open-ear' design. However, the sweat will just soak into the cloth and foam, meaning a regular wash is recommended.
Arguably synthetic leather give you a much nicer feel and cup your ears more effectively, however, some users still rather the cloth inclusions when gaming.
PRICING: You can find the Kingston HyperX Cloud II Gaming Headset for PC/PS4/Mobile for sale below. The prices listed are valid at the time of writing but can change at any time. Click the link to see the very latest pricing for the best deal.
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