Introduction & Specification Details and Close-up
Today we will be taking a look at HyperX's Cloud Stinger Core Wireless 7.1 gaming headset.
The Cloud Stinger Core Wireless is aimed at entry-level gamers and comes in at the cost of just $79.99. Throughout this review, we will be running the Cloud Stinger Core Wireless through several different tests. We will be taking a close look at the design of the headset, the durability of it, the microphone quality, and of course, the sound quality.
In this review, the Cloud Stinger Core Wireless will be going up against the Sennheiser GSP 300, and FNATIC's REACT headset, which is priced at $99 and $80, respectively. So, if you are interested in finding out what HyperX has packed into this $79 entry-level gaming headset, head on down to the next section where we take a deep dive into all of its features.
To kick things off, we have an image of the front of the box, and here we can see an image of the Cloud Stinger Core Wireless, as well as what platform it supports and that it comes with 7.1 surround sound.
The side of the box shows off the package contents, as well as what software users will have to download to get the most out of the headset.
The back of the box features a more in-depth look at the headset and some of the features that come with it. We can notice that the microphone can be muted by flipping upwards, as well as that the left earcup features a volume dial, power button, and USB-C port.
The last side of the box features a really nice aesthetic image of the Cloud Stinger Core Wireless.
Here we have an image of the Cloud Stinger Core Wireless outside of its box, and we can see that HyperX has gone for a nice slick all-black design with minimal branding.
Above we have an image of the top of the Cloud Stinger Core Wireless headband, and we can see some large HyperX branding that is reflective.
Moving onto the microphone. The Cloud Stinger Core Wireless doesn't have a removable microphone, and it's decently large. As for the quality, I will get into that later on in the performance side of the review.
In this image, we get a look at the left side earcup, and we can notice that there are indications that raising the microphone upwards will cause the headset to mute its microphone. I've said in my many headset reviews that this feature should come as a staple with every gaming headset, so I'm glad to see HyperX adopting this feature.
Here we an image of the steel frame that the HyperX is built on, and from my time with the headset, I can say that it's fairly strong but also somewhat flexible. I will get more into this in the design section of the review.
The Cloud Stinger Core Wireless comes with nice light cushions that are quite breathable.
Here we can see the flexibility of the earcups, and that HyperX has chosen not to have the earcups on a swivel.
Moving onto the left earcup, we have most of the things you would expect to find; power button, volume scroll wheel, and the USB-C charging port.
Here we have an image of the cushions that are on the underside of the headband. It should be noted that these cushions are the same as the ones found on the earcup, and aren't anything special comfort-wise.
Lastly, the Cloud Stinger Core Wireless comes with a USB-C to USB-A cable, as well as a 2.4GHz wireless dongle.
Jak's Test System Specifications
- Motherboard: ASUS ROG Crosshair VIII Hero X570 (Wi-Fi) (buy from Amazon)
- CPU: AMD Ryzen 5 3600X @ 4.4GHz (buy from Amazon)
- GPU: EVGA GeForce RTX 2070 SUPER XC GAMING (buy from Amazon)
- Cooler: be quiet! Silent Wings 3
- RAM: 16GB (2x8GB) Corsair Vengeance LPX 16GB 3200MHz (buy from Amazon)
- SSD: GALAX HOF Pro SSD PCI-E M.2 2TB
- Power Supply: Corsair CX Series 750 Watt (buy from Amazon)
- Case: be quiet! Silent Base 600 (buy from Amazon)
- OS: Microsoft Windows 10 Pro 64-bit (buy from Amazon)
Design & Software
In my opinion, design is the third most important part of a gaming headset, with sound and microphone quality coming in at first and second, respectively. That doesn't mean the design isn't important, as some headsets can have terrible design flaws that diminish the overall experience with the headset. Luckily, for HyperX, the Cloud Stinger Core Wireless doesn't have a terrible design that takes away from the performance of the headset, but that doesn't mean it doesn't come with its flaws.
The Cloud Stinger Core Wireless is currently retailing for $79.99 on Amazon, and it should be noted that this price point for a gaming headset should be taken into account when comparing against its features.
One of the first things I noticed when taking the Cloud Stinger Core Wireless out of the box was just how light they are. Coming in at a weight of just 215g, HyperX has built a headset that can be used for hours on end from the perspective of weight. I had no issues with using the Cloud Stinger Core Wireless for longer periods of time, the weight in conjunction with the comfort of the earcups, plus the moderate tension was more than acceptable for a $79.99 gaming headset.
As for the earcups themselves, I was quite impressed with the comfort. Don't get me wrong; the comfort isn't anything incredible, but more than acceptable for a headset at this price point. The clamping pressure is moderate, and users won't experience their headset falling off their heads if they tilt their head backward or forwards. The cushions on the earcups are extremely breathable, which is something I can really appreciate in a gaming headset. Nothing is worse than when you are gaming for hours on end, and you notice how sweaty your ears are from being encased in non-breathable earcups.
On the left earcup, users will find a volume dial, and I can say after using multiple headsets that HyperX has done the right thing when it comes to the volume dial. Sometimes a company will create a volume dial that is far to easy to accidentally increase/decrease volume. That isn't the case for the Cloud Stinger Core Wireless, as the volume dial has just the right amount of tension. The adoption of USB-C is a fantastic one and is something that really makes me look forward to as gaming headsets in the future will have the option of being able to charge much faster. The Cloud Stinger Core Wireless has already adopted that option, and I feel as if there is zero downside to do so (besides manufacturing costs, of course).
The Cloud Stinger Core Wireless charges relatively quickly, and it retains its battery for extended periods of time. HyperX advertises that the battery for the Cloud Stinger Core Wireless lasts for up to 17 hours, and from my testing, I can say this advertised statement is accurate.
So how does the build quality pan out? Well, here's where I might knock a few points off HyperX's tally for the Cloud Stinger Core Wireless. Due to its lightness and structure composition, the Cloud Stinger Core Wireless feels somewhat cheap. Adding to this issue is the fact that the headset is quite flexible, and with both of these noticeable factors combined, it creates an issue I just couldn't look past.
Overall, the design of the Cloud Stinger Core Wireless is quite barebones, there isn't any bells or whistles you would find on the more higher-end gaming headsets, but for what it has, and its price point, it does all that it offers extremely well. Great work here, HyperX!
Oh boy, HyperX, you have quite a lot of work to do here.
Upon opening the box for the HyperX Cloud Stinger Core Wireless, I plugged in the provided 2.4Ghz dongle and installed the HyperX NGENUITY software (download link here). What I was presented with was utterly disappointing, and I don't mean that lightly either. Want to see why I was disappointed?
Above are all the settings you will get with the NGENUITY Software, yep, that it's it. All that users can control is the volume of the headset, microphone volume level, and 7.1 surround sound. This software is honestly not very good at all, and as I previously mentioned, HyperX has quite a lot of work to do to update it to other gaming headset company's software standards.
There is no EQ option, no noise cancellation option, no gain control, and basically, nothing that you'd expect out of a gaming headset software. There is also the issue of having to acquire the software through the Windows Store, and while that process is relatively easy many consumers would prefer to have a separate download link available on the website.
My biggest problem with the NGENUITY software isn't any of the issues I mentioned above but has to do with the battery status seen in the top right-hand corner of the screenshot. This battery status indicator doesn't work, and is either stuck at 60% or is at 0%. So, this means I have no idea what kind of battery is left in my headset until it goes flat, or until I take it off to check the status light on the physical headset.
Overall, the NGENUITY software is truly disappointing, and I would go as far as to recommend users who pick up a HyperX headset to not worry about downloading it as it provides zero value to your experience.
Performance & Microphone
With every headset review I go through, I like to use the headset for a considerable amount of time, and that timeframe is usually anywhere between 30-50 hours of solid use. Throughout this time, I'm playing games, listening to different types of music, and watching a few movies. So, where does the Cloud Stinger Core Wireless really shine?
One of the first games I played when using the Cloud Stinger Core Wireless was Apex Legends, and I can say right away that my experience was great. I was very impressed with what this $79 gaming headset could achieve sound-wise, but that is only in stereo mode. The 7.1 surround sound made everything sound like it was far away, which really threw off my gameplay. Having 7.1 surround sound enabled also made everything sound very tinny, and hollow. I found that enabling 7.1 surround sound, at least for me, worsened my gaming experience instead of enhancing it. I would recommend switching 7.1 surround sound off for anyone who has this headset.
When 7.1 surround sound wasn't enabled, I thoroughly enjoyed my experience with the Cloud Stinger Core Wireless. The sound quality was decently impressive for the price tag, and I could really tell that HyperX put a lot of effort into making the sound quality the most impressive part of the headset. I found that headset had a surprising amount of bass, I was expecting a lackluster experience when it came to bass, but I was actually quite impressed.
Overall, I found the sound quality of the headset very balanced, there was no overbearing volume in the mid, low, or high sections. HyperX has done a great job of providing gamers with a very balanced entry-level gaming headset.
I used the Cloud Stinger Core Wireless for upwards of 10 hours of music listening. I originally went into my experience thinking the music quality wasn't going to be very good considering the price point of the headset, and the fact that it's a gaming headset. Contrary to my original thoughts, I walked away from using the Cloud Stinger Core Wireless, quite happy with my experience. I was very surprised at how many different music genres held up.
If you were to ask me if the Cloud Stinger Core Wireless was a good headset to listen to music with, I would answer by saying that its more than a decent choice gaming headset wise for music.
Sennheiser GSP 300
HyperX Cloud Stinger Core Wireless
So, for the microphone test, I have decided to put the Cloud Stinger Core Wireless up against Sennheiser's GSP 300, which retails for $99, and FNATIC's REACT, which retails for $80. After listening to each of the above microphone tests, you should certainly be able to hear clear differences between each of the microphones or, at least, differences between Cloud Stinger Core Wireless and the other two competitors.
So, what are the findings? Sennheiser's GSP 300 has a beautiful microphone, and could possibly be one of the best microphones I have used on a gaming headset. FNATIC's REACT microphone is also very similar in quality, with only a very few differences that you really have to be listening for to notice. As for the Cloud Stinger Core Wireless, you can immediately tell that both of the competitor headsets topple HyperX's headset in quality. The Cloud Stinger Core Wireless sounds extremely nasally, and has quite a lot of static in the background. There is also no bass to my voice, and much of the mid-range is more than prominent in my speech.
Overall, the microphone in the Cloud Stinger Core Wireless is slightly disappointing, especially in comparison to competitors at the same or similar price point. Few points deducted here HyperX.
HyperX has created an extremely lightweight gaming headset that has more than decent sound quality, not just for gaming, but music listening as well. Buyers should be more than satisfied with the battery life of the headset, along with the extremely fast charging time.
HyperX has completely dropped the ball when it comes to the Cloud Stinger Core Wireless's microphone and the software. The fact the there's hardly any customization options in the NGENUITY software is a massive let down, as I feel like the headset could be much better if there were options provided.
So, is HyperX's Cloud Stinger Core Wireless worth the cost? In short, I would say yes, and here's why.
While the Cloud Stinger Core Wireless without a doubt comes with some clear downsides, I would still say the positives outweigh the negatives. Having the option of picking up a wireless gaming headset that charges fast with USB-C and has 17 hours of battery life + great sound quality in both games and music is hard to find for just $79. Unfortunately, these positives come at the cost of a below-average microphone, and software that is basically non-existent.
So, if you aren't too fussed about having great software to tinker around with, or aren't a person to really care about a decent microphone, then the Cloud Stinger Core Wireless is a bargain pick up. For just $79, you will get a gaming headset that will last you for long gaming sessions, is more than comfortable, and sports fantastic audio in both games and music.
Overall, HyperX has done a more than acceptable job with the Cloud Stinger Core Wireless, but what makes more excited is when they revise this design and create an even better headset that has more bang for your buck.
Great work, HyperX!
The Bottom Line
HyperX has released an excellent entry-level headset with a few considerable downsides that are outweighed by the prominent positives.