The Cloud Stinger Core Wireless is part of Hyper X’s Cloud Stinger family of headsets known for their lightweight, durability, and accessibility. The Cloud Stinger Core is compatible with PC, PS4, and even the upcoming PS5. While there are a multitude of headset options available for around $80, HyperX has focused its efforts into prioritizing a headset that puts function and comfort first. This headset may not immediately look revolutionary but it’s what you don’t see that makes the differences.
Design: Light as a Cloud
The first thing I thought when I picked up the box was just how light it was with a headset inside. I’m no stranger to headsets, having been through many types and brands, the one thing usually synonymous with wireless headsets is weight. There’s just extra stuff inside a wireless headset that wired headsets don’t need. But the main thing that weighs it down is the battery. Somehow, the battery does not weigh this headset down. It feels like a corded headset, much like its Cloud Stinger brothers, just without the tether to the PC.
The HyperX Cloud Stinger Core can be found on Amazon for $79.99.
The unboxing experience is bare-bones and to the point. It’s somewhat reminiscent of the headset itself. No nonsense, light, and with only the components inside necessary to get you gaming. I was thrilled to see the implementation of a USB-C charging cable instead of the dreaded micro USB. That alone scores big points in my book. The wireless dongle that allows operation of the headset isn’t the slimmest one I’ve seen, but it’s not the largest either. It should allow for operation of most adjacent USB ports. Along with the components are a slim instruction manual and a warranty card.
Specs and Build Quality
The HyperX Cloud Core has 40mm drivers, a 20hz to 20khz frequency response, an impressive 17 hours of battery life, a noise cancelling, uni-directional microphone, and up to 12 meters of wireless operation. I can confirm it is indeed compatible with both the PC and PS4. The box claims it is also compatible with the Playstation 5 which is something I obviously cannot test at the time of this review, however, it is not compatible with the Xbox One. I tried anyway and it didn’t work.
There is a liberal use of plastic throughout the headset. There are also some sharp edges that come as a result of the plastic molding. However, throughout the headset are nice touches which benefit the construction material. The name has been molded into the top of the headset. The plastic has a textured surface, which brings a more premium feel to the design. The ear cushions have soft and comfortable mesh padding as does the support band on the arch.
The control panel on the headset is simple enough. A power button, an indicator LED, and an infinite volume roller. The controls are easily within reach, and it didn’t take me long at all to adjust to their location and use while gaming.
What’s the angle?
So what makes the Cloud Core so attractive? Well, for one, its price point is already on the low end. At $80, it’s hard to find a wireless headset that’s worth its weight. In fact, it’s difficult not to justify the small jump in price from a similar wired headset to this alternative. Having wires doesn’t seem like such a bad thing. However, if you get up to get a glass of water, a snack to munch on, or grab a controller battery as much as I do, being able to go wire-free while gaming is more than worth an extra twenty bucks.
Even the solid price is not this headset’s main attraction, however. The Cloud Stinger Core is one of the most comfortable headsets I’ve worn. This is largely due to the fact that it is one of the lightest headsets I’ve worn. At a featherweight 244 grams, it is lighter than the equally priced Corsair HS70 by 30%, which itself weighs in at 345 grams. Even with an enclosed battery that cranks out over fifteen hours of playback it weighs 9% less than the corded Logitech G230 that pulls in at 265 grams. If we are talking about more premium headsets, the Cloud Stinger Core weighs an astonishing 47% less than the HP Omen. In fact, the only headset that managed to weigh less than the Cloud Stinger Core was an old pair of on-the-ear Afterglow Level 3’s at 235 grams. A mere 4% difference.
Weight is, in my opinion, the primary cause of headphone fatigue as a gamer. I wear glasses, so the weight and added pressure of a headset can irritate the spots behind my ears when my glasses rub the wrong way. I had no such problems with the Cloud Stinger Core and even forgot I was wearing them during my hours playing. The ear cups are comfortable, and the soft padding on the top provides support enough to get lost in the game instead of having to constantly readjust to a better position. While the Cloud Stinger Core might contain more plastic than competing headsets, it’s also a valuable weight saving material. This brings up a good point that HyperX designers must have taken into account. When you are wearing your headphones, how they look does not matter, it’s how they feel that makes the difference.
Performance: Good Sound, OK Microphone
But all that comfort and weight savings would be meaningless if the headset did not perform. Fortunately, the Cloud Stinger Core performs admirably. After running it through a few sound tests and playing different games, I was pleased to find no awkward vibrations, sound balance issues, or connection issues. Plugging it into the PC or PS4 is truly a plug and play scenario. There were no drivers to download, updates, or bloatware necessary. Simply plug in the dongle, turn on the headphones and put them on.
Playing Control, sounds were immersive and enjoyable. The creepy, whispering world of the Bureau of Control came to life in a way the developers intended. Shots and impacts were punchy and visceral. Voices sounded natural, and there were no anomalies which detracted from the audible experience. Directional tones were also accurate. I could recognize and pinpoint the wispy undertones of a Hiss agent appearing behind me and react accordingly. Volume gets loud enough for anyone’s needs, and gives one freedom to raise it to subjectively uncomfortable levels. Although, everyone has their own limit.
Testing One… Two…
The microphone is both noise cancelling and unidirectional, meaning it only receives sounds from one direction, presumably the direction of your mouth. It can be muted by being folded upward into its vertical position. However, there is no tone or indicator light to signal a change in status. I found the quality to be acceptable although it does have a slightly nasally tone to it. This is nothing new to wireless headsets or headsets in general. Headset mics are not there for call-outs and game chat. Not for your next award winning single.
One thing that was a bummer was that I was not able to get HyperX’s optional software for the Cloud Stinger Core working. I downloaded two different versions of Ngenuity, but neither detected my headset at all. I tried numerous times and different techniques to no avail. The newest version provided through the download link on HyperX’s website is still in beta. Apparently, I wasn’t the only one having this problem, as Reddit and other forums are filled with questions regarding the same issue. This was disappointing, as I was hoping to be able to get into some sound profiles and headset adjustments, but it was a dead end. Hopefully HyperX will sort out whatever bugs are in the beta so that future owners will be able to fully utilize their headset on PC.
Optional software bugs aside, the Cloud Stinger Core is a wireless headset that doesn’t compromise in giving you one of the lightest, and comfortable audio experiences for the price. The old mindset of something being heavier and therefore more premium is lost on headsets as that counteracts the function of the hardware. The Cloud Stinger Core is more than the sum of its parts. Plastic molding that many might turn their noses up at saves weight. The material choice also saves money. HyperX was aiming for lightness, functionality, comfort, and affordability. All of which are very difficult things to achieve at once. Yet, the Cloud Stinger Core does. For those who wish to have wireless simplicity at a low cost, this headset would be an excellent choice.