HyperX Cloud Stinger Core Wireless Review: Long name, strong sound

The HyperX Cloud Stinger Core Wireless has one of the longer names of any headphones I’ve ever reviewed. It’s also one of the most well-appointed, no-fuss, next-gen ready gaming headsets on the market right now. HyperX is a PC peripheral maker that likes to keep things simple. It prefers clean designs, good build quality, and short feature lists, all of which are represented here.

Design

The design of the Cloud Stinger Core Wireless is very much in line with headsets that sit beneath the AUD $100 price point. Coming in at AUD $159, it does not, in fact, sit within that range at all. A white hard plastic shell encases the outer body and ear cups, which are lined with black fabric. This palette allows the unit to feel of a piece with the new PlayStation 5 hardware. The microphone is not detachable and sits out of eye line in the lower left cup. The button array is kept simple, with little more than power and a volume up-down wheel to speak of.

The build is very lightweight, clocking in at only 280 grams or so. Personally, I think this great — I much prefer my gaming headsets to be lightweight and breathable over heavy and leatherbound. The impact of this design choice is that these cans may appear of cheaper stuff than they actually are at first blush. I certainly thought they were settled in a much cheaper tier until I read through the reviewer’s fact sheet provided by HyperX.

Features

Like a lot of wireless headsets, the Cloud Stinger Core Wireless transmits sound from the console to the cans via USB dongle. Some players are wary of USB dongles and wireless headphones overall because of the potential for audio lag. Audio lag issues are most keenly felt in fast-paced games like Call of Duty or Fortnite, where instant spatial feedback is essential. Thankfully, after weeks of testing them across several different games, I couldn’t detect any significant audio delay.

In terms of wireless distance, I was able to get down the hall from my PS5 about five metres or so. The walls in my house are particular thick for insulation and soundproofing so this isn’t much of a surprise. Were your walls thinner, I think you’d find you’d get much closer to the advertised 12m range.

One of the biggest surprises is that HyperX can actually back up its 17-hour battery box quote. I was able to get between 15 and 17 hours out of the Cloud Stinger Core Wireless from a full charge, and this was with medium-level use — playing in the evenings, using the mic, using it for Netflix, I tried it all.

Additionally, the headset can be used with either your PlayStation 4 or PlayStation 5 hardware. Just plug it in, and it’ll work right away. No messing around. Love to see it.

Sound and Performance

Finally, we come to the most important feature. The HyperX Cloud Stinger Core Wireless’ overall sound quality is quite good for a headset in its price range but is by no means the best around. Though it’s been tuned for gaming, the boosted bass tones threaten to blow out music and dialogue in many cases. It’s not a dealbreaker by any means. I’ve certainly heard worse bass boost tuning before, but for those who care about audio balance, this might be a factor to consider.

Beyond this, the audio is quite nice. The treble isn’t too high, and the level of distortion at higher volumes is low. It’s a polite mix, trying to give you what you need — beefy shooting effects via bass boost — without sacrificing activity on the edges of the sound stage.

What is a bit of a bummer is the lack of HyperX Ngenuity support. I know this is a console headset, but being able to tweak the EQ just a little would make the whole unit significantly easier to recommend.

Final thoughts

HyperX has once again proven that, from time to time, a no-nonsense approach to design can pay dividends. Gaming peripherals are known for their many flashy bells and whistles. HyperX continues to eschew them all in favour of focusing on things that actually matter — comfort and sound quality. Though it’s slightly higher priced than you may expect based on its features, I think you’d be very pleased with it if you were to pick one up. Recommended.

FOUR STARS (OUT OF FIVE)

Highlights: Cohesive design; Solid sound; Useful feature list
Lowlights: Feels like it belongs in a cheaper price category
Manufacturer: HyperX
Price: AUD $159
Website: HyperXGaming.com

Review conducted on PlayStation 4 and PlayStation 5 using a review unit provided by the manufacturer.

 

David Smith

David Smith is the former games and technology editor at The AU Review. He has previously written for PC World Australia. You can find him on Twitter at @RhunWords.

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