Sporting a very simple design and feature set, HyperX’s Cloud Alpha is a headset that does away with the frills and instead concentrates on delivering where it counts: comfort and sound quality. It’s a laudable approach and it’s one that HyperX achieves with confidence.
What immediately strikes you when you remove the Cloud Alpha from its box is the compactness of the whole headset. The headband pulls the earcups closed onto each other, and the headband adjustment allows the earcups to move inwards a long way, making for a headset with a footprint of just 200 x 140mm.
What’s more, the way the headband adjustment works means it’s easy to just pull the headset down onto your head, and it will automatically adjust to the length you need.
In contrast, most other headsets we’ve tested require you to either remove the headset in order to adjust the headband, or to awkwardly try to change it while in situ. All told, this ease of compact stowage makes the Cloud Alpha one of the more practical portable headset options, especially as the bendable microphone and main cable are both removable.
Comfort levels are decent too. The earcups have a lot of very plush padding, and the headband is well cushioned too. My ears did just touch the inside of the earcups at the back edge, though, suggesting HyperX could have done with angling the driver housing outwards towards the back, as Epos | Sennheiser has done with its GSP 300, for instance.
For on-headset features, you only get the sockets for the removable microphone and cable. Instead, volume control is provided by an in-line control on the main cable, which also houses a microphone and mute switch.
This is perhaps this headset’s biggest failing, as the volume control is fiddly to find and adjust (it’s almost impossible to tell be feel alone which way to turn the two-sided dial) – by comparison, on-headset controls are generally far easier to use.
On the plus side, that main cable is a hefty braided affair, the first 1.3m length of which is terminated in a combined 4-pole microphone and headphone jack that’s ideal for both mobile and console use. A lengthy 2m extension cable is also provided for splitting up the signal into separate microphone and headphone jacks, which is generally more convenient for PC use.
It’s when it comes to sound quality, though, where the Cloud Alpha really impresses. There’s masses of detail and clarity, making for a clear step up over most of the other headsets on test, bar the Epos | Sennheiser GSP 300. What you don’t get here, though, is a large bass presence. It’s certainly there, but it’s not forced onto you as it is on other headsets, making for more of a muted presentation.
The microphone here is a cut above the competition too, although again, it can’t quite compete with that of the GSP 300.
The HyperX Cloud Alpha is an excellent no-frills headset that combines a compact practical design with decent comfort levels and top-notch sound quality. Its styling is a little dull and it lacks a huge bass kick, but it’s right up there with the best in terms of detail and clarity.
While the Epos | Sennheiser GSP 300 offers better value, it’s worth spending the extra money on the HyperX if you prioritise portability, and want a detachable microphone and headphone cable.
COMFORT: 16/20 | FEATURES: 15/20 | SOUND QUALITY: 36/40 | VALUE: 14/20
- Class-leading audio clarity
- Compact design
- Comfortable and easy-to-adjust fit
- Detachable cable
- Rather dull design
- Modest bass response
- Ears can touch inside of earcups
HyperX Cloud Alpha specifications
- Connections: 3.5mm stereo
- Audio config: Stereo
- Frequency range: 13-27,000Hz
- Sensitivity/sound pressure: 98dB
- Mic frequency response: 50-18,000Hz
- Mic sensitivity: -43dBV/Pa
- Weight: 312g
- Extras: Detachable mic, detachable headset cable (1.3m + 2m extension)
HyperX Cloud Alpha
Premium stereo sound quality and decent comfort make the Cloud Alpha a top-choice headset.