When it comes to gaming, the best experience is likely had in your living room, with the largest screen in the house, along with the biggest, surround sound audio system. Practically, many of us can’t game there, instead using a home office, rumpus or even a bedroom. Gaming late into the night, you need a strategy to avoid the disruption of other family members or housemates and that means you need a headset.
Headphones are great for consuming music or single player experiences, but now more than ever, we need two-way communication. I’ve tried many headsets over the years and you use them long enough and we’ve all gotten up and yanked the cord on wired headsets to the point where you determine wireless is the only sensible option.
Being wireless, that means you’re on the hook for charging them and plugging them in is somewhat annoying, given you’re also charging your phone, earbuds, smartwatch, fitness band, laptop, shaver and at some point it gets too much.
Wireless charging using the Qi standard really has transformed my life, with even my car now supporting it. The ability to drop and charge devices provides the necessary convenience to make using wireless devices simple as having them die half-way through a session is the last place you want to be.
Interestingly the HyperX Cloud Flight S wireless gaming headset is the first free-standing Qi Certified gaming headset in the world. Over the past couple of weeks I’ve been gaming with it and it’s time to break it down.
Understated and I’m ok with that
The headset offers some very decent comfort with my favourite type of mounting, the over-the-ear style cups. Even with the softest on-ear headphones, they inevitably hurt after a few hours of gaming due to the inward pressure they place on a fairly fragile part of the body. Over the ear also offers much more immersive sound as the full ear is encapsulated in the soundscape, rather than much of it being lost to the outside world.
The ear cups rotate 90° which makes them easy to slide into a backpack if you’re travelling, or just for easier storage, say in a shallow drawer.
When it comes to the microphone, it’s actually removable, so if you are having a non-gaming session, like focusing on school or work, then you can use the headset to listening to music, without the mic in the way. When it does come time for an online meeting, or a multiplayer gaming session, then you’ll snap in the mic and you’re good to go.
The adjustment in the headstrap is generous, easily accommodating for my head, with plenty of expansion left. The ear cups feel naturally balanced, not placing pressure on my head, but also not falling off at the slightest turn of the head. Overall the comfort is pretty good, even if the cups aren’t the softest I’ve ever used.
While you get physical controls for adjusting the volume, power and surround sound, there’s also capacitive touch buttons built into the 4 extremes of the left cup. These are controllable through the HyperX NGENUITY software which can also control any other HyperX peripherals and hardware.
A key part of the comfort of a headset is the weight and this headset tips the scales at just 320g with the mic, or 310g without. This light weight helps allow you to enjoy longer gaming sessions, comfortably.
Stand out features of this display.
On the surface, this headset is fairly plain, fairly generic in it’s appearance. There’s no brightly coloured mesh or LED lights on the exterior, but that doesn’t mean there’s not plenty of features on board.
The biggest noteworthy feature is definitely the Qi Certified free-standing charging, which adds up to 30 hours of battery life. In reality, expect a little less than that, especially if you stretch the Bluetooth range (up to 20m) or like the volume north of 50%.
One of the other big features of this headset is the HyperX custom-tuned 7.1 surround sound. This is enabled through the dedicated button 7.1 button. Pressing the button provides a very noticeable change to the audio. Could I honestly tell you its better than any 5.1 headset, probably not, but it does give more of a immersive audio experience to your gaming.
The headset gains a lot more functionality once you install the HyperX NGENUITY software. Available through the Windows Store, this is easy to install and if you’re adventurous, there’s a new beta version. The software provides access to the onboard controls on the left cup. Using the capacitive touch buttons, you can adjust the mix between in-game audio and chat with friends.
When it comes to that chat, the detachable microphone allows you to convert this to a straight set of headphones if you’d prefer, then add it back when you need. There’s also an LED mute indicator which I absolutely think is a necessary checkbox to ensure you know when you’re on mute or not.
Not everything’s perfect
Buying these headphones is likely a decision that was made understanding it’s biggest innovation, wireless charging. The problem I have, is that the Wireless charger isn’t included. The photos on HyperX’s website show the charger being used for the headset and a mouse at the same looks great, but just buying the headset alone doesn’t allow you charge that way.
This takes us to the other charging method and that’s via an old school, micro-USB cable. In 2020, I’m basically living an all USB-C lifestyle, which makes it very jarring when new devices ship with the old-school connector. This leaves you searching in the bottom drawer for the old cable. For a device that pushes so hard on the future with Qi charging, it falls down a little when it doesn’t include USB-C.
PRICE & AVAILABILITY
How much and when can you get one ?
The HyperX Cloud Flight S gaming headset was released in Australia on April 13th and retails for A$299.00.
The headset is compatible with PC, PS4 and PS4 Pro devices.
The Qi wireless charger for the headset is sold separately.
You may be familiar with HyperX from some of their other gaming devices like keyboards, mice and memory, but this headset is one of the more interesting. It leaves the RGB behind, in favour of comfort and solid audio quality. The best trick it has is certainly the wireless charging, but I definitely think that should be included in the price, not extra.