HyperX Cloud III Wireless Headset: Gaming Performance and Audio Quality Review
Much like the diverse offerings in the gaming headset market, HyperX's Cloud III headset didn't mark the end of innovation. Introducing the HyperX Cloud III Wireless variant. This iteration commands a noteworthy price increase, transitioning from the $99 price tag of its wired counterpart to $169, providing gamers with the convenience of a cable-free experience. While the cost bump is substantial, it's accompanied by a valuable feature addition to an already excellent headset. Let's delve into how it compares.
HyperX Cloud III Wireless – Design and Features
The HyperX Cloud III Wireless is a straightforward, untethered headset, utilizing a USB-C transmitter for seamless connections to gaming PCs or consoles (excluding Xbox). It doesn't rely on a wireless base station or a complex, low-profile dongle. Its standout feature, in addition to being part of a well-established product line, is its remarkable battery life, boasting an impressive 120-hour rating. While it falls short of the 300-hour mark claimed by HyperX for the Cloud Alpha Wireless, it's still a strong performer compared to flagship gaming headsets like the SteelSeries Arctis Nova Pro Wireless, which offers just 22 hours on a single charge (albeit with ANC active).
If you're already familiar with the HyperX Cloud III headset, you'll find that the HyperX Cloud III Wireless closely resembles it. These two headsets share nearly identical external designs, with one key difference: the absence of a cable connection on the wireless version, replaced instead by a power button.
This design continuity means that the HyperX Cloud III Wireless maintains the brand's established aesthetic that has persisted through multiple product generations. The headset features sleek, contoured ear cups with durable metal backings, connected by robust aluminum Y-shaped yokes. These yokes extend from a simple headband that avoids excessive gamer-centric flair, even eschewing HyperX's trademark two-color stitching. Instead, both the headband and plush ear cushions are enveloped in soft faux leather, providing a comfortable feel. Moreover, the headband and ear cushions offer ample padding. Despite its minimalist appearance, the headset is built to be rugged and doesn't exhibit signs of strain when bent or squeezed. It's a headset you can confidently pack into your bag without worrying about damage.
The clamping force of the headset strikes a balance that's not overly tight yet effective at keeping the ear cups securely in place. It manages to find the sweet spot between a loose fit and the discomfort of excessive pressure. Even during extended wear, I haven't experienced any discomfort or irritation on my head or around my ears.
HyperX has achieved an impressive feat by delivering extended battery life without adding significant weight to the headset. While it's theoretically possible to extend runtime by attaching a car battery, this would render the headset unwearable. HyperX has maintained a comfortable weight, making it practical for long gaming sessions.
The headset features a detachable, boom-style microphone that is relatively easy to misplace compared to flip-to-mute or retractable microphones, which are more convenient in this regard. However, it compensates with excellent flexibility and a firm grip that allows you to position it optimally. Additionally, it includes an integrated filter, eliminating the need for a cheap foam cover at the end. The microphone also features a red mute indicator LED, which can be toggled using the mute button on the left earcup. On the right earcup, you'll find a volume dial that communicates with the connected system, ensuring synchronized control of both headset and system volumes.
HyperX Cloud III Wireless – Software and Performance
The HyperX Cloud III Wireless offers software support through the Ngenuity software for Windows users. However, it's worth noting that the DTS Headphone:X Spatial Audio enhancements are primarily available for Windows users, while PS5 gamers can benefit from Tempest 3D audio.
The Ngenuity software facilitates microphone monitoring on the headset, a feature that functions effectively with this wireless model, unlike its wired counterpart. Additionally, the software provides access to several equalizer presets and allows users to create custom 10-band EQ settings, tailoring the audio experience to their preferences.
HyperX Cloud III Wireless – Gaming and Audio Quality
The HyperX Cloud III Wireless headset delivers impressive volume with its powerful 53mm drivers. At approximately 50% volume, the audio output is substantial, making it essential to be mindful of potential hearing damage at higher settings. These headphones effectively block out external noise at lower volumes while maintaining satisfactory audio quality.
The sound profile leans towards the bass-heavy side, occasionally resulting in somewhat muddled bass tones. While bass lines in music may lack the clarity found in higher-end headphones, they still retain a significant level of impact. Midrange and treble notes are well-represented, though they may not achieve the same ethereal clarity as some premium headsets, such as the Audeze Maxwell. Nevertheless, the audio quality is more than adequate for enjoying your favorite music, with a noticeable rhythmic quality.
The headset's soundstage is somewhat confined, particularly evident on busier tracks, such as those found on Of Montreal's "False Priest" album. This limitation can make it challenging for individual instruments to stand out, especially in the already congested bass range. This was notably noticeable in songs with low drums, like "Coquet Coquette," where the impact of these elements felt subdued, partly due to the headset's tight soundstage.
It's worth mentioning that these observations are based on using the headset with virtual surround sound disabled. While virtual surround sound may not be ideal for music, it significantly enhances the gaming experience. In titles like Battlefield 2042, where auditory awareness is crucial, the headset's virtual surround sound feature excels. It provides precise positional audio cues, aiding in identifying flanking enemies and enhancing gameplay. This capability is invaluable in situations where visual cues are limited, transforming challenging gunfights into more manageable encounters.
I'm not particularly focused on scrutinizing the precision of bass lines in gaming, so when engaged in intense firefights, the thunderous explosions all around me don't suffer from the muddiness that occasionally affected music playback.
However, the virtualized surround sound does exhibit some unexpected behavior. I first encountered this issue in Overwatch 2 while using the wired model, and it resurfaced in Battlefield 2042 with this wireless version. Occasionally, it struggles to process the audio signal correctly, resulting in brief episodes of digital distortion that make it sound like the game is glitching out. Fortunately, despite these occasional glitches, the headset still provides clear positional audio cues even without the DTS processing enabled.
Thankfully, the transmitter hasn't been a source of trouble. The headset maintains a strong and consistent connection, even in environments saturated with wireless signals. The compact dongle continues to transmit effectively, passing through obstacles like thick plaster walls and reaching me from a distance of approximately 30 feet away from my computer.
While the HyperX Cloud III Wireless's microphone is identical to the one found on the wired version, its performance isn't entirely identical. Wireless headsets have to handle a significant amount of data transmission, with the incoming signal often taking a backseat to the outgoing one. This results in a slight reduction in the voice recording quality compared to the wired headset. It's nearly as good, but subtle compression artifacts and a slight loss of vocal richness may be noticeable to discerning users.