In the race to cover every available body part that can play in their gear, HyperX continues to release a flood of peripherals for all kinds of gamers. It’s not just headsets and mice anymore – a month ago the company released its first ever gaming monitors (opens in a new tab). At this rate, HyperX is going to start making prescription glasses or the questionably useful gaming sleeves (opens in a new tab) I see esports players swear by it.
The HyperX Cloud Stinger 2 is almost irrelevant to how much else HyperX has out there; legitimately good stuff like the Cloud Alpha wireless headset (opens in a new tab) also. But the budget price of $50 puts it in competition with headsets like the Razer Kraken X (opens in a new tab)SteelSeries Arctis 1 and 3, and, frankly, its own predecessor, the Cloud Stinger (which retails for around $30).
The Cloud Stinger 2 is almost identical in features to the first version of the headset. It’s a black, all-plastic headset with a fairly lightweight microphone. It has a 10Hz to 28kHz frequency response, dynamic 50mm drivers with neodymium magnets, a 3.5mm headset jack and an included splitter. It’s the kind of $50 headset you pick up off Amazon or a retail shelf because it’s there and will get the job done, but you might wish you’d done a little more research.
The worst thing about the Cloud Stinger 2 is the headphone design, which negates many of its strengths in sound quality. It’s a flimsy headset; the cheap plastic feel is normal at this price point – and probably not a concern if you’ve never owned headphones over $150 – but this headset has bigger issues. The rotating earcups are supposed to let you flatten it down so you can put it in a bag, but they’re attached to the thinnest part of the headband and are so loose that I’m afraid they’ll break with the wrong movement. They flap back and forth every time I take them off and it hurts to grip them with one hand.
Nothing catastrophic has happened to me, but some clumsy handling, and I’m concerned that the headbands might snap or crack with a particularly violent drop or twist. The thought of spending the next few years with them seems like a bigger risk than it should be for this price.
HyperX Cloud Stinger 2 Specifications
Drivers: Dynamic, 50 mm neodymium
Connection: 3.5mm wired
Frequency Response: 10Hz-28,000Hz
Features: Two-way, noise-cancelling microphone, audio disk
Weight: 275 g
Price: $50 (opens in a new tab)
Otherwise, the fit on these is great. They’re snug enough to stay on my head when I move them around and slip off easily if, say, you’re holding a burger in one hand. I also wear glasses and it never became uncomfortable after hours of use, which I can’t always say the same for my regular Beyerdynamic DT 990 Pros, not far from the DT 900 Pro X (opens in a new tab). It has leather pads that feel a little thin and can wear over time, but in this price range I’m not sure you’ll find much better.
The sound quality is impressive, especially if you have the included DTS Headphone X spatial audio codec turned on (a code for two years is included). It’s a bit of a gimmick at first, but with music I liked how it raised the mids and made a lot of instrumental music sound dynamic, or like it was being played on a stage. It’s probably not for everyone.
The in-game effect didn’t stand out to me. In a game like Overwatch where sound is essential and mixed with it in mind, it doesn’t sound any different with the feature on or off. The Elden Ring sounded bigger, but not noticeably different than it would in normal stereo mode. The fact that after two years you have to pay for DTS Headphone X is also a bummer, as without it the headphones are pretty neutral with highs pulling through more than anything else. They’re fine for gaming, but might sound a bit boring for anything else.
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The microphone is about as usable as any other headset microphone in this price range. It sounds a bit distant, but has enough clarity and volume to come through in game audio. The noise reduction kept out my mechanical keyboard presses and mouse clicks even while I was actively talking. The mic boom swings up and mutes automatically, which is always a nice feature, and it’s small, so even when it’s in front of your face, it’s not a nuisance.
It’s a bit tragic that a solid sound package is kept in such a murky frame. The Cloud Stinger 2 would be a competent headset and an excellent choice for a budget pick, but I can’t get over how flimsy it looks and feels. There are older, cheaper headsets out there that are built with a thicker frame – the original Cloud Stinger, to name one.
The Stinger 2 might work for someone who treats their headset like a delicate flower, but for $50, you can get something that won’t potentially break after an accidental drop or twist. The Cloud Stinger 2, despite its strengths in its price range, is just too much of a risk for me to recommend.