HyperX Cloud Alpha is the best value-for-money gaming headset in the market now

HyperX Cloud Alpha
HyperX Cloud Alpha

The Cloud Alpha is the "basic flagship" gaming headset from Kingston's gaming brand, HyperX.

Unlike last year's flagship Cloud Revolver S that comes with Dolby 7.1 Surround Sound using USB connectivity, the Cloud Alpha is a basic, no-frills gaming headset with a single 3.5mm audio connection.

As such, you can use it with any device, from the Nintendo Switch to a PC gaming rig as long as it has a 3.5mm headphone jack.

The headset features dual-chamber 50mm neodymium drivers - not commonly seen at this price.

Each hasa chamber for bass and another for mids and highs. This is supposed to minimise distortion and create a more dynamic audio output.

Design-wise, the Alpha does not deviate much from its 2014 predecessor. This is a good thing, as the original Cloud was famed for its comfort.

It looks rather simple with two big, black, leatherette-clad ear cups connected - via a pair of red metal forks - to its aluminium headband. The headband is wrapped in black faux-leather with red stitching and has been expanded from its predecessor to fit bigger head sizes.

I like headbands with a bigger size as they fit the shape of my head nicely. The ear cups cover my ears very comfortably and I had no headache or warm ears even after prolonged use.

Besides a detachable and easily adjustable microphone that connects to the left ear cup, the Alpha also comes with two detachable braided cables - a 1.3m headset cable and a 2m PC extension cable.

This means you can easily replace the microphone or cables without having to throw away the entire headset.

  • SPECS

    PRICE: $159

    DRIVERS: 50mm dual-chamber neodymium

    CONNECTIVITY: 3.5mm

    WEIGHT: 336g (with microphone and cable)

    RATING

    FEATURES: 3/5

    DESIGN: 4/5

    PERFORMANCE: 4/5

    VALUE FOR MONEY: 5/5

    OVERALL: 4/5

Its affordable price tag includes a cloth bag to store the headset, microphone and cables as well.

The audio quality is fantastic for the price, especially for gaming. I can hear distinct sounds, especially when playing first-person shooters such as Call Of Duty: WWII, which has audio effects from artillery explosions to the sound of bullet shells hitting the floor.

The noise-cancelling microphone seems to do the job. My friends were able to hear me clearly during co-operative multiplayer games such as Sea Of Thieves.

While listening to my music playlist in my iPod touch, which ranges from pop to rock, I find the audio clarity impressive for a gaming headset. The mids aresharp and there is a deep, clear bass. The highs do get a tad muddled, but it is not much of an issue if you do not crank the volume up too high.

The downside is the rather basic inline control on the audio cable. It has only a volume wheel and a microphone mute switch. There are no stop, play or skip options.

•Verdict: The HyperX Cloud Alpha is probably the best value-for-money gaming headset in the market now.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 11, 2018, with the headline 'Audio quality makes up for basic set-up'. Print Edition | Subscribe