Bottom line: The HyperX Cloud II Gaming Headset is super comfortable with padded ear cups and a flexible headband. Though it's wired only, you get rich and clear sound, and the 7.1 surround sound is excellent for gaming.
Light and comfortable
Rich, clear sound
Convenient audio control box with 7.1 surround sound toggle
Surround sound can make music sound worse
Only certain devices can use surround sound
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I'm at my desk for a good chunk of the day for work during most of the week. To help me tune things out and focus on what I need to do, I often wear headphones and just listen to my favorite music. It helps me get in "the zone" because time simply flies by at that point, and I have written down most of what I need to say by then.
That's why I am always on the lookout for comfortable headphones to use with my iMac. My previous go-to headphones were the HyperX Cloud II Mix, though I had to get rid of them because I used them so much over the past few years that they started to fall apart on the ear cups. So when I saw that HyperX was coming out with some new headphones this year, I knew I wanted a replacement for my old favorite, so I got my hands on the new Cloud II wired gaming headset in a beautiful pink colorway.
Is the HyperX Cloud II worth the pink tax? Let's find out.
HyperX Cloud II Gaming Headset: Price and availability
The HyperX Cloud II Gaming Headset is available direct from HyperX's website, or you can find it at other big retailers like Amazon and Walmart. There are also wireless variations of the headset that are available at Best Buy, but this particular model is not available there. The wired version comes in gunmetal or pink colorways, with this review covering the latter. The retail price for the headset is $100, though you may occasionally find it cheaper.
HyperX Cloud II Gaming Headset: Comfortable and good sound quality
One of my favorite things about the HyperX Cloud headsets is how lightweight and comfortable they are, and the Cloud II is no exception. Like my old Cloud II Mix, the Cloud II has a light aluminum frame that is also very flexible, so it easily adjusts to any head size. And with the padded leather headband and memory foam ear pads, comfort is the name of the game with this headset. If it's too tight when on the head, simply pull the aluminum frame down to tweak the size. The Cloud II is very comfy, and I can wear it for hours at a time without noticing it on my head.
Since this is a wired-only headset, you cannot remove the cable from the left ear cup. HyperX made the audio cable with a braided nylon material, so it is easily pliable but durable at the same time. I've never had issues with cable quality on any of my HyperX headphones in the past, and I've had a few at this point. The Cloud II headphone cable ends in a typical 3.5mm jack, but it also comes with a USB-A cable adapter with the audio control box, which you plug the audio cable into. The audio control box has a clip on the back of it, and it gives you volume up and down controls for both the headphone output and microphone input. A button in the center lets you toggle the 7.1 Surround Sound with a single click.
The sound quality on the HyperX Cloud II Gaming Headset is pretty good. I use it primarily for listening to music and video on my iMac, and it gets the job done. It has 53mm drivers, which deliver clear lows, mids, and high tones, and bass levels are not too overwhelming. If you intend to use this headset for gaming, then the audio quality should be immersive, especially if you toggle the 7.1 surround sound, which is primarily designed for gaming purposes. And while these headphones don't have ANC, it does have the closed cup design, which has passive noise cancellation — once you put them on, it blocks out most of the outside world.
While I prefer to stick with a standalone USB mic with my iMac, the HyperX Cloud II Gaming Headset does have a detachable microphone included. It plugs in on the bottom of the left ear cup, and the arm is flexible, so you can bend it around to whatever feels comfortable to you. To get the most out of the detachable mic though, you'll need to use the USB audio control box. When you use the mic this way, it has noise-cancellation, AGC functionality (automatically adjusts to compensate for volume variations), and even echo-cancellation. So if you plan to use this headset for gaming, it should be more than enough for your needs.
I may not be using this gaming headset for its primary intention, but it's definitely one of my favorites for just computer audio because it's so comfortable. It also sounds great with crystal clear and balanced sound, and not overbearing with the bass levels either. Plus, I adore the white and pink color, which stands out among the oversaturated gaming headset market.
HyperX Cloud II Gaming Headset: Surround sound is best for gaming, not music
I did try out the 7.1 surround sound feature when listening to music, and honestly, I didn't like how it sounded. Turning it on making the sound stage hollow, and it just didn't sound great to me. I definitely feel that the surround sound feature is best for gaming, where you need to hear every little sound in competitive games, so it's not meant for music audio.
Another drawback of the surround sound feature is that it only works when plugged into a computer with the USB cable. This is due to the virtual surround sound needing the sound card to work, which only happens when you plug in the USB cable to a computer. So don't expect the 7.1 surround sound when using it with your PlayStation 5, and this pair of headphones does not work with any Microsoft console, unfortunately.
My other issue with this headset is the fact that it isn't very portable due to this being the wired version. The headset doesn't fold down at all, and it doesn't come with a carrying case, making this a hard one to take if you move around a lot. Plus, if you want the white and pink color, then unfortunately, it's only available in the wired variation. But if you go for the wireless option, then there's a little more flexibility, though it doesn't come with a case (you'll have to figure that part out separately).
However, if you just plan to use this headset at home with your computer or consoles, then it's great, and the cost is relatively inexpensive.
HyperX Cloud II Gaming Headset: Competition
There is certainly no shortage of great gaming headsets on the market. If you are looking for gaming headset that offers just a little bit more, such as active noise cancelation, then you may want to check out the Beyerdynamic MMX 150. This one is also very comfortable to wear for hours on end, but it is also wireless and has an active noise cancellation function. It's also quite reasonably priced at just $149.
For those who want something that is more affordable, then try the EKSA E900 Stereo Gaming Headset. It's also comfortable with some high-quality sound for the price — seriously, you can't beat a $40 pair of gaming headphones. You also get a detachable noise-canceling mic, a drawstring carrying pouch, a cable splitter, and a cozy 7-foot cable to work with. For the price paid, it's great. There are also two colors to choose from: black and green, or black and red. Unfortunately, no pink if you're into that like I am.
HyperX Cloud II Gaming Headset: Should you buy it?
You should buy this if ...
- You want white and pink headphones
- You want wired headphones that are compatible with multiple devices
- You want headphones that sound good and are comfortable
You shouldn't buy this if...
- You need wireless connectivity
- You need portability with your gaming headphones
- You prefer something more affordable
The HyperX Cloud II Gaming Headset is great for those who want a wired set of headphones to use with their computer (PC and Mac compatbile) and consoles. It's lightweight and flexible, which means you get comfort for hours on end. The sound quality is also quite nice, with a clear and crisp range and not too much bass. However, if you enable the 7.1 surround sound, it may make your music sound a little tinny, though it's great for immersive gaming sessions where you need to hear every footstep. Plus, it has a detachable noise-canceling mic that does AGC and echo-cancellation. While it's good for listening to music, it's really meant for gaming — honestly, it's a great all-around pair of headphones, and it comes in pink!
However, if you need something that is portable and wireless, the HyperX Cloud II Gaming Headset is not for you. It is also primarily meant for gaming first and foremost, so the surround sound function may not be great for music. And it is also not the most affordable gaming headset out there, but it is pretty great quality and comfortable, all things considered.
Bottom line: These headphones are comfortable and deliver good sound for the price. But remember that they are first and foremost gaming headphones.
Christine Romero-Chan was formerly a Senior Editor for iMore. She has been writing about technology, specifically Apple, for over a decade at a variety of websites. She is currently part of the Digital Trends team, and has been using Apple’s smartphone since the original iPhone back in 2007. While her main speciality is the iPhone, she also covers Apple Watch, iPad, and Mac when needed.
When she isn’t writing about Apple, Christine can often be found at Disneyland in Anaheim, California, as she is a passholder and obsessed with all things Disney, especially Star Wars. Christine also enjoys coffee, food, photography, mechanical keyboards, and spending as much time with her new daughter as possible.