The HyperX Cloud III Headphones provide good audio, but it’s in the comfort stakes where they’re a real winner.
|Really comfortable – even on my huge head||3.5mm cable isn’t particularly long|
|3.5mm or USB A or USB C connectivity||Lacks RGB if that’s your style|
|Good audio quality||Audio controls on headset, not on cable|
HyperX’s followup to its Cloud II headphones are the HyperX Cloud III headphones. Sure, that’s not particularly inventive naming, but then this is a headset that is very much iterative. HyperX has taken what was good about the Cloud II and updated it gently. The end result is is a very good, very comfortable set of mostly-gamer-centric headphones.
Honestly, when the HyperX Cloud III Headphones box proclaimed to me that it had a “durable metal frame”, I groaned. Not because I want products that aren’t durable, but simply because many years of reviewing metal frame headsets has made me wary of them. My larger-than-average-skull and lack of hair means that many more solid headsets can quickly become uncomfortable even after only a short period of use.
This, I quickly discovered, was not a big issue for the HyperX Cloud III Headphones. Like so many others, there’s a layer of memory foam between the band and my head, and it’s extremely comfortable. I’ve worn the HyperX Cloud III Headphones for numerous hours without notable issues in terms of rubbing or squeezing sensations. It’s winter as I write this, and I might see an issue here for very long gaming sessions when summer rolls around and I sweat a little, but that’s very much a problem for future me.
I also rather like the style of the HyperX Cloud III Headphones. Many gaming headsets go for that heavy-on-the-RGB or heavy-on-the-combat-motif aesthetic, and that’s not what you get here. Instead there’s paired red accents on the band and an all-black style otherwise. It’s elegant, the kind of detail that you could very much get away with using for more professional purposes, as long as you don’t turn your head too much to reveal the red HyperX logos on the sides of each can.
Audio controls are purely within the headset itself, with an easy to reach mute button and volume wheel sitting in the right earpiece. It’s a style choice, I feel as to whether that’s “better” or “worse” than having an inline control. I’d probably lean towards the latter, but for my uses I tend to hit a comfortable volume level and leave it there anyway, so this isn’t the worst problem to have.
The HyperX Cloud III Headphones use cabled connections only, with a fixed 3.5mm cable that measures in at just a squeak over 120cm long. That’s not particularly long, and if you were working to a desktop PC on the floor with a 3.5mm socket it might not be enough.
The HyperX Cloud III Headphone box does include an additional cable for USB A and UBS C connectivity that adds another ~120cm of length, which is a more flexible. If I’ve got one complaint about the HyperX Cloud III Headphones’ design, it’s that the default cable could have been a tad longer, though obviously that may not be a problem depending on your setup.
Being the sequel to the Cloud II headphones, the HyperX Cloud III Headphones represent an evolutionary step up, rather than a radical redesign. HyperX says it’s rebuilt the 53mm drivers in the Cloud III headphones for better audio quality – not that anyone wanting to sell headphones is going to say that they’re worse – with support for DTS Headphone: X spatial audio.
Not that you get DTS Headphone: X with every connection type to every device. It’s available only through HyperX’s NGenuity software. I’ve previously noted that I’m not a huge fan of NGenuity when reviewing the Pulsefire Haste 2 Mouse, but if you’ve got games that support it, even virtual surround sound is better than plain stereo in most cases.
Setup from a Windows 11 PC was painless, although it did note that the drivers can introduce a level of latency. Ngenuity gives you a simple toggle to switch the effect on or off, and you’ll probably need it, because the virtual effect applied to straight stereo material does tend to introduce a rather hollow effect as it tries to virtually give it more ambience.
Actual in-game use was quite good, although I did note that unlike so many gaming headphones there was less of a bass tendency in play, instead sitting more towards a mid-level for in-game effects such as explosions. Again, this is a taste matter, but it does mark the HyperX Cloud III Headphones as being suitable for more than just straight gaming.
That’s also an advertised feature, with the box promising compatibility with PC, PlayStation 5, Nintendo Switch and Mobile devices via USB, or Xbox, PlayStation 5 or Nintendo Switch for 3.5mm connectivity. Kind of odd that they don’t list PC for 3.5mm headphone use – which does indeed work – but that’s almost certainly so they can sell USB connectivity for the DTS functionality.
Testing across those platforms went quite well, and here the shorter 3.5mm cable was less of an issue when you’re plugging into a controller (or Switch) in your hands. Well, unless you’ve got freakishly long arms, I suppose.
While the 3.5mm cable is fixed, the microphone isn’t, so you can run without it if that’s what you need. The included mic is of the bendy type, so it will take a little work to find the optimal face position to avoid either blowing out your audio or appearing way too soft. There’s a tiny LED light just below the microphone itself that’s meant to light up when you’re muted, although it’s a little fussy.
Muting worked fine, but I intermittently had an issue where it wouldn’t light up unless I fully unplugged the microphone and plugged it back in again. Not a killer issue, though it could lead to you thinking you were muted when you weren’t. For a gaming headset, though, pickup was good, with the included 10mm microphone doing a decent enough job of making my voice at least sound bearable.
HyperX Cloud III Headphones: Alex’s Verdict
I really rather like the HyperX Cloud III Headphones, primarily because they’re really comfortable. I have genuine issues with a lot of over the ear headsets due to the size of my head, finding them fine for short gaming sessions but actual torture for anything longer.
I can wear the HyperX Cloud III Headphones all day long without issue, all the while enjoying good quality audio. There’s not too much not to like there.
HyperX Cloud III Headphones: Australian Pricing and availability
The HyperX Cloud III Headphones retail in Australia for $159.Buy On Amazon