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HyperX Cloud Alpha Wireless
April 11, 2022
Original: $199.99 USD
The HyperX Cloud Alpha is one of the most affordable wired workhorses in the gaming headset space, and it has been since it came out years ago. However, the average gaming headset has improved a lot since 2017—wireless ones have better battery life, software, and features, and wired ones are just better built and sound a lot better. Basically, if you’re going for a no-frills approach, the field is a lot more crowded. The new HyperX Cloud Alpha Wireless looks like pretty much the same headset as its wired predecessor, only now it claims a whopping 300 hours of battery life.
Is that enough to warrant a pickup?
Editor’s note: This review was updated on April 20, 2022 to include the results of our battery test.
- Gamers who don’t want to be penalized for forgetting to charge their headset will want to give this a look.
- Anyone who works from home and spends a lot of time in Zoom meetings will like the comfortable build and ease of use.
What’s it like to use the HyperX Cloud Alpha Wireless?
If you’ve used a HyperX Cloud Alpha or Cloud II, or really any of the HyperX gaming headsets that look like this, the HyperX Cloud Alpha Wireless should be pretty familiar. After all, while there are a couple of extras, this really is just a wireless version of a headset that’s been on the market for a long time and adorning the heads of thousands of Twitch streamers for almost as long. There’s a reason for that: it’s a great design.
The Cloud Alpha Wireless is a very sturdy wireless gaming headset. Its frame is largely made of metal, but it’s not terribly heavy, at 337g. The ear pads and headband cushion are made of memory foam covered in soft leatherette, and they feel great. The thickness of the cushion and the clamping force of the headband balance each other out nicely, making for a very comfortable experience.
Actually using the HyperX Cloud Alpha Wireless is very straightforward—there’s a volume dial, a power button, and a mic mute button. None of these fixtures have additional functions, which means all the additional features of the headset are locked behind software. That also means what you see is what you get off PC—it’s a wireless headset with a mic and nothing more on console.
See also: The best wireless PC gaming headsets
Should you download HyperX NGenuity?
If you buy the HyperX Cloud Alpha Wireless, you should definitely install HyperX NGenuity. On top of firmware updates for the headset, the app includes controls for microphone and headphone volume, mic monitoring, a battery level indicator, and you can turn on the headset’s included DTS:X spatial sound feature. NGenuity also includes a number EQ presets, as well as the ability to create custom EQ profiles with the included 10-band equalizer.
In the pantheon of gaming headset companion apps, HyperX NGenuity is a pretty decent option. It’s straightforward, keeping basically every feature on the same page with a simple layout. However, compared to the software offerings of other recent headsets, the Cloud Alpha Wireless software experience feels a little sparse—there’s nothing for customizing microphone sound, and no additional headphone audio features other than an EQ. A few years ago, this would’ve been great, but it doesn’t compare well to options you’ll find within apps like SteelSeries Sonar or Logitech G Hub.
Additionally, at publication time, the app seems to have trouble recognizing the Cloud Alpha Wireless drivers. Basically, half the time I open the app, features like EQ profiles and spatial sound will have exclamation points next to them and a message stating I need to restart my computer before I can use them. Restarting fixes it every time, but this is really the kind of thing you should only have to do once.
How is gaming with the HyperX Cloud Alpha Wireless?
Gaming with the HyperX Cloud Alpha Wireless is nice, regardless of which platform you use. It’s very comfortable, and it’s definitely got the battery life to handle pretty much as many lengthy gaming sessions as you want. The leatherette doesn’t help much with heat buildup, but it’s no bigger an issue than with any other headset.
On PC, the spatial sound feature works well when playing games like Valorant and Risk of Rain 2. Games like Tunic with more understated soundtracks also come through really nicely with the Cloud Alpha Wireless.
On PlayStation 5, the gaming headset’s spatial sound feature isn’t available, but the Cloud Alpha Wireless works just fine with the console’s built-in option. When playing Elden Ring positional sounds of enemies creeping around corners actually come in pretty handy, and they come through pretty intelligibly on this headset.
How do you connect the HyperX Cloud Alpha Wireless?
The HyperX Cloud Alpha Wireless is a wireless gaming headset that connects using a USB-A wireless RF dongle. This is the headset’s only connection option—there’s no wired listening via 3.5mm or using the USB charging cable. Sticking with a USB-A dongle also limits compatibility a bit—you won’t be able to plug into the bottom of a Nintendo Switch or a smartphone. Basically, the single connection option means this works on PC and PlayStation consoles, as well as a Nintendo Switch when it’s docked, and that’s it.
Xbox consoles only support USB audio connections from devices made exclusively for them—otherwise you’d need a device that supports the Xbox Wireless connection standard or a wired 3.5mm connection. The HyperX Cloud Alpha Wireless doesn’t support either of those things, and it’s made for other platforms than Xbox, so it won’t work.
How long does the battery last on the HyperX Cloud Alpha Wireless?
If the HyperX Cloud Alpha Wireless has a marquee feature, it’s the battery. The company claims this gaming headset can last up to 300 hours on a single charge. In our testing, the HyperX Cloud Alpha managed to eke out 327 hours, 27 minutes of constant playback of real music, peaking at 75dB (SPL). Your mileage may vary depending on how loudly you listen to audio, but even at max volume, it should be apparent that this will outperform basically anything else on the market.
It’s worth contextualizing performance like this. Other than the HyperX Cloud Alpha Wireless, the best battery performance in a gaming headset we’ve tested is the SteelSeries Arctis 7+, which lasted just over 70 hours. The Cloud Alpha Wireless’ result equates to more that 13 and a half days straight—even if you crank the volume and get half that result, it’s still beats the pants off that.
It only takes a couple of hours to charge the headset, even though its capacity is so big.
How well does the HyperX Cloud Alpha Wireless block noise?
The HyperX Cloud Alpha Wireless offers pretty good performance, though not exceptional for a pair of over-ear headphones. There’s no active noise cancelling feature with the HyperX Cloud Alpha Wireless, so what blocking of outside noise you get comes from passive isolation. You’re not going to miss doorbells or people talking to you at moderate volumes, but you probably also won’t be troubled by the whirr of a fridge or the blaring of a TV down the hall.
How does the HyperX Cloud Alpha Wireless sound?
The HyperX Cloud Alpha Wireless features audio output pretty close to our in-house target curve, albeit with some of the boosted low-end sound that’s typical of a gaming headset. Sounds up to around 200Hz come through roughly 5dB louder than we generally like to see, which means you may have a little trouble with bassier sounds making some things a little harder to hear.
Lows, mids, and highs
In Lights of Leeming by Pond, the synthy bass comes through loud and clear, though vocals definitely sound a little less prominent in comparison. Nothing in the song is dominant enough to make anything actually difficult to hear, but it can all blend together a little if you’ve got it playing in the background.
However, in Le menu acadien by Lisa LeBlanc, the funky instrumental parts and vocals all sound distinct and clear. The bass is still a little loud, but there are just fewer instrumental tracks, so it’s easier to pick out the different distinct touches.
See also: How we score
In game, frequency response like this works well for just about every genre. The boosted low end can make the sounds of footsteps in a game like Valorant a little less distinct during moments of intense gunfire, but not so much that it really feels like a problem.
Can you use the HyperX Cloud Alpha Wireless for phone calls?
Like a lot of 3.5mm wired gaming headsets, the HyperX Cloud Alpha’s biggest downside is its quiet, insufficiently powered microphone. That’s not an issue with the HyperX Cloud Alpha Wireless, which sports a detachable microphone that’s loud, but it’s not the clearest. Speech intelligibility isn’t a problem, but this isn’t the pick if you’re looking for something to pull double duty as a podcast recording tool.
HyperX Cloud Alpha Wireless microphone demo (Ideal):
HyperX Cloud Alpha Wireless microphone demo (Office):
How does the microphone sound to you?
Should you buy the HyperX Cloud Alpha Wireless?
If you’re in the market for a gaming headset you can forget to charge and still use wirelessly, you should consider the HyperX Cloud Alpha Wireless.
The lack of a USB-C dongle takes wider compatibility off the table, and the microphone could definitely be better, but the HyperX Cloud Alpha Wireless is still a great gaming headset. It has the best battery life of any gaming headset on the market by a country mile, it’s comfortable, and it sounds very good. If you’re hunting for a reliable companion to see you through a week’s worth of video conferencing (or more), this could be just the thing. Remember, the mic is detachable, so if you only want a pair of wireless PC headphones with a ton of battery life, you can always just lose it.
HyperX Cloud Alpha Wireless vs SteelSeries Arctis 7+: Which is the better gaming headset?
In the wireless gaming headset space, battery life has come a long way. Not that long ago, the best you could hope for was around 15 hours on a single charge—now headsets routinely push past a full day of playback time. Aside from the HyperX Cloud Alpha Wireless, the gaming headset with the best battery life (we’ve tested) on the market is the SteelSeries Arctis 7+. Its 71-hour battery life may not hold a candle to the Cloud Alpha’s performance, but it’s still excellent, and after all, there’s more than battery life to consider when you’re buying a gaming headset.
In pretty much every other sense, the Arctis 7+ is extremely competitive with the Cloud Alpha Wireless. It’s very comfortable, it sounds good, and it’s got a good microphone. And on top of all that, the Arctis 7+ has a big advantage over the Cloud Alpha Wireless in connectivity. The headset supports wired connections over 3.5mm and USB, and it uses a USB-C wireless dongle, so it basically works everywhere in one way or another—that includes Xbox consoles and mobile devices.
What should you get instead of the HyperX Cloud Alpha Wireless?
The HyperX Cloud Alpha Wireless may have better battery life than just about anything else on the market, but that doesn’t mean it’s definitely the right pick for everyone. If you’re looking for a wireless gaming headset you can use on more or different platforms, there are tons of alternatives. In addition to the SteelSeries Arctis 7+ (which we mentioned above), both the SteelSeries Arctis 7P+ and the Razer Barracuda X use USB-C wireless dongles, which considerably opens up compatibility.
If you’re an Xbox gamer, you’ll likely be better suited by a device tailored to your specific platform. The Razer Kaira Wireless and its more expensive Pro model are two of the best Xbox Wireless gaming headsets on the market, with a super comfortable build, good microphone and headphone audio, and solid battery life—the Kaira Pro supports Bluetooth audio, too.
Of course, as good as any battery is, the only headset you never have to recharge is a wired one, and there are tons of great wired gaming headsets. Of course, we’d be remiss not mentioning the perennial workhorse HyperX Cloud Alpha, but relatively more recent options like the Razer BlackShark V2 and Logitech G Pro X are excellent wired options. Wired gaming audio options also run considerably cheaper—all three of those headsets float around the $100 USD mark—and you can even find excellent audio with something like the JBL Quantum 50 gaming earbuds for just $30 USD.
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Frequently asked questions about the HyperX Cloud Alpha Wireless
Not very different. Apart from the battery life, the wireless Cloud Alpha and Cloud II look and feel almost identical, sport basically all the same software features, and sound very similar. However, the Cloud II Wireless is $50 USD cheaper.
This really depends on whether you’ve made the jump to PlayStation 5. Both headsets sound and feel great to use, but the Cloud Flight S has built-in virtual surround sound for PlayStation 4 users. In comparison, the Cloud Alpha Wireless depends on the PlayStation 5 to add that function in.