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HyperX Cloud Flight S
HyperX has been a mainstay in the gaming headset space for years, offering a headset in basically every market segment and price range. Its latest, the HyperX Cloud Flight S doesn’t have the flashy the flashy 3D audio of the Cloud Orbit S, or nearly market-breaking value of the Cloud Alpha, but it’s got a lot going for it.
The Cloud Flight S is a premium offering with restraint—it’s got a lot of features, but only ones people would actually find useful. Does it stick the landing?
Editor’s note: This review was updated on March 7, 2022 to include more alternative recommendations.
Who is the HyperX Cloud Flight S for?
- Gamers who want something to easily move between their console and PC setups.
- At-home workers who don’t want to leave the conference call every time they need to make a new cup of coffee.
In the Box
The HyperX Cloud Flight S doesn’t come with much in the box—just the headset, its detachable 3.5mm mic, and the microUSB charging cord.
What is it like to use the HyperX Cloud Flight S?
If there was one defining trait of the HyperX Cloud Flight S, it would be its versatility. This is a wireless gaming headset for the PC and Playstation 4, and a pretty damn good one at that. You don’t need any software to get the core functionality of the headset working on either platform, and its balance of features and comfort make it a great option for just about every kind of video game.
The Cloud Flight S is built on a predominantly plastic frame, with a single strip of metal running along the inside of the headband. However, unlike many all-plastic gaming headsets, it doesn’t feel cheap at all. Adjusting the headset doesn’t cause any obnoxious creaking noises, and it doesn’t take much work to fit comfortably on your head. The headband itself also features a comfortable memory foam cushion, and offers just the right amount of clamping force to feel secure without being too tight.
The headset’s ear pads are made of leatherette-covered memory foam, which makes achieving a decent seal pretty easy. The headphone hinges allow for a decent amount of tilt and rotation, so fitting it on different head sizes shouldn’t be much an issue—though using velour would’ve been more accommodating to people with glasses.
Getting the headset to fully work is as simple plugging it in. Most gaming headsets that offer surround sound require additional software, but all that’s done on the hardware side here, so it’s pretty much a plug-and-play affair. However, what’s really neat is that this is every bit as true on Playstation 4 as on PC—the surround sound works on both platforms without any additional tinkering, which is pretty rare.
Actually using the Cloud Flight S is pretty easy, though it takes a little getting used to. The headset packs in a lot of controls, and its design saves space, but it feels a little odd at first. It features controls for volume, surround sound, game/chat mix, and mic muting. The volume dial and relatively high profile surround sound button are easy to find. All the other controls are found on the side of the headset’s left headphone as low profile dimpled buttons, and they’re a little hard to find at first. Once you get the hang of where each one is, it’s not so bad, but there were more than a few times where I was left scrambling when an errant explosion totally blew out what my friend on Discord was saying.
While it’s not terribly necessary, if you find yourself more annoyed by these side buttons than I was, the HyperX Ngenuity app allows for remapping them. The compatible version of the app is only available via the Windows store, and at time of review the one hosted on the HyperX website didn’t recognize the Cloud Flight S. The app itself works well enough, but you’re not missing anything by skipping it.
Outside of that, my experience using the headset was largely positive. I never had any issues with clarity chatting over Discord and Skype. The detachable boom mic sits on a sturdy wire arm and it was easy to position.
The HyperX Cloud Flight S uses a USB 2.4GHz RF dongle to connect to your platform of choice. This is a better option for a gaming headset than Bluetooth, as it’s lag free, and generally less battery intensive. However, this also means you’ll have to give up a USB port, which is premium real estate for some.
According to HyperX, the headset maintains connection up to a range of 20 meters (65 feet). I found that largely reflected my experience, as it maintained a pretty steady connection from one end of my apartment to the other, with multiple closed doors in between.
How is the battery life?
HyperX claims the Cloud Flight S can last up to 30 hours of playback time on a single charge, and in our testing we found it exceeded that considerably. Running at a consistent output of ~75dB—which is louder than many people’s preference—the headset ran for 35 hours and five minutes on a single charge, beating the pants off just about every gaming headset battery on the market.
This is also the first HyperX headset to support wireless charging. Put it on any Qi-compatible base and it will start to charge. HyperX is also launching its own Qi-charging base to support its growing stable of wirelessly charging products. Because of the headset’s three-light battery indicator system, it’s hard to say exactly how long it takes, but whether you do it wirelessly or with the included miniUSB cord, fully charging the headset should take a couple hours at least—good thing it lasts so long on single charge.
Gaming With the HyperX Cloud Flight S
The HyperX Cloud Flight S makes for a genuinely great gaming experience. It’s very comfortable, and even after multi-hour sessions I never had any issues with heat or pressure on my head. Playing games like Dauntless and the recently released Halo: The Master Chief Collection multiplayer on PC was a breeze, and the built-in surround sound worked well. Being able to switch on the fly back to stereo sound made it especially obvious how much the feature can add to heated firefights in particular. In most other situations, the differences seemed frankly pretty negligible, but it’s nice not needing to install yet another app just to try the feature.
My experience on Playstation 4 was similarly solid. Playing games like Fortnite and Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order, which use surround sound very differently proved illustrative of the headsets capabilities. The Cloud Flight S handled the ambient soundscapes and off screen blaster sounds of Fallen Order, as well as the various sound cues of Fortnite’s tenser moments without any issues.
Running PC games while using Discord worked like a charm. Once I got a handle on where the chat mix controls were on the headset, getting the audio just right was pretty easy—though sorting out a balance between in-game voice chat in a game like Halo and a Discord took a little bit of finagling.
How does the HyperX Cloud Flight S sound?
The HyperX Cloud Flight S offers decently accurate audio output for a gaming headset, with some nice emphasis in bass range sound. The mids and highs are also pretty accurate, though it’s a bummer to see that dip between 200-500Hz.
In music, this means the headset shouldn’t struggle in particular with any sounds or specific genres overmuch. However, songs with especially prominent bass lines might have some issues with quieter sounds getting lost. In Naima’s Dream by the Mattson 2, the bass line that runs through most of the song masks some of the fainter rhythm guitar parts.
While gaming, a frequency response like this shouldn’t present any issues. The boosted bass may make the sounds of explosions and gunfire a little louder than they’d otherwise be, but they’re always going to be the loudest thing in a scene. You likely won’t run into any issues with game sounds drowning each other out to any noticeable degree.
The HyperX Cloud Flight S offers pretty good isolation, which is to say, better than most gaming headsets. There’s nothing here approaching ANC, but it’s pretty rare to see a headset do this well blocking out sounds in the mid and high range. With this headset on, you shouldn’t run into any issues with distracting noises typical of at-home listening. Outside you’ll run into more issues, but the Cloud Flight S’ connection method limits its portability, so you probably won’t need to worry about that.
How good is the microphone?
If there’s one thing that’s truly disappointing about the HyperX Cloud Flight S, it’s the microphone. Clarity isn’t much of an issue, but it just isn’t terribly accurate, with a significant de-emphasis in the bass and mid ranges. This means people with voices even a little on the deeper side will sound a little distorted.
It’s not all bad, though. People with higher voices shouldn’t have any issues, and the increased emphasis in the high range means sibilant sounds (F, S, and SH sounds) will come through loud and clear, which is important for speech intelligibility. This is good for Discord, but don’t have any illusions about doing any voice acting or high-quality endeavors with this headset. Have a listen for yourself:
How does the microphone sound to you?
Should you buy the HyperX Cloud Flight S?
If you’re looking for a solid wireless gaming headset with a good spread of features on console and PC, yes.
Gaming headsets that don’t need additional software for surround sound are pretty rare, and ones that can do it on console and PC basically don’t exist (present company excluded). If you find you’re going back and forth between PC and Playstation 4 for your gaming needs, no other gaming headset offers the same core features on both platforms. If you lean more in one direction than the other, more viable potential options start to pop up.
It’s hard to imagine you being disappointed with the HyperX Cloud Flight S. It’s a comfortable and versatile wireless gaming headset, with better battery life than just about everything else on the market—what’s not to like? As of June 21, 2021, you can grab this headset for $119.
What should you get instead?
PC gamers who don’t care as much about a wireless headset might want to look to the Logitech G Pro X, which offers a far better mic experience through its software and costs less. If price is your main issue, the Corsair Void RGB Elite offers a very similar experience on PC for far less money.
Playstation gamers looking for something a little more console specific might be satisfied with the Playstation Gold Wireless Headset, which brings wireless surround sound console for $60 less, though its mic and battery life nearly aren’t as good. If you’re a console gamer who’s less focused on the Playstation 4, options like the SteelSeries Arctis 1 Wireless is a great multi-platform option targeting the Nintendo Switch. If you don’t care as much about surround sound, the HyperX Cloud II Wireless is $10 cheaper, and more comfortable. You can get a full rundown of how the two HyperX headsets compare here.
If you’re in the market for a gaming headset that’s a little more tailored to the PlayStation 5, you don’t need to buy a headset like this, with its own surround sound feature. Something like the Razer Barracuda X sounds just as good and runs for just $99 USD. If you don’t mind spending a little more, the SteelSeries Arctis 7+ and Arctis 7P+ are considerably more comfortable and offer roughly double the battery life.
Frequently asked questions
No. The HyperX Cloud Flight S doesn’t support 3.5mm audio connections at all. The 3.5mm port is exclusively for the headset’s detachable microphone.
The HyperX Cloud Flight S built-in 7.1 virtual surround sound won’t work with a PlayStation 5, but the new console offers its own surround sound standard using the Tempest audio engine. You can turn that on in the console’s audio settings.
The Hyper X Cloud Flight S improves upon the HyperX Cloud Flight with the addition of Qi-Wireless charging, 7.1 surround sound, bigger ear pads for improved comfort, and customizable touch controls on the ear cups. Other than that, the headsets are quite similar, sporting the same 30-hour battery life, wireless connection options, and compatibility with PC and PS4.
Unfortunately, no. The HyperX Cloud Flight S can only connect using its USB dongle, which can’t plug into an undocked Nintendo Switch?
Yes! On PC you can toggle between stereo and surround sound using the HyperX NGenuity app, as well as 7.1 button on the left headphone, beneath the power button. The button toggle works on PlayStation 4, as well.
It’s pretty unlikely. The only way this headset can connect is via USB, and most TVs—whether they’re smart or not—don’t support audio over USB. If you have an additional interface, you might be able to gin something up, but just plugging the headset into a TV almost certainly won’t work.
Yes. No HyperX gaming headset other than the Cloud Flight S offers mic monitoring with a dedicated hardware button. Since the Playstation 4 interface doesn’t offer the option, this is pretty much you’re only option from HyperX.
Yes, the side buttons are programmable using the HyperX Ngenuity app. The defaults are already to set to mic mute and game/chat audio balance controls, but there are a host of options in the app.
Yes, the HyperX Cloud Flight S will work via USB with a docked Nintendo Switch.
The HyperX Cloud Flight isn’t a headset we’ve gotten to test, but it is core design largely the same as the Cloud Flight S. To our knowledge, the Cloud Flight is missing the wireless charging and game/chat mix features, but otherwise offers the same experience as the S (in stereo sound).
Unfortunately, the Xbox One doesn’t currently support wireless headsets not made exclusively for the console. If that’s your primary gaming platform check out our list of best Xbox One gaming headsets.