As the holiday season comes to full-swing, gamers and those in the market for stocking-stuffers will likely purchase a headset for online competitive play or for listening to K-Billy’s Super Sounds of the ‘70s. Find out if the HyperX Cloud Stinger headset by Kingston is worth dishing out a few bucks.

How does it work?

For a headset that is pretty barebones, the Cloud Stinger is as simple as it gets for a gaming headset. No, the peripheral doesn’t come loaded with tons of bells and whistles, but it certainly gets the job done, and how. Rather than having a volume modifier located on the headset’s cord, which would be considered an adequate location for the adjuster, not to mention happens to be the status quo for most gaming headsets, the Cloud Stinger’s volume operator can be found behind the right speaker. The area for which volume is turned up or down on this particular headset, however, is not ideal. In most cases, utilizing this spot can be annoying, albeit brief, during intense gaming situations. For instance, there were many occasions where I would have to adjust the volume during online multiplayer, but only after I took cover behind a box so that I may cowardly adjust the level of volume appropriately.

Volume

Surprisingly, the Stinger packs a pretty good punch in terms of volume capacity. It adequately bangs while engaged in shooters like Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare and Gears of War 4, and really brings out chiptune sounds while playing Pokémon Sun and Moon and other Nintendo 3DS games alike. What I found most impressive, however, was that the Stinger plays songs like “Port Rhombus” by Squarepusher exceedingly well, as it illuminates the bass from within the song at high quality. Even the sound projected while utilizing the headset with an electric bass and electric guitar came out well and without static or erupting noises.

Voice Communication

Let me give it to you straight: The Cloud Stinger’s microphone is on par and best compared to any mediocre (if that) headset that you would receive with the purchase of a brand new home console, e.g., Xbox One or PlayStation 4. It’s unimpressive voice quality lacks the finesse you would receive from, let say, a Blue Snowball microphone or even Apple’s iPhone earbuds. Does the Stinger get the job done in terms of voice communication via a variety of compatible platforms? Yes, it does. But does it perform that job crisp, clean, and clear? No, not really, which makes this headset ideal for those who would like to enjoy noise-cancelling sounds without communicating with others via online gameplay — they can still hear you, but it sounds pretty bland and cheap.

How well does it fit

Like the HyperX CloudX headset, the Cloud Stinger fits the head well and can be adjusted to accommodate different head sizes, but without fail, it manages to irritate the nasal region while utilizing eye wear. As one who must wear spectacles for everyday use, I found myself constantly adjusting my glasses in annoyance while wearing the Cloud Stinger. To its credit, this issue is non-existent as glasses are removed from the equation, which makes this headset good for those without, but unfortunately makes the Cloud Stinger a “no-go” for those who operate with spectacles.

Final Say-So

For the price of the headset, which is currently listed at $49.99, I would have to say this piece of equipment is best for those without everyday eye wear. Obviously, those without glasses will be able to capitalize on the headset’s qualities and ability to listen to video games and music adequately, but I do find it unfortunate that the Cloud Stinger mostly favors those without spectacles. What I do appreciate about this headset, however, is that it happens to be compatible with any device that possesses an 3.5mm outlet. Though adjusting the volume on the Stinger can be annoying due it its location, which mostly causes the user to look like they’re trying to phone into home base via futuristic telecommunication, the annoyance itself is mostly subjective. Should you be in need of a headset, and you’re willing to deal with the slight annoyance of occasionally adjusting your glasses while utilizing the Stinger, I would say purchase this headset as it’s cheap in price and can be used on a variety of devices, but in no way, shape or form is it the cream of the crop.

The Cloud Stinger was provided for review by Kingston