Hardware Review: Hyper X Cloud Earbuds
As much as it would be good to be able to take your giant, surround sound, noise cancelling headphones around with you while playing the Switch on the bus to work, it’s not actually always possible. Earbuds are the next best thing, and Hyper X are bringing their Cloud Earbuds as a Nintendo Switch optimised solution. But… what does that actually mean?
Seeing as these are earbuds specifically made for a portable gaming device, the first thing I noticed and appreciated was the tangle-resistant cord. While I’ve definitely still crammed these in a pocket and gotten them tangled, they were nowhere near as bad to untangle as a pair of Apple earbuds, for example. Portability is definitely the goal here, with a small zip-up travel pouch being included in the box, including space for the different sized tips.
And while I was initially skeptical of the idea of “optimised for Nintendo Switch”, there’s definitely some fine tuning involved to make gaming sound great. I’m always going to be a fan of any audio device that doesn’t have the bass drowning out the high-end frequencies, with the Cloud Earbuds delivering the full range without much compromise. Of course, being earbuds, the bass isn’t deep or impactful, but that doesn’t mean it’s not there.
In fact, I was curious to see just how tuned these were for gaming, so I tried them in a few non-Nintendo Switch scenarios. I plugged them into my phone to listen to some music, and they just didn’t sound quite right to me. It really gave the impression these are tuned to focus on those low and high-end tones, as audio in gaming tend to focus on that contrast to make the sounds pop out. Music seems to not have a typical focus, with a lot of canceling frequencies sounding softer or drowned out with the Cloud Earbuds.
I actually found another cool non-Nintendo use for these, being the PSVR. Being that these are made for the Switch I won’t go into too many details, but it’s good to know you can get a variety of uses out of these. Though, I did have trouble with using these on my iPad, with the 4 pole connection seemingly triggering Siri a lot by just moving. So keep that in mind for any Apple devices that still have a headphone jack!
The other problem I found with these, is that the ear tips don’t have a great seal within your ears, meaning a lot of sounds that would be blocked out by in-ear earbuds are still coming through. While this ultimately didn’t affect how well I could hear the in-game audio, it did affect that immersion feeling you get with noise cancelling/blocking audio devices. But on the plus side, while playing Diablo 3 with a friend, I could have these in while also communicating with them sitting right next to me. So it’s really a situational pro/con.
There’s also an in-line microphone, with Hyper X making the best out of Nintendo’s solution to voice chat, by supporting games with in-game chat. So Fortnite, and the recently released Warframe, can make the most of this built in mic, while anything relying on Nintendo’s NSO app for voice chat being left out. I do appreciate the mic being there for the games that can support it, with it being a ‘better than nothing’ deal.
I’m always happy to have my expectations turned on my head, with the Hyper X Cloud Earbuds having a lot of overused adjectives that they end up delivering on. These sound great for the Switch, with a lot of fine tuning clearly being done here. Being used for a portable device, there’s a lot of thought put into anti-tangle and the carry case. And while versatile, these really are made for gaming first and foremost.
- Great sound for Switch
- Anti-tangle is always handy
- In-line mic is handy for games that support it
- Doesn’t cancel out outside noise
- Not great for music
- Doesn’t work well for every non-Switch device