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HyperX Cloud Stinger 2 gaming headset review
The HyperX Cloud Stinger 2 is a versatile cheap gaming headset with above-budget sound.
The last wired headset I used was the HyperX Cloud Orbit S. Even then, that was to take advantage of PC-specific 3D audio features. How fitting then that years later my return to the world of wired headsets is with another HyperX headset, this time the infinitely cheaper Cloud Stinger 2. What these cans lack in wireless freedom they make up for with a killer price and surprisingly big sound.
How much does the HyperX Cloud Stinger 2 gaming headset cost in Australia?
There’s tight competition for entry-level wired gaming headsets. At the lower end of respectable you’ll find things like the Asus TUF H3 or Corsair HS35. Push that budget between $50 and $100, though, to find the HyperX Cloud Stinger 2.
Around this $80-ish price point is contenders like the Corsair HS55, Asus TUF H1 and the Turtle Beach Recon 70. All of these are great entry-level headsets, and the main reason you might consider one like the Recon 70 over the Cloud Stinger 2 is supported compatibility beyond a single platform (at least in terms of what’s advertised on the box).
HyperX Cloud Stinger 2 design and comfort
This is as bare bolts as a headset can get. From unboxing through to placing it on your noggin, there’s not a lot in the way of extra with the HyperX Cloud Stinger 2. But you wouldn’t expect that at this price point. What you get is a bulky and plasticky headset that feels like it won’t be comfortable until you put it on.
That external bulk makes for a lot of internal headspace, which is particularly handy if you’ve got a bigger bonce like me. The adjustable headband makes it a cinch to find the right fit, and I appreciate the extra padding on the headband and earcups to facilitate all-day comfort.
In terms of physical controls, there’s really only the volume dial. Frustratingly, it’s on the right earcup. My volume-adjusting autopilot is so used to left earcup controls, whenever a manufacturer puts it on the left, it always throws me.
Outside of the dial, there’s a boom mic that folds up to mute, and it’s also got a pop filter. The only other bit you have to worry about is the audio cable. While the design makes it look like it might detach from the left earcup, don’t try to pull it out because it’s firmly attached.
HyperX Cloud Stinger 2 sound and setup
The main setup with the HyperX Cloud Stinger 2 is plugging it into a compatible 3.5mm audio jack. For me, I was sent the PlayStation version to review, so I plugged it into a PlayStation 5 DualSense controller for my initial testing.
At first, I thought the max volume was quite conservative. After digging into the PS5 settings, though, I was able to bump it up from the mid-range volume to something that gets appropriately loud. It’s not quite ear-bleedingly loud but nor is that a pro (or good for your ears).
The bulk of my console testing was spent alternating between the Cloud Stinger 2 and the Turtle Beach Recon 70s. With 50mm drivers, the Cloud Stinger 2 has bigger sound that’s overall better balanced than the Recon 70. In side-by-side comparisons with games like The Last of Us Part I—a title renowned for excellent audio—is where the Cloud Stinger 2 showed impressive detail in its big sound, too.
HyperX Cloud Stinger 2 settings and versatility
In terms of audio, the main con of the HyperX Cloud Stinger 2 is the microphone is mostly meh. Sure, it gets the job done, and the pop filter is a nice touch, but my mic-recording tests sounded more functional than accurate or impressive.
Being a budget headset, there also aren’t any settings to tweak outside of whatever is available on the platform of choice. I highly advise getting your audio/chat balance sorted with a friend in a party before jumping online.
While it’s branded as a headset for PS4 and PS5, the Cloud Stinger 2 also works with other 3.5mm devices. Admittedly, that’s a shrinking list now that the humble audio jack is out of vogue in smartphones and tablets. But it offered great audio with the Nintendo Switch and Steam Deck, plus okay mic results connected to a Creative Sound Blaster Katana V2 3.5mm port. The sound was great connected to an Xbox controller, too, but the mic recordings had an annoying buzz during my tests.
Is the HyperX Cloud Stinger 2 gaming headset worth buying?
If you don’t want to up your budget to invest in a wireless gaming headset, the HyperX Cloud Stinger 2 is a great starting point. You get big stereo sound care of 50mm drivers and a functional microphone. The headset is incredibly easy to use and boasts all-day comfort. Just don’t expect too much beyond the basics.
How we review gaming headsets
We factor in price and connectivity when reviewing a gaming headset, then put it through the motions of testing during hours and hours of gaming and everyday use. This also lets us determine the battery life and extended comfort of a gaming headset, as well as garner feedback on how the microphone sounds when playing games with others.
Everyday testing includes video calls and music playback, and we favour headsets that are more than single-function devices. In fact, the headsets that tend to score the highest are those that marry big sound (including oomph-tastic bass) with all-day comfort. Wired and wireless gaming headsets are generally more closely compared in their respective connectivity categories, except where there’s crossover for things like comfort and sound performance.
Then we take a look at the nice-to-haves. Companion software isn’t necessarily a dealbreaker if it’s average, but it can help elevate the usefulness of a headset. We also appreciate easy-to-reach physical controls for the main functions on a headset.