HyperX Cloud Flight S Review – Revised Wireless Freedom
Hyper X Cloud Flight SFebruary 2020
HyperX is among my favorite headset brands – it delivers well-built and great-sounding headsets in basically every segment. Several months ago, Chris Wray already reviewed the Cloud Stinger Wireless, and most recently, he tested the Cloud Alpha S. Both headpieces were praised for their build- and sound quality at a decent price.
The brand’s latest headset comes in the form of an upgrade to one of HyperX’s best offerings, the Cloud Flight. Named the ‘HyperX Cloud Flight S’, this revision packs several additional features compared to its older relative, including 7.1 surround sound and wireless QI charging. Do these additional features warrant a purchase?
Inside the box
There isn’t much to say about the contents of the Cloud Flight S box, but this isn’t a bad thing at all – it basically reflects that this is a no-nonsense headset that works right out of the box. The following items have been included by HyperX:
- Cloud Flight S headset
- Detachable microphone
- MicroUSB charging cable
- Wireless USB 2.4GHz RF dongle
Design and features
The Flight S features 50mm audio drivers with neodymium magnets, 90° rotating earcups with breathable leatherette and memory foam, a detachable bi-directional microphone with noise canceling and customizable onboard controls. In addition, instead of using Bluetooth for wireless transmission, the Flight S comes with a USB 2.4GHz RF dongle for lag-free wireless audio.
Wireless Qi-charging, stunning battery life and 7.1 surround sound on both PC and PS4, however, is what separates HyperX’s latest offering from the completion.
Compared to the original Cloud Flight, the revised Flight S is a much more elegant headpiece. Whereas the original model featured visible wires and red accents, the S comes in a matt black design that might be more appealing to a broader audience.
The left earcup of the S sports its main features, including the power button, a toggleable 7.1 surround sound button, a detachable microphone port, micro-USB charging port, and 4 customizable, slightly sunken, buttons for onboard controls. The well-placed volume dial can be found on the right earcup.
As with the original Flight and other HyperX offerings, the Flight S is very comfortable, and even after extended periods of use, I didn't experience any strains and the memory foam inside the leatherette earcups kept my ears sweat-free. While the headband doesn't automatically adjust to match the size of your head, it can easily be adjusted for a good fit. Those wearing glasses will be happy to learn that this headset can be worn for hours straight without feeling any pressure.
Ease of use
One of the things that I liked the most about the S is its ease of use. There simply aren't any other headsets available that offer 7.1 surround sound out of the box on both PS4 and PC without the need for additional software or the use of a wireless base station connected via an optical digital cable. Just insert the supplied wireless USB transmitter in either your PC or PS4 and you're ready to go. As mentioned above, surround sound can be toggled through a dedicated button on the left earcup, and this easily allows you to switch between stereo- and surround sound. While switching is easy, I did find it annoying that I had to re-activate surround sound each time after having powered down the device, and I do feel that HyperX could have included a simple led light to indicate whether surround sound has been activated or not.
While HyperX doesn't officially mention Nintendo Switch support, I can confirm that the Flight S also works on Nintendo's hybrid platform in docked mode. In theory, you should be able to get the headset to work on the Switch in portable mode through a USB to USB-C dongle but I wasn't able to test whether this actually works. Unfortunately, Hyper's offering doesn't work on the Xbox One as Microsoft's console doesn't support USB audio and, unlike the original Cloud Flight, the revised Flight S doesn't come with a 3.5mm audio port.
The programmable buttons on the left earcup are a nice touch to the revised Cloud Flight and can be programmed to your liking. By default, these dimpled buttons control mic muting, sidetone and game/chat balance. I needed some time to get used to these buttons, but after several hours of testing, I found these mappable buttons a pleasant new feature. Programming of the buttons is done through HyperX's NGenuity software. Mapping the buttons is fairly easy but saving your actual preset does require some time.
Battery life and wireless charging
HyperX boasts stellar battery life of over 30 hours when using the Flight S at 50% volume. For this review, I've tested the headset with a range of games and different volume levels, and I can confirm that 30 hours of play on a single charge can be achieved. I would even go as far as to say that 30 hours is on the safe side as the battery lasted for roughly 33 hours when on normal volume levels - aside from the original Flight, there's simply no decent wireless headset available that offers this kind of battery longevity.
In case you do run out of battery, charging a headset has never been easier as, in addition to micro-USB charging, the HyperX Cloud Flight S supports wireless charging. Just place it on a compatible Qi base and the Flight S will start charging. For this review, I was also supplied HyperX's own Chargeplay Base and this worked perfectly. This base, however, isn't included with the headset and will set you back another $60. Any Qi-certified charge pad should work with the Flight S, but after having tested some cheaper alternatives, not all pads seemed to correctly work.
HyperX's Cloud Flight revision offers a clear and distinct sound experience with mids and highs that are pretty accurate for a gaming headset in this price range. It uses a slightly boosted bass without overpowering other sounds. Overall, the Flight S is among the best-sounding wireless headsets in this price range, including the Arctis 7 and Razer Thresher Wireless.
In general, I'm not too fond of using 'Surround Sound' due to the audio being altered in some way, but this isn't the case with HyperX's custom-tuned 7.1 surround sound. As a matter of fact, it provides a more immersive sound experience and HyperX's surround implementation on the Flight S is one of the best I've heard so far. Once you've experienced the headset's surround mode, you probably won't be switching back to stereo mode anytime soon.
The HyperX Cloud Flight S allows you to connect the supplied microphone or one of your own choosing. While the supplied HyperX mic suffices, don't expect too much from it. There's certainly room for improvement on HyperX's side when it comes to the microphone.
The HyperX Cloud Flight S is among the best wireless headsets in its price range. It offers great comfort, versatility, unrivaled battery life, and impressive sound quality. On top of that, it packs exclusive features such as wireless charging and out-of-the-box 7.1 surround sound on both PC and PS4, that you just won't find on any other headset in this segment. The microphone isn't the best but will suffice for simple chatting. If wireless charging and surround sound are features that you're looking for on a headset in this price range, the HyperX Cloud Flight S is a must buy. If not, the original HyperX Cloud Flight remains a solid, and cheaper, alternative.
Review sample supplied by the manufacturer.
HyperX's revised Cloud Flight offers an impressive sound experience alongside great comfort, stellar battery life and unique features such as wireless charging and 7.1 surround sound on both PS4 and PC, which just aren't available on any other headset in this price range. The microphone isn't the best, but those looking for a wireless headset in this segment can't go wrong with the HyperX Cloud Flight S.
- Impressive sound and 7.1 surround sound
- Unmatched battery life
- Wireless charging
- Great comfort
- Microphone needs improvement
- HyperX Chargeplay Base not supplied