HyperX has quietly been spending the last few years for making great gaming accessories at really keen prices.
It looks to be continuing this tradition at CES 2019 with a few new products, including two new gaming headsets; the Cloud Orbit and Cloud Orbit S.
We’ve focussed on the Cloud Orbit S for this hands-on because it’s the one that incorporates Audeze’s positional audio tech.
We’ll explain why that’s good in a moment, but the interesting thing is that HyperX’s headset it actually cheaper than Audeze’s own Mobius headset — $330 rather than $400. True, it’s wired, whereas the Audeze one is wireless, but it’ll make HyperX’s headset an interesting proposition for those attracted to positional audio.
Is this the gaming headset to own in 2019? We went ears-on to find out.
For those unfamiliar with Audeze’s positional audio tech, what’s the big deal?
Well, it allows you to press a button on the headset, isolate the audio in that particular location, and then tilt or move around it as if you were in a 3D space.
Imagine being in an auditorium where a band is playing, and then being able to walk around and hear what it sounds like from different points in the room -- that's the effect that Audeze creates.
Audeze is set to do more with the technology in future though, allowing it to be incorporated into games so that you can do things like lean out of cover simply by moving your head.
We sadly didn’t get to play any games on the Cloud Orbit S at CES, but we did listen to some music and they sounded great even without the positional audio enabled.
The bass was punchy and the treble was really clear, and we'd happily use the headset to listen to music while working.
HyperX will load the headset with five different audio presets tuned for gamers.
The headset also boasts sound isolation which worked very well to deaden the general chatter inside the convention centre. HyperX is going to box in three cables to allow you to use the headset in different scenarios.
The USB-C cable will now be the default for many, but there’s also a USB-A cable and a 3.5mm audio connector.
You’ll need to use USB to charge the headset’s digital processor though, which has a battery life of 10 hours.
The headset itself uses the same 100mm planar magnetic drivers as on the Mobius headset.
However, the main difference between the two headsets is that HyperX's doesn't offer Bluetooth wireless; you have to connect it up to your device using a cable.
Given that HyperX's headset is $70 cheaper than Audeze's, that's a sacrifice many will be willing to make, and it's also worth bearing in mind that the HyperX headset felt lighter and smaller in our hands-on, so it should be more comfortable for those marathon gaming sessions.
The Cloud Orbit S is a really well-built headset, with a sturdy headband and soft leatherette ear cups. We didn’t get to spend too long wearing them, but we didn’t notice any noticeable “pinch” when we put them on, so we’d be optimistic about their comfort over prolonged play.
If we have any complaints about the design is that it still looks like a gaming headset with that large HyperX logo on the earcup.
Thankfully, the microphone is detachable if you do want to use the headset as a pair of portable headphones, and it’ll work just fine with your phone, tablet or games console (as long as it has a headphone port, of course).
HyperX Cloud Orbit S Early Verdict
They're not cheap at $330, but they are still good value when compared to similar headsets in the market, which is something HyperX has always traditionally done.
They also sound great, feel comfortable, and the positional audio feature worked really well during our demo.
We'll have to see if Audeze's gesture-mapping features are adopted over time by game makers, but there's the potential for this headset to offer even more interesting features for gamers over time.
The HyperX Cloud Orbit S will go on sale in the US this quarter, with hopefully a UK release to follow.