A solid performance across all key areas make the HyperX Cloud 3 an easy recommendation, especially if you’re on a budget, even if it could be slightly more comfortable with a better bass profile.
I’m sure many of us still look on the HyperX Cloud 3’s predecessor, the Cloud 2, with fondness. After all, why not? It’s a good, honest headset; a real crowd-pleaser at the price bracket. I’m pleased to say the Cloud 3 occupies a similar place in the headset hierarchy: as a jack-of-all-trades that nails the basics without costing the earth.
My month or so spent with the Cloud 3 makes me think the gaming brand firmly believes the age-old adage: if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. That’s often a good thing, and it’ll be music to the ears of Cloud 2 fans, if you’ll pardon the pun. It does all the same things right, but falls just short of being a truly top tier bit of kit.
Let’s start off with the good stuff: this headset sounds great. It performed solidly in every game I tried it out on, with sound effects, ambient noise, and music all coming through with a clear and crisp sound profile. In Valorant, where audio cues are vital, the Cloud 3 assuredly passed muster, with the built-in virtual surround sound giving clear indication of my enemies’ whereabouts from their footsteps and gunfire. Always key for a sweaty tryhard session on ladder!
I actually downloaded Overwatch 2 again to test the Cloud 3 out, remembering all the work the devs did to revamp the sound design for the sequel. (To be honest, the much-improved sound was one of the few things to impress me at the sequel’s botched launch.) And that definitely came through with this headset. The crack of Cassidy’s signature six-shooter is upgraded to a peremptory boom thanks to the Cloud 3’s 53mm angled drivers, and Reaper’s Hellfire shotguns are sufficiently meaty, too.
If you like your music – be that artists or videogame soundtracks – the Cloud 3 is serviceable enough, if unspectacular. Elden Ring’s hauntingly sparse soundtrack comes through nicely, for example, but I needed to tweak the equalizer to get a satisfyingly full sound, something I’ll talk about more in the features section of this review. I tried out a range of genres with these cans, and one thing I’ll say is that bass heads should probably avoid this headset, as lower frequencies can get a little lost without EQ help.
The HyperX Cloud 3 has a fairly middle-of-the-road design, but that’s not always the end of the world. If you’re familiar with the Cloud 2, you’ll be seeing double here: the Cloud 3 looks practically identical to its predecessor. One thing it has got over its forebear’s design is eschewing the red stitching on the headband for what I deem a more premium look.
The sample I got for review is the black and red version, but I think I’d have preferred the pure black model, which looks a little sleeker and classier in my view. HyperX certainly hasn’t reinvented the wheel here, but overall, I’d say it looks nice enough.
It’s also pretty comfortable. The plush leatherette on the cushions and headband seems durable and firm without compromising pliancy. If you’ve got an enormous head like me, you’ll be used to headsets feeling tight and ear cups not necessarily fitting round your ear. Well, if my experience is anything to go by, you won’t run into those issues with the Cloud 3. It’s a snug fit, but in a comfortable, rather than oppressive way. The memory foam in the cushions particularly contributes to the headset’s premium feel, and these cans seem to get a little more comfortable each time I wear them.
One detractor from the set’s overall comfort level is its weight. At 320g with the mic attached, the Cloud 3 is a little heavier than average and, with the snug headband, I’ve noticed that it can cause a bit of strain over longer gaming or work sessions. I tend to remove the detachable mic when I’m not using it, but still find myself taking the set off for a break every few hours, which is a little disappointing.
The Cloud 3’s detachable 10mm microphone is, again, decent. (You might be noticing a theme here.) While playing Overwatch 2 and Valorant, my comms on Discord all come through well according to friends. I also use the cans in a professional setting over Google Meet, again with no issue, thanks to the Cloud 3’s internal metal mesh pop filter doing its work, and noise cancellation tech removing any untoward background interference. I wouldn’t recommend streaming professionally with this microphone, but it’s perfectly good for everyday purposes.
One thing I appreciated about this product is all the different connectors bundled into the Cloud 3’s lead as standard, including 3.5mm, USB-C, and USB-A functionality. This means switching between using the cans with your phone, laptop, and desktop PC takes mere seconds. While a fairly trivial quality of life addition, the inclusion of all these connectors emblemizes HyperX’s attention to detail with the Cloud 3.
Now, onto software. I’ve used HyperX’s Ngenuity app before to mess about with my HyperX Alloy Origins keyboard’s RGB lighting, and it’s also proven a handy tool for tweaking the Cloud 3’s settings. Most importantly, the equalizer tool gave me the chance I needed to tinker with different frequencies.
As I mentioned above, the bass is a little lacking with the Cloud 3, and I found that boosting the lower frequencies significantly, and turning the treble up by a bit, gave me the best outcome for listening to music. For gaming, the increased bass is less crucial, but helped a little bit with footsteps in Valorant, for example. Ngenuity makes tweaking these different frequencies easy, and you can have multiple custom presets to switch between on the fly. Bear in mind I wasn’t able to restore default presets after tinkering with them, so be careful editing them.
I tried enabling HyperX’s DTS X Spatial Sound feature on Ngenuity, to see if it revolutionized the 3D sound simulation as promised. While it definitely made the directional audio sound a bit more ‘real’, I found this setting made the sound profile so muddy and cluttered that it was a net negative. You might find it to your liking, so definitely give it a go, but I’ll be waiting for HyperX to update this feature a bit before deploying it again.
You can, of course, just plug in and use the set without bothering with Ngenuity, but it definitely helped improve my experience with the Cloud 3, so it’s worth a glance, at least.
At $99.99, the Cloud 3 just about falls into the budget category, something to HyperX’s credit. The fact this headset delivers solidly in every area while coming in at (just) under $100 is probably its greatest strength. Of course, you’re not going to get elite performance at this price, but the Cloud 3 has a solid shout at being the best gaming headset if you’ve got $100 to spend.
On the other hand, I’m not entirely sure the Cloud 3 delivers substantial enough improvements over its predecessor to warrant buying it at full price when the Cloud 2 is often available at substantial discount. There’s stiff competition at this bracket, and you might also want to consider the Corsair HS65 Surround if style is important to you, as visually it stands out a lot more than the Cloud 3.
As I’ve said again and again throughout the review, the Cloud 3 gives solid returns in every key area. It’s certainly a jack-of-all-trades, but equally, it proves the latter part of that phrase: jack-of-all-trades, master of none.
There’s no area where the HyperX Cloud 3 really rules the roost versus its competition. You can find better sound fidelity elsewhere, or a more premium mic, or a more stylish design. But these cans can and do compete on all fronts, making them a solid choice, especially at this price.
- Reliable all-rounder
- Sounds great with games, good with music
- Reasonable price
- Can get a little uncomfortable over long periods due to its weight
- Bass profile is a bit underwhelming
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