Kingston has been around the block for many years now and wooing in PC enthusiasts & gamers alike with their impressive and sturdy line of memory and storage devices. But lately in an attempt to explore new territories they are expanding their presence in the world of gaming headsets and boy they are making ripples for sure!
So today I have with me a very interesting member of the same lineup, today I have with me the Kingston HyperX Cloud Drone Gaming Headset for review. It carries their gaming exclusive HyperX branding and is their basic-entry level headphone belonging to the very successful Cloud series about which the top dog HyperX Cloud Revolver speaks volumes!
The Kingston HyperX Cloud Drone utilizes 40mm neodymium drivers to deliver a decent audio quality at a maximum 20Khz all working perfectly with almost any device you can name of including PC, cell phones, tablets and even gaming consoles of the latest generation.
With an impedance of 24 Ohms and a maximum output power of 100mW we're looking at around a 50mW output higher and almost-double the Ohms on offer than competing or higher priced headsets, once again accentuating the HyperX quality I have experienced in the past.
On the downside it lacks features like USB connectivity and 7.1 virtual sound experience that its big brother the Cloud Core II has to offer at an obviously much higher price point.
Eyes on the Drone!
The HyperX Cloud is brought to us in a blood red cardboard box. The product is visible through a see through window and vital details along with the HyperX branding are neatly printed on the front.
Same story can be seen at the back where a detailed & marked image of the headsets is printed for customers to get a full fledged information about what they'll be potentially buying.
All in all its a good packing that will appeal to gamers and audiophiles alike.
Open the box and you'll find yourself the Kingston HyperX Cloud Drone Headsets along with a 2m long extension cum splitter cable to enable you to use the mic and headphones together on PCs and Laptops. The wires are braided and thick, feeling strong and durable.
Sine its a budget headset some vitals are missing such as a HyperX decal for displaying on the chassis or a carry pouch which is necessary for LAN gamers who tend to be on the move constantly.
Looking at the headsets themselves the cups are high quality plastic with the HyperX logo. On the inside they are covered with memory foam inside a durable imitation leather casing, that doesn't feel cheap and is comfortable on the ears even during long gaming sessions though sweat is still a problem in warm & humid climate but no issue of itching was observed during tests.
Call it nit-picking but the cups don't have full swivel nor are the headsets fully collapsible so carrying them around would require you to make ore space in your carry bags.
The right cup has a volume control button which surprisingly is super responsive & great for on the go volume adjust during gameplay environment. I'm happy that Kingston included this basic but much needed feature in this budget offering of theirs.
A unidirectional noise cancelling mic is installed on the left cup which is flexible and quite comfortable with response of 50 Hz - 10 KHz, a sensitivity @ 1kHz of -45dB +/- 3dBV and is set to pick up sound in a cardioid pattern with an impedance of < 2.2 KOhms. You can mute the mic by physically pushing it upwards to the initial position and activate it back on by bringing it down.
Time to hit the Cords!
Since the HyperX Cloud Drone aims at gaming we tested it with four of our all time favorites, Crysis 3 for its excellent blend of audio, Middle Earth: Shadow of Mordor for its pitch perfect environmental sounds, DOOM for its bass intensive sound effects and NFS: Rivals well simply 'coz I like that game!
In Crysis 3 we had no issue whatsoever in listening to or understanding what Prophet was saying due to the Drone's great performance in the mids and noises were greatly distinguished in the heat of battle, even of the crickets in the NY jungle! Though footsteps were clearly audible but Prophet's voice lacked the signature depth. In Shadow of Mordor we could really feel the voices coming but the proximity wasn't fathomable due to lack of channel customization option. We didn't notice anything wrong with the DOOM gameplay but the bass was lacking & was damped to a large extent. The engines of Bugatti or Lamborghini never revved any better and we were impressed by the mids these cups had to offer without any cracking whatsoever even on full volumes.
Bryan Adam's Heaven and some of my all time favorite Bollywood songs sounded satisfactory with good enough mids and lows. Eminem Legacy and Rap God were very clear but with dampened bass, even at full volume songs from 3 Doors Down, Motorhead or Metallica didn't crack displaying the effective implementation of the 40mm drivers that it uses. In short I wasn't satisfied with the music or movie performance of the Cloud Drone.
My VerdictKingston with the HyperX Cloud Drone has yet again proved that its the king of the hill when it comes to pound to pound competition and even a little bit over that! Priced under $40 or around Rs 2700 in India the Cloud Drone offers unmatched build quality, robust looks and fairly decent audio experience for not only its price tag but also for being a gaming headset. An audiophile might not be impressed but then this headset is intended to be used by gamers especially FPS gamers who rely more on mids and treble for crisp & effective communication among teammates.
A carry pouch and decal is missing from the bundle which is a little disappointing since its a cost-free accessory but adds tons of face value to the product. LED rings or USB connectivity is something that I don't really miss but some might depending on personal taste but hey you can't have everything for such a small amount can you!
The Kingston HyperX Cloud Drone is something that I recommend to anyone today who is looking for a headset that looks, feels and performs like a high end gaming gear but doesn't cost like one!
I give it a 8/10 earning our Gold Award.