In our latest round of testing, we really found ourselves torn over the RIG 800LX. The lift-to-mute mic is nice, and we found the performance of the mic to be superior to the HyperX Cloud Flight. Audible voice cues about battery life were also much appreciated, as was the headset’s modular design, which allows you to tweak the fit. Unfortunately, the 800LX is tuned to deliver more bass than its drivers can really handle at any appreciable volume, which led to a lot of distortion when we played action games.
The HyperX Cloud Stinger are an above-average gaming headset just below $50, so you don’t have to spend as much but you will have to make some sacrifices. They’re the cheapest of the HyperX line up so they won’t have the premium build quality and detachable microphone of the Cloud II or Cloud Alpha. They’re also not wireless like the Cloud Flight. But on the upside, their wired design has no latency and will work with controllers of both consoles.
We run the risk of appearing to be in the tank for Kingston, but even before I pointed out the brand of the HyperX Cloud Stinger, all of our testers agreed that it was the new budget gaming headset to beat. Unlike the company’s previous low-cost headsets, the Cloud Stinger isn’t just a neutered version of the original Cloud. This model includes a fantastic new lift-to-mute mic that sounds great, and it’s big enough to fit the largest of noggins comfortably for hours on end. Despite its all-plastic construction, the Cloud Stinger feels more solid and durable than many of its high-priced competitors. And while its sound isn’t as neutral or impactful as our pick’s, the results are far better than you might expect, with good detail, solid bass, and midrange that doesn’t sound nasal or quacky.
Regular Wirecutter contributor Brent Butterworth also helped me articulate a distinctive aspect of the Game One’s comfort. It doesn’t feel special the instant you put it on; the velvet earpads are nice, and the headset is notably lightweight, but it isn’t as cushy or soft as other headsets or headphones. The strange thing is that it feels pretty much the same after hours of use, even when you’re wearing glasses. Its comfort doesn’t degrade over time, as the comfort of so many other headsets does. The other consequence of the open-back design of the Game One is that it never gets too warm—it’s well-vented, allowing your ears to breathe.
If you prefer a gaming headset that you can also use outdoors, without standing out, then the HyperX Cloud Flight might just be the headset for you. They have a decently well-built and comfortable design that easily passes for casual over-ears, especially since you can remove the boom mic. They’re also a great choice for gaming thanks to their well-balanced sound, low latency wireless connection and excellent microphone that delivers great recording quality and captures speech very well.
Whether you’re playing from your couch, or getting up close and personal with your PC, a gaming headset has become a near necessity for gamers of any skill level. Sure, a boomin’ surround sound system can help immerse you in the action of your favorite games, but you can get a lot more bang for your buck with a top-notch gaming headset. And if you’re serious about multiplayer matches, a high-quality microphone to communicate with your friends (and rivals) is also crucial.