Technology

HyperX’s Cloud Mix Buds offer the goods but not the comfort

HyperX's Cloud Mix Buds offer the goods but not the comfort
Written by admin_3fxxacau

HyperX has distilled some of its gaming headset know-how into a much more portable form factor: a set of wireless headphones called Cloud Mix Buds. These $149.99 headphones largely replicate standard over-ear gaming headphone functionality, at least in terms of connectivity. They include a 2.4GHz USB-C transmitter that allows them to pair to a PC, PlayStation 5, Nintendo Switch, or Android phone. They can also be paired to your phone or other device via Bluetooth.

I spent a few weeks testing the Cloud Mix Buds, both as my primary gaming headset and as headphones. Sound quality and battery life are two things HyperX nailed with these. But even with those wins, there are key areas where the company fumbled, like comfort, fit (both of which HyperX usually gets it right), and glitchy touch controls. In this case, the convenience of having one set of headphones that works with everything doesn’t outweigh the inconvenience.

In terms of features, HyperX leaned more towards direct competition with other headphones, not headsets. As such, the Cloud Mix Buds offer a limited set of features compared to the company’s gaming headsets. Each bud supports touch controls. A tap plays or pauses music, while a double or triple tap skips or reverses the track, respectively. Tapping and holding will mute the buds. Each bud can be used independently, which is good if you want to keep an ear open for outside noises. And in the companion app, which I tried on iOS (it’s coming to Android a few days after launch, HyperX says), you can set one of its customizable commands to trigger a voice assistant.

Each earbud features a 12mm dynamic driver, which sounds great with games, Zoom calls, music, and more. There’s more than enough bass and power to make me feel like I’m not really missing much from an on-ear headphone. These don’t offer active noise cancellation, but they do offer above-average noise isolation even without it. Back in 2020, I complained that the pickups in the GTW 270 from EPOS (very similar in execution to the Cloud Mix Buds) didn’t work when connected to its USB-C transmitter, but that’s not an issue here; the mics work on both USB-C and Bluetooth. Good job, HyperX.

HyperX Cloud Mix Headphones

Cloud Mix Buds charge via their stems, not the buds themselves.

HyperX Cloud Mix Headphones

The design has an AirPod-like stem design, but the buds themselves are chunky.

As for battery life, HyperX claims its buds and the charging case offer up to 33 hours of combined use in Bluetooth mode, and I’ve used these buds on five-hour sprints without have to recharge. The company claims they can be used for up to 10 hours on a single charge in Bluetooth mode or up to six hours via the USB-C transmitter.

The tiny smart transmitter has a button to switch between wireless modes (they cannot be used simultaneously). Press it to mute the headset microphones, but hold it to swap connections. There’s an included USB-A extension cord that makes it easier to keep the transmitter handy.

Even with these big wins, there were a few negatives that stoked my excitement. These might be obvious omissions for some, but compared to other gaming headsets they don’t offer volume controls, or a way to adjust the game and chat audio mix, which is important for gaming and general use. And if you want to use them more often as headphones on the go, know that they’re a little bulkier than your average set of headphones.

While I found a good fit with one of the three included sets of silicone tips, the Cloud Mix Buds still slipped out of my ears whenever I spoke, smiled, or ate something. It might not happen to everyone, but it was a total mood killer for me during a multiplayer chat or during a video call. Also, comfort was an issue after only an hour of use. It’s another “your mileage may vary” situation, but they felt a little too big to nestle comfortably in the outer area of ​​my ear, leading to discomfort bordering on mild pain after a while.

HyperX Cloud Mix Headphones

The USB-C transmitter has a button that can be muted when pressed or disconnected from the headphones, enabling Bluetooth when held.

HyperX Cloud Mix Headphones

When not in use, the USB-C transmitter can be plugged into the charging port on the case for added convenience.

Another big issue with the buds was that the music sometimes played or stopped automatically, apparently due to a touch sensitivity issue. It happens more when I talk or when I make movements that move the seat of the ear cups in my ears. Even chewing gum was enough to trigger it. HyperX told me that they are aware of this issue and will be patching their firmware before launch. Connecting them to the company’s Ngenuity iOS app hasn’t launched a firmware update, so it looks like the patch isn’t ready yet.

Like most headphones, it’s best if you can try them out before committing to a purchase. It’s a little less doable with headphones like these compared to the big brands, and I hope my recommendation of the Cloud Mix Buds isn’t locked behind a warning that you might experience some of the same comfort issues and bugs than me. Even though HyperX can fix the annoying issue that automatically plays and pauses music, I’m not suggesting people spend $150 on headphones that aren’t polished in terms of comfort and fit. Even though they’re not as portable, you can spend less and get more for your money with one. wireless over-ear gaming headsets.

Photograph by Cameron Faulkner/The Verge

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