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(Pocket-lint) - If you're on the lookout for a comfortable wired gaming headset with some passive noise cancellation, the HyperX Cloud Alpha ticks plenty of boxes - at least on paper.

And while it may be a sibling to the HyperX Cloud Alpha Wireless - a model that boasts industry-leading battery life - this is an entirely different proposition.

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Instead of wireless connectivity, this wired alternative instead features a 3.5mm port - and, of course, a much more affordable price tag as a result.

We loved our time with the wireless variant, but how does the standard Cloud Alpha stand up? We've been gaming with it in order to find out. 

Our quick take

All told, the HyperX Cloud Alpha headset is a great bit of kit; it's comfortable, capable and boasts great sound.

It may have an understated design, but it doesn't lack in the areas that matter - and we were particularly impressed by the sound.

The range is pretty fantastic, and there's a nice rich bass to it, too. The passive noise cancellation really helps with immersing you into gameplay, and, overall, we have very few complaints.

If you want a versatile wired headset without breaking the bank, this is certainly one to consider. 

HyperX Cloud Alpha review: Affordable all-rounder

HyperX Cloud Alpha

4.0 stars
For
  • Large and comfortable earcups
  • Lightweight fit
  • Decent microphone
  • Pleasant audio range
  • Works across multiple platforms
Against
  • Mic is compressed
  • Earcups could be deeper
  • Earcups might make your ears hot

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Light and comfortable fit

  • Detachable headset cable (1.3m) + PC extension cable (2m)
  • Detachable microphone
  • 336g with the mic and cable

The HyperX Cloud Alpha is available in two colourways; either in the black/red accent we tested on the Cloud Alpha Wireless, or this more stealthy all-black model. Naturally, the latter is great if you're looking for a gaming headset that isn't overly garish or shining bright with RGB lighting. 

A huge advantage of this design is that it's really easy to detach the mic and use the 3.5mm jack to connect to your phone (or another device) and listen while away from your PC. The cables are conveniently set up, too, with a short detachable cable that you can connect to a console controller, and an extension lead to split two connections (mic and headset) for use on a PC. 

Pocket-lintHyperX Cloud Alpha review photo 18

The first thing that really struck us about this headset was the size of the earcups. This Cloud Alpha sports some pleasantly large and deep earcups, and they nicely cover and fit over the ear. They have soft leatherette and memory foam cushioning, as well, which is comfortable on the ear and also offers passive noise cancellation. 

Weighing in at 336g, the Cloud Alpha also doesn't put much pressure on the head - and with the top headband padding, it's easy to wear for hours. A solid aluminium headband design makes the headset feel robust and durable, but it also gives a nice stretch for larger heads.

We also found the clamping force to be nicely balanced, meaning the Cloud Alpha doesn't hold too tightly and isn't massively loose, either. All this helps support the sound. 

Pocket-lintHyperX Cloud Alpha review photo 7

Loud and proud sound

  • Closed-back circumaural design
  • 50mm neodymium magnet drivers
  • 13Hz–27,000Hz frequency response
  • 98dBSPL/mW at 1kHz sound pressure

Both HyperX Cloud Alpha models are designed with dual-chamber drivers. That means internal parts of the headset are built to reduce distortion and improve the game audio.

Pocket-lintHyperX Cloud Alpha review photo 9

The thing that we were surprised by, though, was how loud they are. With 50mm drivers, this headset packs in some seriously loud sound. If you like to strap your headset on and blast off into your gaming world, either Cloud Alpha will deliver the goods - even more so with the aid of the passive noise cancellation from the deep leatherette ear cushions. 

We also found this headset has good bass and a pleasant audio range, too. It is a stereo headset, so there's no virtual surround sound without the help of Dolby Atmos or Windows Sonic Sound, but that doesn't mean it's not great for gaming.

Pocket-lintHyperX Cloud Alpha review photo 8

We found it excellent in terms of positional sound on well-mastered games, and fantastic in a number of different uses. We also enjoyed the Cloud Alpha when we used it for music listening and movie watching, too. So, there's a lot to like here, with a good, comfortable fit, great sound and convenient connectivity.

Volume control is performed from the cable, meanwhile, which also gives you the option to mute the microphone. We did find the volume wheel a bit fiddly, but it's easy to access when you need to. 

Reasonable microphone

  • Electret condenser microphone 
  • Noise-cancelling design
  • 50Hz-18,000Hz frequency response
  • Sensitivity: -43dBV (0dB=1V/Pa,1kHz)

One small complaint we have about the HyperX Cloud Alpha is the lack of sidetone. You can't hear yourself through the microphone when talking or chatting with friends.

This is obviously more of a problem when you have earcups that block external noise and already make it difficult to hear your surroundings, as the Cloud Alpha does. 

The microphone itself does a decent job of blocking out external noise, we would say, but there is still a touch of compression there that can make you sound a bit nasally.

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It's certainly not as good as a dedicated USB microphone or XLR mic, but it does still do a good enough job for standard use and gaming with friends. 

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To recap

If you're on the lookout for a comfortable wired gaming headset with some passive noise cancellation, the HyperX Cloud Alpha Wired is a really attractive option with very few downsides.

Writing by Adrian Willings. Editing by Conor Allison.