HyperX Cloud Stinger 2 review: "A great sounding budget headset with unfortunate design drawbacks"

HyperX Cloud Stinger 2 review
(Image: © Future)

GamesRadar+ Verdict

The HyperX Cloud Stinger is a great-sounding budget headset, but one that's held back by a cheap plasticky design.

Pros

  • +

    Sound great for the price

  • +

    Wide compatibility

Cons

  • -

    Cheap feeling

  • -

    Lack of comfort over long sessions

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The HyperX Cloud Stinger 2 is the latest budget offering from the brand and a headset that’s looking to offer a solid choice for those looking to spend the reasonable $50 / £50 MSRP.

A relatively plain design, classic wired setup, and lean set of features mean that the Cloud Stinger 2 is definitely a stripped-down affair but that’s by no means a bad thing. In fact, HyperX is a company that usually nails the performance side with its headsets by stripping out all the unneeded bells and whistles. It did just this with the excellent Cloud Alpha 2 - a more premium headset that’s been a favorite with gamers for many years now. 

So, the precedent for an excellent value headset is there with the Stinger 2. To see how it stacks up against the best gaming headsets within this price range, I put the Stinger 2 through its paces with over three weeks of testing in-game.

Design

The HyperX Stinger 2 features the all-plastic design that’s common among headsets within this price range. While this lends to a nice, light headset, the HyperX Stinger 2 definitely feels on the cheaper side on closer inspection. The hard ABS plastic is likely to hold up to some abuse, but it’s a far cry from the aluminum cups and headband featured on the more pricey HyperX Cloud Alpha model.

HyperX Cloud Stinger 2 review

(Image credit: Future)

The memory foam cups on each ear cup feel fairly cheap as well. They’re not quite as generously padded as some we’ve tested and the faux leather covers also have that plasticky feel that’s common on budget headsets Again, not a huge complaint since this is common on headsets in this price range but it’s worth noting what your money will get you here.

Aesthetically, HyperX has opted for a rather subdued all-black look with the Stinger 2, with the only flair being provided by some etching on the headband and ear cups. There’s no RGB to be found here, although the etching does give a nice carbon fiber effect that breaks up an otherwise fairly plain outward design.

Features

Essential Info

HyperX Cloud Stinger 2 review

(Image credit: Future)

Type: Wired (3.5mm jack)
Sound output: Stereo (50mm drivers)
Microphone: Foldable boom
Compatibility: PC, Mac, PS5, Xbox One, Switch, mobile
Controls: Volume
Frequency response: 10Hz - 28kHz
Weight: 272g
Tested on PC.

In line with other HyperX headsets, the Cloud Stinger 2 focuses on straight-out-the-box simplicity as opposed to being packed out with tons of bells and whistles. Simply put, the Cloud Stinger 2 is a plug-and-play wired headset that uses a 3.5mm audio jack.

This essentially affords wide-ranging compatibility, and, since there’s no additional software or customization features, both console and PC gamers are getting the same experience here. For some, particularly those used to the software suites that companies like Logitech or Razer offer, that's going to be a bummer. For those who value simplicity, it’s going to be a benefit.

Even on the headset itself, the HyperX Cloud Stinger 2 features fairly minimal controls. The only dial or button on the entire headset is a red volume control on the right cup. The mic also features a fold-to-mute design, which is another handy, if somewhat basic, feature. 

Performance

HyperX Cloud Stinger 2 review

(Image credit: Future)

So, the design isn’t amazing and neither are the features. Luckily, however, the HyperX Cloud Stinger 2 makes up for it by knocking it out of the park when it comes to performance for the price. Put simply, this headset sounds absolutely great out of the box.

It’s definitely not the clearest headset I’ve ever used, but I was instantly impressed by the overall sound quality coming out of the HyperX Cloud Stinger 2’s 50mm drivers. The bass feels nice and well-rounded, there are no sharp highs, and everything just sounds right immediately. While you can’t exactly tinker with the sound due to the lack of customization, the Cloud Stinger 2 sound as good as some headsets that cost twice as much. 

When playing Marauders, I could easily hear the distant clanging of enemies while filling my pockets with loot and in the short, intensive, gun battles everything sounded suitably frenetic. For a cheap headset for FPS gaming, the Cloud Stinger 2 is simply a great option.

I would, however, rank it slightly lower for those longer sessions - like if you’re sitting in for a multi-hour strategy game session with your friends. When doing just that playing Victoria 3 I found the relatively thin padding on the earcups to be a little grating after a while. Although sounding great, I had to take them off a few times to give my ears a break - your mileage may vary, however.

Overall - should you buy the HyperX Cloud Stinger 2?

HyperX Cloud Stinger 2 review

(Image credit: Future)

I appreciate the overall philosophy behind the Cloud Stinger 2. It's a headset designed to be a cost-efficient, decent-value set that focuses on what’s important - great out-the-box sound. 

Foibles here include a fairly cheap build and a barren list of features that’s likely to turn off those on the hunt for the best PC gaming headset. In comparison, brands like Razer and Logitech tend to offer more customization aesthetically and sound profiles on their headsets, which can be a draw if you like to tinker and personalize your setup.

Conversely, a simple plug-and-play 3.5mm jack and decent performance is likely to make the Cloud Stinger 2 a good choice for console gamers on a tight budget, but nothing more than that. It won’t challenge the best PS5 headsets, but it will offer bang for buck value if you’re short on cash. 

One quick note here - it’s also worth considering the older HyperX Cloud Alpha 2 if you’re looking for a simple plug-and-play headset. This headset is a higher-end offering from the brand and can usually be found for around $50 / £50 if it’s on sale since it’s an older headset now. If you can find the Alpha 2 for a decent price then I’d recommend upgrading to that since it’s more comfortable and features a more solid design.

 How we tested the HyperX Cloud Stinger 2 

I used the HyperX Cloud Stinger 2 as my daily headset for a three-week period, which roughly equated to 25 hours in-game. The games I used to test the headset were Marauders, Victoria 3, and Hell Let Loose. I also listened to a wide range of music to gauge the overall sound quality of the headset. During this time, I also compared the Cloud Stinger 2 to other budget headsets in my collection to determine how it held up against the competition. 

You can read more about how we test gaming headsets as well as how we make all our recommendations in the full GamesRadar+ Hardware Policy.

If your budget is bigger and you're thinking about cutting the cords, then check out our guides to the best wireless gaming headsets, as well as the top contenders for PS5 wireless headsets and Xbox Series X wireless headsets.

More info

Available platformsHardware, PC, PS5, PS4, Xbox Series X, Xbox One
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Deals Editor at Future PLC