The HyperX Cloud III would be a superb mid-range gaming headset pick if the best weren't so cheap

HyperX Cloud III
(Image credit: HyperX)

HyperX has just released the Cloud III, a new mid-range wired gaming headset to eventually replace the popular Cloud II. With a pretty great track record for gaming headsets—the Cloud Alpha Wireless is our pick for the best wireless gaming headset right now—I had high hopes going into my hands-on over at Computex.

The focus with the Cloud III, I'm told, is on comfort. The biggest design change has been to the headband, which is significantly plusher than the last. It's also slimmer around the earcups than the Cloud II, and that all makes for a good first impression when you rest them atop of your head.

I had maybe 10 minutes with the headset. Hardly a good test of how comfy it is over long periods, but not bad so far. The Cloud III is the same weight as the Cloud II, at least, and I've used that over long periods and never felt too uncomfortable. Though the earcups are leatherette on the Cloud III and on a day like this in Taiwan, a bit hot.

With only a wired option, you'll be tethered to your PC or laptop with the Cloud III. Though there is an impressive array of connectivity options: 3.5mm with the original cable run, and you can add an additional cable for a USB Type-C connection, which is included in the box. Also included is a Type-C to Type-A adapter, so you shouldn't be short on options for any device, really.

But onto the most important bit, the audio quality. The Cloud III is a pretty rich sounding headset, with a surprisingly wide soundstage, which I wasn't entirely expecting for a closed-back design. HyperX is sticking with the same 53mm drivers as in the Cloud II here, though notably with a slightly lower upper frequency response. That does mean the bass isn't quite up to par as the Cloud Alpha's Dual Chamber Drivers we've been fans of for years, but I wouldn't say it was lacking in the bass department.

The thing is, the wired Cloud Alpha is available for $89 right now, and that makes the Cloud III a tougher sell. Even for the Cloud III's improvements, HyperX describes the Cloud III as the more mid-range option next to the Alpha, hence the lack of Dual Chamber Drivers, and ultimately you'll grab a better sound profile out of the Alpha for less cash.

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Weigh it up, then. If you want the more comfortable option, perhaps the Cloud III is worth it.  It's also the nicer-looking headset of the two. However, if you like the sound of those Dual Chamber Drivers, which I absolutely do, with the Cloud Alpha going for less right now it still feels like the superior pick. And I won't skim over our favourite wired headset right now, the Razer Blackshark V2, which is roughly the same price as the HyperX Cloud III while mimicking some of the best bits of the Cloud Alpha. That's a tough one to pass up on, too.

There's a lot of competition at the $100 mark in the gaming headset market, but that does bring prices down pretty quickly. I'm sure we'll see the Cloud III come down in price. In the meantime, I'll be waiting patiently for the Cloud Alpha 2.

Jacob Ridley
Senior Hardware Editor

Jacob earned his first byline writing for his own tech blog. From there, he graduated to professionally breaking things as hardware writer at PCGamesN, and would go on to run the team as hardware editor. Since then he's joined PC Gamer's top staff as senior hardware editor, where he spends his days reporting on the latest developments in the technology and gaming industries and testing the newest PC components.