review

HyperX Cloud Buds Wireless Review Neckband Earbuds With 14mm Drivers

Monday, November 23, 2020

Despite the popularity of true wireless, the tide seems to be changing as earphones with cables are making a strong comeback, more specially neckband style earbuds like the HyperX Cloud Buds Wireless, which are currently leading the charge!
The Cloud Buds Wireless feature a slimline inline remote with three low profile buttons that include a volume rocker and a large middle button built-in. The middle button is slightly recessed downward, making it easy to operate and locate without looking at the inline remote. The buttons are made of plastic and make a subtle clicky sound when pressed. The button actuation is tactile so, it doesn't require a lot of down-force to activate the buttons.
Like most neckband style earbuds, the HyperX Cloud Buds Wireless features small rectangular box compartments on either side of the band to give the neckband stability around the neck. These black compartments also contain the electronics, namely a battery (3.7V 100mAh li-ion) and a Bluetooth 5.0 chip that supports SBC, aptX and aptX HD. The Cloud Buds Wireless have a charging time of 2 hours via maximum 500mA. 
Quick charge is not supported. At full volume, the HyperX Cloud Buds Wireless achieve a runtime of 6 hours (via SBC) and 4 hours via aptX HD (24-bit high definition audio). Speaking of volume, the HyperX Cloud Buds Wireless feature a beep prompt when max volume has been reached. The status led indicator does flash during playback and, you can use the Cloud Buds Wireless while charging; hence you won't be able to hook them up to a powerbank to increase the runtime.
Very few earbuds support the high definition version of aptX, which is a bit more power hungry but, it has the advantage of lowering the noise floor bluetooth headphones generate. Some bluetooth headphones generate more noise floor than others, which can sometimes cause an audible hiss to be heard in the background of the audio you're listening to. 
To benefit from aptX HD though, your phone has to support it. A few phones that support aptX HD include the OnePlus 6T and Sony Xperia XZ3. As far as connecting the Cloud Buds Wireless to the PS4. The PS4 only supports bluetooth for chat so, you won't be able to hear in-game audio, using the Cloud Buds. As far as lag, aptX and aptx HD have the same latency (around 166ms latency), while SBC has 173ms. If you're a casual gamer, you probably won't notice the latency but, if you do competitive gaming, you probably will notice the latency.Laser-etched HyperX and Kingston branding can be seen on the outer and underside of these box compartments, which feature rubberized strain reliefs to reinforce the cable joint. The cabling doesn't have a flat form-factor but, it's slightly oval in shape, which helps minimize the cable from tangling as much. The inclusion of strain reliefs is always good to increase cable longevity, although there aren't any reinforcements along the stem of the earbud.

Being a neckband style, the HyperX Cloud Buds Wireless look very much like many other neckband earbuds aside from the actual earbud design, which really stands out. For one, the earbuds have custom made silicone eartips, which not only look about twice the size of regular eartips but also have a quirky resemblance to Darth Vader's helmet. 
Second, the Cloud Buds Wireless integrate massive dynamic drivers (14mm in size), which are housed inside large shells made of plastic. The Cloud Buds Wireless 14mm drivers sound anything but tiny (104dB) with detailed treble and clear midrange. The bass is good, although not as big as it could be due to the outer-ear design, which causes the bass to lose some punchyness.
Being custom made, these ear tips will only fit the Cloud Buds nozzle tips, which have long nozzle necks with a large oval hole opening. Despite the large, bulky size of the ear tips they don't come off of the nozzles, staying securely in place via a tiny plastic spout built-in to the side of the nozzles. 
The ear tips are easy to remove and re-insert into the tiny spouts without any fiddling around, although there is always the potential drawback of these tiny spouts breaking off; in which case the ear tips won't latch on securely. Also, because of the Cloud Buds proprietary nozzle design, you won't be able to use third-party ear tips.

As far as fit, the Cloud Buds Wireless fit partially inside the ear canal; hence they don't go inside the ear canals like in-ear monitors. Because of the large size of the ear tips, these may not feel comfortable for everyone, especially after wearing them for a couple of hours. Other than that, the Cloud Buds Wireless are relatively lightweight and do not fall out, thanks to the wingtip extension of the eartips. Various sizes (large/medium/small) of ear tips are included.
The overall weight of the Cloud Buds is 27 grams but a lot of that weight gets transferred onto your body when the neckband sits on your neck area. The earbuds alone weigh 6 grams each, which is as lightweight as a lot of true wireless earbuds. The eartips alone weigh 1 gram each. The inline remote adds very little down weight, thanks to its low weight. The silicone neckband provides superb grip, which stops the neckband from swiveling around the neck.
The Cloud Buds Wireless dimensions (including cabling) is 38cm long from the tip of the earbuds to the neckband. The cabling section alone measures 23cm long, while the remote control measures 4cm long and 0.7cm thick. The inline remote is located 11cm from the neckband so, it hangs at jaw level similarly to a boom arm microphone. 
The Cloud Buds Wireless use the same type of electret omnidirectional microphone found on smartphones so, it has a 360 degree pickup range which is typically not ideal. That said, because the inline remote microphone has been positioned facing directly the mouth, there is better voice amplification and lower background noise being picked up.

A quality HyperX branded 20cm long charging cable is included with USB-C to USB-A connectors and thick strain reliefs to reinforce the plug and cable. A thickly padded drawstring mesh pouch is also included for storing the earbuds. You can buy the Cloud Buds Wireless from HyperX and amazon. Check out also the review of the Cloud Stinger Core Wireless and Pulsefire Raid mouse.

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