Xbox headset connects directly to console but it doesn’t have presets or other areas of functionality
Whenever friends ask me what headset they should buy? The answer isn’t always clear cut. Different brands specialize in certain categories. If you’re a competitive gamer, perhaps Astro, Victrix or Turtle Beach is more to your liking. If you’re a single-player gamer focused on sound quality, then EPOS, a company that descended from Sennheiser, is your best bet. If you’re looking for comfort for marathon sessions or streaming, my go-to headsets would come HyperX.
That’s because the brand, which is now part of HP, excels when it comes to two features: battery life and comfort. That’s been true with most of their gaming headsets and it’s a selling point for its latest release the HyperX CloudX Stinger Core for the Xboox Series X|S and Xbox One.
The wireless headset has one big improvement over its predecessors: It can connect directly to the console. That means players don’t have to deal with USB dongles that can get lost. They don’t need a clunky base station that takes up space on the shelf. Players just turn on the headset and it instantly connects to the Xbox Series X.
That’s comparable to the latest generation of headsets coming to Microsoft’s console. Having a device connect wirelessly without an intermediary peripheral simplifies the process and keeps open the few ports on the console.
With that said, the connection for the Stinger Core is stable with occasionally hiccups. Interference from other wireless devices can give the device trouble if you’re moving around, but if you sit in place, it works solidly.
When donning the headset, the one audio aspect that pops immediately is the bass. It’s big and robust. It booms within the ear cup, carrying enough heft so that games with explosions and gunfire feel more intense. It isn’t as big as the higher-end headsets but it does a great job of producing thunderous sound when called upon.
Despite the thrumming bass, the Stinger Core and its 40mm drivers doesn’t muddy up the mids and highs. They remain clear so that players can pick up the subtle details of the environment. The sound of running water comes through when players are lost in the wilderness. The clatter of knickknacks falling on the floor adds to the realism of a scene. Those brighter sounds come through even if there’s a bit of a rumble and the audio doesn’t become distorted if players crank the volume up.
As for surround sound, the Stinger Core handles it well. It reproduces sound from Dolby Atmos or Windows Sonic allowing players to get a fix on enemy positions. They can pinpoint the direction of gunfire or the voices of NPCs alerting them to a quest. It’s useful in competitive shooters but for all its excellence in reproducing sound, the headset falls short on features compared to similarly priced rivals.
It doesn’t have any presets that amplify sounds like footsteps. It lacks Bluetooth connection to connect to phones or supporting app that lets players tweak the settings. The Stinger Core doesn’t dabble in any of those extras. At the most, it lets players adjust the balance between game and chat audio and it has a flip-to-mute noise-canceling mic.
As mentioned before, HyperX headsets focus on comfort and battery life and the Singer Core has that in spades. At 275 grams, the device is surprisingly light and the memory foam molds to the ears so that players can wear it for hours without being fatigued. That weight means the Stinger Core doesn’t feel as sturdy as other headsets though it does have a tough core with its adjustable steel sliders.
What’s more impressive is that HyperX squeezed out 17 hours of battery life out of its rechargeable lithium-ion batteries. That means it can handle marathon streaming sessions or multiple ones in case one forgets to charge it for a day. Despite having a USB-C connector, it does take three hours to reach full capacity.
The Stinger Core isn’t perfect but it’s battery life, comfort and sound quality make it good choice for streamers or players who put those traits at the top of their list.
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