The HyperX Cloud Mix is Too Expensive
Value leader HyperX makes a gross move into the premium wireless headphone market, ignoring the competition.
In a world where the only competition is standard headphones, the $199 HyperX Cloud Mix doesn’t look too bad. At that price point, getting a bluetooth headphone with a wired mode and a bonus gaming boom mic isn’t so unreasonable.
Unfortunately for HyperX, the gaming headset market exists and is aggressively competitive, and already offers other options that do the same or more…for less money.
It’s strange to see HyperX on the back foot, value-wise. This is the second time I’ve felt this way, after their recent release of the $159 Cloud Flight came in at 10 dollars above the average for competing headsets with no apparent advantages. The company used to be so good at offering extreme value for the money, and indeed, many of their other products still do.
If you’re in the market for a wired gaming headset with Bluetooth, the $99 Arctis 3 Bluetooth matches the Cloud Mix feature-for-feature at half the price.
How did HyperX’s marketing department miss that one?
And the Turtle Beach Stealth 700, even though it doesn’t have the world’s most robust build quality, offers every feature of the Cloud Mix for $149…and then does it several better by also including noise cancelling and low latency direct-to-console connections.
“But what about the hi-res drivers Alex? Surely they’re going after the Arctis Pro wireless?”
Perhaps. But hi-res audio is a bit daft, relying more on marketing tricks than genuine improvements to sell you a new thing. If you want to add impossible-to-hear squeaky noises and additional distortion to your audio, that’s on you.
Also, all of those Arctis Pro models offer more in the features department. Yes, the GameDAC and Wireless variants are more expensive, but their exceptional audio processors offer all kinds of connectivity options you don’t get with the Cloud Mix, and even the base $179 version offers a decent DAC and RGB lighting options.
Fundamentally, the Cloud Mix is a Cloud Alpha with added Bluetooth support. In a vacuum, that’s a really exciting sentence to me! I should have run out of my door to the nearest Shoppe to Buy One. That’s a product that I’ve been dying to have for a few years, and that’s part of why I was so let down by the sidestep that was the Cloud Flight.
But the Cloud Alpha is $99. HyperX is asking you to pay One Hundred Dollars for a bluetooth chip, a built-in mic, and a battery.
That’s madness from a value proposition standpoint. At least to me.
There’s a couple of ways they could fix this.
Given HyperX’s prior track record as a value leader, if the Cloud Mix also included the wireless dongle of the Cloud Flight, the price would make much more sense and their position would be nigh-unassailable. 2.4ghz USB dongles are often used on gaming headsets because they can be designed for a much lower latency connection than what Bluetooth provides, and offer easy native support for all Windows, Mac, and PS4 machines.
Bluetooth isn’t a super great option for gaming, and prioritizes audio quality over the hyper-fast latency that games and even movie soundtracks require. Not that long ago, it wasn’t common to experience sync drift with Bluetooth audio connections. They’re best suited to music even today.
Failing a dongle, if HyperX had priced this headset at $149, I wouldn’t have even written this article. $50 for Bluetooth is a premium much more in line with the market standard…though they’d still have that Arctis 3 Bluetooth’s $99 price point laughing at them in the corner.
Between this release and last year’s Cloud Flight, it’s clear that HyperX is trying to transition from the value brand they used to be known as into more of a premium manufacturer that sells based on their “good” name alone.
The marketing blast for the Cloud Mix included numerous deals with game streamers and influencers, who all magically tweeted and instagrammed about their new exciting awesome HyperX headsets within minutes of each other.
It’s fine if you’d like to buy something based on its brand alone. I’m not going to judge you for that. That’s a totally viable marketing strategy that’s worked for many companies in the past. But HyperX used to also offer incredible value for the money, without markups just for the heck of it.
I’ve never felt more like a HyperX product ignored their competitor’s pricing structures…or even their own pricing structures. The 10 dollar premium for the Cloud Flight and its mic not working in wired mode were both small grievances. Paying $100 dollars extra for a Cloud Alpha but with Bluetooth?