Who Is The HyperX CloudX Stinger Core Headset For?

  • The HyperX CloudX Stinger Core Headset is ideal for Xbox gamers who want a wireless headset with no dongle or cables required
  • The CloudX Stinger Core is a very lightweight headset, great for those with neck issues
  • The audio quality on the Stinger Core lives up to the HyperX name
The HyperX CloudX Stinger Core headset has great HyperX-grade audio, but connection issues and build quality keep this one from being great

I've reviewed countless gaming headsets in my day, and lately I have had a string of options that are either wired headsets, or wireless with a required dongle. What I haven't seen a lot of lately are wireless headsets that can directly pair with consoles, which is what we have here with the HyperX CloudX Stinger Core. A HyperX headset with true wireless pairing? My excitement for this one is high.

Seamless Setup

The setup process for the HyperX CloudX Stinger Core headset takes seconds. All that is needed is to press the large "Pair" button on the back of the Stinger Core's right earcup and then press the "Pair" button on the side of an Xbox One, One X, Series S or Series X console. This is the same process as pairing a new controller, and works just as quickly. Once the process is complete, a notification will pop up on the screen saying the headset has been paired.

After pairing the first time, the CloudX Stinger Core just needs to be turned on again to instantly reconnect to the Xbox. I never had an issue getting the Stinger Core to connect with my console, though I did have some other connection issues that I'll discuss later.

All of the Stinger Core's controls are found on the back of the earcups

The downside to the wireless connection with Xbox consoles is that the Stinger Core is kind of a one-note device. The headset can be easily used with any Xbox console from the original Xbox One onward, but that's it. The Stinger Core can't connect to a PC or a smart device through Bluetooth, and doesn't have a 3.5mm headphone jack to allow for wired use. This headset is for Xbox, and Xbox only.

Questionable Build Quality

My most immediate reaction to the HyperX CloudX Stinger Core headset is that it feels pretty cheap and flimsy. While the headband is reinforced with metal, the entire headset is covered in plastic. This isn't necessarily a bad thing by itself, but the plastic used feels hollow and like I could break it with little effort.

This is a major disappointment coming from a company like HyperX. My go-to recommendation for a reasonably priced headset with great performance has been (and continues to be) the HyperX Cloud II wired headset. It hits the perfect blend of metal and plastic to make the headset feel premium while having a relatively low price. Considering the CloudX Stinger Core is more expensive than the Cloud II, that just doesn't feel right.

The Stinger Core feels kind of flimsy with its plastic casing

Outside of how the Stinger Core feels, there's a lot to like here. The headset has a microphone arm built into the left earcup that can be swiveled up and down. When up, the microphone is muted. Additionally, there is a volume wheel on the left earcup and a game/chat audio mixer on the right to strike a balance between game and chat volume. The headset uses a USB-C cable to charge, and the battery life is pretty solid at around 17 hours of use between charges.

The signal strength could be a little better. My headset started cutting out on me when I was at most about 30 feet away. That's half the distance that HyperX said the signal can reach. I wasn't even behind a door or anything, just down the hall a bit from where my Xbox is. What's nice about the Stinger Core is that even if a user does walk out of range, the headset will automatically pair again the moment it is back within range.

A Tale Of Two Headsets

So the HyperX CloudX Stinger Core doesn't feel that great, but how does it perform? Well, it seems the CloudX Stinger Core has a bit of a split personality. When things are working as they should, the Stinger Core offers great audio that HyperX is known for. When things aren't working properly, the Stinger Core becomes such a mess that using it actively makes playing games worse.

When things are going well, the CloudX Stinger Core stands toe-to-toe with the other great headsets from HyperX. The Stinger Core has some beefy 40mm drivers in its earcups, and these drivers pump out some seriously great audio. It does seem like the Stinger Core is tuned to slightly favor the bass end of the audio spectrum, but that helps make explosions sound more bombastic, engines sound more powerful and gunshots feel like they're coming right at you.

Connection issues can be so bad with the Stinger Core that it can be better to just play without a headset entirely

When things aren't going well, it's the opposite experience. For some reason, sometimes the Stinger Core just doesn't feel like maintaining a stable connection. This results in audio that is so choppy and warped that I was lucky to get three uninterrupted seconds of listening time before another crackle or drop. At times the connection was so bad that the headset's connection to my Xbox was severed completely, only to re-pair a second later with the same terrible performance.

So why have I had periods of both great audio and terrible connections? I have no idea. I didn't do anything differently, and it isn't something that is permanent. The connection was fine on Friday, terrible on Saturday, and back to fine again on Sunday with no changes to my setup or even a freshly paired connection. The Stinger Core just didn't want to work for some reason.

Clear Microphone

While the connection issues are a major red flag, the HyperX CloudX Stinger Core's microphone is really great. The microphone's boom arm can be swiveled up and down easily, and there's an ever-so-slight click when bringing the microphone down to signify that the microphone is no longer muted. Once down, the boom arm can be easily moved around to get into a good position.

The microphone is simple, but offers high-quality audio

When talking on the microphone via Xbox Party Chat, I was told that I sounded very natural and clear. There weren't any issues with the microphone warping my audio or having connection problems of its own.

Final Thoughts

The HyperX CloudX Stinger Core is such a frustrating headset to review. I want the headset to live up to my expectations for a HyperX device and take the throne as my Xbox gaming headset of choice, but it just isn't good enough. The Stinger Core almost gets there when its connection is stable, but the headset is completely unusable when that connection is weak. On top of that, the Stinger Core just feels flimsy.

At $100, the Stinger Core isn't the worst way to spend money. That said, the HyperX Cloud II wired headset is less expensive, is more versatile thanks to its wired connection, and its performance is a total home run. Unless the wireless capabilities on the Stinger Core are a must-have, I'd suggest just getting the Cloud II for a better, less expensive experience.