HyperX has distilled some of its gaming headset know-how into a much more portable form factor: a set of wireless earbuds called the Cloud Mix Buds. These $149.99 earbuds largely replicate the standard features of over-ear gaming headphones, at least in terms of connectivity. They include a 2.4GHz USB-C transmitter that allows them to be paired with a PC, PlayStation 5, Nintendo Switch, or an Android phone. They can also be paired with your phone or other device via Bluetooth.
I spent a few weeks testing the Cloud Mix Buds, both as my primary gaming headset and earbuds. Sound quality and battery life are two things HyperX has nailed with this one. But even with those wins, there are key areas where the company fumbled, such as comfort, fit (both of which HyperX usually gets right), and glitchy touch controls. In this case, the convenience of having one set of earbuds that works with everything does not outweigh the drawbacks.
- Long battery life
- Good sound quality
- Smart USB-C Transmitter
- Touch controls are too sensitive at startup
- High price, given the lack of crucial headset features
- Problems with comfort and usability
In terms of features, HyperX leaned more towards competing directly with other earbuds, not headsets. As such, the Cloud Mix Buds offer a limited set of features compared to the company’s gaming headsets. Each button supports touch controls. A single tap plays or pauses music, while a double or triple tap skips or reverses the song respectively. Tapping and holding it will mute the buttons. Each button can be used individually, which is nice if you want to keep one ear open to hear outside sounds. And in the companion app, which I tried on iOS (it’s coming to Android within a few days of launch, HyperX says), you can set one of the customizable commands to trigger a voice assistant.
Each earbud has a 12mm dynamic driver that sounds great for games, Zoom calls, music and more. There’s more than enough bass and power to make me feel like I’m not really missing much from an over-ear headset. These don’t offer active noise cancellation, but they offer better-than-average noise isolation even without it. Back in 2020, I complained that the mics on EPOS’ GTW 270 (very similar in performance to the Cloud Mix Buds) didn’t work when plugged into the USB-C transmitter, but that’s not a problem here; the microphones work over both USB-C and Bluetooth. Well done, HyperX.
As for battery life, HyperX claims that the earbuds and charging case provide up to 33 hours of combined use in Bluetooth mode, and I’ve used these earbuds during five-hour sprints without charging. The company says they can be used for up to 10 hours on a single charge in Bluetooth mode or up to six hours on the USB-C transmitter.
The small, smart transmitter has a button to switch between the wireless modes (they cannot be used at the same time). Pressing it will mute the earbuds’ microphones, but holding the button will swap the connections. A USB-A extender is included that makes it easier to keep the transmitter within reach.
Even with those big wins, a few negatives dampened my enthusiasm. These may be obvious omissions to some, but compared to other gaming headsets, they don’t offer volume control, nor do they provide a way to adjust the game and chat audio mix, which is important for both gaming and general use. And if you want to use them more often as on-the-go earbuds, you should know that these are a bit bulkier than your average set of earbuds.
While I found a good fit with one of the three sets of silicone ear tips included, the Cloud Mix Buds still slipped out of my ears when I was talking, smiling, or eating something. This may not happen to everyone, but it was a total mood killer for me during multiplayer chat or on a video call. Also comfort was an issue after only an hour of use. This is another “your mileage may vary” situation, but they felt a little too big to nestle comfortably in my outer ear area resulting in discomfort that resembled mild pain after a while.
Another big problem with the buttons was that music would occasionally play or pause automatically, ostensibly due to a problem with their touch sensitivity. This happens more when I talk or when I make movements that shift the placement of the buttons in my ears. Even chewing some gum was enough to make it explode. HyperX told me it was aware of this issue and would fix the firmware before launch. Connecting them to the company’s Ngenuity iOS app didn’t start a firmware update, so it looks like the fix isn’t done yet.
Like most earbuds, it’s better if you can try these out before making a purchase. That’s a little less achievable with earbuds like these versus bigger brands, and I wish my recommendation of the Cloud Mix Buds wasn’t behind a warning that you could run into the same comfort and bug issues I did. Even if HyperX can fix the annoying glitch that automatically plays and pauses music, I don’t recommend spending $150 on earbuds that feel unrefined in terms of comfort and fit. Even though they aren’t as portable, you can spend less and get more for your money with one of these over-ear, wireless gaming headsets.
Photography by Cameron Faulkner / Custom Hour