Wireless headphones have gotten better at connecting to multiple devices in recent years. But pairing can still be kind of a hassle, especially if you’re gaming on a range of devices including consoles, phones and PCs. But after testing out its new Cloud Mix Buds, it feels like HyperX has come up with a simple and elegant way of supporting wireless audio on a bunch of different gadgets, regardless of if you’re gaming or just relaxing to music.
The main thing that separates the Cloud Mix Buds from similar headphones is that in addition to Bluetooth 5.2, the earbuds also come with their own dongle that sends audio over a dedicated 2.4Ghz channel. So not only do you get lower latency compared to Bluetooth – which is extremely useful when you’re playing fast-paced games – you also get a stronger signal that’s less likely to cut out.
The thing I like the most about the Cloud Mix Buds’ kit is that because the dongle has a USB-C connector, it worked seamlessly with every gaming system I tested including more oddball ones like the Steam Deck. And I didn’t even need to install HyperX’s free Ngenuity app either. The one exception is that, while the Cloud Mix Buds are compatible with both Android and iOS devices, PCs and consoles at large, because Microsoft uses a proprietary wireless audio protocol, the earbuds don’t work with Xboxes.
That makes switching wireless audio as easy as moving the dongle from one device to another. In my experience, the best way to take advantage of buds’ dual-mode wireless connectivity was by keeping them paired with my phone over Bluetooth (where latency isn’t as big a concern) and attaching the dongle to whatever I’m gaming on at the time. The USB-C adapter even has a handy button that you can press to mute its mics.
As an added bonus, HyperX includes a small extension adapter and a USB-C to USB-A cable with the earbuds. This allows the buds to work with an even wider range of devices like the Nintendo Switch, whose lone USB-C port is occupied when docked. So instead of plugging the dongle into the console itself, you can connect the extension adapter to the USB-A port on the Switch’s dock, and then plug the dongle into that. This also worked really well for my desktop PC, which doesn’t support Bluetooth (it has an older mobo without built-in WiFi or BT) and lacks easily accessible front-side USB-C ports.
As far as audio quality goes, the Cloud Mix Buds 12mm drivers deliver crisp sound including a bit deeper bass than what I get from Samsung’s Galaxy Buds Pro. And while it’s subtle, the reduced latency you get with the 2.4GHz connectivity is noticeable in shooters where reaction times really matter. Unfortunately, because I’ve been using the buds prior to their official release, I didn’t have the chance to dive deeper into the Ngenuity app’s more advanced features, which include support for virtual 7.1 surround sound, customizable EQs and adjustable touch controls.
The Cloud Mix Buds feature above-average battery life with around 10 hours of runtime using Bluetooth (or closer to 8 hours when using the 2.4GHz dongle), with another 20 to 22 hours in the case. HyperX also includes a protective silicone sleeve for the charging case and a choice of three different ear tips (small, medium and large). For me, the default medium tips offered a snug fit that blocked a lot of ambient noise without being too tight.
Finally, while you don’t get support for wireless charging, my favorite little design element is being able to plug the 2.4GHz dongle into the bottom of the case when traveling so you don’t lose it. For a device that’s meant to be used both at home and on-the-go, that’s a really thoughtful touch. The downside is that the dongle is so wide, it can block nearby ports like the front USB-A jack on a PS5.
Now I admit getting earbuds to play nice with a lot of different gaming devices is sort of a first-world problem. But for those who have the luxury of jumping between multiple consoles or systems (sorry Xbox), HyperX’s Cloud Mix Buds makes all that a breeze, while still offering good battery life, a simple design, and solid audio quality. And with a price of $150, that’s an appealing combo for big-time gamers that appreciate the freedom of wireless sound.