The HyperX Cloud Mix Buds are a great idea with an imperfect execution. The Cloud Mix Buds represent HyperX’s first foray into wireless gaming earbuds, and the inclusion of a USB-C dongle makes it clear that the company has innovation on its side. With two wireless connectivity modes, good sound quality and long battery life, the Cloud Mix Buds theoretically have everything to make a spectacular splash on the gaming audio scene.
When I started the review process, I was ready to love the $150 Cloud Mix Buds. But the longer I used them, the more I came up against potentially deal-breaking issues. The touch controls don’t work properly at all; the connectivity is mercurial and hard to troubleshoot; the fit is not that good, even with three separate size options.
While I can’t recommend the Cloud Mix Buds without reservation, I can say the earbuds’ heart is definitely in the right place. They’re not one of the best gaming headsets by any means, but if you’ve dreamed of wireless gaming earbuds that don’t rely on Bluetooth, they’re the only game in town — for now. Read on for our full HyperX Cloud Mix Buds review.
Compatibility: PC, PS4, PS5, Switch, mobile
Drivers: 12 mm
Frequency Response: 10 Hz – 20k Hz
Weight: 0.4 ounces (earbud) / 1.3 ounces (case)
HyperX Cloud Mix Buds review: Design
Like most wireless earbud sets, the HyperX Cloud Mix Buds comprises two earbuds and a charging case. The earbuds themselves are small black numbers, about an inch across, with removable silicone tips and a HyperX logo on the side. If you wear them out and about, they’re not likely to draw much attention.
The case is similarly understated. It’s a black cylinder, about three inches across, which means it should slide easily into most pockets. The case has a USB-C charging port at the bottom and a multifunctional button on the back. When you’re not using the earbuds, they rest in the case and recharge.
There’s nothing remarkable about the Cloud Mix Buds’ design, and only one small flaw. Since the charging port is on the bottom, you’ll have to lay the case on its back to charge. That means opening the case during the charging process (2-4 hours) can be a bit of a pain. But it’s more of an inconvenience than a dealbreaker.
HyperX Cloud Mix Buds review: Comfort
I started to run into problems with the HyperX Cloud Mix Buds once I actually started wearing them. When I first put the Cloud Mix Buds into my ears, I found that they fit loosely. One or the other always felt as though it was on the verge of falling out. Since the device includes three separate sets of silicone tips, I thought I might fare better with a smaller or larger size. But the small tips felt even looser, while the large tips were tight enough to be painful. In the end, I settled on the medium tips, even though I don’t think they would keep the earbuds firmly in place in any situation, aside from sitting perfectly still at a desk or on a couch.
It's worth pointing out that most earbuds don’t fit me properly, so other wearers might have better luck. In fact, the three separate tip sizes on the wired HyperX Cloud Earbuds yielded similar results when I tested them a few years back. Still, there’s no getting around the fact that the Cloud Mix Buds simply will not fit some people, and that’s a big caveat in a $150 accessory.
HyperX Cloud Mix Buds review: Performance
One area where the HyperX Cloud Mix Buds are beyond reproach is in sound quality. While earbuds are always going to be at disadvantage compared to full-size headsets, the Cloud Mix Buds acquits itself well. I tested the device with a variety of games and music, and liked what I heard across the board.
On the PC side, I tried the earbuds with Age of Empires IV, Doom Eternal, Cyberpunk 2077 and Final Fantasy XIV. The results were good across the board. Gunshots and footsteps resounded in Doom, while the orchestral music sounded close and immediate in Age of Empires. Results were similar when I transferred the USB-C receiver over to the PS5 to test out Nioh Remastered and Assassin’s Creed Valhalla. The earbuds faithfully transmitted everything from clashing sword strikes to whooshing dives from high towers.
I was also pleased with how the Cloud Mix Buds handled music. I listened to tracks from Flogging Molly, Old Crow Medicine Show, The Rolling Stones and G.F. Handel. While the Cloud Mix Buds aren’t audiophile earbuds by any stretch, all the music came through clearly, with no distortion or muddiness, even at higher volumes. There was also a pleasing balance between bass and treble frequencies, as well as between vocals and instruments.
HyperX Cloud Mix Buds review: Features
If you can fit the HyperX Cloud Mix Buds in your ears, the next pain point is actually connecting them to a device. The Cloud Mix Buds can connect via USB-C or Bluetooth, and this is, in itself, somewhat remarkable. To my knowledge, no set of gaming earbuds has ever before offered a USB-C option, and this expands the device’s functionality significantly. In addition to PC, mobile and handheld Switch, you can connect the earbuds to a PS4, PS5 or docked Switch. (The device includes a USB-A adapter.)
Granted, the two modes of connectivity won’t do you much good if the earbuds don’t actually boot up. Multiple times during the review process, one earbud or the other simply refused to power on, no matter how many times I restarted my system or let the earbuds charge in their case. A HyperX representative suggested that resetting the earbuds might resolve the issue, and it did — for a while, anyway. (It’s worth noting that the Cloud Mix Buds’ instructions do not detail how to reset the device; I had to learn how directly from the representative.) He also said that a new firmware update should improve connectivity, but we haven’t had a chance to test this yet.
Even if connectivity were perfect, though, it wouldn’t do much to alleviate the flighty, borderline infuriating touch controls. Each earbud has a touch-sensitive panel. While listening to music, you can tap once, twice or three times to play/pause, skip a track or go back a track, respectively. In theory, that’s useful; in practice, it’s just a mess.
The touch panels are either far too sensitive or not nearly sensitive enough, and there’s no way to tell which you’re going to get. Sometimes, I would hammer away with my index finger, trying in vain to skip a track while my music played and paused incessantly. Sometimes, nothing would happen at all. Even worse, though, was when the touch controls would respond to completely unrelated gestures. Once, my music stopped dead because I scratched my nose; another time, it started playing tunes in a totally different app because I chewed a bite of food. I wish there were a way to disable the touch controls entirely, but that doesn’t seem to be an option.
Speaking of options, the HyperX Cloud Mix Buds will run on the HyperX Ngenuity software when they come out. This will allow you to modify equalization options, mic volume and so forth. This software wasn’t available to test during the review period, however. All we can say is that in the past, Ngenuity has been functional, although occasionally buggy and unintuitive.
The Cloud Mix Buds also have a microphone, which works well enough for everyday calls and online multiplayer. Granted, the mic isn’t especially close to your mouth, so it can fall prey to the same problems as any other wireless earbuds when it comes to background noise or quiet speech. You can also mute the mic with a long press on the earbuds’ touch panels, which might not work, or by pressing the USB-C pairing button, which might be far away.
The battery life is also thoroughly decent. The earbuds themselves will last between six and 10 hours on a charge, and the case can provide an additional 15 to 23 hours, depending on your volume, and whether you use USB-C or Bluetooth. This should be suitable for all but the mightiest marathon sessions.
HyperX Cloud Mix Buds review: Verdict
The HyperX Cloud Mix Buds had the potential to be a great pair of wireless gaming earbuds. With some upcoming firmware updates and software connectivity, it’s possible that they could still be good ones. But they’re not that easy to wear, and the touch controls make everyday operations feel much harder than they should.
Granted, if you want true wireless gaming earbuds, there’s not much competition on the market. Most competitors, including the Razer Hammerhead (opens in new tab), support only Bluetooth. If you can live with the Cloud Mix Buds’ imperfections and trust in HyperX to improve the firmware, you might find that the earbuds fill a valuable niche. Otherwise, if you’re not married to the earbud design, you can get the excellent HyperX Cloud Flight S for around the same price.