HyperX’s Cloud Mix Buds make multi-device audio management easy

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Wireless headphones have improved to connect to multiple devices in recent years. But pairing can still be a bit of a hassle, especially if you’re playing on a range of devices, including consoles, phones and PCs. But after testing its new Cloud Mix Buds, it looks like HyperX has found a simple and elegant way to support wireless audio on a bunch of different gadgets, whether you’re gaming or just chilling out. in music.

The main thing that separates the Cloud Mix Buds from similar headphones is that in addition to Bluetooth 5.2, the headphones also come with their own dongle which sends audio over a dedicated 2.4GHz channel. So not only do you get lower latency compared to Bluetooth – which is hugely useful when playing fast-paced games – you also get a stronger signal that’s less likely to drop out.

Sam Rutherford/Engadget

What I love 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 the more bizarre like the Steam Deck. And I didn’t even need to install HyperX’s free Ngenuity app. The only exception is that while the Cloud Mix Buds are compatible with Android and iOS devices, PCs and consoles in general, because Microsoft uses a proprietary wireless audio protocol, the headphones do not work with Xbox.

This makes wireless audio switching as easy as moving the dongle from one device to another. In my experience, the best way to take advantage of the buds’ dual-mode wireless connectivity was to keep them paired with my phone via Bluetooth (where latency isn’t a big issue) and attach the dongle to whatever what I play. at the time. The USB-C adapter even has a handy button you can press to mute its mics.

For gadgets that don't have a USB-C port or have hard-to-reach ports, Cloud Mix Buds come with a handy extension adapter and USB-C to USB-A cable.
For gadgets that don’t have a USB-C port or have hard-to-reach ports, Cloud Mix Buds come with a handy extension adapter and USB-C to USB-A cable.

Sam Rutherford/Engadget

As a bonus, HyperX includes a small extension adapter and a USB-C to USB-A cable with the headphones. This allows the headphones to work with an even wider range of devices like the Nintendo Switch, whose only USB-C port is occupied when docked. So instead of plugging the dongle into the console itself, you can plug the extension adapter into the USB-A port on the Switch’s dock and then plug the dongle into it. It also worked great for my desktop computer, which doesn’t support Bluetooth (it has an older mobo without built-in WiFi or BT) and lacks easily accessible USB-C ports on the front.

When it comes to audio quality, 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 2.4GHz connectivity is noticeable in shooters where reaction times really matter. Unfortunately, because I was using the headphones before their official release, I didn’t have the chance to dive deeper into the more advanced features of the Ngenuity app, which include support for virtual 7.1 surround sound, customizable EQs and adjustable touch controls.

For devices like a PS5, the size of the Cloud Mix Buds dongle may block other nearby ports.
For devices like a PS5, the size of the Cloud Mix Buds dongle may block other nearby ports.

Sam Rutherford/Engadget

The Cloud Mix Buds offer above-average battery life with around 10 hours of battery life using Bluetooth (or closer to 8 hours with the 2.4GHz dongle), with an additional 20-22 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 eartips provided a great fit that blocked out a lot of ambient noise without being too tight.

Finally, even if you don’t get wireless charging support, 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 meant to be used at home and on the go, it’s a really thoughtful touch. The downside is that the dongle is so wide it can block nearby ports like the front USB-A socket on a PS5.

When traveling, you can store the Cloud Mix Buds dongle at the bottom of its case so you don't lose it.
When traveling, you can store the Cloud Mix Buds dongle at the bottom of its case so you don’t lose it.

Sam Rutherford/Engadget

Now, I admit that the headphones working well with many different gaming devices is kind of a first-world problem. But for those with the luxury of jumping between multiple consoles or systems (sorry Xbox), HyperX’s Cloud Mix Buds make it all simple, while still offering good battery life, a simple design, and solid audio quality. And with a price tag of $150, it’s an attractive combo for big gamers who appreciate the freedom of wireless sound.

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