HyperX’s Cloud Mix Buds makes managing multi-device audio a breeze – Engadget
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.
For gadgets that don’t have a USB-C port or have ports that are hard to reach, the Cloud Mix Buds come with a handy extension adapter and a USB-C to USB-A cable.
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.
For devices like a PS5, the size of the Cloud Mix Buds’ dongle may block other nearby ports.
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