HyperX Stinger 2 Core Xbox Gaming Headphones
PAT PILCHER reviews a pair of nicely priced gaming headphones that are pleasingly light on fiddly features and great all-round.
Gaming headphones are not just a nice to have accessory in our house; they literally keep the peace as I often game at night. Using a set of gaming headphones means that the various crashes, bangs, booms and explosions are not keeping everyone awake. That aside, a good pair of gaming headphones can also help to improve your in-game situational awareness by supplying spatial cues that could prevent other players/in-game characters from sneaking up on you and zapping your ass.
This was all in my mind when HyperX’s Stinger 2 Xbox headphones arrived at Witchdoctor towers. The HyperX Stinger 2 is the latest and most affordable iteration of the HyperX Cloud Stinger lineup. They sport a more compact design, and unlike earlier models, their boom mic is flexible. Unusually for gaming gear, their design is understated. Dare I say, it feels almost grown up, lacking the usual zillion-odd RGB LEDs liberally plastered over most gaming gear. Instead, there is just a HyperX logo on the ear cups, which is fine by me.
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The Stingers are comfy to wear owing to their lightweight build and low clamp factor. Memory foam/fabric/faux-leather earpads also add to their wearability. As the fabric faux leather combo is breathable, your ears are less likely to get hot and sweaty with extended gaming sessions.
Given their affordable price point, I wasn’t expecting oodles of fancy pants controls and wasn’t disappointed. The only physical control built in is a volume wheel on the bottom right ear cup. Activating the mic is also intuitive. You flip it downward. I actually prefer the sheer simplicity of this approach. Farting about with fiddly and often convoluted headphone controls mid-game is an unwelcome distraction that I was able to avoid with the Stinger 2’s.
The Stinger 2 may lack the extra low-frequency response of their more expensive siblings. Still, the audio supplied has plenty of warmth and a bump in the higher-bass frequencies, which means that gunshots and explosions all have satisfying impact. Overall, the sound felt detailed and clear but wasn’t super-bright or shrill, which is perfect for late-night in-game audio.
Their affordable sticker price also means they lack ANC. Suppose you crank them up to stupidly loud audio levels (which we at Witchdoctor don’t recommend as it could damage your hearing). In that case, there will be some audio leakage, which may annoy the bejesus out of people sitting nearby. This tends to be concentrated in the mids and treble, which means people around you will hear in-game vocals and some game music/fx.
I was impressed by the Stinger 2’s built-in boom mic. Its audio capture quality was surprisingly decent, considering the Stinger 2’s affordable sticker price. My recorded voice sounded full and, most importantly, was intelligible to in-game teammates. As the boom is moveable and bendy, your mileage will vary depending on its position relative to your yap-hole.
As the Stinger 2’s are wired, using a 3.5mm cable to connect to an Xbox or PS5 controller (or the audio socket on my PC), they’re plug-and-play and, most critically, widely compatible. These headphones are a great option for gamers on a budget at just $69.00
The Stinger 2’s are pitched as affordable gaming headphones, so they’re light on features, versatile, and, most importantly, straightforward. Offering decent audio and a good mic, they’re hard to beat at their price point.