The weekend’s best deals: HyperX gaming headsets, ergonomic keyboards, and more

Ars Technica

It’s the weekend, which means the time has come for another Dealmaster. Our latest roundup of the best tech deals from around the web includes a good discount on HyperX’s Cloud Alpha, a gaming headset we like. It’s currently down to $60 at several retailers, which matches the best sale we’ve tracked and comes in about $15 below its typical street price online.

The Cloud Alpha has been available for a few years now, but it remains a commendable option for those who want a no-frills gaming headset, particularly at this discounted price. For one, the Alpha is comfortable: the design doesn’t clamp too hard on the head, and the ample soft padding on the headband and earcups keeps the headset comfortable to wear for hours at a time. The headband is adjustable, the included 3.5 mm cable is fully detachable, and the whole thing feels sturdy. There’s no wireless connectivity, but that shouldn’t be a big negative for gaming purposes: every modern gaming console and PC still uses a 3.5 mm jack, and the microphones found on wireless headsets tend to sound worse anyway.

In general, headsets explicitly marketed toward gaming often don’t sound as sharp as the best standard headphones at the same price, but the Cloud Alpha performs well for what it is. There’s a slight bass boost, but the sound is never muddy or overwhelming. The headset also does a good job of accurately locating and separating sounds in a mix, so you won’t have trouble, say, pinpointing where bullets are coming from in an online first-person shooter. That said, the treble range is a bit lacking in detail, and like most closed-back headphones, the soundstage isn’t especially wide. Likewise, the included boom mic could stand to sound clearer, though it does well to block out background noise. It’s fine. The mic is also fully detachable.

We named the Cooler Master MH751 our top pick in a past guide to the best gaming headsets, and if money is no object, we still give that pair the slight nod. Its mic is more accurate in a quiet room, it’s a little lighter on the head, and its sound is a bit more balanced. The MH751 has a more subdued design, too, though it’s not as adept at isolating outside noise. The two pairs are very close, though, and the MH751 currently cost $16 more online. If you want to save a few bucks on a gaming headset that gets the job done, the Cloud Alpha should be the better value at this deal price specifically.

Beyond that, our roundup also includes the best price we’ve seen for Microsoft’s Sculpt wireless ergonomic keyboard, which is down to $49 at Amazon. This is an older model that only works over a USB dongle (i.e., not Bluetooth), uses simple, laptop-style membrane keys, and isn’t as adjustable as other ergonomic keyboards. If you’ve been interested in giving ergonomic keyboards a try, though, this is an affordable way in.

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