Model: HyperX Cloud 2
Price: £75 (RRP)
Normally when we think of Kingston, and the now well established HyperX brand we would immediately think of NAND storage and RAM because Kingston are a leading name in both and a dominant force in the global consumer and OEM markets alike. However like a growing number of PC hardware giants they are looking to diversify their product catalogue and are making the play to try and be on top of your desk as well as under it.
Indeed last year they executed that plan successfully with the immensely popular (and chuffing good) HyperX Cloud gaming headset. Whilst detractors could say it was a simple rebrand job of the QPAD QH-90 what we have to bear in mind was that Kington made theirs nicer colours and asked significantly less cash for them, which as it turns out was an inspired move. The Clouds ended 2014 with more awards than you could shake a stick at, including our own ‘Best Value’ headset award, so job done surely?
Well if there was one downside (if you can call it that) to the Clouds it was that due to those superb 53mm drivers you couldn’t really get the best out of them with motherboard sound so often forum goers would end up recommending prospective buyers grab themselves a Xonar DG(X) or the like which though a wise decision obviously increases cost and installing dedicated audio hardware is not possible (or desirable) for many.
Happily Kingston seem to have been paying attention and have come back to us for 2015 with the HyperX Cloud 2 which is the same headset but with updated colour options, and more importantly a 7.1 DSP that works over USB to bring high quality sound to all users regardless of their configuration. This should prove a real boon to some prospective purchasers, especially AM3 users for example who could feasibly have pretty ancient motherboards by now that have no business driving headphones.
One thing that is worth clearing up though is that besides the USB sound functionality there is no technical difference (in the drivers anyway, the mic is apparently revised) between the Cloud 2 and the original Cloud; the nomenclature is actually a bit naff as the Cloud 1s are not going EOL and will simply serve as a lower model/option for people who already have sound hardware that can do them justice. Ignoring the poor naming, I think this is a great choice by Kingston.
With more hardware though comes increased price and the Cloud 2s have been shunted up to £75, which though a healthy jump would still be a reasonable price to pay for the Cloud 1s so I hardly think they are going to struggle. That is however the same price tag that sits on the Corsair Gaming H1500 which to my eyes is the only real competitor to this headset so we will see how that rivalry plays out after testing is complete.
Anyway, enough of my rabbiting on, let’s get on with the review.
More about Kingston:
In 1987, Kingston® entered the market with a single product. Founders John Tu and David Sun addressed a severe shortage of surface-mount memory chips with a memory module that would serve to redefine industry standards for years to come. Combining one of the most extensive and stringent testing processes in the memory industry, an exceptional free tech support centre and a consistent roll-out of innovative technologies, Kingston Technology has continually set industry standards of quality and reliability throughout its history
Kingston has grown to be the world’s largest independent manufacturer of memory products. With global headquarters in Fountain Valley, California, Kingston employs more than 4,000 people worldwide. Regarded as one of the “Best Companies to Work for in America” by Fortune magazine, Kingston’s tenets of respect, loyalty, flexibility and integrity create an exemplary corporate culture. Kingston believes that investing in employees is essential and that each individual employee is a vital part of the company’s success.