Kingston gets in to the accessory business with HyperX cloud headphones

MWC 2014: Likely the first of many, and not a bad debut

Kingston logoKingston had two new devices to show off at MWC, one evolutionary the other nothing you would expect from the firm. The expected was an SSD, the unexpected was the new HyperX Cloud gaming headphones.

Normally SemiAccurate would not do a story on headphones but the Kingston HyperX headphones represent a bit more than a simple new product. Kingston is a fairly conservative company, that is a good thing in this case, and doesn’t jump in to every niche out there. Gaming accessories are a high margin, fickle, and short-lived market that follows a brutal boom/bust cycle.

Headphones, keyboards, PSUs, and other related items have been a lucrative side venture for many firms but not really a core business for many that survived. Early entrants tend to make a premium which collapses for most in short order leaving unsold inventory aplenty. The market is filled with companies that were wounded, sometimes fatally, by such trends which makes Kingston’s entry somewhat unexpected.

Kingston HyperX Cloud gaming headphnes

The new look of Kingston headgear

Unlike most of the others, SemiAccurate has no doubt that the dire fate of some will not affect Kingston, they are too well run. Better yet their new HyperX Cloud headphones are pretty nice pieces of kit. In case you are wondering, the Cloud moniker has nothing to do with the “in” buzzword for people selling things on the net, it was so named for its light weight construction. Any confusion with that other cloud is purely only partially unintended.

The HyperX Cloud has some nice features starting with a completely removable microphone boom, a rarity in this class. Ear pieces are memory foam based, removable, and comes with at least one other set in the box. They are not noise canceling but closed cell foam does a pretty solid job of damping out ambient distractions.

One of the ways that Kingston saved weight is to have an aluminum frame, light but not cheap feeling. This is covered by a stitched leather-like skin all coupled to some beefy hinges. [Also known as pleather.] While it is very subjective, they felt pretty good on my head but as always, try before you buy. Speaking of buying, they HyperX Clouds will be on sale April 11 with no MSRP known yet.

Switching gears to SSDs, there is a new line of them coming from Kingston topped by a 1TB model. This long-awaited step is made possible by the use of the new LSI/Sandforce SF3700 (aka Griffin) controller. No ETA was announced at MWC much less a price, and there is a good reason for that.

In the end, the big news is Kingston is now going in to the accessory market. The HyperX Cloud is the first in the new line but we suspect it is far from the last. More interesting is to see how the company handles this new venture, those that do it well make quite a bit of cash, the rest have problems. Given their history, we are quite upbeat about this new move, Kingston doesn’t jump in to things without good reason.S|A

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Charlie Demerjian

Roving engine of chaos and snide remarks at SemiAccurate
Charlie Demerjian is the founder of Stone Arch Networking Services and SemiAccurate.com. SemiAccurate.com is a technology news site; addressing hardware design, software selection, customization, securing and maintenance, with over one million views per month. He is a technologist and analyst specializing in semiconductors, system and network architecture. As head writer of SemiAccurate.com, he regularly advises writers, analysts, and industry executives on technical matters and long lead industry trends. Charlie is also a council member with Gerson Lehman Group. FullyAccurate