by J.D. Kane on September 13, 2013 in Audio & Media
Gaming peripherals tend to be one-note wonders: They’re good for gaming, but disappointing in most other tasks. Thermaltake apparently isn’t content to be painted with this particular brush, as its CRONOS taught this reviewer to never underestimate a product ever again.
The gaming peripherals market space is a warzone. It seems like there are a hundred different companies all fighting for more and bigger slices of the pie. There’s clearly a lot of money to be made – why else devote so much in production and R&D costs and marketing? – and everyone wants a cut.
One of the keys to succeeding in this war seems to be developing products that not only catch your eye, but also boast features that your competitors may not have. Either that, or have features that are executed just a bit better compared to your rivals.
On the surface, Thermaltake’s CRONOS is similar to the last gaming headset I reviewed. They both have LED lighting for maximum gamer cred, for instance. They’re both styled to catch the eye, although they do so through altogether different ways. They’re both stereo only (a good thing). Finally, they both have detachable cables, a feature that I used to think was the preserve of higher-end audio equipment.
Anyway, enough blather.
It’s time to introduce you to the star of this review.
Thermaltake’s CRONOS is not the company’s range-topping stereo gaming headset (the Level 10 M takes that honor), but its styling, features and pricing positions it as the company’s main salvo in the war for sales.
Clad in black and red and festooned with Tt eSPORTS dragon logos and branding, the CRONOS is definitely aggressively styled.
Fresh out of the box you’ll find the CRONOS headset itself, two detachable cables (more on these in a bit), and a snazzy black and red carrying bag where you can store your CRONOS and its cables whilst traveling.
The CRONOS features a 40mm driver in each ear cup, with the microphone stalk attached to the left one. And speaking of the ear cups, they both rotate 90° so that the drivers face backwards.
On the underside of the left ear cup is a jack into which you plug your CRONOS’ cable.
Speaking of cables, Thermaltake provides two different types. The braided black and red cable with the inline control box is intended for use on PCs. As such the cable splits into a 3.5mm mic in connector (with a red color code), a 3.5mm headphone out connector (color-coded black), and a gold-plated USB connector. The 3.5mm connectors are self-explanatory; the USB connector is to provide power to the LEDs in the ear cups.
The red cable, on the other hand, is for portable devices. The 3.5mm combo connector plugs into your phone or tablet, and you can use the CRONOS as a headset for these types of devices. Including this one simple cable distinguishes the CRONOS from most of its rivals. As far as I know, this is the only stereo gaming headset that is both PC- and mobile-compatible.
Now that we’ve had a look at the CRONOS, let’s see how it performs in the real world.