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Tt eSPORTS Cronos | Hardware Review

Tt eSPORTS Cronos | Hardware Review

by
August 16, 2013
Hardware Review
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As I mentioned in my Tt eSPORTS DRACCO Captain review yesterday, Thermaltake’s pushing its competitive gamer line pretty hard. At $59.99, the Tt eSPORTS Cronos (or the Combat White version) is the budget option for those after a set of headphones and a microphone in one package. It aims for a niche, but does it fill it well?

Technical Specifications:

Connector: 3.5mm plug and USB
Platform: PC/mobile
Colour: Black
Driver unit: 40mm neodymium magnet
DTS certified: No
Channel: Stereo
Frequency response: 20Hz – 20KHz
Sensitivity: 117 ± 3dB
Cable length: 1.8m
USB connector: Yes
3.5mm gold plug: Yes
Plug and play microphone: Yes
External inline controller: Yes
Mic directivity: Omnidirectional
Mic noise cancelling: No
Mic sensitivity: -54 ± 3dB
Mic fequency: 100Hz – 10KHz
Mic impedence: 2.2k ohm

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

The black and red version of the Tt eSPORTS Cronos comes in a black and red cardboard and plastic pack. Inside is the standard 3.5mm connection cable, an extra shorter cable for connecting to a phone, a carry bag, paperwork, product, and cable ties.

A box, yesterday.

A box, yesterday.

The headphone is a mixture of pretty and ugly, in perhaps equal measures. I like the headband. The matte black plastic with sparse red highlights on the outside of the band looks good, but the best part is the red lycra internal edge. The padding looks full and comfortable and the red accents it well. Likewise, the black lycra cup pads with red Tt eSPORTS logo on the black mesh inside the cups looks good. The lycra gives the Cronos a soft and comfortable look.

Unfortunately, the cups look cheap with their shiny black plastic finish. Each cup has a clear/white Tt eSPORTS logo embedded into side, however the right logo is full and centre, while the left logo is smaller and located above where the mic boom is attached. But that’s not the worst thing. The headset lights up. Each of the clear logo segments outputs a delightful (note: sarcasm) bright red light when plugged in.

The red LED light is gaudy and cheap and entirely unnecessary. Thankfully, it only turns on when the completely superfluous USB is plugged in. Really – the USB plug’s only purpose is to power the hideous LED. Leave the USB unplugged and you’ll like the Cronos a lot more.

The microphone boom that extends from the left can rotate up to the vertical position, through about 135 degrees forward. There is a flexible section for maybe one third of its length. It will bend enough to suit a variety of head shapes, and it feels sturdy. The red LED makes an appearance on the tip of the mic boom, but it’s less ugly here. Rotating the mic boom into position is dictated by a series of clicks – each click is a stop for the boom. It’s also loose, making getting and keeping an exact position can be difficult. Add to that the lack of rotation to the rear means the mic boom rests in an awkward position for folding the cup inward. It folds without bending the boom, but by the skin of its teeth.

All that red stuff on the cup? That's only red when the light is on. And it's not that shade of red.

All that red stuff on the cup? That’s only red when the light is on. And it’s not that shade of red.

Under the left cup is the cable jack for connecting the cable to the headset. You can choose between the red plastic phone lead, or the black and red braided PC connector. I really like the braided cord. I know, it’s a strange thing to like, but the red and black braided cord is a great touch. I wish I could say the same about the 3.5mm plugs at the end of it. They’re wide. Too wide. I found it a rather tight fit to plug the headphones and microphone into my setup. Luckily they are rectangular, and rotating the plug mostly alleviated the problem, but it’s still a problem that could have been rectified by shaving off some plastic. At least the plugs are easy to grab, I guess.

One area the Cronos excels at is comfort. This headset will sit over your ears for days and days with nary a second thought. It’s light, but still present on the ears. The lycra padding on the headband goes a long way towards lightening the load and reducing fatigue. Likewise, the lycra cup pads are very comfortable around the ears. Lightweight materials and generous lycra padding make for gentle hours of listening.

Another thing the Cronos does very well is mobile phone compatibility. The other cable in the box – the admittedly more ugly one – goes from the headset to a standard phone in/out jack. Plug it in to your MP3 player for listening on the go, or into your phone for conversations through the mic. Some will find it more useful than others, but I am all for the versatility it offers. The Cronos will also fold up relatively flat and slip into the provided carry bag, too, making it a good upgrade from the basic earbud/mic setup.

Sound is a contentious issue with the Cronos. It definitely won’t wow anyone. The bass is a little on the gentle side. While the Cronos does offer a decent sounding midrange and highs, the headset suffers from an overall muddy quality, with a harsh, slightly tinny edge towards the upper range. It results in a sound that feels truncated and hazy. It suffices for basic tasks and loud gaming, but it won’t delight those looking for a quality sound solution. The audio quality is functional, but that’s about the extent of it.

Having a detachable cable is a good move, especially when mobile platforms are considered.

Having a detachable cable is a good move, especially when mobile platforms are considered.

The microphone is likewise muddy. It works well enough for a fast paced game where quality voice communication is an afterthought. You can get your point across, but don’t expect it to carry all the subtle nuances of your beautiful voice over the booms and explosions of whatever virtual battlefield you are fighting on. The lower quality microphone is not really an issue on telephone calls, but using this mic for any purpose other than action games and phone calls will leave you wanting.

There is a lot to like about the Cronos. First of all, RRPing at $60 means it’s well within the budget of most anyone. For that price you get a very comfortable and adequately functioning headphone and mic combination that can also be used as a phone headset. The great looking red and black braided cable with inline controller is incredibly simple to plug and play. The downside is you get a messy sound experience and you look like a tool with the red glow it (optionally) emits. Still, for $60 the Cronos is a great bargain choice for a decently constructed gaming headset that also works on your phone.

Review sample provided by Tt eSPORTS. Thank you.

ONLY SINGLE PLAYER SCORE

Build Quality – 6/10

Design – 6/10

Useability – 7/10

Performance – 6/10

Price – 8.5/10

_______________________

Overall – 7/10

(Not an average)

Manufacturer: Thermaltake/Tt eSPORTS

Price:
Black: $59.99
White: $59.99

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