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Titan Two vs Cronus Zen vs XIM  (Read 3250 times)

Offline Amanda

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Titan Two vs Cronus Zen vs XIM
« on: 08:35 AM - 11/14/19 »
Have you heard about Cronus Zen? Do you think it's another Titan Two clone? As a proud Titan Two + XIM Apex owner is there anything I have to fear? I mean, we all know what a ripoff Cronusmax was. It didn't even sync with XIM resulting in purple lights and horrible input lags. But is there any chance, this new piece of hardware to be actually innovative this time around?
Another important question! (about the PS5) What if the next gen consoles send encrypted controller data and need a private key to decrypt, unique in each console? You think, that might be the end for every unofficial controller or adapter? As of now, the adapter simply converts the other peripherals signal to Sony DS4 inputs (respectively for Microsoft).  But what if these inputs are encrypted? I am very concerned about the longevity of XIM! Will the native MKB support be the only possible option on the PS5? Are we gonna miss our beloved XIM and Titan 2?

Offline Santigold

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Re: Titan Two vs Cronus Zen vs XIM
« Reply #1 on: 12:24 PM - 11/14/19 »
Yeah Zen looks to be a new device from Cronus guys. Since their forums were dead, i thought theyre done with all that adapter stuff, but it looks like they were developing a new device.

I will apply as a beta tester and hopefully be able to buy and test one. It claims they have a new KBM engine, so Im interested in that. However I doubt that it will outperform Titan 2.

At least it has 5 usb slots to connect everything to it.

Tbh. next Xim needs to have built in usb slots again, its not a good/comfortable solution with a hub.

Offline antithesis

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Re: Titan Two vs Cronus Zen vs XIM
« Reply #2 on: 02:30 PM - 11/14/19 »
If there's no power port on the Zen, mouse & keyboard compatibility is going to be a problem for popular brands like Razer & Corsair with heavy power draw.

The 5 USB ports are for three devices (m, kb, controller), with the other two for OUTPUT & PROG. Bluetooth also requires power and heavy draw can bomb it too. Power is going to be a problem over a 5V console USB port, as we all know. Hopefully there's an external solution for Zen.

Cronus is trying to be all things to all men and on the surface at least, Zen does tick a lot of boxes, especially vs price of T2 + Expansion Kit, but I'm sceptical it'll live up to the hype.

It's a bad time to release a new product this late in the console life-cycle with no guarantee it'll work on next-gen. Good luck to Cronus, I know they'll sell well, but Zen could be dead within a year.

As of now, the adapter simply converts the other peripherals signal to Sony DS4 inputs (respectively for Microsoft).  But what if these inputs are encrypted? I am very concerned about the longevity of XIM! Will the native MKB support be the only possible option on the PS5? Are we gonna miss our beloved XIM and Titan 2?
MS has stated Scarlett is compatible with XB1 controllers, PS5 is possibly doing the same for the DS4 (if PS5 doesn't have BC controller support, it creates a reason to jump to Xbox, which Sony won't want).

Backwards-compatibility seems to imply controller input won't be encrypted, so it's a case of wait and see if we have a backdoor for XIM, T2, CM, Zen etc.
« Last Edit: 09:03 PM - 12/12/19 by antithesis »

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Offline Santigold

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Re: Titan Two vs Cronus Zen vs XIM
« Reply #3 on: 10:46 AM - 11/15/19 »
Oh thanks for the detailed explanation antithesis, then im not even gonna bother beta testing the device.

Yeah it seemed like the CM ppl were bringing new features to their CM device for as long as they could decrypt the updates on T1 and copy them over to their device. Ever since T2 and ever since J2 most likely started using different encryption, there was barely any update released for CM. They were leeching off of Titan product and updates- that is my impression of things, dont quote me on that. But yeah ever since T2, while T2 received tons of patches and new features, CM basically vanished in terms of support.

And as u say the timing couldnt be worse. The current gen is already ending and for all we know, we might need new devices for next gen, so its kinda pointless.

Anyways Im gonna skip the device then, still hope next xim has 5-6 usb slots onboard though and usb-c connection.

Offline proaim

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Re: Titan Two vs Cronus Zen vs XIM
« Reply #4 on: 11:15 AM - 11/16/19 »
ohh cronusmax i remember these crooks.

the main admin maxadmin? something like that, denied me a refund, so my bank told them off and got me my money back in the end.


Offline alanmcgregor

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Re: Titan Two vs Cronus Zen vs XIM
« Reply #5 on: 12:25 PM - 11/16/19 »
I don't know who is running that business but it feels like a teenager due its decisions.

Me, a random guy who start to write scripts for Titan Two a device someone give me, my scripts went popular and due request some fellas asked me to port the scripts to Chronus, so placed an order to get one, I sign on to the forum and then suddenly I was banned, just for the fact that my scripts were written for T2. I cancel my order fortunately without issues, then I learn about their legal beef with ConsoleTuner and all the shady stuff they did it.

Well I won't put my money there, no matter how hot its new product is.

Offline antithesis

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Re: Titan Two vs Cronus Zen vs XIM
« Reply #6 on: 07:33 PM - 12/23/19 »
I've had a quick hands-on with a beta Cronus Zen and thought I'd share some initial thoughts vs XIM APEX and Titan Two. Note that I deleted my most of my impressions above as it relied heavily on assumptions and I didn't want to toss out misinformation. Many of those assumptions have been confirmed or debunked now that I have a Zen in my hands.

The first thing I noticed is Zen Studio has copied parts of the XIM APEX Manager GUI, e.g max in-game sensitivity warning. Game Profiles are handy and use thumbnails similar to APEX Manager. Not as good, nor as customisable as APEX Manager, but if you can't beat'em, join'em...I suppose.

Mouse Tuning is very basic and doesn't make sense at a glance. Key and button to controller bindings are easy enough, but there are no separate ADS bindings, no Secondary bindings, nor anything resembling sub-configs. Nor are there any of the XIM APEX Expert settings like Boost, Sync, SA, SAB, Turn Assist, Invert, Toggle, Swap Stick, Push to Talk etc. There is a binding for Walk, YX ratio can be adjusted and a basic attempt at Ballistics and Smoothing is as good as it gets.

No ADS-specific settings means Cronus hasn't taken into account different look mechanics or dead zones for HIP vs ADS. This alone should raise a big red flag. The only ADS setting is ADS to HIP Ratio %, ADS sensitivity can't be set any other way.

DZ Adjustment is Zen's "killer feature" and probably why they think it's "as good as XIM APEX". Cronus is looking to the past for inspiration and is a decade out of touch as there's no compensation for things like timed acceleration, velocity jumps or Aim Assist.

Dead Zone Adjustment harkens back to the XIM 3 days. Circle Test to find the size of the DZ make sense, but it's a leftover from the old Cronus MaxAim plugin rather than a meaningful addition to Zen Studio. While the default Ellipse or Rectangle DZ settings can individually adjust X & Y values, it won't handle asymmetrical shapes like Fortnite or Rainbow 6 Siege DZs. We're likely to see noticeable pixel-skipping as Zen fights with the game's DZ due to the rudimentary tuning.

By contrast, XIM trains smart translators using machine learning for 12 hours per viewport (HIP & ADS) for each individual platform (PS4 & XB1 look mechs are different) for the best possible translation of the look mechanics to linear mouse input, including dead zone, acceleration, velocity etc. Zen has a handful of sliders and a couple of confusing settings  ???

There's an attempt at Ballistics via Acceleration, but it's linear and individual points cannot be customised. "Smoothness" is in there too, but I'm not sure what it does, nor why X & Y can be individually set. There's also a "Sensitivity Gain" setting, but I have no idea what it's supposed to do.

Input and Output polling have no settings at all, so there's no Sync or Response Rate equivalent to XIM APEX, nor Input / Output Polling equivalent to Titan Two. Zen may be using the VM processing loop as a global setting for this purpose, which would affect the responsiveness of mouse input due to limitations of the decade-old GPC programming language.

According to the creator of GPC (the codebase powering Zen), Zen is limited to 8-bit normalisation with 201 points of resolution (-100 to +100 for analog stick position), with no support for decimals that do register as movement with a controller or mouse. Zen lacks the granularity for fine micro-aim, whereas Titan Two uses 32-bit normalisation with 13 million points of resolution. I have no idea what's under XIM's hood, but it ain't 201 points of resolution.

There is no external power port on Zen, so don't expect high-power gear like Razer and Corsair to work. Maybe an external USB hub will be supported - I'll test it, but given Cronus' historical lack of USB hub support for additional devices (PS4 controller auth is supported via a USB hub), I don't hold high hopes.

For mods and Gamepacks, the VM Speed is adjustable rather than being locked at 10ms. That's a standard feature of GPC (vm_tctrl), so it's nothing new, but it's good to see it in the UI. It'll be interesting to see how this setting affects Gamepacks as they're built for 10ms VM loops and I'd expect there to be timing issues.

CPU usage is a potential issue for Zen. Zen's CPU load with no script loaded, nor any device connected, is 11% at 1ms. Plugging a mouse, keyboard and controller spikes the CPU to 17%. Moving the mouse pushes CPU over 20%. I can see that being an issue with a big script or Gamepack loaded as heavy CPU load could lead to input lag and heat problems.

By comparison, Titan Two sits at a touch over 1% of CPU with more devices connected (APEX, controller, m, kb, Fragpedals). It's rare for T2 to ever go above 10%, regardless of the size of the much faster and more complex GPC2 scripts. It's obvious from CPU utilisation alone that Cronus Zen uses older tech than Titan Two.

Zen is cheaper than a T2 and looks & feels it. Zen's USB ports feel stiff and require a bit of force to insert / remove devices. Like the CronusMAX PLUS, Zen still uses the ancient mini-USB port for PROG. It's an odd decision, but maybe they did it to make it obvious which of the included cables goes in which port.

In terms of functionality of Zen Studio vs Gtuner IV (Titan Two), Zen Studio is very basic and obviously targeted at noobs. It could use a lot of refinement as it looks mostly like a reskin of the dated Cronus Pro with inconsistent presentation between windows, but the basics are at least in place. Some T2 users find Gtuner IV intimidating because it's a full IDE, so ease of use is a plus for Zen Studio. Though Zen Studio is dumbed down for the target audience, some of the functionality makes no sense - I'll figure that out as I go.

My initial opinion of Zen hasn't changed - it looks to be CronusMAX PLUS 1.5 in a new shell. On-board Bluetooth is a big plus and not needing a PC for m/kb is nice, but functionally, I'm not seeing a lot to get excited about here for m/kb, which is what Cronus claims has taken the lion's share of development.

Bigger script support is a necessary upgrade over CronusMAX PLUS, which hasn't been updated in close to 3 years to add newer devices like Nintendo Switch, Xbox One S or Elite Series 2 controllers that all work on Titan One & Titan Two. The LED is a neat addition, but I can't see it being a significant upgrade given it's mounted on the device rather than a mobile app like XIM Manager and Gtuner Air.

On first impressions, Zen is the dummy's version of XIM APEX or Titan Two. That's not a bad thing as usability is important, but Zen is functionally not in the same league as either device. What Zen is is a simple entry point to console m/kb that'll scratch a curious itch for the budget-conscious, but I can't see it being satisfying for long as games poke holes in Zen's simplistic look mechanic and device support. I'll post further thoughts as I fire it up and have a play.
« Last Edit: 04:58 PM - 12/24/19 by antithesis »

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Offline antithesis

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Re: Titan Two vs Cronus Zen vs XIM
« Reply #7 on: 03:42 AM - 12/24/19 »
Quick observations after tweaking the mouse and kb in Zen Studio -

1. USB hubs do work. That's essential as it resolves the power problem for Razer & Corsair devices. Big tick there.
2. Wireless G305 mouse works (surprisingly), but custom mouse bindings don't, e.g button behind wheel mapped to the 'C' key doesn't detect on Zen. Mapping the C key on the kb to trigger the same binding on the mouse also does not work. The lesson here is Zen can only detect mouse buttons, so bind accordingly in your mouse app on PC.
3. Azeron does not work. That's expected in a beta product. Nav is supported, so there is an analog input option.
4. Logitech G310 kb works fine. To be expected, Logitech is the benchmark for compatibility.
5. Cronus Gamepacks are rudimentary compared to Titan Two. Not unexpected as they're mostly cut and paste jobs. They should improve as Zen Gamepacks with bigger, better mods start to populate the library.
6. USB port insertion / removal improves after a few cycles. I wouldn't call them a problem and they seem quite robust.
7. Mouse settings are difficult to understand and setup. At 3200 DPI and 1000Hz, with max Zen sensitivity and max in-game sens in BO4 (one of the few games with an existing profile), the reticle moves a few mm in any direction. It took 25 full swipes of the pad to do a 360. I'll try different DPI and Polling rates to see if they make any difference.
8. Cranking sens up using the Sensitivity Gain setting is janky AF. I'd post a video, but I want to make sure I know how this thing works beforehand. Beware that Gain is set to 20 by default.
9. Likewise, Acceleration at max is beyond awful with jumping of 50-100 pixels. Clearly, it's not intended to max out Acceleration, but I can't get the mouse to move otherwise and I'm out of options.
10. Circle test works, but I'm not sure what it's trying to achieve. Running the Circle test in BO4 showed heavy drift up and to the left, so something is amiss...maybe it only supports circular DZs. I know what it's supposed to do but need more time to figure this one out, I can't begin to think what noobs will make of it.
11. I have no idea what Smoothness is trying to do, but it's set to 99 by default. Setting Smoothness to 0 and Sensitivity to max exhibits exactly zero mouse movement.

I'll keep tinkering and try to get the mouse to move as expected. I'm no dummy and this thing has me stumped.

[UPDATE 1] - setting the mouse to 12K DPI and Polling to 125Hz significantly improved mouse speed, but I still don't understand how Sensitivity, Acceleration, Gain and Smoothness interact. I managed to get the mouse to a usable state with 0.01 Sens and Gain set to 3. That's roughly a 360 on my pad.

Mouse settings are a hot mess with no intuitiveness, e.g the Sensitivity scale seems inverted, or does nothing at all. Sensitivity changes seem to come from Gain, which is apparently a raw multiplier with increments between 1-100 and no decimals.

Going up to 25.50 Sensitivity (max) had no effect on mouse speed, but introduced acceleration & deceleration, made micro-aim impossible and severely impaired YX movement. As far as I can tell, Sensitivity is in fact Acceleration and vice-versa ??? Moving Smoothness downwards affects Sensitivity to the point where the mouse won't move, so I don't know what's going on with these settings.

As for aim, I haven't shot at anything yet, but angular movements are off. That might be a DZ setting, but I'm using the config supplied by Zen.

I'll keep testing and tweaking, so far this isn't the plug and play XIM-like experience Cronus is flogging. Yes, I get that it's a beta product, but the new m/kb "engine" has been in development for 3 years... ::)

[UPDATE 2] DPI can be set to preferred values with Gain increasing Zen sensitivity, e.g 3200 DPI and 15 Gain. Polling Rate however seems to need to be set to 125Hz, which is slow compared to XIM & Titan Two (neither of which have a problem with 1000Hz) and adds input lag. I haven't tried 250 or 500Hz yet, but expect there to be reduced Sensitivity and increased pixel skipping as polling increases. 250Hz should work, 500Hz might be pushing it. As far as I can tell, 1000Hz is unusable even at 12K DPI as using Gain to increase Sensitivity (nothing else works) severely degrades mouse input, resulting in massive pixel skipping.

There's also some weird angular acceleration at play that makes aim unpredictable. Like Smoothness, Acceleration appears to affect Sensitivity and mine was set to the default of 1.00 for X and 1.04 for Y, which would be the tweaked Zen values for BO4. Repeating the same movement patterns results in huge variance between angular left and right movements. Additionally, Y seems to randomly require significantly more upwards movement than downwards, I'll dig deeper into that.

As before, I'll keep tinkering but so far, not so good. Don't be offloading those APEXes on eBay just yet boys, this definitely ain't no XIM :-\

[UPDATE 3] I don't know what these mouse settings are supposed to be, but they're either labelled incorrectly, or the Cronus peeps have no idea what they're doing.

1. Sensitivity appears to actually be Acceleration and adds both deceleration & acceleration as the scale increases.
2. Acceleration appears to be Sensitivity, but aim falls apart as the scale increases with massive and unpredictable pixel skipping.
3. Gain seems to be a Sensitivity multiplier, but I don't know what it's multiplying. Pixel skipping is again a big problem as polling rate increases.
4. I have no idea what Smoothness does, but reducing it stops the mouse from moving.

There seems to be a small window in the middle of all of these settings where mouse behaviour is somewhat normal. Maybe the scaling just needs to be dialled back, but as it stands, deviating even slightly from the already janky recommended settings adds a tonne of unpredictable aim behaviour.

I'm trying my best to be objective here (I really am...), but based on first impressions and the thoroughly unintuitive mouse settings in Zen Studio, Zen m/kb is a trainwreck in the making. None of the mouse settings make any sense, polling rate is a problem and angular movements are random and unpredictable.

I'm not saying this to smear Zen as that is not at all the intention, I'm simply sharing my observations and can back it up with video proof. XIM on the other hand nails everything, there's a very good reason it's the market leader by a country mile. Titan Two also beats the pants off Zen for m/kb and it's very much a backseat passenger to other T2 features.

I'll persist and hopefully post a viable Zen setup in a few days after the Xmas stuff is out of the way as I'd like to at least offer a fair perspective that points out both the positives and the negatives. I will however make the call and state for the record that Cronus calling Zen "as good as XIM" is nothing more than wishful thinking. MAX-Admin at Cronus (who I know will read this sooner or later) told me I'd be eating crow when Zen hits the market, but I don't see it on my menu anytime soon :D

The sad part is Zen will sell very well and their noob users will likely never get to experience how good console m/kb can be. Any dissent among the Cronus community will meet with a swift banhammer, which has always been the Cronus way of getting their cronies to tow the company line.

Adios amoebas, have a great day tomorrow with your fams!
« Last Edit: 05:01 PM - 12/24/19 by antithesis »

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Offline Od1n

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Re: Titan Two vs Cronus Zen vs XIM
« Reply #8 on: 04:41 PM - 12/24/19 »
Another important question! (about the PS5) What if the next gen consoles send encrypted controller data and need a private key to decrypt, unique in each console?

That would lock out any device unless you opt into some sort of licensing program of the console manufacturer.
At least for next console generation i dont think that we will see something like that, there are too many downsides such as the higher battery drain because of the encryption calculation. Plus Microsoft announced that their new Xbox Series X controller will have ultra low latency reponse time, which sounds like it will be upped to 500hz or even 1000hz. That alone will increase the battery consumption significantly, i doubt theyll add encryption on top of that too. The battery would need to be A LOT bigger to pull that off. Plus it is already known that current Xbox One controller will work with the Xbox Series X. And while i dont know the hardware details of the Xbox One controller i doubt its CPU is capable to do authentication or even have the memory to store the (a)symmetric encryption key.

But even then i could see companies like Cronus attempting to break the encryption. I mean if encryption becomes a thing they will most certainly not use a complex encryption method to save on CPU/battery and authentication time. And since you already are a man in the middle when chaining your adapter between console and controller it shouldnt be all that difficult to obtain the shared secret or private key for that low/mid level encryption.
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Offline antithesis

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Re: Titan Two vs Cronus Zen vs XIM
« Reply #9 on: 05:01 PM - 01/06/20 »
Don’t mistake me for an idiot noob Glozzen. I have 13 years of m/kb experience on console with over a dozen m/kb adapters, I’m an alpha tester for XIM APEX and Titan Two and have contributed to several features on both devices.

I tested an array of polling and DPI settings on numerous mice with Zen (again I own dozens). Using max DPI settings heavily compromises all of the mouse settings in Zen Studio. 125Hz and 250Hz are viable polling rates, but 500 and 1000Hz are not.

In my limited experience of Zen, the mouse mechanics are heavily flawed with a small window of usability, let alone viability. The software sucks, the mouse settings don’t do what they describe or don’t work at all.

Zen’s m/kb support is a hot mess and Zen is very far from being on par with a XIM, or a T2 for that matter, despite Charlie’s claims. I offered to help improve Zen but that offer was ignored - it seems Charlie doesn’t appreciate honest feedback.

As I said, I’ll continue to test Zen to try to find optimal settings. I appreciate the offer of help, you can shoot me a PM here if you want me to test your settings.


And...none of this makes sense now because Glozzen deleted his post :(
« Last Edit: 11:04 PM - 01/06/20 by antithesis »

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Offline Od1n

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Re: Titan Two vs Cronus Zen vs XIM
« Reply #10 on: 08:51 PM - 01/06/20 »
Donít mistake me for an idiot noob Glozzen, Iím an alpha tester for XIM APEX and Titan Two. I have 13 years of m/kb experience on console with over a dozen m/kb adapters.

I tested an array of polling and DPI settings on numerous mice with Zen (again I own dozens). Using max DPI settings heavily compromises all of the mouse settings in Zen Studio. 125Hz and 250Hz are viable polling rates, but 500 and 1000Hz are not.

In my limited experience of Zen, the mouse mechanics are heavily flawed with a small window of usability, let alone viability. The software sucks, the mouse settings donít do what they describe or donít work at all.

Zenís m/kb support is a hot mess and Zen is very far from being on par with a XIM, or a T2 for that matter, despite Charlieís claims. I offered to help improve Zen but that offer was ignored - it seems Charlie doesnít appreciate honest feedback.

As I said, Iíll continue to test Zen to try to find optimal settings. I appreciate the offer of help, you can shoot me a PM here if you want me to test your settings.


And...none of this makes sense now because Glozzen deleted his post :(

Other people who (will) read this topic surely will appreciate your comment! :)
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Offline Jaxstevens

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Re: Titan Two vs Cronus Zen vs XIM
« Reply #11 on: 09:47 PM - 01/06/20 »
In my limited experience of Zen, the mouse mechanics are heavily flawed with a small window of usability, let alone viability. The software sucks, the mouse settings donít do what they describe or donít work at all.

Zenís m/kb support is a hot mess and Zen is very far from being on par with a XIM, or a T2 for that matter, despite Charlieís claims.

I'm also a Zen tester and I have to agree with the above 100%. Nothing seems to do as it says or is labelled and the skipping especially with swift movements is terrible. I don't understand the point of fanboys jumping to it's defence instead of pointing out these issues and trying to help improve the issues while it's still in beta, you'd think you'd want it to be the best it can.

It has potential but only if they listen and start to work out bugs and inconsistencies.
« Last Edit: 10:27 PM - 01/06/20 by Jaxstevens »

Offline antithesis

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Re: Titan Two vs Cronus Zen vs XIM
« Reply #12 on: 10:48 PM - 01/06/20 »
Thank you Jax, that helps not only XIM users as potential customers, but hopefully Cronus as a business.

MAX-Admin / Charlie has a stick up his arse with me due to my relationship with ConsoleTuner. He'll have you believe that I'm peddling BS in an attempt to nullify my opinion of Cronus Zen. More voices than mine help to portray that there are problems with the device, not the user.

I don't care whose logo is on the box, I'm simply relaying my experience with Zen, which thus far has been strongly negative. Zen is not the XIM-killer Cronus would have you believe (it's not even close), so buyer beware!
« Last Edit: 11:01 PM - 01/06/20 by antithesis »

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Offline cb57

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Re: Titan Two vs Cronus Zen vs XIM
« Reply #13 on: 10:13 AM - 01/07/20 »
I'm also in the Zen beta and completely echo everything that has been said here. None of the settings in the m/kb plugin really make sense. Smoothness at Zero keeps the mouse from moving at all? Sensitivity seems like it has no effect at all. Micro movements are impossible.


This is from 40ish hours JUST in the m/kb settings alone in playground/private matches. I haven't found ANY viable settings to use, and I've tried just about everything. Thus it's currently sitting on a shelf. I had semi-high hopes as it did seem to check a lot of boxes.

Offline Yungie

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Re: Titan Two vs Cronus Zen vs XIM
« Reply #14 on: 04:58 PM - 02/05/20 »
I thought I was the only one whose experiencing this. MaxAdmin is too stuck up with his own product. Cronus Zen m/kb feature is not as good or intuitive as the XIM Apex. I begged him to have the Cronus Zen support the XIM Apex, but he is so @#$% stubborn thinking that we donít need a XIM, and the Zen is just as good. Yeah BS. Cronus Zen is far behind the XIM apex. Zen m/kb conversion is trash, and the fact that their stuck up attitude makes it even more trash.