The Bottom Line
While ATEN is known mostly for its KVM devices and high-end AV switches, they have also produced a broad portfolio of communication, cables, and emulation devices. This product range happens to include gamepad emulation in the form of the Phantom S that we have in house today.
The Phantom S UC3410 is the second revision of ATEN's hardware emulation platform. For those that do their gaming on a console, this solution aims to increase your fragging ability by putting a keyboard and mouse at your fingertips. To do this effectively, ATEN has developed what they are calling ACT technology, "Agile Control Transfer," which provides smooth mouse movement along with enhanced continuous fire ability.
Compatibility of the ATEN Phantom S includes Xbox 360, Xbox One/S and X along with PS3 and PS4 / Pro. The MSRP comes in at $99.99 with a two-year warranty.
Packaging is clean with branding at the top with clear compatibility listed at the bottom.
The back allows ATEN to go into more detail about their Phantom S platform including the software which we will touch on shortly.
With the Phantom S, we get a solid amount of USB cables along with a 3.5mm chat cable for Xbox.
Diving right in, the Phantom S is a full metal box with several LEDs on the front. These denote power, settings, and the mode you are in.
On the bottom, you will find three Type-C ports labeled for there intended use.
The top gives us an array of micro B connections. For console use, you can plug into the game or power ports, and for setting up the software, you will want to plug into the PC port and power port. We also have the data port for chat audio and reset button at the far left.
Here we have the setup diagram from ATEN.
The internals of the Phantom S give us a look at the programmable input controller to the left
The back side holds the horsepower of the Phantom S with the ARM Cortex M3.
Above, you can see my setup for testing. We have keyboard and mouse plugged in along with our Xbox One controller. Power is going to the front of the console.
The software for the Phantom S includes a list of basic profiles. Using your F keys on your keyboard, you can swap between them.
Choosing a profile, we can slide into customization. In this menu, it allows us to fine-tune the speed of cursor movement and deadzones.
I used the ATEN software for several gaming sessions slowly getting the controls where I wanted them. It would be best if you could go through and match your Xbox or PS4 controls to the PC version of each game, but if you don't have time for that, I did find that IOGear Keymander software works with the Phantom S without issue and has far better support for gaming profiles.
Keyboard and mouse settings can be further setup with the settings menu, and this is where you should start first to be honest.
Testing the ATEN Phantom S was a multi-day process. I initially had short gaming sessions in between my daily life, but I was able to sit down this past weekend and game for hours with the Phantom S, my trusted ROG Claymore, and Strix Evolve mouse. I came away with several impression with this device, but first, let's talk about quality.
For your $99, ATEN has put together a solid platform, slightly upgraded from the past UC410 with a full metal exterior and better internal components. This should go a long way in terms of induced lag from converting keyboard and mouse control through your controller.
On to testing, as mentioned, I did have several sessions with the Phantom S playing Battlefield 1, Just Cause 3, and Far Cry 4, and for the most part, I always came away frustrated. While this device is plug and play and will work with no software setup, it does benefit you to take the time to set up all your game profiles in the software. Default controls are awkward at best and really intensify the gaming experience when you are searching for what key does what mid-session.
The software included from ATEN is quite good, and you really should take advantage of it by setting everything up for the best experience. However, I did find that there were no preconfigured game profiles for this unit included or downloadable. Searching the internet, I found the IOGear Keymander which has the exact software with much better support for profiles, albeit for older games.
For those that can't afford to build or buy a gaming PC and are stuck with a console, the ATEN Phantom S is a small investment that could increase the fun factor of playing first-person shooters.
The Bottom Line: ATEN has put together a fairly solid piece of kit with the Phantom S, although the software could use further support with profiles to make life much easier.
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