The XIM 4 Keyboard and Mouse Adapter Review
|Product Name:||Xim 4 Keyboard and Mouse Adapter|
|Platform:||PS4, Xbox One, 360, PS3|
|Features:||Compatible with Xbox One, PlayStation 4, Xbox 360 or PlayStation 3 with compatible PC gaming-grade hardware. Connects wirelessly using your compatible Android devices via Bluetooth or connects to PC via USB for gaming configurations. Active XIM4 community forum for product support, game support and hardware compatibility. Comes with XIM4 Smart Translator, 6' braided microUSB cable and Quick-Start Guide.|
Picking up from a previous article about the discrepancy faced by console gamers versus the PC players in the first-person shooter (FPS) genre, I was curious to see what were the more effective solutions out there that could possibly level the playing field for the console warriors. The XIM 4 Keyboard and Mouse Adapter happens to be a product that is suitable to translate keyboard and mouse control to the console, but from the onset lies this question:
Is the XIM 4 Keyboard and Mouse Adapter an effective solution?
Let’s have a look at this product and find out.
Compatible Peripherals: Keyboard, Mouse, Joystick, Joypad, Gaming Pad (and other similar ones)
When you see this product for the first time, you could instantly compare it to devices you would likely see in those futuristic action films. Don’t let the product design and its flashy lights deceive you, though, as beneath an intimidating exterior lies an adapter that provides the same pinpoint precision and accuracy that you would expect from a keyboard and mouse combo from a PC.
Setting up the XIM 4
The next thing that came to my mind when I saw this product was, “How do I get started on this thing?” Although it might not be as easy as “plug and play after flicking the switch”, but it is not exactly rocket science either.
The XIM 4 has 3 USB ports labeled from 1 to 3 (indicated by the number of dots atop the port) where you plug your keyboard, mouse, and console controller respectively. The adapter uses this sequence a way to recognize what is mapped to the left (d-pad and left thumbstick), right (face buttons, right thumbstick and triggers) and overall parts of the controller.
Once all of these are in place, the mini-to-USB port can be plugged into your console, where the XIM 4 will light up in red with a momentary green to blue to confirm connection to console. These connections are pretty straightforward, and the connection only takes a few seconds to initiate.
Now here comes the complex part.
If you try to pressing on the keyboard or moving/clicking on the mouse the first time, you will notice that they will not respond in-game. This is because both peripherals have not been mapped to the key configuration that is associated to the game you are currently playing.
To do this, you must first pair the adapter to a PC, Android or iOS device via Bluetooth (PC also provides a wired configuration) by switching that device’s Bluetooth on first, then pressing the “P” button on the adapter to make itself identifiable by other devices.
Once this is done, the XIM 4 is now paired up and can now be assigned a game’s key configuration from a separate program called XIM Manager (which you can be downloaded from their website or as an app in your smartphone).
Once this is set, you are all set! Well, at least for Xbox One and 360. For the PlayStation consoles, you will need to press the PS button on the connected controller first before you can proceed to play using the keyboard and mouse. But once that is out of the way, you will have all that you need to jump into your game.
I personally feel that there are a lot of steps to get going with this adapter, however I understand why this process has been put in place – the adapter needs to fully identify the general controller mapping first before assigning a set of key configurations for a game, and getting this protocol right is the best way to ensure a smooth and accurate mapping of controls.
Credits to the OBsIV channel for these in-depth videos.
XIM 4’s Multi-Console support is genius!
I have always been a fan of a turnkey solution for multiple implementations. Not only do I save on additional peripherals, but I also save on cost as well. Of these two, the most important to me of course, is the compatibility of any product across different consoles.
Why should you have to buy a product for Xbox 360 support only and not Xbox One or PS3/PS4?
You would think that at some point, or at least for consoles from the same manufacturer, there would be some kind of backwards compatibility with its controller drivers. But unfortunately that is not necessarily the case. And while I have shown much love for my Brook Super Converter, I would not mind spending just a few more bucks to get something multi-platform.
The XIM 4 is already multi-platform by default.
Bless the people at XIM Technologies with providing us a streamlined protocol that works extremely well on the two older-generation consoles (with the Xbox 360 and PS3) and new (Xbox One and PS4). A combination of common connectivity via USB, along with the adapter setup being streamlined for optimal access on all four consoles is what gives and will give the XIM 4 a lot of mileage.
Because of this, the ability provide the same FPS-gaming performance you enjoy on your console to someone else’s will never be a problem – and you do not even have to undo your entire setup! It is only the connection in the third USB port (console’s controller) that needs to be switched out. And once you assign the config to the adapter, your friend is ready to frag all day!
The only hangup I can possibly have about the multi-console implementation of the XIM 4 is how the PlayStation consoles require the controller to be switched on first before you can start playing, especially suspect when on the Xbox consoles you do not need to do so.
I am not sure if the adapter’s firmware requires a PS3/PS4 controller’s activation first to recognize which player is logged or if the firmware itself works similar to how a PC recognizes Windows Game controller.
Not quite an ideal scenario that would definitely put a frown on the PlayStation enthusiasts, but it will not likely be the hill they die on.
The XIM 4 does not limit you to using a keyboard.
For those who have been following this site for the past year, you would know that I am somewhat of an advocate for accessible gaming and innovative solutions that provide accessible gaming. I have always felt that every person regardless of physical or mental ability should be able to partake of an enjoyable gaming experience.
This, however, can prove to be a challenge in so many ways:
- For a game developer, it is very challenging to devise a key configuration that translates well to any control method.
- For the console manufacturer, the ability to adapt these configurations into their product’s available technology can definitely bring out some limitations that developers would need to consider.
- And with manufacturers of OEM or third-party control methods, putting all of these together and trying to make their solution marketable can be a pain.
But once in a while, a product will along that fits within these parameters – the XIM 4, most definitely, is one of them.
The XIM 4 allows the gamer to use alternate control methods from a keyboard as they see fit. If you are the type who leverages the compact yet hotkey-handy features of a gaming pad, you can definitely hook up this device. Like having a more traditional option for movement or looking? Swap out your mouse or keyboard with either a flight joystock or large analog stick.
The amount of customization with the input control actually reminds me of another product because of the multiple possibilities that can be done on a XIM 4. And its these multiple variations that prove to be advantageous for accessible gaming because it allows an impaired gamer to set up a method that works for them and translates it into the console’s and game’s input configuration for them to enjoy.
Not only that, but the XIM Manager allows the gamer to customize any standard configuration to suit their control method.
No need to worry about things like unforgiving X and Y endpoints of level of sensitivity severely limiting the capabilities of their setup, as they can simply open up a game config on the XIM Manager and fine tune their configuration as desired.
Users of the XIM 4, however, have given a disclaimer about the control methods used with this adapter, especially if the ones being used are at the higher end of quality and performance these products usually come with their own drivers where you can assign configurations onto them as well. For things like these, it is best to check out XIM 4’s Support section to see if your product needs any further tweaking.
And now, a little information on XIM 4’s signature Smart Translator Technology.
During serious moments of gamer, I (along with probably the next one in the same situation) am very particular about getting an immediate and accurate response in-game. And rightly so – I have said in the past that any gesture brought from any control method should have minimal to have no lag in translating into gameplay.
This is an especially critical aspect that console adapters face with absolute scrutiny – the ability to reuse your favored control method should only be second to input lag – if it were not, why bother? Why not just bite the bullet and either stick to that console’s default control method or spend money on what is comfortable to you but built for that console?
So what is reasonable input lag in this case?
Input lag is commonly associated with the amount of time it takes from when you do something on your control method up til the first frame of action on screen. The aim is to have a smaller number, but somewhere not over 5 frames is considered ideal.
Back to the response in-game – this is extremely criticial as this can pretty much dictate if you get shot in a skirmish or if you take out your target. It is this kind of precision that you can likely find in keyboard and mouse configurations on a PC.
Consoles, on the other hand, are a different kind of animal altogether – with each game developer implementing their own definitions of stick sensitivity, dead zones (neutral position) and stick travel, it would be very hard to translate this into something that feels more like a keyboard and mouse.
So why bother, then? Well, FPS gaming and the like deserve the same kind of feel that PC players have.
This is where XIM Technologies’ Smart Translator comes into play. In a nutshell, this technology visualizes the in-game space for the gamer and maps it accordingly to the keyboard and mouse’s movement. This is a quicker way to analyze view positioning in-game than other means as it proves similar to how a mouse’s laser area reads dots-per-inch on the surface where it runs.
The result of this is XIM’s guarantee of 1:1 precision – the slightest nudge that you do with your control method will immediately translate into something happening in-game right at that instant. And what makes this even better is the amount of support this technology has in being integrated in an expanding library of games, so you can be sure that you will be getting that instantaneous reaction in-game.
It should be noted, though, that while the list of games that support the Smart Translator are quite the number, there will be titles that have not been included. This will be most evident with newer titles as well.
For the time being, I believe this is not a big deal as the firmware that is already included in the product (as well as the XIM Manager) already contains the configuration for the most popular FPS/Action games in the market.
XIM 4 Keyboard and Mouse Adapter = Effective Solution? My Final Thoughts.
So after everything that has been said in this review, we will have to go back to the question I posed – is the XIM 4 adapter the most viable solution out there to get over the console FPS hump? To answer this, let us recap its Pros and Cons.
- Works on the 4 most popular consoles of the past decade.
- Compatible with most control methods is a plus, especially for accessible gaming.
- Streamlined setup for the adapter that works when followed directly.
- Gaming precision that feels like you are playing on a PC!
- At USD 150, it is very pricey for an adapter.
- Control methods that have separate configuration tools can make XIM Manager’s job more complicated.
- The extra step on Sony consoles (heck, that bugs me!).
- Would have been nice if it was plug and play, though!
Looking at the points, it seems pretty even, with the two biggest concerns being the price and the setup process. I personally cannot deny the one about the pricing – I could actually get a really good gaming keyboard and mouse (or two controllers for that matter) with that money.
But if money were not an issue, I think that the second concern (that being the setup) is a necessary step. They say that when you present a single way of doing something and the consumer follows it to the letter, they are guaranteed a great experience every time – and in the case of the XIM 4’s, what it has is definitely better than guessing the correct setup.
I highly recommend this product to those who are raring to get the most out keyboard and mouse control for FPS gaming – with the Smart Translator Technology bringing no lag or jitter, the XIM 4 Keyboard and Mouse Adapter is gonna guarantee a better gameplay experience and performance for FPS console gamers out there!
Let me know what you think of this product in the comments!
Learn More About the XIM 4 Keyboard and Mouse Adapter & What People Have to Say!