ROCCAT is one of those companies that you rarely hear about, which is a shame really, because they make some pretty decent stuff. Based in Hamburg, Germany, the company manufactures a number of gaming peripherals and accessories that are definitely on par with models from some of the more well known companies out there, and offer a few treats that others do not.
Recently, I was given a chance to go hands one with two of their feature products, the Kone [+] USB Laser Mouse and the Isku illuminated gaming keyboard. Both products are nice, and both deserve individual reviews, so in this review I’ll go over the Kone mouse only.
The name Kone, like all of ROCCAT’s devices, is Finnish, and translates simply into “Machine.” With all the bells, whistles and lights, that name is certainly apt. The Kone [+] (simply referred to from now on as Kone, because I hate typing those damn brackets) features a maximum DPI of 6000, which is incrementally adjustable by means of two buttons under the center mouse wheel/button, and has all the fully customizable features you would want from a gaming mouse. With the ability to switch between 5 separate on-board profiles, you can choose which settings, configured buttons, and even sensitivity is right for the particular game you are playing at the time.
The center mousewheel not only serves as a button, but also tilts left and right allowing further action assignments. So, you could assign and action to the center button, scrolling up or down, and to the left and right tilts, allowing 5 fully customizable actions with the one button. You also have two buttons along the left side, near the thumb that are also customizable, and within easy reach. Further customizations are possible with the use of Easy Shift, by holding a combination of buttons down simultaneously. The sheer number of button assignments and customizations is mind numbing, and I have yet to fully explore all of them. The advantage the Kone has over other gaming mice is that by using Easy Shift you can eliminate the issue of having too many buttons.
The construction is solid, and the mouse has a thick rubber feel to it. The ROCCAT logo is featured prominently on the palm rest, and two led lights run the length on either side. These lights can be customized too, and reflect either your current profile, or personal choice. Colors are as varied as you want them, and you can choose to have the lights remain always on or off, blink, or flash in either a heart beat or breathing pattern. You can even choose to flow the colors across 4 different colors, and can elect to have all lights change simultaneously, flow up, flow down, or side to side in either direction. While it is certainly neat, for my part I elected a simple blue effect, with a breathing effect.
Next up is the Advanced Control features, where you can modify the tracking and distance sensitivity and a few other items as well. The Tracking Control Unit allows you to calibrate the mouse to your mousepad, couple that with the distance control unit, and you can adjust the tracking sensor in the mouse for better performance. You’ll also find a Sound Control feature – in short, this mouse talks to you. Whenever selecting a DPI, the mouse will relay which setting you choose via your speakers or headset. It’s a WTF moment if you are not prepared for it, but it certainly has saved me the confusion and wonder of which setting I have selected at the moment.
The Kone and included driver/software take a little getting used to. There are so many choices, profiles and customizable features that you will have to sit down and play with it a bit, and it might benefit you to read up on the documentation. I found that applying changes and customizing the mouse was a little sluggish, and it seemed as though the mouse had to sit and decide if I really meant what I selected. Once applied, the settings truly allowed the mouse to shine, though. Similarly, getting the software to open up on my desktop was sometimes a chore, as it would hang. I still have not settled on exactly what it is that causes the issue, but simply selecting the software from your taskbar or notification area does not seem to work. However, I will state that other manufacturer’s software applications for their items have frustrated me so thoroughly, as to cause me to uninstall them completely.
In all, there are 22 programmable mouse functions, 5 available profiles, and a macro manager, with easy recording for your specific sequences, giving this mouse a rather large selection of choices and options for any gamer. It’s hard to talk about them all, really because there are so many to explore, but I will say that in this respect, the ROCCAT Kone is the equal of any other mouse out there.
In the end, though, it all comes down to pricing. The Kone is set at about 80.00 USD, depending on which retailer you purchase from. In terms of similar features, it is priced at the same level as other products. Yes, spending 80 bucks may not be an option for most of us, but sooner or later that OEM mouse that you use now, probably scavenged from other systems (like many of mine are) is gonna go belly up. Replacing a mouse with a higher quality item will prevent you from having to replace that one after a few months of continuous abuse. The solid construction and customization available means the Kone will stand duty on your desktop for a good long time.
Rick first got his start in gaming with the Atari 2600 console, and it was all downhill from there. Now he spends his free time writing about games and technology for Sergeant Merrell, and is also on the Off Duty Gamers staff. His prior service as a United States Marine, and in law enforcement, give him a peculiar sense of humor, so be advised.