As I mentioned at the beginning of the Roccat Isku review, I bought very plain hardware when I built my first gaming PC 15 months ago. The motivations behind the choice were financial (as the standard mouse was quite affordable) and ignorance (as I hadn’t done any research on gaming mice and was unable to make an informed purchase). After having played games designed for the PC though, the advantages of a gaming mouse were quickly evident. Consequently, I was excited to try out the Roccat Kone [+].
The right-hand only mouse is made out of a black plastic that allows good grip on the sides but also has a rubber coating on top that keeps the Kone [+] from sticking to palms. The form of the mouse was unexpectedly comfortable. The inward curve on the thumb-side made holding the thing a breeze. There are a lot of buttons on the Kone [+], five more than would be found on a standard mouse, including a left and right push function on the scroll wheel. Two thin ones line the top edge of the thumb curve, while two sit below and one more above the scroll wheel.
Another aesthetic touch is that the mouse has two thin strips of lighting along the left and right. The neon toned colors can be adjusted with the mouse’s software as well as the pattern in which the lights blink. To be honest, it’s a bit gimmicky. While I can see the advantage of having a backlit keyboard, striped lighting doesn’t help users locate the Kone’s particular buttons. As it doesn’t harm the gameplay experience though, the worst that can be said about the feature is that it’s gauche and superfluous.
As trying to analyze the technical specs would be beyond my depth, I’ll instead relate my experiences. The mouse handled great across a variety of surfaces. The two buttons that lie under the scroll wheel change the DPI (the relationship between hand and cursor movements) and each setting provided either the minute movements that I needed when sniping in Tribes: Ascend or the high speed turning needed when engaging in duels in the same game. Whether in-game or out, the mouse didn’t glitch the cursor or jitter in any way. If there was any delay, it wasn’t noticeable at all. By setting the distance control level in the software, lifting the mouse to change positions also provided accurate results even when raising it only slightly off surface.
In terms of handling, the buttons are a little stiffer, but in a good way. The scroll wheel has a very deliberate feel that made switching between weapons more accurate. I have the tendency to fly past items when scrolling, so this was particularly useful. Four included 5g weights also allow users to change the mouse’s weight up depending on preference. Speaking of changing things up, let’s get to Roccat’s specific features.
For those who’ve already read the Isku review, the EasyShift should be a familiar concept. With the press of button, all other buttons on the mouse gain alternate functions. This allows for a wider variety of either plain shortcuts to keys which you’d like easier access, to creating programmable macros. What I found this feature most useful for was for gaining access to weapons’ alternate functions in FPS games and using a unit’s specific abilities in RTS games. As the EasyShift key is defaulted to the rear, thin button at the top of the thumb indentation, activating the alternate keys is quite accessible.
The software for the Kone [+] is extremely similar to that which came with the Isku. Macros can be programmed in greater detail. Keys on the mouse can be personalized to a user’s taste. Five different profiles can be created, saved, and loaded at any time. As mentioned before, the lights along the sides can be changed to whichever color and pattern setting users would like (including the subtle, underappreciated ‘off’). DPI settings can be customized. In short, the software provides the mouse with the flexibility and personalization that makes the PC platform so compelling and worthwhile.
Lastly, there’s the Roccat Talk feature. This allows buttons on Roccat devices to affect other peripherals. For instance, the EasyShift key that exists on the Kone [+] also exists on the Isku. By pressing the Isku’s key, users can activate the alternate buttons on the Kone [+] and vice-versa. Another example is that pressing a button on the keyboard will change the DPI on the mouse, freeing users from having to use the buttons that lie under the scroll wheel. While neat in theory, I found myself not using it in practice. Also, be aware that as of now, only the Isku and Kone [+] have this feature implemented.
As is important with any hardware purchase, the best type of research one can do is personally experiencing the product- seeing how it fits your hands and whether it’s comfortable or not. That being said, I can confidently tell you that I had a fantastic experience with the mouse and am excited to continue using it. The build is a perfect fit for my hand and the EasyShift feature continues to excite me as it allows for more functions without the addition of more buttons. While I left lukewarm on the Roccat Talk, that was due more to how I felt comfortable using my hands more than anything else. If you’re interested in what the Roccat Kone [+] is aiming to do, know that it manages hit mark.
Here’s the Rundown:
+ Comfortable design
+ Flexible customization
+ EasyShift performs as advertised
– Neon strips are bit much
– Roccat Talk feature not as useful as I had hoped
The Roccat Kone [+] was developed and manufactured by Roccat and is available at the retail price of $ 74.99. It was provided by the manufacturer to RipTen for the purposes of review.