in Mice

Roccat Kone

Roccat Kone

Introduction

For the last few years the gaming peripheral market has really been dominated by two companies, Razer, and Logitech; with others like Microsoft corroborating with them to grab a small share of the market. Other companies have come out with great gaming headsets and mouse mats, but when it comes down to top gaming mice, no one else really gets a look in. However, over the last year of delays, a lot of buzz has been building over a company called Roccat, suffused with a ridiculously over the top viral marketing campaign, they have finally released the Roccat Kone. It’s a right handed, ergonomic gaming mouse with sexy lighting and impressive features.

Can it make an impression to raise Roccat into Loigitech and Razer leagues? Let’s see.

About Roccat

ROCCAT™ is the snow storm to the gaming industry. Everything called gaming before needs to be redefined. You will enter a world in which three attributes will keep you on the right path: alliance, independence and truth.

“DO IT YOUR OWN WAY AND DON’T TALK S***”

– this is the statement ROCCAT follows.

The ROCCATEERS can be found all over the world. And it was a revelation which led them together to energize the crucial benefit. The lake Inari long kept the secret our ROCCAT scientists call “Aimo”. With every ROCCAT tool you will more and more internalize its Energy. Become part of our alliance.

Features

  • 3200DPI Pro-AIM GAMING SENSOR: for maximum precision
  • TCU – TRACKING CONTROL UNIT: for increased tracking performance and reduced Pick-Up-Flight syndrome
  • INTEGRATED TURBOCORE (72MHZ): for enhanced processing power
  • ONBOARD MEMORY  (128KB): for up to 5 Game Profiles – stored directly on the mouse
  • CUSTOMIZABLE LIGHT SYSTEM: showing the full spectrum of colors
  • 4 EASY TO CLIP IN WEIGHTS: for individual weight adjustment
  • 10 MOUSE BUTTONS: 8 of them customizable + 4-way wheel
  • ERGONOMIC HYBRID SHAPE: with optimum grip + comfort
  • 16-BIT ARCHITECTURE: for accelerated data transfer
  • MOUSE FEET: ultra-quiet and low-friction

Technical Specification

  • True 3200dpi laser sensor
  • TCU – Tracking Control Unit
  • 1ms response time;  1000Hz polling rate
  • 16-bit data channel; 7080fps; 6.4 megapixel, 20g acceleration
  • 72MHz TurboCore processor unit
  • 128kB memory, update-/flashable
  • 1.65m/s(65ips)
  • Extended USB cable, cable diameter: 3mm

Further Information

Mouse Size

Maximum width ca. 13cm x ca. 6.5cm maximum length

Mouse Weight

118g (133g incl. cable)+4 optional weights in 5g,10g,15g or 20g

System Requirements

Windows® XP/Vista

USB 2.0 Port

CD-ROM Drive

Package Contains

ROCCAT™ Kone Gaming Mouse

Fastclip Weight System (4 weights) with Hard Case

Inari Case Mission Book with ID Card

ROCCAT Driver CD

Quick Install Guide

Box and Bundle

The packaging for the Kone mouse follows along with the theme of the viral marketing which involved deep sea diving in the Arctic to discover some mystical energy, hence the icy covered packaging; and let’s face it, it looks pretty damn cool. Big black polystyrene with a blue band and some snow effect plastic on top of the clear window in the centre.

Roccat Kone

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Flip the packaging over and their’s a fold out specification and feature booklet.

Roccat Kone

It’s got some great looking pictures and a small picture of a gormless looking “pro-gamer” commenting on how smooth the mouse’s acceleration is.

Roccat Kone

Popping open the packaging, which unfortunately requires the cutting of the vacuum packed plastic, you get – along with the mouse – a competition leaflet, a manual and a viral file of sorts, explaining in detail the deep sea diving expeditions for the strange energy source.

Roccat Kone

At the back of the viral file is your very own Roccat Id:Card with your personalized number on. Beat that Razer. Oh, and I’m sure they all end that way, but check out how mine ends. Yea. That’s right.

Roccat Kone

Weights

Like many gaming mice these days, the Kone comes with several different weights so you can customise the physical weight of your mouse, allowing for a more comfortable gaming experience depending on your wrist strength. The weights for the Kone come in a fancy little Roccat pack, along with the driver CD and a small foam mini disc to protect the contents.

Roccat Kone

Unfortunately the driver CD actually just activates a pop up window showing you the URL for the Roccat website, not even the driver, section which seems a little redundant. Gamer’s do know how to google Roccat.

Roccat Kone

Each weight features the Roccat panther logo, weight measurements and on the underside, a small metallic connector which I can only assume is to communicate to the mouse which weight puck is plugged in.

Roccat Kone

Roccat Kone

The Kone is hands down, one of the best looking mice I have ever seen. It features a soft rubber band running through it’s centre, edged by glossy black plastic, and a centralised black band which houses the central scroll wheel, DPI switching buttons and the windows key.

Roccat Kone

It’s an ergonomically shaped, right handed mouse with curved sections for finger placement, and a large clear Roccat logo on the back where the centre of your palm sits.

Roccat Kone

At the front on the right hand side is a small Roccat logo, stylishly placed and although they are hard to see, above it and on it’s opposite side is a clear band that when the mouse is powered on, is lit by internal LEDs.

Roccat Kone

The rear logo is surrounded by a nice glossy button and is also internally lit when the mouse is being used.

Roccat Kone

On the left hand side, you have the glossy black forward and back buttons, beneath which is a sizeable thumb impression which seems a little large for someone with miniscule hands like myself.

Roccat Kone

However on closer inspection, not so bad. Excuse the grubby thumb.

Roccat Kone


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Roccat Kone Continued

Moving back atop the Kone, you have DPI switching buttons with plus and minus clear sections, a jet black, soft rubber scroll wheel featuring 3 buttons, which appears to be a new trend with gaming mice. It has the standard down click, as well as left and right tilt buttons.

RoccatKone

Just in front of said scroll wheel is one final button which is defaulted to the windows key, which I’m dubious to it’s usefulness, but it’s one more button you can remap with the software.

Roccat Kone

Turning the whole thing over the underside has the usual myriad of barcodes, the centralised sensor with the white ring around it and the weight changing area. However, at the top is what looks like a microswitch with a clear plastic cover. This is in-fact something called the “Tracking Control Unit.” We’ll discuss this more in the software section of the review.

Roccat Kone

The weight changing is performed by simply pressing the small button next to the weight puck, which then ejects it quite forcibly, allowing you to test them out, and choose your preference.

Roccat Kone

The base of course features the industry standard teflon feet, for maximum glide across most surfaces.

Roccat Kone

The cable isn’t anything special, just your standard rubber job. However, it is reasonably long which some will find useful, others irritating. It’s nice to see Roccat haven’t succumbed to the Razer tradition of gold leafing the USB connector and have instead opted for the just as efficient, nickel coated job.

Roccat Kone

Software

The software for the Roccat Kone continued the levels of aesthetic quality that the mouse itself had with no aliased edging or hard to read text like other mice have had *cough* Ideazon Reaper *cough*.

The first page might seem a little overwhelming to start, but take a few seconds and you’ll see that everything is neatly laid out and menu’d correctly with tabs for everything. The first main tab is “Main Control” and features sensitivity options, DPI switching (though this can be done with the mouse buttons), mousewheel scroll speed, double click speed and “Button Assignment”; key mapping to the rest of us. This is incredibly versatile giving you the option of a huge variety of key options per button, with everything from X/Y axis sensitivity adjustment, profile switching, macros of your own creation, profile switching and pretty much anything else you can conjure up from the other settings.

[Roccat Kone Gaming Mouse]

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The next tab however “Colour Control” is where you’ll be spending much of your time though, I assure you. Here you can manually alter every LED lighting segment in the mouse to a myriad of different colours: blues, greens, yellows, white, pink, red, orange etc. You can also add lighting effects: randomised colours, rotating colour switching in different directions and whether they pulsate, or pound to a heartbeat rhythm. It’s all simple and easy to achieve and can be accomplished in seconds.

See the next page for several different colour shots of the mouse in action.

[Roccat Kone Gaming Mouse]

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The next page features some more advanced settings with X/Y axis fine tuning, mouse acceleration adjustment and even the windows pointer speed control usually found in the control panel; saves a few clicks I suppose. Polling rate is also adjustable here, though most of you will know that bigger is almost always better here, so leaving it at 1000MHZ is probably best. Driver reset is also possible with a simply click of the reset switch in the button right.

However, my favourite and probably the most intuitive feature I’ve seen in a while is the TCU, or Tracking Control Unit, which is designed to inspect the material that you are mousing over (cloth, plastic, glass etc.) and detect it’s DPI, adjusting the mouse’s sensor accordingly. On paper, it doesn’t sound like much, but on activation it increased the sensitivity of the mouse to no end, improving accuracy and movement speed. A good analogy would be that it added on the difference between 1600 and 3200 DPI ontop of the already set 3200 DPI making this probably the mouse sensitive mouse I’ve ever tested. Even beating the 4,000 DPI Saitek GM3200.

[Roccat Kone Gaming Mouse]

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The next section unfortunately doesn’t feature a built in updater, but does allow for quick access to the support and update locations of the Roccat website along with a fancy spanner logo.

[Roccat Kone Gaming Mouse]

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The help/support tab is identical to the update panel, so perhaps this will be improved on in future versions of the software.

[Roccat Kone Gaming Mouse]

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Of course on all panels you can change the profile to one of the Defaults, rename them, load them, save them or adjust on the fly which is all done in the lower section of the software window. Overall the program was incredibly well presented and easy to understand, top marks here.

Colour Changes

This page simply features LED colour switch shots.

The standard dark blue, with lighter blue logo (appearing white due to slight over-exposure of the camera).

[Roccat Kone Gaming Mouse]

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[Roccat Kone Gaming Mouse]

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Lighter, icey blue defaulted on the front LED.s

[Roccat Kone Gaming Mouse]

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Going for a girlier theme, pink rear logo with purple edges, fading from darker to lighter violet.

[Roccat Kone Gaming Mouse]

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[Roccat Kone Gaming Mouse]

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Got a green rig? No problem, adjust your LEDs accordingly.

[Roccat Kone Gaming Mouse]

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[Roccat Kone Gaming Mouse]

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While the lighting feature might be purely aesthetic, it allows everyone to have the coloured mouse that they want with all the other aspects of the mouse. This allows people to be completely happy with their choice of rodent, and even colour code it to the rest of their PC if they so wish. For years I’ve had a blue lit PC, with a bright orange Razer Krait. Now it’s nice and blue. Icy blue, because why have it default when you can change it to whatever you want?

Testing

Test Rig

Processor Intel Core 2 Duo E6600 @ 3.2GHZ
Motherboard MSI 680i Diamond
RAM Super Talent 6400 4GB @ 1200MHZ
Graphics Card Vvikoo 8800GT 1GB DDR3
HDD Western Digital Raptor 75GB, Western Digital Caviar SE 80GB
OS Windows XP Pro x86

Methodology

Mice and other peripherals fall into an interesting category for testing as your opinion on them tends to be very personal, as the mouse or keyboard has to be right for you, beyond having the specifications to do what you want with it. Therefore these reviews can be highly subjective so as always, please make sure to test a mouse for yourself before you buy it.

However with that said, our testing methods involve using the mouse over prolonged gaming and general usage periods to test it’s gaming ability, functionality and comfort.

The games used for testing were as follows:

  • Call of Duty: World and War Beta
  • Command and Conquer Generals: Zero Hour
  • Transport Tycoon Deluxe (OTTD Version)

NB. All recorded “results” are taken after a few hours of usage have occurred. I deemed this necessary as I have been using an ambidextrous mouse for years and found the move to a more ergonomic mouse quite disconcerting. Now however, I wouldn’t go back.

Results

Gaming Ability

CoD WaW

Since the beta hadn’t been out long I thought World at War would make a good choice as an FPS and a good excuse to spend a few afternoons gunning down Nazis and Imperial forces. I began the game in my usual FPS multiplayer style, run and gun. Selecting the light gunner I proceeded to irritate the more strategy conscious of my teammates by sprinting around the select few maps, spraying bullets in every direction and having a good laugh. However, over time I became a bit more considerate of hidden enemy snipers and the ever present opposite number run and gunners, and took on a more strategic approach to things. Occasionally testing out the sniper and rifle classes. Throughout my whole experience with the beta I found the Kone to be near perfect for me. It sat well in my hand, glided beautifully and thanks to it’s high sensitivity – due to the large DPI and TCU calibration – I never had to lift the mouse and track again, even on the rather small mouse mat I was using.

The buttons can be pressed from the back as well as the front which is great for my stubby fingered self, and having recalibrated the side buttons to weapon switching and grenades, I was finding the speed of my gaming improve over my older, 1600DPI Razer Krait. Not only that, but the onboard DPI switching (hardly a novel feature, but useful nonetheless) allowed for quick switching when entering turrets for a slight hardware advantage over the other players.

While it’s hard to come up with ways that you really felt this gaming mouse might be superior over another, as they all tend to have the same kind of advantages over a standard mouse, but few over each other, the TCU adjustment made this so incredibly sensitive at points it was bordering on difficult to use. However, thanks to the DPI switching I was able to pick and choose the moments to fully open up the Kone’s power, and it felt good.

CnC Generals: Zero Hour

With Generals I was more interested in the macro functionality of the mouse, and it’s remapping features. Having a flick through the manual to read up on keyboard shortcuts, I mapped them to different buttons on the mouse, and added a profile switcher to the very front button to allow me to change the key layout depending on which army I played as.

In practice, the keyboard shortcuts save you only a few seconds, but in a high pace game against a top notch player, it can make all the difference; especially if you are adopting a rush strategy, those few seconds of build time saved can make all the difference.

While this part of the results could easily have been added to the functionality section, it showed a practical use for the button remapping and shows that gaming mice have a place in slower, more strategic games as well as fast paced FPS titles.

OTTD

Transport Tycoon Deluxe, for those who don’t know it, has been around for 15 years or so and is still going strong with a large open source remake community coming up with new maps, buildings, challenges and AIs. However, one thing the game has always required, thanks to it’s rather rigid building structure (due to it’s pseudo 3D perspective) is accuracy; and the Kone did very well indeed. While I had to adjust the sensitivity to a lower setting occasionally to stop the track’s going off in all directions from just a small movement, the Roccat managed to lay the track down exactly where I wanted it.

This mouse is hardly necessary for a game like this, but it’s a good title to test the basics of a mouse’s accuracy.

Functionality

We have already addressed the macro and key mapping ability of the mouse in the CnC Generals section of the Kone’s gaming ability testing, but what about other features it has? Are there advantages to general usage with a gaming mouse such as this? Well while it’s not exactly the quickest way of doing things the windows key at the front of the mouse can become quite useful if you learn to use it. You also have the side buttons which are default mapped to forward and back in your browser window.

The teflon feet allow for seamlessly smooth transition across your mat of choice, and while it doesn’t appear to glide quite as well as some of the smaller, lighter mice we’ve reviewed in the past, it is more than enough for most. The side buttons on the scroll wheel feel a bit alien to use, and apart from leaning in a shooter title – which can easily be accomplished with the Q and E keys – I have yet to find a practical use for them. I’m sure it will come over time, but for now they see little use.

The only complaint I have in terms of the Kone’s functionality is that the middle scroll wheel’s down press button is far to stiff out the box. Over time it does become softer but at first it takes a fair amount of force which can be irritating at points.

Comfort

Comfort wise, the Kone does very well indeed. It’s soft rubber coated buttons are smooth against your palm and fingers, and the ergonomic side indents for your fingers and thumb work well on a variety of hand sizes. As stated before the teflon feet mean no bumpiness when moving the mouse, and all the buttons bar the scroll wheel’s are easy and comfortable to use.

One issue I did have was with a slight bit of wrist pain after a half hour period when first using the mouse. However, this was down to the fact that I had put the heaviest weight in the mouse (20g). Changing this down to the 10g version made a huge difference and the pain went away immediately. I would recommend the heavier weights only for those with very strong wrists who feel the mouse is too light otherwise.

Cost

Cost wise the Kone is a tad expensive for the casual gamer and may be out of some people’s price ranges. Most retailers place the price between £45 and £55 with the average around £52. This is at the top end of mouse prices, with equivalent’s from Razer and Logitech being about the same for their top end models.

Conclusion

Conclusion? I’m blown away. This is hands down the greatest mouse I have ever used. It’s just an incredibly well put together and polished package; the year’s delay was definitely worth it. The packaging and software have great aesthetic quality with the latter being easier to use than the former, but that’s forgivable. The TCU feature is excellent, increasing the sensitivity of the mouse to an insane point where it becomes unusable in certain situations. The key mapping is intuitive and extensive giving you as many options as I’ve seen from any mouse before.

The in game performance, functionality and comfort were all excellent though the stiff scroll wheel button annoyed me a couple of times, the rest of the package really outshone this minor detail. As did the great array of customisable LED lighting which I’ll be playing with long into the future.

The only other minor gripe I have is the price, but while it’s expensive, it’s not astronomical and it really is worth it. The Roccat Kone receives a double thumbs up from XSR and an Editor’s choice to boot. If you’re looking for a new gamer mice, there really is no alternative.

Pros Cons
Packaging, software and mouse all look fantastic Stiff scroll button
Customiseable lighting and weight Top end of mouse pricing
Awesome in-game performance and sensitivity thanks to high DPI and TCU
Very comfortable

award

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Thanks go to Powerdrive-Computers for providing us with this mouse.

This review was syndicated on tech seed.

  • http://www.talkingabouttech.com Anthony

    I purchased this mouse recently – best mouse I ever owned.

    Very pleased with it, you can check out my full review here:

    http://www.talkingabouttech.com/?p=229