Roccat Kone 3200dpi Gaming Mouse Page: 1
Introduction
 
RoccatEver felt as though your otherwise unbeatable fragging skills were being held back by your computer? After all, one's computer is only as fast as it's slowest component and this of course includes the ever so important mouse device. For a fast moving game, it's imperative to be able to act quickly when the need arises and this is exactly where a gaming mouse comes into it's own. So you say, “Show me the way to go. How about Logitech? What about Razer?”. In this review, we're going to say, “not necessarily”, by moving away from the two brands that are steadily duopolising this market segment, and investigating a product from a relatively recent brand on the block. The Roccat Kone.
 
In 2005, brand “Roccat” entered the fray of niche peripheral manufacturers with the promise to offer products that would redefine what we know as performance gaming. They currently have a fairly small product lineup, offering a number of gaming headsets, a laptop carry bag, a keyboard and of course the Kone mouse. When I visited their website to find out more about the themselves, I was baffled to find no point blank mission statement or objective. Instead, I was presented with a story about the discovery of a peculiar glowing substance within the depths of Finland's Lake Inari, which was said to be the cause of a chain of mysterious events. The story was there to convey the notion that the designers at Roccat Studios are putting together much more than just a portfolio of computer peripherals for the average PC user, but infact a unique arsenal of equipment that embrace something truly special. Again playing on the same ideas, Roccat suggests that gaming without their products is like an “arctic winter without the deathly cold” and that opting to buy their products will give users their very own slice of mystical pie that unleashes the powers of Lake Inari's glowing material from within.
 
Now, marketing spiel or not, the line of thinking that Roccat seem to be trying to convey to the reader is one that is very much akin to a brand whose goals include setting the standard in their target markets rather than fighting from the sidelines along with the flocks of smaller “me too” brands that will merely build upon competitors' successful formulae. Naturally, we want to see whether or not the Kone mouse is worthy of wearing that aggressive Roccat badge, a badge that is meant to signify a company with very high standards. So without further a do, the specifications of the mouse are as follows.
 
• 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
• Maximum width ca. 13cm x ca. 6.5cm maximum length
• Weight: 118g (133g incl. cable)+4 optional weights in 5g,10g,15g or 20g
• Right handed mouse design.
 
Looking purely at technical specifications that can be compared with other mice, what we have here is a 3200dpi mouse that it capable of a polling rate of 1000Hz and a response time of 1ms. The pricing of the Kone positions it well above the value for money OCZ Behemoth mouse and in line with the comparable Logitech G9 and Razer Lachesis, which features a superior 4000dpi sensor.


Roccat Kone 3200dpi Gaming Mouse Page: 2
Packaging & Initial Impressions
 
Opening a conventional brown cardboard box lay the package that contained the Roccat Kone. Made from a mix of transparent plastic and black polystyrene, it proudly displayed the mouse in all it's glory. The package opened like a door, allowing the user to gain easy access to it's contents. Everything appeared to have been packed securely so to avoid the mouse from being damaged.
 
Roccat Kone Box Roccat Kone Contents
 
Other than the mouse itself, it was bundled with a multilingual installation leaflet and a box that contained the Kone's additional weights and a driver CD.
 
Roccat Kone Driver CD Roccat Kone Weights
 
Upon first inspection, the mouse looked fairly conventional for a gaming mouse, formed from a mix of matt and glossy black finish as well as it's 10 buttons and 4 way scroll wheel. Usable surfaces of the mouse were also rubberised for a firmer grip. The scroll wheel and buttons between the left and right clicks felt well put together, although I was disappointed by the thumb buttons on the left hand side, which felt very light and also emitted an audible and higher pitched click.
 
Roccat Kone Rear Roccat Kone Side
 
Roccat Kone Front Roccat Kone Side
 
The bottom of the mouse revealed the modular weighting system, allowing the user to use one of the supplied weights of either 5g, 10g, 15g or 20g, which can be swapped by pressing the button next to it that activates the release catch above the weight. The new weight simply slots and clicks into place. Also note the TCU sensor towards the front of the mouse.
 
Roccat Kone Weights Roccat Kone Weights
 
Roccat Kone Sensor Roccat Kone Sensor
 
Installation of the Kone mouse is very easy, carried out by loading the CD and following the on screen instructions. After installation, it's required to restart the computer and only then should the mouse be plugged in. I did not experience any trouble at all.
 
It lives! As you can see, the LED's are very effective, neither weak or too obtrusive. Just right for both bright and dark environments.
 
Roccat Kone LED Blue Roccat Kone LED Red
 
Roccat Kone LED Green Roccat Kone LED Multi
 
My name's Roccat. Hear me roar!
 
Other than my slight reservation with regards to the thumb buttons, there was no reason to believe that it's build quality was unsatisfactory. Let's have a more indepth look at the configuration software for the Kone mouse, which is where all the magic happens!


Roccat Kone 3200dpi Gaming Mouse Page: 3
 
Software & Configuration
 
As I mentioned previously, the Kone comes with it's own configuration utility. In here, it is possible to manipulate all of the variables related to a mouse that you could possibly imagine. The user interface is well laid out and easy to understand, clearly split into 5 sections shown as follows.
 
Main Control
 
In this section, it is possible to assign the functionality of the Kone's buttons with a long predefined list of commands including “Button OFF”. Additionally, sensitivity, mouse wheel and scroll speed can be adjusted in small increments. Fairly standard stuff.
 
Driver Control
 
 
Colour
 
This is where things get a little more interesting for those that are particularly interested in the Kone's lighting system. Here, it is possible to enable/disable the lighting, independantly assign each LED one of 38 colours and even assign a flashing pattern.
 
Kone Colour Controls
 
 
Advanced
 
Here lies the juicy variables. In this section, it is possible to select the polling rate of choice, sensitivity of both x and y axis, mouse acceleration and windows pointer speed. Finally, this is where profiles are saved to and loaded from.
 
Kone Advanced Controls
 
 
Update
 
This tab will scan your mouse to find it's current firmware version and see if there are any updates available. If there are, it will take you to Roccat's download section of their website.
 
Kone Update Page
 
 
Help/Support
 
Got problems with your Kone? No problem! Follow the link in this tab to see the support section of the Roccat website.
 
Kone Help
 
Various attempts to try and crash the program by means of repeatedly changing settings, loading and saving profiles were unsuccessful. The application was stable and applied settings to the mouse fairly quickly. With a memory usage of just 10MB, it's hardly going to slow your system down either!


Roccat Kone 3200dpi Gaming Mouse Page: 4
Testbed and Testing Methods
 
In order to form a fair conclusion about the competence of this mouse, it must be tested in a number of areas.
 
First and foremost, does the mouse at least match the ratings that Roccat have given it? Aesthetic features and LEDs are of no use if the mouse simply doesn't perform. I shall be using the application dx_mouse_timer to verify the Kone's ability of functioning at the rated response time and polling rate of 1ms and 1000Hz respectively.
 
Next is the tracking test, which includes analysing and evaluating the Kone's Tracking Calibration Unit functionality. In qualitive terms, I shall explain how the mouse performs on conventional mousepad surfaces, wooden and glass table surfaces but also two not so conventional surfaces, clay tiles and carpet.
 
Would you expect a relatively expensive mouse to give you Repetitive Strain Injury? I shall describe how my wrist is feeling after a hard day's work behind the computer. Tied in with this is the general ergonomics of the mouse under both general use and gaming conditions.
 
Based on the aformentioned series of tests, a conclusion will then be formed.
 
 
Test 1 - Polling Test
 
The polling test involved a number of short and long mouse movements. The results were sufficient enough to conclude that the 1000Hz Polling and 1ms Response Time claims hold true.At times, the current Polling rate would fluctuate quite considerably but as shown, the average result was just over 1000Hz. Excellent.
 
 
Test 2 – The Tracking Test
 
Roccat Kone Pollrate
Among the rest of the additional features, the first one that stood out for me was the Roccat Tracking Control Unit. Under the mouse lies a second sensor, used for the purpose for calibrating aspects of the Kone's configurations depending on the nature of the surface that you're playing on. This is enabled from within the control panel and when selected, a dialog appears that requests the user to keep the mouse still for 5 seconds, while it calibrates, before proceeding to press continue.
 
 
Generic Mousemat Surface
 
The general operation of the mouse was flawless, even when used on this free medical rep mousemat. There was no unnecessary drag as such, though it should be noted that there was no noticeable difference between the TCU function disabled and enabled.
 
 
Wood Surface
 
Not an ideal surface for a gamer, especially when a large number of movements involves dragging the mouse against the grain, causing drag, noise and scratches in the long term. It should be noted though that the mouse remained just as sensitive and responsive on a wooden surface as on the mousemat. The wooden table used in the testing was particularly rough and the mouse was rarely but sometimes twitchy on such a surface. However, after enabling the Tracking Calibration Utility, the general operation of the mouse seemed to have returned to normal.
 
 
Glass Surface
 
Again, a similar deal as with the wooden surface. If you're going to spend this sort of money on a performance mouse, it really wouldn't kill to buy even just a basic mousemat. The mouse performed flawlessly with or without TCU enabled on such a surface.
 
 
Clay Tile Surface
 
Okay, now this is becoming a tad rediculous as I'm yet to have met anyone that thinks it's sensible to use a mouse on a coarse Clay Tile. Like the rough wood surface, the mouse tracking was somewhat twitchy but the use of the Tracking Calibration Utility also resolved this.
 
From what I've gathered from the surface testing, it's clear that the mouse tracking was very good indeed, even on surfaces that are less than ideal and that the TCU functionality worked a treat!
 
 
Test 3 – Comfort and General Ergonomics
 
Contrary to popular belief, sitting behind a computer can cause muscle strain/discomfort and sadly this is not restricted to those that lack a physical build. One cannot underplay the comfort perspective of a mouse as the main limitation in such a scenario lies with the mushy live organism that's operating the mouse rather than the mouse itself. Afterall, a mouse could be very capable but might never be fully appreciated due to it being too uncomfortable to operate with ease, especially after long periods of use. I am however happy to report that this was not the case with the Roccat Kone. After sessions of use, entailing combined gaming, media and web browsing usage, which exceeded safe usage guidelines to prevent RSI, I had not experienced any form of wrist pain of any sort. The general shape of the Kone, combined with the layout of the buttons made it very simple and convenient to use, although as a personal preference I would have appreciated deeper contours to the left hand side of the mouse for a more secure means of resting the thumb.
 
All in all, a very promising result.


Roccat Kone 3200dpi Gaming Mouse Page: 5
Final Verdict
 
Roccat KoneWell what can I say? The Roccat Kone has been ticking the positive boxes left, right and centre. The hard work that's gone into the development and production of this high performance mouse has clearly paid off by offering a product that clearly holds it's own against competitor brands, who have had the advantage of many more years of experience. A gaming mouse must be very responsive, comfortable and very durable. Roccat's Kone offers exactly that along with stunning aesthetics and finally reliable and efficient software. However, returning to the manufacturer's main objective of offering products that clearly stand out from the competition, where exactly does the Kone do so? It fared well in all of our tests and it is without a shadow of doubt a potent alternative to similarly priced Logitech and Razer gaming mice, but I do not believe that it particularly “stands out” as such.
 
That being said, I would say that the shining robot animal in question offers enough to perhaps persuade the customer to buy one over it's competition. As a first attempt to penetrate a relatively competitive market segment, I believe that Roccat have done a fantastic job. At £42.99, the company's strategy of a midrange gaming mouse was very sensible and when combined with the fact that the product is very well refined and offers more from an aesthetic point of view than it's competition, I must say that the Kone mouse is just superb. With a bit of strong promotion and marketing strategies, I strongly feel that Roccat are on the road to success.
 
 
The Good
-­ Great Performance.
- Useful Tracking Calibration Utility.
-­ Versatile and Memory Friendly Drivers & Software.
-­ Stunning 38 LED Colour Design.
- Generally good build quality.
 
The Mediocre
-­ Pricing could have been more competitive.
 
The Bad
-­ None.
 
Overclock3D Gamers Choice
 
Well done Roccat and many thanks for the opportunity to review your product! Discuss in our forums.