Roccat burst onto the scene a little while ago now with a raft of extremely well-designed products that were so good the range has barely changed in all that time. Indeed it's been two years since we looked at the last upgrade to the original Kone, the Kone +, and that was so good that the XTD is definitely just an evolution rather than a wholesale revolution.
Whereas the original Kone stunned us with how great it was for a product from a new company, and the Kone + brought a lot of cool extra features to the table, Roccat are now well established as one of the biggest of big hitters in the gaming peripheral market.
So does the Kone XTD have enough to keep Roccat as one of the big three players, or has the competition moved on too far?
The upgraded sensor is the biggest change between the Kone XTD and the Kone + it replaces at the top of the Roccat range.
The aesthetic differences between the XTD and the regular Kone are slight. The size is the same chunky 'fill your hand up' type we loved from the original. At a glance the only change is the the Roccat logo is now an outline rather than a solid design.
The XTD is a right handed mouse, with the buttons solely on the left hand side. By default the front button is defined as 'forward' and the back button is the EasyShift[+] button which modifies all the other buttons. Although the right hand side is free from buttons it still has a noticeable concave element to it.
On the underside we have the same weight modification system that proved so useful on the original Kone. With four spots you can adjust the weight of the XTD by up to 20g in 5g increments.
The front end is, rightfully, where the majority of the action is. From the top to the bottom we have DPI adjustment down, up, a four-way scrollwheel, and the Windows key. Of course they can be adjusted to perform any function you desire, as you would expect from a product labelled as "Max Customisation".
You definitely aren't short of options when it comes to tailoring the XTD to your needs. With five profiles, each with up to five DPI settings, you have full control over the Kone XTD and how sensitive it is.
The buttons on the Roccat are fully customisable too. Not only have you got the regular buttons to assign, but with the combination of the Easy-Shift[+] modifier you have another full range of potential assignments.
Under the advanced control tab are the finer controls to tune the XTD within an inch of its life. As well as lift-off distance and surface analysis you can tweak the sensitivity on both axes. The oddest tab belongs to a trophy section depending on how many times you've clicked and scrolled.
Finally, before the colours on the next page, we have the macro editor. Whilst not quite at the very zenith of macro software it is certainly as easy to use as you could wish and offers enormous customisation options.
You aren't limited to just having the lighting on. There are four LEDs that you can set independently, as well as off, or breathing, or a heartbeat, or colour cycling etc. You definitely wont lack in options.
There is a serious sense of deja vu when reviewing the XTD.
When the Kone was first introduced it was a huge statement of intent from Roccat, and definitely laid down a marker for the level of quality we could expect to get. To the delight of us, and certainly Roccat themselves, this level of excellent build-quality coupled to wise design choices and a wholehearted desire to ensure the peripheral is capable of being customised to the users tastes has led to a range of products that have launched Roccat into the same heady territory as Razer and SteelSeries. Companies who stand astride the gaming market like a Colossus, if Rhodes contained all the coolest gadgets.
However, because Roccat hit their first pitch for a home run, it didn't leave them anywhere particular to go. When you've crossed the line backwards, on fire, whilst juggling alligators there isn't much that can be done for an encore. The Kone + managed to upstage the original Kone by nearly doubling the sensor sensitivity from 3200dpi to a whopping 6000dpi. Since then the cream of the gaming rodent crop have all brought out sensors with even higher resolutions. So, of course, if you have a product that's near perfect but is starting to lag a little in the sensor department then you plug the latest and greatest laser into your mouse and call it a day.
That pretty much sums up the Kone XTD. It's the same size, with the same features, the same excellent lighting and the same level of comfort as the Kone +, but now the sensor is so fast that even a caffeine-addicted flea couldn't move faster than the XTD could keep up. The software that controls the Roccat Kone XTD is very easy to use, and equally easy on the eye. The amount of customisation options are incredible, and it definitely earns the 'Max Customisation' moniker.
It's a testament to the quality of the initial Kone that all these years later it's still a fantastic gaming mouse and, akin to the Porsche 911, it's only needed minor tweaks over the years to stay with the head of the pack. At the time of writing the pricing is unknown, but if it follows the trend of the Kone+ then we expect it to retail around the £65 mark. If you already own a Kone+ then we don't think the XTD provides enough extra benefits to be worthy of the upgrade. However, if you have yet to sample the delights of the flagship Roccat model, then we heartily recommend the Kone XTD and it's a worthy winner of the OC3D Gold Award.
Thanks to Roccat for supplying the Kone XTD for review. Discuss our findings in the OC3D Forums.