Lighting and Configuration
Initially it would appear that with so many elements to adjust, light pattern, light colour, mouse resolution and illumination level, this would be quite a complex beast to control and how it would be done without software would seem confusing until you try. In fact it is so easy it becomes second nature and within 10 minutes I knew which button combination I needed to use to obtain which effect. Some effects naturally cannot be captured in a photograph, so I will do my best to explain.
The lighting on the mouse is adjusted by pressing button number 4 and button number 6. This cycles the illumination between off, on and what Roccat call "breathing". In breathing mode the light smoothly fades in from black, before fading out again in a very nice subtle effect.
Buttons 4 and 7 adjust how the Kova "breathes". It cycles between changing colours every single breath, every two breaths, every three breaths, or holding the chosen colour and just pulsing it. This was one of the elements that really made me long for some form of software feedback, because it's quite difficult to work out where you are in the cycle and therefore where you need to be. This problem doesn't' effect any of the other modes for which Roccat has devised some brilliant solutions, but here it's not so obvious.
To change the colour the mouse uses, assuming you aren't cycling colours with the breathing mode, press buttons 5 and 6 together and it will cycle from the default power-on colour of Roccats own cyan colour visible above, through the six alternate ones shown in the pictures below, before returning to cyan and going round again.
Finally, to switch between the available resolutions of 400, 800, 1600 or 3200dpi, press the 5 and 7 buttons together and the mouse will indicate by pulsing twice the current chosen resolution. The mouse defaults to a healthy resolution of 800dpi, but a quick press of the buttons and it flashes green twice, showing you are now at 1600dpi. Another press, two blue flashes and you're at 3200dpi. Press once again to move to the red flash indicated 400dpi, and once more to flash purple and you're back to the 800dpi default. Switching resolutions is a very speedy process indeed. The change is instantaneous and the lighting is merely an indicator. So if you've been doing some detail work at 400, and fancy some gaming, three quick presses and you're instantly at 3200dpi and ready to frag.
It might appear from that explanation that you would need the manual to hand at all times. This is simply not the case as there are only four combinations to remember and the feedback from the mouse is sufficient to show you what you're currently doing. If you can remember WASD keys, you can use this mouse.
A huge disappointment
The lighting is one of the most disappointing aspects of the entire mouse. If you'll recall the packaging demonstrated an entire spectrum of colours and promised the possibility to "have the mouse illuminated in your favorite color [sic]". Well Roccat it most definitely doesn't. Personally, as anyone who has visited the forums will attest, my favourite colour is orange. Orange is unavailable. Nor for that matter is yellow. Or pink. The box promises much but the mouse actually delivers little. Due to the subtle approach Roccat have taken with the lighting the cyan is almost indistinguishable from the light blue. Plus it never remembers what colour you've set it at. Sure it remembers the dpi setting, the breathing settings, but each time you turn your PC on you get the light blue/cyan colour and have to change it to what you prefer, unless of course you love light blue.
I know not everyone wants colours that they don't provide, and to be honest neither would I if the box was more honest and said "pick your favourite colour to customise your mouse with. You can have any colour you like as long as it's two similar light blues, a dark blue, a pea green and a dark one, a red and a purple". Considering this is designed as a stripped down mouse, the lack of colours wouldn't even be an issue if they hadn't promised more than they deliver.
Luckily once you accept these are the colours you're going to get it's easy to pick one you can live with. Of course every time you boot your PC up it's in cyan so you have to change it to your own colour, but all your other settings are stored and it's a 2 second job to cycle to the one you want.
One does have to wonder though why they didn't use a variation on the Kone system, if only for the lighting. So you can have those basic colours if you'd like the swiftness, portability and ease of switching if you don't mind those, but for people, like myself, who want another colour we could pick it using the Kone software and maybe replace one of the default firmware colours to retain the portability and ease of changing colours.