SteelSeries Kana and Kinzu v2 Pro Review
Published: 12th March 2012 | Source: SteelSeries | Price: |
Last year we ended up with two mice that we really took a shine to. At the very high-end we had the SteelSeries Sensei, which these two ape in design if not features, and at the bargain end of the scale was the CM Storm Xornet which was, just like the Kana and Kinzu, an exceptionally low-priced mouse that wasn't lacking for much that your average user would require.
Whereas the Xornet was a 2000DPI model for £20, the Kinzu and Kana both come with 3600DPI sensors for £30 and £35 respectively. This definitely moves them from the market of a person who plays games now and again that the Xornet inhabits, and into the territory of the serious gamer.
The Kinzu has a shiny coating and grippy sides, very similar to the Sensei. Although the top is shiny it's actually got a fine texture to it which ensures that you wont lose control in frantic moments. The most immediately surprising thing is the complete lack of side buttons. All you have are the standard left and right ones, a central scroll click, and the CPI changer just behind, for switching the sensitivity on the fly. When you consider that a large proportion of games, and certainly most of the FPS' and RTS ones, don't take advantage of more than two buttons in their default control scheme then this seems like less of an oversight than it might otherwise be. We do have to point out that we've got so used to at least a 'back' button on the side that after years of muscle memory we were constantly hitting a button that didn't exist.
The Kana is a bit of an inverse of the Kinzu. We have a very soft grippy top surface, and shiny sides. More importantly, or at least bringing it up to something a bit more customisable, is the inclusion of a couple of side buttons. These are fully programmable with the excellent SteelSeries Engine software. You still get the excellent sensor, and the scroll-wheel, as well as the underneath, both light up in a soft orange glow.
When the pricing is so close it's difficult not to come away thinking that the Kinzu is a little overpriced and the Kana is spot on. For about a fiver more with the Kana you're getting a couple of extra buttons which not only help your gaming but make browsing the net and general usability more pleasant, but also a bit of lighting and the whole thing just feels like a higher-end product. The Kinzu in contrast is probably the ultimate in a minimalist gaming rodent, but the loss of those two buttons seems a bit too much for only a small drop in price.
This is especially true when comfort, sensor capabilities and quality of the cable are near identical on both mice. Such is the white-hot competition in the gaming mouse marketplace that we can really only recommend the Kinzu v2 if you're desperate for a great sensor and don't mind losing everything else, and for that we award it our Bronze award. The Kana on the other hand has that same great sensor as well as a couple of the bells and whistles that make a difference without over-egging the pudding. For £35 you're getting a lot of mouse that will serve you for a long time and for that we're happy to award it our Gold Award for being the best value in this very crowded price-bracket.
SteelSeries Kinzu v2 Pro