Hardware Review: Our first taste of Roccat in a long time is not a positive one... The Kone [+] is hard to type, hard to use.
At first blush, there is a lot to like about Roccat’s Kone Plus (or just [+], more accurately). From the luxurious packaging, to the shiny credit-card like Roccat ID card, it seems a pretty premium product – kinda like the mousing equivalent of an Alienware PC. Even out of the box, it feels like it should be all about good gaming times, but then, you plug it in, get the almost inevitable firmware update... and your gaming life turns to shit.
Harsh words, yes, but if you’re an FPS gamer – like me – then this really is a mouse worth avoiding. That warning counts double if – again, like yours truly – you’re fond of picking up your mouse for fast direction changes. And allow me to triple the warning if, further, you’re fond of precision activities like sniping. An, for the love of God, don’t combine this with Fierce mouse pad - gah!
Our big issue with the Kone – or at least the Kone sample we have in the lab – is that the sensor is just too damn jittery. Even if you’re just trying to achieve a flat, level movement, in a game like BF3 you’ll get some pretty noticeable jitter, and this is only magnified zoomed in. Even worse, upon pick-up and put-down the cursor drifts in an almost predictable diagonal movement. It’s just random enough to render any chance of compensating for it impossible, too. All up, it makes FPS gaming a frustrating, distinctly un-fun experience. It’s not unlike the jitter we felt with SteelSeries’ last mouse, but that was fixed by a firmware update – Roccat’s own update, which in itself suggests the company’s aware of issues, has not had any noticeable effect.
To injury to insult, the effort to control the jitter leads to a nasty forearm ache. Fun.
This is not only annoying from a game-performance level; otherwise, the Kone Plus is a very comfortable mouse, and structurally well-made. Its rubber coating and asymmetrical design fit your palm in such a way as to make you think it was made for you; the thumb recess in particular is uncannily comfortable; more curiously, the software to support the mouse – which you have to download – talks at you by default. It’s... odd, to have a mouse tell you when you’ve switched DPI up or down. The plain plastic cable is a little stiff, but that’s easy to get used to.
First impressions are obviously not everything, and it’s certainly true of the Kone Plus. It feels great, but in game it just makes you want to ragequit and consider whatever carpel torture you’ve just put yourself through.
Oh, and the ID Card? It takes you to a site that starts: "The most beautiful and profound emotion we can experience is the mystical. ROCCATEERS all over the world follow this guiding principle."
Yeah... I'm out.