Most gaming mice in the market offer between six and nine programmable buttons; the Roccat Kone[+] offers eight (plus two functions in the scroll-wheel) but reaches 22 thanks to a technology called EasyShift[+] that works under the same notion as the Shift key on the keyboard. The [+] on the name is there to differentiate the mouse from the common Kone model that does not feature the EasyShift[+] technology. Overall, the Kone is a 6,000 dpi right-handed mouse with a weight adjustment system and a multidirectional scroll-wheel. We will go over its physical aspects and then review its features and performance.
Figure 1: The Kone[+] mouse wheel
The Kone[+] has a slightly ambidextrous design that makes it possible to be used by a left-handed person (although it would sacrifice the two left buttons and the EasyShift[+] function; more on that later). The whole body is rubberized, and there are only lateral buttons on the right side. Two LED strips follow alongside the Kone’s body to light it; the illumination can be turned off by software.
On the head of the Kone[+] you can find the scroll-wheel (that also scrolls horizontally), two +/- buttons to control the resolution, and on the very tip of the mouse there’s a button with the triple bar (≡) symbol. There are three Teflon feet underneath the mouse, plus the 6,000 dpi laser sensor and the weight adjustment compartment for up to four individual weights of five grams each. Contrary to the trend in top of the line gaming mice, the Kone[+] does not have a cloth-wrapped cable nor a gold-plated USB connector.
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The flagship feature of the Kone[+] is the EasyShift[+] function, an intelligent way of virtually increasing the number of programmable buttons without having to physically add to the number of buttons. The button five (on the left side that in other mice is the default “back” button) acts as the Shift key on a keyboard. By pressing it in conjunction with other buttons or the scroll-wheel, the user engages other functions. That way, it is possible to program up to 22 functions to the existing buttons on the Kone[+] without actually having 22 buttons available. In addition to the EasyShift[+] technology, the peripheral also features an Easy-Aim function that automatically changes the resolution, and the Easy-Wheel that makes the scroll-wheel control other functions such as the PC volume, for instance. All of this is programmed through the Kone[+] application.
Figure 4: Programming the EasyShift [+] buttons
The user can also set five different resolution tiers up to 6,000 dpi. It’s also possible to create five profiles for games and applications that can be stored in the 128 KB internal memory. Since macro recording is usually a nuisance, the Kone[+] already comes with a package of pre-recorded macros for popular games such as Starcraft and Battlefield Bad Company 2, and also for applications like Firefox and Photoshop.
For those into visual tuning, you can alter the LED with 35 options of colors and the intensity of the light (it can blink, flow through the length of the LED strips, be permanently lit or off, etc.).
[nextpage title=”Playing with the Kone[+]”]
The really big difference of the Kone[+] is the EasyShift[+] function. It’s a great idea that worked well on our test, except for one detail: there is only one button that triggers the EasyShift[+] function – the button five, as we already stated. It is usually set aside for the “back” function while browsing, and in our case we usually programmed it to launch a knife attack on most FPS we play. Since the EasyShift[+] function cannot be assigned to any other button on the Kone[+], users will have to change their habits if they want to enjoy the technology. (We had to assign our knife stab to another button.) The button five is really the most obvious choice for the EasyShift[+] since it’s the most easily reachable, but we still missed our virtual knife stab. Putting that aside, once we got used to it, the EasyShift[+] made the mouse more versatile, game-wise and application-wise.
The body shape appeals to those who prefer a palm grip but also to some extent to “claw grippers” as well; however, due to the size of the mouse, some buttons will be harder to reach if the user wants a claw style grip. No matter how we gripped the mouse, the button with the triple bar (≡) symbol is very hard to press because the finger has to go over the scroll-wheel to finally reach it.
The 6,000 dpi resolution was more than enough for any kind of games. The Easy-Aim system allowed for a quick change in resolution, which is good for those moments the player wants to trade a sniper rifle (that requires a lower dpi for a tighter aim) for a pistol at the sudden arrival of an enemy player. The user may opt for a sound alert at each dpi change – it’s more useful than having to take the eyes off the screen for a quick glance at some blinking light in the mouse.
Adjusting the weight is a case of personal taste. We inserted little weights for this test, but we had a hard time opening and closing the small cover. A simple, small latch would have been a better choice.
Figure 8: Case for the small weights
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The main specifications for the Roccat Kone[+] mouse include:
- Gaming-grade laser mouse
- Right-handed design
- Adjustable functions: 10 (eight buttons plus two on the scroll-wh
- User profiles: Five
- Tracking Resolution: Up to 6,000 dpi
- Maximum velocity: 65 inches/second
- Acceleration: 30 G
- Processor: 72 MHz
- Memory: 128 Kb
- Response time: 1 ms
- Approximate size: 5.3 x 3 x 1.5 inches (135 x 78 x 40 mm)
- Weight: 4.4 oz (126 grams) plus four additional weights of 0.17 oz (5 grams) each
- More information: https://www.roccat.org
- Average price in the US*: USD 99.99
* Researched at Newegg.com on the day we published this review.
The Kone[+] shines with the intelligent solution that is the EasyShift [+]. The body has an interesting shape that can be used by a left-handed person, but the user would lose the benefit of the EasyShift[+] technology since he/she wouldn’t reach the button five on the left side. The inclusion of pre-recorded macros is a great idea for those who shudder when thinking about programming macros. The weight compartment cover needs to be redesigned.
- EasyShift[+] offers 22 programmable functions
- Nice color effects
- Scroll-wheel does horizontal scrolling
- Quick resolution change with audio alert
- Pre-recorded macros for games and applications
- Button five is dedicated to the EasyShift[+] function
- Hard to reach button with the triple bar (≡) symbol
- Weight compartment cover is difficult to open and close
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