Introducing the ROCCAT Kone XTD and Kone Pure

The "dirty" secret of PC peripherals is that the word "gaming" can often mean any combination of two things: robust quality and gaudy design. Most mechanical keyboards tend to be geared towards gamers, and likewise, most high quality mice tend to be pointed in the same direction. It's not unusual for digital illustrators to use one of the single-hand gaming keyboards for Photoshop shortcuts, and a good mechanical keyboard like the Corsair Vengeance K90 pretty much sells itself the instant a regular user feels the keys.

Yet sometimes these peripherals don't feel like they were actually designed with human hands in mind. I've tested a few gaming mice that were definitely reasonably comfortable, but still clung resolutely to my aging Logitech G500. ROCCAT sent me two gaming mice to test, though, and I walked away seriously impressed. With the Kone XTD and Kone Pure, ROCCAT has two mice that are surprisingly comfortable and incredibly full-featured. Have I finally found a reason to retire my G500, and should you be looking for these?

I know I'm not the only person who's picky about the peripherals they use. Once you know what quality feels like, it can be very difficult to just go back to a run of the mill keyboard or mouse (let alone monitor.) And sometimes, when you use one, it can just click in your mind: "this feels absolutely perfect for me." That was the moment I had with the Corsair Vengeance K90, and before that, the Logitech G500. It was the same confusing moment I had when I began to settle in with the Kone XTD and its little brother, the Kone Pure.

Neither of these are ambidextrous mice. I'm right-handed, but most of my good friends are southpaws, and I kind of feel for them in that they've had to adapt to a world that hates left-handed people. Still, one of them has been using a tired old basic Logitech mouse for some time now, and when I handed her the ROCCAT Kone Pure, she was pleasantly surprised.

The reason for that is because the grip of the Kone is designed to fit snugly in a broad range of hands, and importantly, ROCCAT dodges a big problem that I've found a lot of gaming mice have: poor texture. The soft touch plastic treatment that Razer and some other peripheral manufacturers tend to use doesn't breathe at all, and I've found their mice to cause my hand to sweat and perspire much worse than other mice. In comparison, the treatment on the surfaces of the Kone mice is more conservative. The glossy plastic that houses the LED stripes on the Kone XTD will undoubtedly be a sweat magnet, but the majority of the surface is quite comfortable.

Both mice are solidly built, though. They're comfortable in the hand, and the buttons are where you'd want them (with the exception of the button above the mouse wheel on the XTD, though I suspect that's very deliberately out of the way.)

While the XTD and Pure are clearly related, the Pure is the cut down version. Both feature a rainbow of configurable LED lighting (typically tied to the active mouse profile), along with DPI adjustment buttons below the wheel and back and forward buttons on the left side, beneath the thumb. They also both feature a laser sensor rated for 8200 dpi. Where they diverge is in the additions to the XTD: a button above the mouse wheel, left and right tilt on the mouse wheel, and customizable weight. Disappointingly, the door on the XTD for the weights is a little bit loose.

ROCCAT's Kone Software
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  • Kalessian - Wednesday, February 27, 2013 - link

    They never tested lift off distance either, or even mentioned if you can change the poll rate?

    Though to be fair this is not the site to look at when meticulously judging gaming mice.

    I have a first gen deathadder which has been retired to office use, an abyssus which I just could not get used to grip-wise, and have returned to using the WMO, which I developed my fingertip/claw hybrid style on. It's a huge pain to keep at 500mhz, though, and I feel that most pros have moved on to newer mice, but I don't have the money to buy each of them to try out for a week to see if the grip is compatible.
  • JPForums - Wednesday, February 27, 2013 - link

    there is no reason to use the g500
    the sensor isn't that good
    g400 is better

    optical mice are better in general, ...

    That statement requires a lot of qualification that you don't present. Optical mice are better in general IF you are using it on a cloth mouse pad. Laser mice don't perform to their potential on cloth mouse pads. To be fair, this is situation you see most often.

    Laser mice track on a wider array of surfaces and are therefore better than optical on surfaces that they have trouble tracking on. Also, it can be argued that Laser is better on rigid, textured surfaces. In general, laser is more sensitive (not to be confused with more accurate).

    The only inherent advantage/disadvantage between the two is that Laser are smaller and can therefore support higher resolutions. This also means they use a smaller aperture and are more susceptible to dust if they aren't cleaned. In practice, though, laser sensors employ prediction to smooth traces due to the fact that their greater sensitivity reveals jitter in the movements of most peoples mouse movements. Unfortunately, when low ratios of cursor movement per dot (high cm/360), this can also have a negative effect on the mouse movements. Built in mouseaccel isn't universally applied, but like prediction, doesn't really manifest itself very much at high ratios of cursor movement per dot.

    In conclusion, currently, optical mice are better for people who use a suitable surface and prefer 45cm/360 (rough guess) or larger cursor speed. Lasers are better for people who prefer 15cm/360 or smaller (or have non-optimal tracking surfaces). The cross over point isn't clear.

    All that said, it doesn't matter how well your sensor tracks if the mouse ergonomics prevent you from moving how you want to in the first place. You just get a well traced crooked line. The Razer Lachesis had such terrible ergonomics that it forced jitter every time you clicked one of the main mouse buttons. Not that it tracked perfectly otherwise, but there was no practical way to snipe even if it were.

    I've used a lot of Logitech mice (though not the G400), number of razer mice (though not the deathadder 4G), and a few others, but I still haven't found a better optical mouse than the MX518. In most settings, I prefer my G500 due to my preference for a low cm/360 except when sniping. Of course, the MX518's ergonomics make it better for me than most other laser mice.
  • cactusdog - Wednesday, February 27, 2013 - link

    I bought the Kone+ about a year ago, it ws the most expensive mouse but the mouse didnt live up to the high price.

    Problem 1. In a very short period of time, the grippy coating wears off and you have finger wear marks on the mouse making it look old and beatup in no time.

    Problem 2, Changing the driver settings takes a very long time. With so many settings I thought I would test out a few different settings, So you change one setting , then click apply, then wait......and wait.....and wait maybe 20 seconds later the new setting is activated. If you want to test more settings,forget it, it takes so long I just gave up.

    Problem 3. Driver updates come with firmware and the Roccat update process is by far the worst updating software I have seen in any device in over 12 years. You install the driver, then the automated firmware update invariably fails forcing you to dig into program files to find the stand alone firmware exe to update firmware manually. Drivers wont work until new firmware is applied.

    Problem 4, Early mice had a dodgy mousewheel problem although I believe they have fixed that one.

    The mouse feels ok in the hand but too many problems for a highend mice and unfortunately you dont find out until its too late. It has the kind of problems that arent mentioned in reviews.
  • 053EC2A5B2 - Wednesday, February 27, 2013 - link

    Thanks for the great review.

    I'm on the market for a new mouse, can you recommend anymore ergonomic mouse that is titled for right-hand, maybe with less bells and lights and cheaper?
  • Slash3 - Wednesday, February 27, 2013 - link

    Roccat Kova[+] - it's great. I bought one a while back after watching some youtube reviews and looking at the high res mouse pictures. Has a nice, wide rubber scroll wheel, two buttons on either side (ambidextrous in function and shape) and tracks great. It has the same profile software with the ability to use a shift button function, and has little glowing LEDs that can be changed to cycle, set for a color or disabled. I let it do a slow "breathing" cycle and find that it doesn't annoy me at all.

    Plus, it's ~$50 on Newegg or your favorite web store. Just punch in Kova and it'll come up.
  • 053EC2A5B2 - Wednesday, February 27, 2013 - link

    yes roccat mouses look great, and so far are my best option but I'm looking for more good quality mouses that are NOT ambidextrous.
  • Amp300 - Wednesday, February 27, 2013 - link

    The Mionix Naos 3200 (~$50) is the best inexpensive ergonomic right-handed "gaming" mouse I was able to find. I have medium-sized hands and the mouse shell feels like it was molded specifically for me.
  • Khato - Wednesday, February 27, 2013 - link

    I'll second that - I actually bought a Roccat Kone[+] first and while I liked it initially not having anywhere good to rest the ring finger got to being extremely bothersome. On the logitech G5 style there's an adequate ledge to the right of the right mouse button that works quite well for that, but there's no analog on the Kone - instead there's a smaller amount of space at a less ideal angle and a sharp corner. Now I acknowledge that this won't be a problem for everyone as some are fine with having their ring finger on the side, but yeah, that bugged me.

    Comparatively the Mionix Naos ergonomics are great. About the only problem being that it can be a bit difficult comparatively to pick up the mouse if you're so inclined.
  • quas - Thursday, June 6, 2013 - link

    There's actually a problem for Naos that all the reviews I've seen didn't mention. The material surface used attracts sweat like crazy. In just 5 minutes of usage, it makes my palm sweat more and then the sweat stains really permeate through making it impossible to remove. The Roccat Kone may have the ring finger problem but the surface material used is superb, it doesn't attract sweat and it doesn't make me sweat either.
  • Pheesh - Thursday, February 28, 2013 - link

    Definitely the G400. Least flawed sensor you can get and not that expensive. It's a favorite of FPS gamers.

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