German hardware manufacturer Roccat prides itself on its precision mechanics. Its range of quality keyboards, mice, mousepads, and headsets have garnered a certain respect in gaming circles – none moreso than the Kone mouse. Released back in March, the newest iteration of their flagship Kone mouse is a celebration of its fifth anniversary on the market. Dubbed the Roccat Kone Pure Color, it’s essentially the same product in a different wrapping. But is that good enough to warrant interest in the Kone Pure Color? I had a play around with one, and I have thoughts. They led to words. Here are words.
The new Roccat Kone Pure Color comes in four appropriately named colours: Hellfire Red, Polar Blue, Inferno Orange, and Phantom White. Essentially the same shape, the only difference is purely aesthetic. While the default Kone Pure is entirely black, the Color range adds a bright highlight to accentuate the mouse’s lines. The version I’ve been using is the Inferno Orange. I’ll admit it right now – orange is my least favourite of all the colours. But this mouse is nevertheless winning me over.
The plastic has a matte finish, which lends a warm look to the mouse. It looks soft and comfortable, inviting the hand. The sides are a bright, deep orange, enveloping the left thumb indent and right finger cutaway. The top of the mouse, where the palm reaches to the main mouse buttons is black. The wheel and dpi up and down buttons are also black, making the top one constant black stripe. On the left are two mouse buttons, black set in orange. Also on the left, at the front and out of the way is the black Roccat Kone Pure branding.
Down the bottom of the palm rest is the company wildcat logo, which is backlit by a fully customisable LED, capable of outputting 16.8 million colours. It’s expected branding, but the wildcat is elegantly placed, providing a much needed accent to the black. I messed around with the LED controls and found a colour that approximately matches the orange of the mouse (160, 40, 0), and was happy with the results.
Not all colours have the colour sides and black top. Polar Blue is similar to the orange, with colour sides and black top. The red swaps it, with black sides and a red top, and the white is pure white apart from the black buttons.
The Kone Pure Color is probably best described as an aggressive visual statement, while remaining tasteful and unobtrusive.
Appearance is all well and good, but what really matters is the performance. Does the Kone Pure Color uphold its established high performance benchmark set by its predecessors? In a word, yes.
In more words, yes but. Let’s get down to brass tacks.
First of all, here are the specs, ripped straight from the Roccat website:
• Pro-Aim Laser Sensor R3 with up to 8200dpi
• 1000Hz polling rate
• 1ms response time
• 12000fps, 10.8megapixel
• 30G acceleration
• 3.8m/s (150ips)
• 16-bit data channel
• 1-5mm Lift off distance
• Tracking & Distance Control Unit
• 72MHz Turbo Core V2 32-bit Arm based MCU
• 576kB onboard memory
• Zero angle snapping/prediction
• 1.8m braided USB cable
The Kone Pure Color comes with an 8200dpi laser, which delivers more precision than you could ever need. The dpi can be adjusted in steps of 200, all the way from 200dpi to 8200dpi in the settings. On the fly, you can step up or down between five preset dpi levels using the dpi+/- buttons located beneath the mouse wheel. The ability to completely customise your dpi feel depending on your situation is welcome, but expected. Offering five steps for dpi is a good move, though, allowing for more flexibility in the pitch of battle.
The mouse buttons are delightfully solid. The Omron powered switches feel responsive and crunchy. Each click has a really tactile sensation and an audible sound, providing essential feedback. The scroll wheel is likewise robust feeling, but responsive and precise. Each click and scroll is exactly what you want, when you want it, with the feedback you want.
Function-wise, the Kone can be fully customised using a downloadable software suite. The Kone Pure Driver offers a comprehensive array of customisation options for the tweaker to play with. First port of call for many will be the dpi settings. Choosing your preferred numbers and cementing them in place is a straight forward but vital process. You can use the sliders, arrows, or input numbers directly to choose any of the valid dpi settings, in increments of 200. You can also disable dpi levels here, although I can’t fathom why anyone would want to.
Next step will probably be LED colour. The default breathing blue might not appeal to some, but you can change that quick smart. Selecting preset colours is simple, but you can also choose your own custom colour using the mixer. The light gives you the option of on, off, or breathing, to cater to your tastes.
More complicated options are available, too, for the adamant customiser. Double click, scroll, and pointer speeds can be changed. Polling rate can be adjusted, with choices between 125hz, 250hz, 500hz, and 1000hz. The mouse can be calibrated to more accurately read the surface through the tracking control setting, but I didn’t notice a big difference utilising this feature. Lift distance can also be changed, which will come in handy for some. There’s also a nifty sound feedback feature that yells at you when you change out a selected option. I turned it off very quickly after listening to a very excited American man drawling out the dpi changes, getting progressively more and more animated as the dpi rose.
The most time, for a dedicated specialist looking to optimise their mouse experience, will probably be spent in the button assignment tab. Of course, pretty much all your mouse buttons can be customised to your liking – that’s to be expected. You also use this tab to generate macros, which can be mapped to your mouse. The Kone comes with its signature feature, though – the Easy Shift+. The essence of this feature is the ability to double map all your mouse buttons. Holding down the designated button (default lower side mouse button) will change the function of all your other mouse buttons to their secondary option, which you map in the program. This essentially doubles your 8 mouse functions to 16 (minus the easy shift button twice). It’s a useful feature for those looking for quick access to macros or multimedia functions, and will expand the canny button mapper’s repertoire exponentially.
The driver program gives you five profiles to play with, allowing for five customised presets to play around with. The internal 32-bit Arm processor and 576kB of onboard memory is capable of storing your profile, making it simple to plug and play anywhere, no download or install necessary. For those with other Roccat products, I’m told it comes Roccat Talk ready, although I personally have zero idea how useful that feature is.
It’s not all roses for the Kone Pure, though. I find it a little too small to palm comfortably, and I have smallish hands. Clicking the side mouse buttons would often jump my mouse to the right due to a loose grip. I found it difficult to get a decent grip on the right hand side of the mouse while keeping my fingers on all the buttons. When I occasionally switched my grip to middle finger tap the middle mouse as I sometimes do, I found my fingers crowded off the right mouse button and insufficient strength in my pinky to sufficiently stabilise the grip. The Kone Pure is just a little too small to be comfortable for me. The right hand side of the mouse also doesn’t provide sufficient surface to latch on to effectively, exacerbating the loose grip problems. The Kone does come in a larger XTD version, but I can’t speak to its quality.
In addition to the Roccat Kone Pure Color, I also got some time with the Roccat Hiro mouse pad. A low-profile design hugs whatever surface it’s on. With its generous size and low profile, the Hiro mouse pad feels good in use. The Kone glides smoothly along the silicone surface, and the pad doesn’t shift. It seems robust enough to deal with plenty of use. The best feature for me is the rounded edge combined with the low profile that allows me to rest my wrist on the border of the table and the pad easily. Whether the Hiro will improve your performance or not is really personal – especially if you’re using a laser mouse – but I found it comfortable enough to use. Whether it’s worth the $50 it’s selling for or not, though, is debateable. I wouldn’t recommend it at that price, but I’m a cheapo $5 mouse pad kind of guy.
If you’re after great technical performance coupled with striking aesthetics, the Roccat Kone Pure Color delivers. Great accuracy, quality components, and a delightfully tactile click reaffirm Roccat’s place among the top mouse makers. Couple that with the extensive customisation options and you have a great package. If you can adapt your grip to the small mouse size (or find a smaller mouse preferable), have the time to customise your profiles, and are willing to fork out the high $69.99 asking price, the Roccat Kone Pure Color series will serve you well.
Roccat have also recently released the Kone Pure in an optical sensor version, which is selling for the same $69.99, if you’d prefer an optical option.
Review sample provided on behalf of Roccat. Thank you.
ONLY SINGLE PLAYER SCORE
Build Quality – 9/10
Design – 8.5/10
Useability – 7.5/10
Performance – 9.5/10
Price – 7.5/10
Overall – 8/10
(Not an average)