ROCCAT should be commended for attempting to enter a market dominated by the likes of Logitech and Razer. They have developed products that truly offer PC gamers value for their money while not trying to copy what others have already done. The Kone XTD is a prime example of their mindset and makes its mark as one of the best peripherals currently available.
Normally, packaging does not play into a review about a piece of gaming hardware, but with the move to digital purchases and online stores, it has become a lost art. This is not the case with ROCCAT. Not only is the Kone XTD packaging beautifully put together, the information on the box offers a ton of details on what can be expected before a purchase is made. When a company goes out of their way to make sure their presentation factor is of the highest quality, more often than not, you can count on a decent unit inside.
As with most PC peripherals on the market these days, the Kone XTD comes equipped with lighting schemes. Depending on the consumer, these are a neat idea or irritatingly annoying. The good news is you can completely disable the lights. The bad news is, out of the box, the mouse defaults to a strobe light effect pulsing through all available colors. You must download and install an application which allows the user to customize just about everything you could image – including a robust set of lighting features. The program itself presents a list of seemingly endless customizations. ROCCAT has even gone to the outer reaches of mouse profile software by adding achievements in addition to giving the user detailed information such as distance moved, number of button clicks and scroll steps. When compared to the competition, this application is by far the most detailed. Even old gaming vets will take some time in getting used to the plethora of settings.
With all the ROCCAT Kone XTD offers, it was surprising to see the lack of a velcro strap on the otherwise nicely braided USB cable. It would have been nice to neatly roll up the cord without the hassle of getting cables tangled during trips to gaming events. Those who choose Mac and Linux as their platform of choice are seemingly left out when it comes to the availability of official drivers. The Mac driver is in beta form and Linux version has been created by a third-party individual, Stefan Achatz. While it is great these drivers are at least present, having the official versions would go a long way in garnering support from the Mac and Linux crowds. Another problem exists with the weights. The act of opening the housing compartment was a painful experience. The difficulty is with the effort needed to lock and unlock the compartment. There is a circular locking mechanism where the weights are located. In testing, the mouse had to be unplugged (so not to accidentally press mouse buttons while turned on) in order to begin thumb wrestling which started the frustrating process.
During gaming sessions, the 3200 DPI setting seemed about right for most titles, but the odd game such as Skyrim and San Andreas needed slight modifications. Of course, this is completely user preference so the amount of DPI will be determined by each consumer. You have the option of moving up to 8200 DPI and all the way down to 800 so finding a nice sweet spot should be easy enough. Just a word of warning – you can change DPI on the fly, but be prepared for a gravely voice to be heard with each press of the button. “Three Thousand-Two Hundred, DPI!” will boom through your speakers anytime you change DPI settings. It just seems odd to include something like this. Yes, perhaps it is the “cool factor”, and yes, it is nice to know where your mouse is currently set without having to do much, but it ends up being rather annoying. Thankfully, there is a setting which can disable all audio prompts.
The ROCCAT Kone XTD is extremely comfortable to move around while executing regular PC tasks or when in the heat of gaming battle. The smoothness found with in matte coating gives the user a sturdy grasp while avoiding problems other mice have such as sweaty palms after long sessions. Each button is easily accessible and the “Titan Scroll Wheel” (dubbed by ROCCAT) gives you great feedback when caught in a fierce fire fight playing Just Cause 2 or simply browsing a web page. The Titan Scroll Wheel is one of the best on the market today as each scroll step feels solid. In terms of buttons, the only poorly placed one is above the scroll wheel which is difficult to reach. All in all, the Kone XTD is a quality piece of hardware which looks and feels fantastic.
The biggest selling point for ROCCAT is their Easy Shift feature. This allows for double the mouse button assignments by holding one and clicking another. Easy Shift can be a great advantage to those who use a number of mouse clicks in MMOs or various strategy titles where time is of the essence.
Conclusion – Is It Worth Your Money?
With the best scroll wheel around and the endless amount of configuration options, the Kone XTD would be a great addition to any PC gaming arsenal. Coming in at $89.99 USD, the Kone XTD finds itself in the upper echelon of gaming mice. However, this is an extremely high quality unit with tons of features and build quality to match. Aside from a few minor issues, most of which have nothing to do with the mouse itself, the ROCCAT Kone XTD is well worth the asking price.