Roccat has recently released the successor to the Kone, the Kone[+], a laser sensor gaming mouse that offers all the advantages of the original Kone, plus several new features.
At first sight the Kone[+] may look a little cheap (with a mix of matte and glossy plastic and a grey tiger on the back), but once you get it in your hand it takes on a whole other dimension. Thirteen centimetres long and anywhere from 80 to 100 grammes in weight, depending how many weights you use (included), the Kone[+] fits very comfortably in the hand.
The surface is soft and the shape of the mouse supports your wrist well. The glides provide ultra-smooth movements. This mouse is a real pleasure to use. However, due to its shape it can only be a pleasure for the right-handed. Sorry, lefties.
The location of the mouse's 12 buttons was well thought-out. The only exception would be the button at the front end of the scroll wheel—it's not exactly the first place you think of to put your finger when you're in a tight spot (say, when armed guards are shooting at you in an FPS).
For everything else, we encountered no major issues. You can change the sensitivity on the fly using the + and - buttons right below the scroll wheel (you can choose from 5 customisable game profiles). There are two buttons where your thumb goes, one of which is assigned by default to the Easy-Shift[+] function (see inset). One downside, however, is the fact that the scroll wheel can't be disengaged to allow it to spin freely, as is the case with a number of Logitech mice.
The driver (available for download on Roccat's website) offers all sorts of possibilities for settings ranging from the colour of the LEDs and the now-common option of assigning functions and macros to specific buttons, to the polling rate and sensitivity.
We were happy to see the return of a feature that stood out in our minds from the first Kone: TDCU, for Tracking & Distance Control Unit. TDCU allows you to adapt the power of the laser to the surface that the mouse is sitting on. Concretely, this means that when you use the Kone[+] on your glossy living room table it will behave the same as when it's on your wood desk.
With a polling rate of 1000 Hz, the Kone[+] is capable of handling all the standard activities (document editing, web browsing, etc.), as well as those that require more precision (games, graphic design, etc.).
This is because the Kone[+] communicates its position to the computer once every millisecond. That also means you need a computer that can handle the extra traffic (from 25 to 55%, depending on the type of motion). If you're on a computer with limited processing power (netbooks, low-consumption CPUs, etc.) then you should turn the polling rate down to 500 Hz for greater ease (in the driver).
A gamer's mouse needs to have a sensor that can take speeds of over 3 metres per second
The speed of the Kone[+] is also an advantage for video gamers: it can handle movements of up to 3.5 m/s. That should be sufficient to please even the most hardcore FPS'ers.