Although the Roccat Kone XTD ($89.99) is an update of the Roccat Kone[+] Gaming Mouse, the differences between the two are so few and incremental that they can be fraternal twins. With the exception of its more precise 8,200dpi laser sensor and a scroll wheel that can tilt from side to side, the Kone XTD shares an identical feature set with the Roccat Kone[+], and the end result is once again a comfortable, highly customizable gaming mouse loaded with functionality. If you’ve already got the Kone[+], you should stick with that. But if you’re choosing between the two, the Kone XTD is well worth the extra $10.
Design and Features
Measuring 1.6 by 3 by 5.3 inches (HWD), the Kone XTD is a dead ringer for the Roccat Kone[+], as its chassis features molded contours that cradle your thumb and pinky. Coupled with the fact that the Kone XTD’s profile isn’t low like that of the Razer Taipan, which makes for a very comfortable mouse. Moreover, the Kone XTD’s frame is covered with a soft-touch matte finish, which provides a good grip while also preventing smudges and splotches a lot more effectively than, say, the glossy surface seen on the Razer Naga Hex. The Kone XTD’s frame weighs 4.3 ounces, and it can be adjusted by inserting one to four of the included five-gram weights in a compartment on its underside.
The top of the Kone XTD features four LEDs housed in two strips that can either cycle through various colors or subtly pulsate with the color of your choosing. Additionally, different color selections can be assigned among the five game profiles that can be stored on the Kone XTD’s on-board memory.
In between the standard left- and right- click buttons is the Kone XTD’s clickable scroll wheel. While I personally prefer the Corsair Vengeance M60′s beefier metallic tracking wheel, the Kone XTD wins when it comes to functionality because it can be tilted to the left and right, which adds the equivalent of two additional buttons to the mix. The scroll wheel is flanked by a button that opens up the Start menu above it and a pair of DPI adjusters beneath it for changing sensitivity on the fly. The upper crest of the thumb cradle, meanwhile features a page forward button and the marquee Easy-Shift [+] button. Holding the latter button while clicking another –as you would with a shift key – yields an entirely different function to that button. Consequently, users can assign two functions to each button, effectively doubling the number of available functions from 12 to 23 while avoiding the need to cram a smorgasbord of buttons on the surface.
The Kone XTD is a wired mouse that connects via a tangle-resistant braided USB 2.0 cable. There isn’t a wireless option, so users who prefer the freedom offered by Bluetooth or a 2.4GHz wireless receiver will have to look elsewhere. That said, wired mice provide a higher level of precision that their wireless counterparts simply can’t match, and since precision makes all the difference between winning and losing on the gaming grid, it’s an understandable omission.
Lefties, beware: The Kone XTD’s frame is designed to be held by right-handed folks, so if you game with a southpaw you’d be better off with an ambidextrously designed mouse, like the Razer Taipan.
Armed with R3 laser sensor with a maximum DPI of 8,200, the Kone XTD can be tuned to a hyper-sensitive extreme more than most mice, including the Roccat Kone[+] (6,000dpi) and the Vengeance M60 (5,700dpi). As expected, its response rate is incredibly fast—our testing confirmed its advertised polling rate of 1000Hz.
In addition to its precision, the Kone XTD is highly customizable. Once you download the driver from Roccat’s site, you’ll be met with an avalanche of options that touch on nearly every aspect of the Kone XTD, like selecting LED lighting patterns, assigning functions and macros to each button (and its Easyshift alter-ego), and adjusting dpi sensitivity. Additionally, the software lets you create user profiles, five of which can be stored on the Kone XTD’s on-board memory. All said, calling the Kone XTD merely customizable almost seems like an understatement.
One of the reasons we like reviewing gaming mice here at the Labs is that it lets us play games under the guise of testing, and I accordingly headed into a few rounds of Team Fortress 2 armed with the Kone XTD in my holster. The gaming mouse made for a formidable weapon on the gaming grid, where its laser sensor yielded smooth movement on high DPI settings without exhibiting any lag. Moreover, it felt comfortable in my hand throughout, and the Easyshift button’s close proximity to my thumb kept it accessible and easy to press.
Ultimately, the Roccat Kone XTD benefits enormously from sharing most of its DNA with the Roccat Kone[+]. By adding a few incremental improvements to an already well-designed, highly customizable gaming mouse, its fate as great choice was sealed from the start. That said, if you’ve already got the Kone[+], you’ll be fine sticking with that. However, if you’re starting from a blank slate, the Kone XTD is a great choice.
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Copyright © 2012 Ziff Davis, Inc