German peripheral manufacturer ROCCAT recently upgraded its gaming mouse line-up with the release of the Kone XTD. Based entirely on Kone [+] from an ergonomic viewpoint, but now touting an upgraded sensor, beefed-up processor and better-built buttons, the £75 XTD is designed to appeal to the well-heeled gamer.
Look and Feel
The Kone XTD is a reasonably plain-looking mouse whose soft-touch, rubberised shell provides more tactile response than ordinary plastic. Two darker-coloured strips run down each side and, as you may just be able to discern, contain thinner (four-zone) LED lighting strips that can be user-defined to hundreds of different colours.
Measuring 13.5cm long and 7.8cm wide, the bulbous mouse feels large in small hands, though it remains comfortable after prolonged use, with particular attention paid to a recessed section that's a perfect fit for a right-hand thumb. Three buttons surround the robust scroll wheel, which can be moved laterally as well as the usual forward-and-back rotation. The button closest to the front edge of the XTD can be troublesome to get to for those with short fingers, so we'd suggest assigning it a rarely-used function; you certainly don't want to stretch to it in the heat of battle.
A couple of side-mounted buttons aren't replicated on the far side, meaning this is clearly a right-handed mouse. The rear-facing button is dubbed the Easy-Shift [+] and, configured through an intuitive user interface that's available as a download from ROCCAT's site, once pressed, enables all other buttons to have a second function. The location of the Easy-Shift [+] button, which is quite far back, requires the XTD to be held in a palm-style rather than the claw-type favoured by some gamers.
As shipped, the Kone XTD weighs in at 126g, disregarding the 1.8m cable, and feels just about right for our personal liking. However, with customisation a selling point, ROCCAT supplies a quartet of 5g weights that can be placed at the back. Though, on our sample, when empty, the locking mechanism isn't quite as good as it should be; the circular plastic section is a little loose and makes a perceivable noise when the mouse is vigorously shaken from side to side.
The software is amongst the tidiest we've seen and lays out all the options in an easy-to-understand manner. Lighting is versatile though of no obvious utilitarian value. Seven genuine buttons and five-way scrolling lead to ROCCAT labelling this as a 12-position mouse. Factor in the EasyShift [+] and a total of 22 actions are available from the 11 dual-function buttons that are powered by Omron microswitches. There's plenty of onboard memory for storing user-defined macros and, given that ROCCAT has had significant time to polish up the user interface, this one is as robust as any.
Performance and Conclusion
Now equipped with an upgraded Pro-Aim Laser R3 sensor that increases sensitivity from 6,000DPI to an even more improbable, mostly-unusable 8,200DPI, we put the Kone XTD on top of ROCCAT's own Hiro mousepad and had a play in our favourite games, making sure that Windows' enhanced mouse acceleration was turned off, and polling rate was set to the maximum 1,000Hz.