If you have been shopping for a gaming mouse at any point in the last 10 years then you will likely have come across the ROCCAT Kone so we’re not exactly talking about a new product in today’s review. That said, the Kone has been refreshed, revitalised and updated throughout the decade and with its RGBA multi-zone lighting, ROCCAT Owl-Eye optical sensor and tri-button thumb area in many ways the Kone AIMO is a completely new device.
So without further rambling and waffle, here are the spec’s as shown on the ROCCAT Kone AIMO’s website before we dig in for a closer look at the mouse.
- ROCCAT® Owl-Eye optical sensor with 12000dpi
- ROCCAT® exclusive 50 Mio. lifecycle switches
- 1000Hz polling rate
- 1ms response time
- 50G acceleration
- 250ips maximum speed
- Mouse acceleration: no
- Angle snapping: on/off
- Adjustable lift-off distance
- ARM Cortex-M0 50MHz
- 512kB onboard memory
- 1.8m braided USB cable
DIMENSIONS / WEIGHT
Weight 130 g
Windows® 8, Windows® 7, Windows® 10
Internet connection for driver installation
USB 2.0 Port
Starting with the box, we are presented with an imposing angular design in all black cardboard with a clear image of the Kone Aimo on the front and ROCCAT branding on the angled edge. The only selling points that are highlighted are the 10 years of German engineering and their AIMO lighting.
Around the back, it’s a similar story but the features of the mouse are much more clearly defined and in multiple languages too. The side image of the Kone AIMO is well annotated and there is a logo for the Owl-Eye sensor that looks markedly ‘Strix’ with both having their design based on the bird of prey.
The edge of the box tells the history of the ROCCAT Kone, highlighting the changes and additions that have been made since the original Kone was released way back in 2007 as ROCCAT’s first product.
Inside the box we have a fold out Installation guide, some shiny black stickers and a disposal information guide… so if you hate the Kone AIMO you know instantly how to properly bin it.
The reverse of the install guide is not the usual multi-language repeat in small print, but a rather nice poster just in case the stickers weren’t enough bonus branding for your man cave. They also include the mouse of course.
The top-down styling of the Kone hasn’t really changed much, there’s now a large logo on the palm area and the printed product name along the left RGBA track. Two centre buttons below the scroll wheel are easy to access and although you can reprogram them (more about that later) they default to DPI increase and decrease. The scroll wheel itself is described as being 4D however in my mind rotating forward and back, tilting left or right and press to click only makes three directions of movement… maybe I’m missing something. Along the length of the nicely braided 1.8m cable is a rather plain looking USB plug. It’s got branding which is going to help when you’re crouched under the desk with a torch in your mouth trying to change it or something else, but there’s no gold plating so depending on lifespan you may get some issues relating to tarnish if you believe in such problems.
Being solely a right-handed mouse there is nothing of interest at all on the right side of the Roccat Kone AIMO… I could talk about the ergonomics but being plain, smooth plastic there’s not much to say until I start to use it.
The left-hand side of the ROCCAT Kone however is much more interesting, especially as this is where the magic third thumb button sits. This enables you to use almost all the other buttons for a second command by default. Only the three thumb buttons themselves don’t have dual command profiles by default, and of course, that bottom thumb button being the trigger for the extra commands can’t have a second one added. That said, if you install the Swarm software you can change all the commands, both primary and secondary, so if you wanted to use a different button to trigger the alternate actions in the rest that becomes easy.
Underneath the mouse we see five glide pads to ensure even balance as you move around and bang in the centre is the ROCCAT Owl-Eye Optical Sensor which gives 1:1 accuracy of movement all the way up to 12000DPI which is not as ludicrously fast as it sounds if you are gaming in 4k resolution or greater.
I couldn’t leave this section without remarking upon the RGBA intelligent lighting. The AIMO system really does make the lights move and glide imperceptibly changing from one LED to the next to produce smooth changes that I’ve never seen before in any peripheral. There are three lighting zones, the left and right tracks as well as the illuminated scroll wheel. The default lighting gives you a glowing fire effect unless you press the tri-button and the lights change to a vibrant blue to indicate you are accessing the alternative option for the rest of the buttons.
As I have already mentioned, by downloading the ROCCAT Swarm driver software you can make changes to the set-up and performance of your mouse. Although I’m not going to go into too much detail here, I will give you a run-down of the most relevant and useful features and settings.
After installation and updating you are greeted with a ‘Pinned Settings’ page, basically, any setting that you want easy access to you can assign to show up on this page and you can then scroll easily without having to switch tabs – very handy.
Next up is the ‘Settings’ tab, this is for your basic adjustment of horizontal and vertical speed, as well as overall speed. You also set up your DPI profiles of which there are up to five if all are enabled and the double-click speed.
The ‘Button Assignment’ tab is as straightforward as you might expect, simply click on the setting that you want to change and assign a new one from the utterly massive list of game-specific macros or ones you have written, basic mouse functions, Windows OS functions, hotkeys, and on and on. I could probably complete a full review worth of word-count just talking about this tab but I’ll spare you, just accept that anything (digital) that you want to do you can do in this section one way or another.
The ‘Advanced Settings’ tab will let you change things like the polling rate at 25% intervals up to 1000Hz, setup angle snapping, customise lift-off distance and such. I did try the sound feedback but wasn’t able to get it to work.
Last up, at least for the Kone AIMO settings, we have the ‘Illumination’ tab. As you might expect you have some fairly basic illumination patterns to choose from or you can go full AIMO, which is ROCCAT’s AI lighting system that’s available on this mouse as well as the Horde keyboard. It is supposed to work in tandem with your peripherals learning about you as you game and reacting to your gameplay or resting by changing the lighting theme and patterns as appropriate. When presented with just a mouse with it’s three distinct lighting zones there’s not all that much you can expect from the AI but I will say that it’s pretty enough to have it as my main lighting mode.
Other areas of the software are the ‘Swarm Connect’ and ‘AIMO’ settings. Swarm Connect is the ROCCAT app that allows you to see different values such as hardware and game statistics. Sadly I got stuck in a persistent loop of being asked to install the Swarm Connect module using the auto-updater, then being disappointed to see that there was no update available to install. Poor showing since the app has been taking up space and resources on my phone while I waited throughout the testing period to try to use it.
The AIMO settings was a bit more useful, though it is simply a toggle of ‘use me or don’t’. It does also give access to ‘Talk FX’ which reacts to gameplay by changing the lighting while you game in a more significant way to AIMO, not just dimming and pattern changes when playing or not, but perhaps flashing red when on low health or indicating the direction of damage that you are taking. Again, this works better with the full peripheral set but if you can see the Kone AIMO out of the corner of your eye while gaming it could be a game-saver and you can only choose either AIMO or Talk FX, not both.
After a few weeks of playing with the mouse while playing games (it’s a challenging job but some sacrifices are worth it), I have come to the end of the road as far as the Kone AIMO goes and I’m sure you are wondering how I feel about it.
Let’s start off with the ergonomics, which I have more or less glossed over so far but they do deserve some comment even if not much has really changed in the past decade. There is of course a reason why they have not changed… they work! The shape and feel of the mouse are perfect for me – my hand size and my grip style which is a slightly raised palm grip. The texture of the satin finish to the plastic is beautiful to touch and I could easily enjoy the feel of it through the day and night even if I wasn’t using a computer at the time.
The whole ethos of this mouse is the lighting. it was one of the first products that ever had RGB lighting and they have taken this to the next level is wonderful style. On some settings it is a bit bland and step-like in the changes, in others, the change is like watching a roaring fire in slow motion – you can hardly see where one colour stops and another starts. I would like to see more pattern profiles available to choose between as there’s not a whole lot of imagination gone into the process, that said, I have thoroughly enjoyed the light show from the AIMO setting that I haven’t felt the need to really go back and test the others much, so maybe more would be too much and be wasted – we won’t really know for sure without seeing more in action so I live in hope that it’s something that will be developed along with other Swarm updates.
Speaking of Swarm, the software that really brings the Kone AIMO to life, I was really impressed with the implementation of the different possibilities that are offered with the mouse. The Easy-Shift[+] that gives light to the 2nd action of each button combined with massive re-programming scope makes it such that you might barely use the keyboard at all if you choose as you have so many options available with just the mouse.
I should talk about the new sensor as well, ROCCAT’s Eye-Owl, that was as precise as you could want it to be. I’m not anywhere close to being a professional gamer and so my levels of precision and hand-eye coordination are perhaps not the best test setting for this level of precision but I certainly couldn’t fault the mouse for putting the pointer exactly where I wanted it to be, well, with my usual margin of error anyway.
Putting that all together then, how was the overall performance? Bloody fantastic. I really have enjoyed everything about the KONE. There is a reason it’s lasted the test of time, and let’s face it, there are not many mice out there that have not needed to change their essential shape other than to improve customisation and aesthetics for the same amount of time. The lack of change isn’t out of laziness I assure you, it really is the perfect mouse with a glorious feel, beautiful lighting and endless customisation ability. It will be a difficult decision as to whether it becomes my daily driver in place of my ROG Spatha so I might just keep them both in use and switch depending on my mood (or when the spatha runs out of battery and I don’t want to mess with the cable).
Last on the list of important mentionables is the price – I was expecting to see the Kone AIMO on sale at around £85. Instead, the mouse is on sale for just £59.99 at Currys and PC World of all places as I write this review. That’s cracking value in my book and makes this mouse an unmissable buy.
It’s award time, and everything considered it would be rude of me not to give the ROCCAT Kone AIMO the Play3r Gold award and for being my new favourite mid-budget mouse it also gets the Editor’s Choice too.
Huge thanks to ROCCAT for sending us a Kone AIMO to play with and I look forward to testing the AIMO system further with other peripherals at some point (hopefully).