Roccat Kone XTD and Isku Review

Mark Pinkerton December 11, 2012 0
Roccat Kone XTD and Isku Review
  • Roccat Kone XTD Gaming Mouse
  • Roccat Isku Gaming Keyboard

Roccat is a maker of many gaming peripherals for PC based in Hamburg, Germany.  They are a relatively new company that has gone into the high end gaming market.   In the past Roccat’s gaming hardware peripherals have always been top notch and the Kone XTD and Isku have not disappointed my expectations.  With the introduction of the +talk  feature it is hard to not use both a keyboard and mouse to review, as you get the most out of them when using them together.

I will start off with the Roccat Kone XTD’s Features and statistics from Roccat’s site:

Features

  • FULLY-ADJUSTBALE 8200DPI PRO-AIM (R3) SENSOR
    with 41 true DPI setting ranging from 200 to 8200
  • ROCCAT™ CLICK MASTER
    switch tech powered by Omron© for precision button activation
  • EASY-SHIFT[+]™ BUTTON DUPLICATOR
    with Easy-Aim + Easy-Wheel functions for max command power
  • 32-BIT TURBO CORE V2 PROCESSOR
    for lightning-fast computing speed
  • TRACKING & DISTANCE CONTROL UNIT
    for less pick-up flight & more precise gaming
  • 576KB ON-BOARD MEMORY
    for storing a wealth of macros and settings
  • 4-LED LIGHT SYSTEM
    for customizable colors + effects
  • 8 MOUSE BUTTONS + SOLID 4D WHEEL
    for a full complement of command options
  • 4 EASY-TO-CLIP-IN WEIGHTS (4 X 5G)
    for customized weight adjustment
Technical Specifications
  • Pro-Aim Laser Sensor R3 with up to 8200dpi
  • 1000Hz polling rate
  • 1ms response time
  • 12000fps, 10.8megapixel
  • 30G acceleration
  • 3.8m/s (150ips)
  • 16-bit data channel
  • 1-5mm Lift off distance
  • Tracking & Distance Control Unit
  • 72MHz Turbo Core V2 32-bit Arm based MCU
  • 576kB onboard memory
  • Zero angle snapping/prediction
  • 1.8m braided USB cable

Right out of the box you can tell the mouse is of high quality.  It is large with an attractive Roccat logo design with glowing LEDs that change color like a mood ring.  It comes fully loaded with features and a very precise and responsive mouse, as its 8200 dpi sensor is top notch.  It’s one of the most responsive and accurate mice I’ve ever used.

I found the mouse to be very comfortable the material of it has a nice supple but grippy texture on the outside with shaped cutouts for thumbs that fit both large and small hand.  It slides effortlessly on my mouse pad, with no hang ups.  It comes with weights that can easily be removed or added 5 grams at a time to quell those over-reactive twitch responses when playing FPS, which is a more direct way of adjusting mouse sensitivity than via game software.  However, since the mouse already weighs over 120 grams, I didn’t see much use for the extra weights.

Also, with Easy-Aim the software will allow you to adjust dpi for you to help you get the right sensitivity for your movements, ie. switching from close combat in FPS to sniping. Furthermore, adding to the customization of sensitivity you can increase and decrease dpi via two buttons below the middle mouse wheel.  They are very awkward to adjust on the fly, but it’s still faster than changing it via software.  Yet, once again I’ve never had the need to touch the buttons in the first place.

Another nice feature is a side to side mouse wheel buttons, which adds a total of 6 easy access buttons all in your right hand and with profile swapping button you can change the functions of each of the buttons effectively giving you way more controls than you could ever need.  I found this very useful for RTS as well as when I felt lazy with some of the ARPG games, you can almost play some games without even touching your keyboard.

Though, if you wanted to touch your keyboard Roccat has a pretty nice offering with the Isku.  Here are the Isku’s specs from the Roccat website:

Features

  • BLUE KEY ILLUMINATION
    with 6 brightness levels
  • 3 EASY SHIFT[+]™ ZONES
    for easy key duplication
  • 36 EASY-TO-REACH MACRO KEYS
    including 3 Thumbster keys
  • MACRO LIVE! RECORDING
    with dedicated M-Rec button; 180+ macros in 5 profiles
  • 8 CONFIGURABLE MEDIA & HOTKEYS
    25+ assignable functions
  • MEDIUM-HEIGHT KEYS
    with an optimum keystroke & pressure point;
    advanced anti-ghosting; 1000Hz polling rate
  • ROCCAT™ DRIVER + MACRO MANAGER
    incl. Sound Feedback;  Macro Presets for games,
    multimedia and office apps
  • EXTRA-LARGE GRANULAR WRIST REST
    with special surface texture
  • INTEGRATED CABLE CHANNELS
    for better device organization
  • NON-SLIP BASE
    with lock-on keyboard feet
  • ULTRA-FAST PROFILE SWITCHING
    5 Profile-Status LEDs
  • ROCCAT™ TALK® – SET BONUS
    by combining products
Technical Specifications
  • Illuminated keyboard with 123 keys
  • Enhanced anti-ghosting capability
  • 3 programmable Thumbster Keys (T1-T3)
  • 5 programmable Macro Keys (M1-M5)
  • 20 additional Macro Keys (Easy Zone)
  • 5 Profile-Status LEDs
  • 3 Status LEDs (Caps Lock, Easy Shift[+]™, Num Lock)
  • 1000Hz polling rate, 1ms response time
  • 2m USB cable

The Isku as a keyboard alone is a very nice key board, but it is quite large, and some might find a problem fitting both a keyboard and mouse on the same pull out tray.  Also, since it has its own wrist rest, it may have a problem fitting in that dimension as well.  I had the occasional problem with the keyboard’s legs sliding off the tray in my setup, as it barely was able to fit, so I would suggest measuring before you think about getting this keyboard.  The legs rise enough to be comfortable to type or game all day, and despite being made of hard plastic the wrist rest was not uncomfortable either.

The finish on the buttons is glossy and it is a fingerprint magnet being a keyboard and all, but it matches most LCD screen finish as of late.  There are LEDs to light up the keyboard with 6 settings ranging from off to very bright.  I noticed a slight issue with reading the keyboard in medium to low light when you are facing the keyboard at an angle even at full brightness.   The key strokes have a nice satisfying feel to it and reset very quickly, but this is not a mechanical keyboard by any means.  Though, its lack of mechanical doesn’t mean it’s not a great typing keyboard either, and its features outweigh mechanical feel.

Again, the software is very similar to the Kone, where you can customize and record macros and switch between them.  My biggest complain about this keyboard is that Caps Lock is the default Easy Shift[+]™ button instead of being Caps Lock.  With the amount of real estate that the Isku takes up, I would have liked a separate button to swap macro and default buttons for games.  I like that you can disable the windows button, and the auto dim function is nice if you’re playing a mostly mouse intensive game or just perusing the internet.  One very nice extra is that there is a library of pre-configured setups that work very well for games ranging from Firefox all the way to Modern Warfare 2.  These pre-configured setups actually work well for the games I tested, and are a great building point to start your own customization instead of starting completely from scratch.

Macro recording is also a very good feature for in RTS or RPG and even in programs such as Photoshop where repetitive key strokes are done in sequence.  You can record macros in game/program as well as set them up before using your program.  The beauty of the recording is that the Isku records the delay in your key strokes, and be able to change the delay as well.  This is good for those that might get banned for having key stroke that are too fast for certain games that might ban for the use of macros (I’m not condoning nor endorsing the use of macros in these games).  For those who do not need a delay you can perform any inputs as fast as the keyboard can transmit them.  I found the software easy to use once I got familiar with it and the macros are now something I do not want to be without.

Combining the Roccat Kone mouse and Isku keyboard to try out Roccat’s macros and +talk features requires a bit of work to figure out what works best.  Roccat provided us with both to try out and included in both boxes were drivers and the company’s website to download the software to make up your own macros or use their defaults, which are a great starting point as they have many games and programs already setup for you.  You can update these drivers directly from the Roccat website too.  The software was a little overwhelming at first because the amount of customization is limitless, however the +talk feature allow macros to be accessible from the mouse as well as being able to map keyboard buttons to the mouse.  Also, pressing the Easy Shift[+]™ button on the mouse will work the same way on the keyboard and vice versa.  This allows you to have a normal functioning Caps Lock and still have a quick easy to reach button to change commands.

I would have to say that this is a niche market for those who are involved in a lot of multimedia editing or for those involved with gaming.  If you’re a casual gamer, but very much want a great mouse but do not need the features Roccat has the Kone + and pure with less features but still the same style and precision.  The Isku is for those of us who have a lot of repetitive tasks that can easily be cut down in time with home made short cuts or for those of us who like the speed of macros.   Overall, the complete package is steep at about $192 for both online, which makes this a fairly costly niche market mouse and keyboard.   Those of you who want/need macros, high speed short cuts, and a high quality mouse and keyboard, need not to look else ware.

Roccat Kone XTD Mouse – $121.95

Roccat Isku Keyboard – $69.99

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