ROCCAT Kova [+] Gaming Mouse Review

BluePanda - 2011-11-02 18:00:24 in Input Devices
Category: Input Devices
Reviewed by: BluePanda   
Reviewed on: December 12, 2011
Price: $67.98

Introduction:

ROCCAT is a German based company that developed innovative accessories for determined computer gamers. Founded in 2007 ROCCAT Studios, based in Hamburg, has been producing uniquely designed input devices for you and your game. Recently making sales in the US through NCIX.com, Amazon.com, Newegg.com, and their AZZA US headquarters in California – their newest creations can now be yours.

Today ROCCAT sends us their newest gaming mouse, the Kova[+]. An new and improved version of their also featured Kova mouse, the Kova[+] features up to 3200 DPI with the Pro-Optic Gaming Sensor which can be adjusted on the fly starting at 400 DPI. The major factor setting this apart from its mother Kova, and what seems to be the only difference, is its new innovative Easy-Shift[+] feature that takes you from having the already impressive 12 buttons to 22 with the hold of a button. I will explain how well this awesome feature works in the “Configuration” section of this review.

The Kova[+] shows your color in four multi-color LEDs located on the four corners of the mouse and can be changed in the included driver settings. The entire body is composed of a rubberized black body and is ready for hours of gaming without sweaty palms. The driver even allows you to set up to 5 different user profiles which allows you to keep your settings saved even if you have to share your rig with a sibling or significant other who has very different tastes in mouse properties. And if that isn’t enough for you… well then, this mouse TALKS! When you change your DPI settings, profiles, volume settings, or sensitivity settings you will get a nice friendly male voice letting you know what changes you have made. Now that I’ve got you interested, let’s get to a closer look at all these features.

 

Closer Look:

I know ROCCAT for their over glorified packaging department. Every product I’ve gotten from them has always been a packaging dream. They clearly spend some time in designing the beauty that their products are shipped in; now the question is…do they spend the same time in developing their products? I guess we better get to looking into this.

The front of the box gives you a little window to peek inside and see what your investment has gone to. A magnetic flap keeps the mouse within still a secret, but yet a fun flap to play with. It’s like when you were a kid and got to pick one toy out at the store – you always played with the package on the way to the register. The box boasts about its 3200 DPI resolution and advanced driver macros. I’m excited because it says I can change the color of the lights! The back of the box supports ten languages of quick features about the mouse. These are all provided on the “Specifications & Features” page of this review.

 

 

Standing this box up you can gaze at its remarkable preparation for the shelf at your storefront. The side of the box gives you four angles of the mouse with hints at the color changing corners. I don’t know why, but it changing colors is exciting to me. The front of the box also holds popular reviews, much like the OCC award on other packages, from Tom’s hardware and other international review sites.

 

 

Opening up that magnetic flap we get a true glance at the still plastic-bound mouse. A few more features are listed inside the flap and the excitement of the Easy-Shift[+] features. But really – I just want to get this box open already. Don’t get me wrong, a lot of time was spent on designing this box and it is beautiful – but in reality, I know you will just tear it open as soon as you get it, so why can’t I?

 

 

Alright, the mouse is out of the box…sorry no cat here (just doesn’t make sense). I immediately notice the rubbery feel; it’s not a slick mouse but nice and non-sticky feeling. I’m happy already. I always hate glossy mice that make your hand sweat. Gross. The cable is bound well with a twist tie to keep it neat in the box. A set of instructions is included in its own pretty envelope. The ROCCAT logo is embossed in glossy black on a matte black finished package. It’s nice to see companies still including a driver disk – too many times I have been without Internet access when new hardware arrives. The USB plug has the ROCCAT logo and reminds you it is a Kova in case your friends ask what mouse you are using and you can’t remember. I’m not sure of the true purpose of it being written here – but it is a nice touch.

 

 

Taking a closer look at the mouse I’m very happy to again remind you that it has a rubberized body. I have had several mice over the years that had a smooth glossy finish and I cannot recall the last one that I used more than a week or two. The matte or rubberized coating has always kept me happy gaming. You hands don’t sweat and you’ve always got a good grip on your game.

Looking at the bottom of the mouse we see four rather large mouse skates. It’s always nice to see some good skates on a mouse. It keeps them working on any surface, and to know I don’t need to buy some fancy ones is an added bonus; these come with good ones to start. The bottom of the mouse also gives you all your typical details: the barcode, your product number, warnings, and all that jazz you don’t particularly care about. But I guess that’s why they put it on the bottom of the mouse – how many of you have every really looked at the bottom of your mouse before? Bet you are looking now…

 

 

Another couple angles of the mouse and you’ll realize this mouse is 100% symmetrical. It’s good for righties and equally as perfect for lefties. The body has no difference left to right and even includes the forward/backward buttons on both sides of the mouse – for a total of 4 side function buttons. Regardless of what “handedness” you are, you can customize each of these buttons to fit your needs. The only button that cannot be changed around completely is the actual Easy-Shift[+] button, which will always remain as one of the “back” buttons on the left and right sides of the mouse. It seems they’ve hard-coded this one in – you can change it to something else but you cannot make any other buttons the “shift” option.

 

 

 

Overall, this is just a fine looking mouse. It fits well in my hand. I might have small hands but it’s just one of those perfect shapes. I tend to not like mice that are designed for either handed person, and tend to prefer mice that favor us right-handed users. However, this mouse has caught my hand – I plan to be using it for some time to come…that is if it performs well. Let’s get this thing plugged in and see how long it takes to get back to Skyrim!

Configuration:

So ROCCAT got smart and realized we don’t all have Internet when we are using new components. The Kova[+] installs itself as a standard mouse when you plug it in so you can at least use it as just an ordinary mouse. I wouldn’t advise it, but in a crunch you could use it if you didn’t have another option. However, like I said, ROCCAT got smart – they’ve included the driver CD for you! It seems like it’s been so long since I’ve seen one of these included. Everyone just assumes the Internet is at everyone’s fingertips at all times, so this is a major plus in my book already. Props to you, ROCCAT.

The drivers are easy to install from the internet or the CD. Essentially click “run” and it sets itself up without a problem. After that you can open the control center and have full control over your Kova[+]. The first tab of the mouse settings dialog is “Main Control”. This tab has your bog-standard mouse configuration settings for sensitivity, scrolling speed, tilt speed, and available DPI settings. Also handy is the inclusion of the ability to change the built-in Windows sensitivity slider as well as enabling and disabling of Windows mouse acceleration. The double-click sensitivity is also available for change. The bottom right of the dialog has the option to reset the mouse to factory settings if you manage to screw up the settings to the point where you can’t stand them at all. The second tab, labeled “Button Assignment”, does just that. Each of the buttons is easily selectable with a drop-down menu providing the options for action assignment. The macro manager is also on this page and allows you to assign macros to a certain button press or Easy-Shift[+] button combination. It’s important to note here that the Easy-Shift[+] button can only be assigned to buttons five or seven (the two back buttons on either side of the mouse).

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Moving on to the third tab, labeled “Advanced Control”, you will find options for the LED lights, the USB polling rate, and the sound feedback. The LED settings are relatively limited with only seven colors to choose from…but that’s still six more colors than your standard gaming mouse! The colors cycle by default from the factory in what ROCCAT calls a “breathing effect” where each color fades in and out over the course of a few seconds. I found this to be quite neat looking and left it enabled after playing with a few different color combinations. I’m not sure why anyone would prefer a slower USB polling rate but the options are there to set 125, 250, 500, and 1000 Hz polling rates. All tests were performed with the polling rate set at 1000 Hz. The sound feedback settings allow you to adjust not only the volume of the vocal feedback but what setting changes trigger it as well. The last tab, “Update/Support”, has everything you need to either update your driver or get online support. The big “Driver Download” button automatically downloads and installs any available updates should you click it and the “Online Support” button takes you to the ROCCAT online support page. ROCCAT has also conveniently included links to send them an email and to send in a support request should you have any questions or if something goes awry.

 

 

Once you’ve found your preferred settings you can save them as one of five profiles. This allows you to have different settings for different programs, different games, and even for different users. They are even easily switched between using the Easy-Shift[+] feature. Each profile even keeps settings for the different button mappings. To be honest, other than the fact that only two buttons are able to be used for the Easy-Shift[+] feature, there’s not much more you could ask for in a mouse control panel. You literally get to 'set the rules' with your mouse, as ROCCAT likes to put it.

Specifications:

Dimensions:
12 x 6.5 cm
Weight:
90g (without cable)
Polling Rate:
1000 Hz
Plug Style:
USB
Max DPI:
3200
Cable Length:
2 m

 

Features:

 

 

 

 

All information provided by: http://www.roccat.org/Products/Gaming-Mice/ROCCAT-Kova-/#crb_2

Testing:

The ROCCAT Kova[+] was put through a week of rigorous testing. During this time it was closely examined regarding the following four traits: speed, comfort, precision, and customization.

A mouse is a key effort in any shooting game and just general working about your computer without using the keyboard for everything. However, as a mouse, there really is no apparatus or methods for systematically testing it. Subjective commenting and critiquing on speed, comfort, precision, and customization will help you decide if you are ready for the Kova[+].

 

Testing Setup:

 

Comparison Mice:

 

Speed:

Speed is a major factor in using a mouse. If you can’t get from point A to point B in a reasonable time – you might be dead in your game, or just simply frustrated with whatever you are working on. To rate speed, I used a scale of 1 to 10 with a score of one being representative of it just won’t move and a score of 10 being this mouse got ticketed for speeding.

 

 

Comfort:

If you are going to raid all night you will need a comfortable mouse, something you hand can control without really knowing you are using a mouse. A scale of 1 to 10 was used to rate the comfort level of the mouse. A value of 1 means you might just want to use the keyboard to do everything, and a value of 10 says without the mouse something is missing… almost like when you are missing your car keys in your pocket.

 

 

Precision:

Precision is a key element in making your every headshot. If the mouse is wandering or just not quite pointing where you feel it should be then your skill almost doesn’t even matter. The mouse was rated from 1 to 10, with 1 meaning just give up, and a score of 10 meaning it was meant to be.

 

 

Customization:

If your mouse doesn’t even have a scroll wheel, I cannot talk to you, however if you are one of those people sitting here with only a left click, a right click, and a scroll wheel… well then we need to talk. I’m not saying your mouse needs to be as full of buttons as the Razer Naga but having some buttons can really improve not only the way you move about menus but also the way you get around in game. Using a ranking from 1 to 10 a score of 1 goes to those of you with only one button (go Apple!) and a score of 10 goes to the mouse that can do everything!

 

 

 

Summary

With Bethesda’s recent release of The Elder Scrolls IV: Skyrim, I wasn’t so sure about having to switch to a new mouse. It always takes a bit of time to adjust to what you are running around with. However, after the drivers were installed and I finally got it configured to where I like it – it wasn’t so bad at all. The options to customize it to your liking are pretty open. I tend to like a little faster movement than most – which often leaves me with a little less control, but with the added DPI and sensitivity settings I’ve been taking down more headshots than normal. However, I must say the major downside to all the custom options is the “slow” factor. Every time you change a setting, not just the LED colors, but the sensitivity and speed settings – you are essentially flashing your mouse to those settings. Needless to say, the changes are not effectively immediately and if you are as picky as I am you may take a while getting your mouse set up the way you want to use it. The options for whatever speed and precision level you desire are there – you just need to spend the time to get what you want.

The Kova[+] is one of the more comfortable mice I’ve used in awhile. I’ve always been a big fan of my Razer DeathAdder just because of its size and the way it sits in my little hand. I used to love the old MX-510 from Logitech until I realized there are mice out there that don’t require my hand to sit off my desk to use them. I found the Kova[+] to fit just right in my hand. The forward and back buttons were easy to access for melee and internet browsing. The only thing that really seemed to be an issue as far as comfort goes would have to be the extra set of side buttons for the left handed user. My hand doesn’t really find use for these as they are a bit awkward to handle and are easily bumped for unnecessary clicks. Personally at this point I feel there should be a left hand and right hand version developed separately. Good economic design, poor user feel…

As far as the “shift” feature goes…I found it a bit awkward at first. To have to hold down a button and click another to get a different result was sort of nice. I liked having the extra buttons on my mouse but over time I just stopped using them. I’ve found I really only care about left, right, middle click and the two forward/backward click options. Anything beyond that for the games I play was easier to place as a key command over on the keyboard side of things.

I honestly can’t think of a time when you would really want to change your DPI settings on the fly like the options allow for – but I guess some of you out there will rant on about why you will use this feature, more power to you. But for me, I didn’t really use this setting much more than to annoy my finance with the odd voice “3200 DPI”. Those of you who eventually make this purchase (or have owned a working Kone[+]) will understand this…

Conclusion:

In conclusion, I really liked this mouse. I will be using it over my favorite DeathAdder for a while and plan on it being my main mouse until I find something better. I truly enjoy it despite some features that usually would turn me away from it. I don’t like the lengthy changes for settings in the “flashing” of the mouse and I hate the extra buttons for the left-handed user; and I will never use the mouse as a lefty, so don’t bother me with the extra buttons. But even with both of these “problems” – I’m set on using this mouse. After the painful configuration to set it to the exact speed and sensitivity I want I’m now set. Any changes from here will be minimal so it won’t kill me…

In reality the “length” flash settings to the mouse probably only consumes about 40-45 seconds of my time, but when you are really trying to nail down that last little adjustment it becomes frustrating when you can’t really tell if this setting is better than the last setting you had it on. The extra wait in between to me was very frustrating, but for those of you with a bit of patience – it won’t bother you as much. But considering that I can make some of the same changes in Windows at a faster and more instant pace, I become much more than impatient in waiting for settings to apply. Either way, like I said, this won’t keep me from using the mouse. Now that I have my settings I’m a happy user.

The Kova[+] is a really nice mouse. If you have yet to find that mouse that will never leave your hand, this one is definitely one worth giving a try. Once you begin using it you likely won’t want to change – even with the little things that bother me I still prefer it over my old mouse. It’s great at tracking, it goes where you want it to go, and you have some pretty damn good control over how it moves with so many settings. Unfortunately, its price is a bit high considering some of the competing mice on the market. Especially when you consider the Razer Naga, which is only $70.00 on the market right now. It has 17 buttons with no need for a shift key to use them. The design is there, the marketing is pretty, but the cost is going to have to come down to make this one fit its value. The Kova[+] might not be a gold winner in my palm, but it’s definitely a mouse worth putting in yours.

 

Pros:

 

Cons: