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Thursday, August 7, 2014

Gadget Review: Roccat Kone Pure Military Edition gaming mouse

Review by Rob P.

Here’s a happy little story for you. Some time ago, I reviewed the Roccat Savu gaming mouse, and I rather liked it. I remember saying that it just needed one extra button to make it (almost) perfect. Well, two years have gone by, and Roccat is back with the Kone Pure Military. This mouse has two extra buttons. And guess what? It’s almost perfect.

In case you’re unfamiliar with the brand, Roccat is a German peripherals manufacturer with a reputation for innovation and quality. And, as you’d expect from a company which emphasises its e-Sports credentials, the Kone Pure Military pushes the boundaries of what’s possible in a gaming mouse. In addition to those extra buttons, this special-edition variant comes with a great optical sensor, spectacular driver software and a choice of military-inspired colour schemes. But, before I get too carried away, there’s something else you should know. The Military Edition is based around the existing Kone Pure chassis, and it’s very firmly aimed at those who like a smaller, lighter mouse. This means that it’s ideal for people who control their games with a claw- or fingertip grip, but larger-pawed individuals may prefer Roccat’s flagship Kone XTD instead. So, with that important detail out of the way, let’s talk mouse.

Physically, the Kone Pure Military sports a clean and uncluttered right-handed design. In addition to the usual mouse features, it has two thumb buttons, two dedicated (but re-programmable) sensitivity switches, a braided cable, customisable body lighting and a non-slip coating on each side. The mouse also features Roccat’s 2D Titan scroll wheel, which has a nicely geared action and, like the rest of the switches used throughout the mouse, just the right amount of tactile feedback. Finishing off the package, the mouse features a 5000 DPI optical sensor, a 32-bit onboard processor, and internal memory to store any tweaks you might make.

The Pure Military’s gaming performance is excellent. The rubberised finish is pleasant to hold, and the optical sensor is smooth and precise at all sensitivity levels. If I have one minor quibble, it’s with the glide. The mouse is fine when it gets moving, but the first millimetre or so has a little more friction than I’d like. The effect only became noticeable during an afternoon spent pixel-hunting with a point-and-click adventure game, and it’s so subtle that it’s virtually unnoticeable in normal use. Subsequent tests confirmed that there’s no impact on accuracy, so I guess that I’m just being picky.

Roccat’s software is amongst the best in the industry, and the drivers for the Pure Military are no exception. Virtually everything is customisable, from button assignments and sensitivity levels to advanced features like lift-off distance and angle snapping. In addition, the mouse has five profile slots and a ton of pre-defined macros for popular games. Other features include an achievements system and a gravelly-voiced audio notification when you change DPI or profile settings. The software is straightforward to use, but it still has something of an enthusiasts’ feel to it, so tinkerers will be in hardware heaven.

We’re not done yet. Another cool feature is Roccat’s Easy-Shift[+] system. This provides the option of using one of the mouse’s buttons as a modifier for all of the others, in much the same way that the Shift key works on a keyboard. As a result, the number of available functions is nearly doubled. It’s like having 16 mouse buttons. By default, the EasyShift key is mapped to the rear thumb button, which might prove something of a hindrance if you’re accustomed to using that button for gameplay, and I’d have preferred a dedicated button instead. Nonetheless, it’s a great addition to the mouse’s functionality, and you don’t have to use it if you don’t want to.

Additionally, the Pure Military is Roccat Talk enabled. This means that, if you have a compatible Roccat keyboard, you can program the keyboard to affect the mouse, and vice-versa. Although this opens up a number of new control possibilities, the most obvious is to define a single EasyShift key and have it apply to both of your devices. It’s an arrangement that works rather well.

That’s it, then. Some time ago, I reviewed the Roccat Savu gaming mouse, and I wanted an extra button. The Kone Pure Military Edition has two extra buttons, but I’d still like a dedicated Easy-Shift[+] switch. Other than that, this is one of the best mice that I’ve ever used. The hardware is excellent, the software is incredible, and the quality is unsurpassed. It’s ideal for hardcore tech-heads who like to tweak, but I’ve no hesitation in recommending it to anyone who wants a light, compact mouse for their everyday PC gaming needs.

- Rob P. 
Gadget Guru

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Gadget Review: Roccat Kone Pure Military Edition gaming mouse
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