Widening my horizons when the opportunity arose was a challenge I was willing to accept when Cameron asked if I would like to take on the peripherals segment along with the cases and coolers I already look at. I feel a fresh market chocked full of all sorts of products was something that was just what I was looking for to broaden my horizons, deliver an in-depth review, and of course, play with more cool new toys! Bear with me, as this is my first go at peripherals, but never the less, I want to bring the readers what they want to see. Feel free to leave comments below to help me in helping you if you don't see that I covered what you feel needed to be discussed.
Today I not only get to review something I have never reviewed before, but I also get to work with a company I have yet to purchase anything from up to this point. While I know ROCCAT has been in business, I always seemed to make do with cheap mice and keyboards, so to be fair, there aren't many peripheral companies I have purchased from. From what I can tell by browsing their site, there is a huge lineup of mice, keyboard, accessories and even laptops that ROCCAT offers. Most of the products are very feature rich and tons of thought has gone into the options and layout and ergonomics of all of their products, and what I have just received is almost the pinnacle of what a mouse can offer while looking sleek, being easy to use, and functioning as described.
Today we are going to be having a look at the Kova+ Max Performance Gaming Mouse from ROCCAT. For those familiar with previous products, there was a similar Kova mouse that this spawns from. Where the Kova has a system of button combos making changes in DPI, lighting and so forth, software takes over in the Kova+ and the 5+2 button configuration is traded in for a 7+2 configuration this time. There are many, many more changes that get made to the new Kova+ as well, so settle in and enjoy what ROCCAT and I deliver with the Kova+.
Specifications, Availability and Pricing
The ROCCAT Kova+ uses a 3200 DPI (Dots Per Inch) optical gaming sensor. This means that a multitude of LED light pulses bounce off the mouse mat and back into a sensor to determine movement and positioning. This sensor also is sensitive enough to realize when the mouse gets lifted to limit the amount of travel the pointer wanders if you have to lift the mouse when attempting to track a foe through a scope. The Kova+ comes with 130 IPS maximum speed which is a boost from the 40 IPS of the Kova. Lateral acceleration also got a boost from 20 Gs to 30 Gs in the Kova+, so this mouse will track the movements as fast as you can humanly and comfortably make them. The last major feature expressly tuned to gamers is the 1000Hz polling rate, which means there is only 1ms of delay between your actions and it being read by the PC. So if your game style is based on the run and gun technique where reaction time is a must, you are definitely covered.
Around the mouse you will find quite a few things that immediately jump out at you. First off would be the two meter cable made with the internal wiring coated in a smooth rubber finish, so drag against and tearing of the edge of the mat is reduced. The Kova+ has a low profile standing just 40mm tall at its highest point, and it's relatively lightweight at 90 grams. You will also notice that the mouse is both ergonomic and ready for both right and left handed users. Around the mouse you will find a 7+2 button configuration of right and left click, scroll click and up and down scrolling, plus two buttons on either side of the mouse. You can also see that there are four places on the mouse backed with LED lighting, but it requires being connected to see what that has to offer. The majority of the outside is constructed of both smooth sections and textured sections of plastic with the sides getting Griptech, non-slip rubber coatings.
The ROCCAT Kova+ just hit the market and as with all new releases it does take a bit of time to fill shelves everywhere. I was able to locate three places showing the Kova+, but only two have the mouse in stock and they are both listings from over the pond. Sorry to be this blunt, but shipping is definitely going to raise that near $70 price tag I saw anyways. The one link I did find that was USA based was from NCIX with a listing at $67.98, but since it is out of stock currently, you are left waiting for just a bit longer if the Kova+ impresses you as it did me. Since Newegg did carry the Kova when it was popular, I would imagine it won't be long until stock shows up there as well. I will say that this mouse has been a joy to use and is worth the wait.
Packaging & Contents
The front of the Kova+ packaging is a mix of mostly black with light blue highlights covering the company name, features, and on the backing the mouse sets on under the plastic window into the packaging.
On this side you open the packaging by lifting the matte black panel with the ROCCAT logo and name up from the bottom half to gain access to more information. Flanking the "open" marking, to the left is the name of the mouse, and to the right is the web address to get the latest drivers or support.
The opposing side of the packaging gives you four different looks around the Kova+, and the bottom image also introduces the color LED options contained. At the bottom there is a listing of the package contents, technical specs and system requirements.
On the back there is n image of the Kova+ with text describing the features as you will find them on the mouse. The six features listed we have covered except for the Easy-Shift button which doubles the amount of buttons to use and the Macro software that allows full customization of the Kova+. This product is also part of the SDMS which is a system that keeps everything lined up and ergonomic.
Inside of the front there is information on the Easy-Shift and how it all works next to a description and image of SDMS. At the bottom you find some of the macro listings for WoW, multimedia and the browser functions it then ends with a statement from "nooky".
Beside the mouse we are just about to have a look at, the scope of delivery includes a large folder on the left containing the ROCCAT ID card, the quick installation guide and a disc with the manual and some images for desktops.
The Kova+ Max Performance Gaming Mouse
On the right side of the Kova+ the right click button receives a ROCCAT name indented into the plastic just above a pair of buttons. The back edge is cut away to accept a left hand thumb and has the area under the side buttons coated with a rubber coating called Griptech. The "window" at the bottom left and the "L" shaped cutout in the right click button are both backlit with LEDs.
The palm rest has a low slope to it and leaves your hand pretty flat across the mouse. There is just a slight hint of a ridge that fits right into your hand. It is also wide enough to support your thumb, but due to the universality of right and left handed use, your pinky is left dragging on the mat.
Down the left side of the mouse you can see it is a mirror image of the right side. Since the right click had the ROCCAT name, the Kova+ name on this side just makes a lot of sense and is out of the way of your thumb, so it should be there for years to come and erode away with hours of use.
Under the mouse you can see it is supported with four very smooth plastic feet that allow the Kova+ to glide effortlessly. Along with the company name, product name and the unit's serial number, there is the sticker in the middle for the 3200 DPI Pro-optic sensor to track your movement.
Once I plugged in the mouse I couldn't help but play with the options a bit so I could show you a bit of what the LED lighting has to offer. Here it is in blue!
Red is really best for use at night, it isn't coincidence that there are red lights on a submarine. With high amounts of light on the Kova+, the red LED lighting does get lost.
And for the NVIDIA fans out there, you can make the Kova+ go green or four other choices of light blue, purple, pink and orange.
Going to the site, I got the latest driver with this software package. On the main page you have a lot to take in. We are in the main control window as designated at the top, and here we can control sensitivity, vertical scroll and tilt, as if the wheel had it, but done via buttons. On the right side you can control the DPI setting, the pointer speed, double click speed, or reset the driver to defaults. Along the bottom is where you find the five profiles that can be used and set to your specific needs.
Under the button assignment tab you see that there is the standard layout on the left side for the typical standard mouse functionality we would expect, and just below is where you select the right or left hand mode. The right side is where you can customize what the Easy-Shift buttons control, and as you can see, it leaves you with a total of 16 buttons and below these controls is the button for the Macro Manager.
In the basic Macro Manager you can customize the functionality to do things like open frequently used programs, control VLC or WMP settings in more detail, or even set up controls for your favorite games that aren't already in the pre-loaded list of macros that will auto load as the game is started. For the advanced macro artists, click the eye near the bottom to get to the advanced menu.
The advanced macro editor gives you one major benefit over the standard version and that is the addition of time delays in the macro script. This allows multiple clicks of a mouse to be done from one click while waiting the appropriate time for the command preceding it to complete before moving to the next click in the macro sequence.
The Advanced control tab allows you to now move into the aesthetics and audio control of the mouse. You have ht control to turn the light on and off or even add a breathing effect to the LEDs. Below it you can choose one of seven colors and below that you have options on the type of breathing the LEDs do. On the right you can adjust the polling rate of the mouse from 125Hz on up to 1000Hz. This higher the Hz level you set, the lower the delay between the mouse and PC. The sound feedback has boxes to check for what you would like voice recognition of changing.
The update and support tab brings up a button that links to the latest driver version for the Kova+ and if you have any questions or issues there is an email request link as well. On the right is a link to the support section of the ROCCAT site, with links to the actual support form, and again the email address.
I have had the ROCCAT Kova+ in my possession now for something close to two weeks. The first few days didn't take too much getting used to, as did other higher DPI mice I have bought in the past. My hands were pretty much ready for that already. What did take some getting used to would be the Easy-Shift button and remembering the second setting for all the seven additional buttons offered once the Easy-Shift is pressed, just like on a keyboard! While I did reinstall Guild Wars to try out some of the preset macros, and even set a few of my own to try to shave valuable time and save me work in my daily life. Even before the driver was installed, the basic functionality was all there. Once the driver went in, I was like a kid in a candy store with all the options that the Kova+ offers and gives you full control of.
Two weeks in I now find myself using the Easy-Shift on all my mice, even though they don't have it. While it didn't take the full two weeks to get used to it, moving it over to my laptop gave me many hours of use as I do most of my browsing and such on that. The way ROCAAT designed the Kova+, it is comfortable for both right and left hand individuals, as I tried 3 days of left handed use as well. Even though it was awkward to use as I don't typically move a mouse with my left hand, the mouse just lends itself to making the task easy and effortless. Customization of the Kova+ goes beyond DPI and LED functions found in any average mouse. ROCCAT takes it to the next level with the macro ability of this mouse. There is a ton of preset gaming profiles and you can add as much as you want, or tweak what is already set. For those looking to speed up your everyday life, macros can also be set to something like Photoshop or whatever you spend too much time tinkering with day to day.
The mouse is a little flat for my hands; I do prefer a mouse that is a bit taller across the palm, but I had no issues using it and enjoying it more and more as I used it. I like the smooth cord as it doesn't want to destroy the edge of my cloth mat as some of the braided cables have in the past. Compared to what I am used to, this mouse is on the light side, but it didn't make it any tougher to control or handle. On top of that there is the cool little feature that when you do have to lift the Kova+, the movement seen in game is very minimal, even when you are setting it back down there is very little flutter. As if all of this isn't enough, you get the multi colored LED with breathing option to play with, and the voice recognition is kind of cool for a few minutes, and I swear it's the same voice from the Fesser web site, so be prepared for a stern voice to tell you what you just changed. If the vocals are turned off, you still get LED confirmation of the Easy-Shift key, because when pressed the LED lighting will change to blue, unless you use blue as the default color, then there is no color change.
The last mouse I was really fond of and used exclusively up to now cost right around $70 on the retail market. While then I thought that pricing was a bit pricey for a mouse purchase, I bit the bullet and was very happy with my purchase. That was until now! Seeing the pricing at NCIX at $67.98, my eyes have been opened to a whole new level of what that same $70 investment can offer. The real shame is even though prices are listed, if you are in the USA, there isn't any current stock. For those in the UK market, listings are stocked and you can get yours right now. I know that my old mouse doesn't have macro ability and it may fit my hand a bit better than the Kova+, but every day I use it, I feel the Kova+ is that much closer to being my every day driver for games, work, photo editing, media player control, you name it; essentially the only limitation is the effort in which you put into customizing the Kova+ to be tailored exactly to your needs.