Roccat’s mainline mouse offers yet another alternative for the more understated gamer who appreciates a comfortable and responsive mouse, without the extra bells and whistles. Unlike the admittedly solid Kone Pro Air and Kone XP Air gaming mice, the Kone Air opts out of any RGB support, while providing stellar battery life, solid build quality and a wider design that’s better suited to larger hands for a more natural feeling grip.
The Kone Air feels sturdy in the hands and is built with a slightly wider design in mind, not only for larger hands, but for the ability to provide a range of grips. While I tend to resort to the claw grip for most of my games, it’s nice to relax the palm flat for longer periods of time, particularly when I’m not gaming. Available in both black and white, the Kone Air provides a dedicated DPI button on top of the mouse below the scroll wheel, and three side buttons. Two sit above the thumb, while the third sits almost flat along the thumb rest, that you cause to toggle actions set up by Roccat’s Swarm software.
Thankfully, each of the three side buttons are easy to reach and press, even if the lack of any additional buttons makes it a little trickly for those looking to get more of more demanding games like an MMO for example. That being said, Roccat’s Swarm software does allow the lower side button to toggle alternative commands for side keys via Easy-Shift[+], which we’ll touch on a bit later in this review. But as a mouse, it’s comfortable to use as a with its rubberised grip along the side providing adequate ergonomic support for the thumb.
Much like the Kone Air XP, the Kone Air offers PTFE glides for smooth movement and Titan Optical switches and a 19K Owl-Eye optical sensor for both speedy and responsive clicks and manoeuvrability in-game; although we recommend connecting with the dedicated 2.4 GHz dongle. It’s also on the lighter side, coming in at just 119g with batteries and an impressive 96g without.
While Titan Optical switches and a 19K Owl-Eye optical sensor make this a perfectly acceptable mouse for both gaming and everyday use, the Kone Air is only deepened with it’s additional programmable buttons and 100 million click life-cycle for added reliability. The Kone Air supports both 2.4 GHz and Bluetooth connections, the latter of which tends to fall in line with the proposed 800 hours (or around 33 days) of battery life. It can be powered with a single AA battery, although understandably lacking that aforementioned and lengthy battery life that two AA would provide. However, it’s nice to be able to get rid of any charging cables lying about while not having to worry about long-term battery life, in which most rechargeable batteries lose around 20% of their capacity after just a couple of years.
Should you wish to sacrifice battery life, I would recommend siding with the dedicated 2.4 GHz USB-A dongle neatly included within the Kone Air’s battery compartment. That 2.4GHz option provides around 15-20ms of lag as opposed to 200ms of lag that Bluetooth unfortunately causes. Most casual users will scarcely notice the difference for everyday activities, while more dedicated gamers will benefit from that more responsive lag-free experience, making the most of those satisfying Titan Optical switches. The lack of any RGB also simplifies both the look and customisation of the Kone Air, which I personally appreciate.
Roccat’s Swarm software allows range a range of customisable options, including finetuned DPI settings and interchangeable commands for each button. However, the Easy-Shift[+] functionality is the clear main attraction here. It allows users to customise a secondary layer of commands to each button, which can be accessed by holding down the Easy-Shift[+] button located under the thumb, turning the initial 9 buttons into 17 total options.
While users will need to plug in the 2.4 GHz dongle to access and customise these features, users can certainly benefit from this added functionality, even if the side buttons can be a little tricky to hit while holding that lower Easy-Shift[+] button at the same time. The only gripe I have with the mouse itself, that its lack of on-board interchangeable profiles mean you’ll have to dip back into the software if you wan to change any of your various pre-set adjustments and profiles to cater for more specific games with different controls and layouts.
Verdict & Value
Overall, the Roccat Kone Air isn’t as fancy as its Kone Air XP counterpart, but doesn’t necessarily need to be. It’s well built, long-lasting, comfortable and responsive, all while providing accessibility for added prompts and commands through the dedicated Easy-Shift[+] button. The lack of RGB support may annoy some, while I personally appreciate the decision, as it allows its minimal look to do all the talking. At A$139.95, it’s competitive in terms of price for what it offers, making it one of the more solid and approachable all-rounders on the market.
FOUR STARS (OUT OF FIVE)
Highlights: Solid build quality; Easy-Shift[+] functionality; Comfortable design
Lowlights: Lack of on-board profiles; Side buttons can be a little tricky to reach while holding Easy-Shift[+] button
Review based on unit supplied by Roccat.