Roccat Kone Pure Ultra Review
When you talk about an ultra light gaming mouse a lot of people will (rightfully) envision a mouse that's got a bunch of holes in it, but that doesn't need to be the case. Roccat's newest entry in their Kone (Pure) line joins the lightweight debate, but it does so without having any (visible) holes.
That's not the only change, though. Some of the other changes when compared to the Kone Pure Owl-Eye include a better cable and sensor, so in theory this should be a worthy upgrade but how does it do in practice?
Our reviewer had the chance to put the Kone Pure Ultra to the test and he's got all the answers in our full review.
"The Kone Pure Ultra utilizes an innovative internal structure rather than dotting the surface in holes as is the case with many competing mice."Roccat, about the Kone Pure Ultra
Roccat Kone Pure Ultra - First Impressions
Just over a year ago I reviewed the Roccat Kone Pure Owl-Eye (commonly referred to as 'KPOE') so I already had an idea of what to expect here when it comes to the shape and so on. When I opened the package I got from the mailman I was pleasantly surprised to see that this newest mouse of theirs doesn't look quite as 'gamery' as the KPOE does, and while I don't particularly care about the looks of my gaming gear (I'd choose performance over looks every single time of the year) they did make the right aesthetic choices if you're asking me.
The box is a lot more understated this time, and the same can be said for the mouse. The only visible branding you see here (the name 'Roccat' is printed on the side of the mouse, but it's in black so it's barely visible unless you're looking for it) comes in the form of the RGB logo that's centered at the back of the mouse. When I say 'visible' I do mean visible, by the way. This is by far the brightest RGB element I've seen on any mouse so far, so much so that I physically recoiled a bit when I plugged in the mouse for the first time. Hang a couple of these mice from the ceiling and you've got yourself some nice disco lighting. Obviously you can change the brightness in Roccat's Swarm (this is their customization software) so this isn't a problem or anything; I just found it amusing just how bright this thing gets. The lighting looks nice and consistent too, so if you like your RGB you won't be left in the dark with this mouse.
Roccat advertise this mouse as a lightweight mouse, and they aren't lying. Despite the fact that they say that it weighs 66 grams I weighed it in at 64 grams so that firmly puts it in the 'ultra lightweight category'. That's impressive, doubly so because they didn't need to drill holes in the top shell in order to achieve this weight.
The shape is still that 'love it or hate it' Kone ergonomic shape (more on the shape in the next section) and despite the fact that the shape is not really my personal favorite I do know that a lot of people absolutely love this one. The mouse market would be extremely boring if every company just put out extremely safe ambidextrous shells, so I applaud companies who try to mix it up a little and go for something that's a little curvier.
Roccat seem to have embraced the 'performance over aesthetics' credo with this new release, and that doesn't only show on the device itself.
The packaging has been noticeably toned down. Gone is the rather comically sized (and shaped) box of the Kone Pure Owl-Eye. What you get here is a pretty sleek and classy box with a picture of the mouse and obviously some specs. Amusingly the box that I got says that it's a 66 gram mouse while my scale (which, to be fair, isn't an extremely scientific scale) says that it's 64 grams.
Inside the packaging you will encounter the mouse along with a quickstart guide.
Size & Dimensions
Shape and finish
As I previously established the Kone Pure Ultra has a very curvy and 'formed' shape, which means that it's quite the opposite of a safe shape. That's obviously not a bad thing; it just means that it's a good idea to try and get your hands on a real life copy (the older Kone Pure Owl-Eye has the same shape) before purchasing if you've never tried a shape in this style before.
There's a very pronounced thumb groove which results in a ledge to put your thumb on and the whole thing flares out quite a bit at the back (certainly on the right side) and that results in a very form fitting shape, meaning that you'll want to make sure that your hands fit the mouse as it'll be pretty awkward to handle otherwise. I try to refrain from giving any definite 'size/grip style guidelines' because everyone has different preferences and finger placements but as this is obviously not the largest mouse on the block I wouldn't really recommend it for people with large hands.
Don't take all of this the wrong way, by the way: I'm not saying that the shape is bad. It's not for me (my hands are 18x10.2 cm and I use a relaxed claw grip, but I tend to place my thumb pretty low so the ledge gets in the way) but as far as ergonomic shells go this is a nicely executed one and there's obviously a reason that the KPOE has such a dedicated following.
The coating is alright. It's a tiny bit slippery with extremely dry hands but once I held the mouse for a couple of minutes I never really had any slippage issues. While the KPU isn't as much of a grime magnet as the KPOE it's still not the best at staying clean. You will see it when somebody's been using this mouse for a gaming session, but that's not a problem in my opinion since you can easily wipe the mouse down to get it looking clean again.
On top of the mouse you get two DPI selector buttons (these can also be reassigned so you can have one button toggle between different DPI settings and use the other one for something else) and on the side you can see the usual two side button setup. These buttons are easily distinguishable so no complaints here.
The glide is provided by two large feet and I have to say that the out-of-the-box gliding experience is very solid. You get a smooth and medium speed glide with these feet which is great for controlling the mouse during large swipes and the likes, and they glide well without having to go through a lengthy process of 'breaking them in'.
Buttons and scroll wheel
The main buttons on the KPU are very solid. They've got Omron switches underneath them and require a fairly average force to press when compared to other mice I've tested so these are going to be great for most people out there who don't have a strong preference towards either side when it comes to tensioning. You get a nice and tactile click with almost no pre or post travel and, perhaps more importantly since some other ultralight mice have been getting this wrong in the past, no sideways travel either.
But the good news doesn't end there: the side buttons feel great to use as well. There is a little bit of post travel but it's not enough to bother me and both buttons feel very crispy and satisfying to actuate. They also don't travel into the shell after clicking so that's great news for me personally as I hate it when side buttons do this.
The star of this segment is definitely the scroll wheel, however. This '2D Titan Wheel' rightfully has a reputation as being the best scroll wheel in the business, and some other companies should take note here. Obviously this is a bit subjective (some people like a super rigid wheel while others want to feel almost no steps, for example) but if you ask me it deserves this title. The steps are pronounced enough to feel every one of them but scrolling also feels very smooth and natural, if that makes sense. To top it off it's very easy to press down as well. I am not as sensitive to how a wheel feels as some others out there but I do use my wheel a lot when gaming and it has been an absolute pleasure to game and browse with this one.
In a time where companies are racing each other to get the lightest gaming mouse out there as fast as possible we've seen some corners being cut in the design/QC process, but I can't say that Roccat is guilty of this.
Quality and cable
As you have no doubt noticed there are no holes in this mouse. All of the weight reduction is done 'under the hood' (the frame underneath the top shell does have holes in it) and this, to me, is really impressive. Roccat has clearly been doing their homework and with this release they've proven that you don't need to have (visible) holes in your mouse in order to produce a lightweight product.
The shell feels solid as can be; there is no flexing or creaking anywhere on the mouse and it is completely silent when shaking it around. I can usually get at least something to make a tiny sound if I shake hard enough and really listen for it but not with the KPU. I really have to congratulate their engineers here: producing an ultralight shell that feels this solid definitely isn't an easy task.
With the shell design sorted they can immediately transfer some engineers to the cable department (I know it probably doesn't work like this but I thought it was a nice segue) since the cable is 'just' okay. It's a thin rubber cable that's adequately flexible and light but there are undoubtedly better stock cables out there. Pop it in a bungee and you won't have any worries but other companies have managed to include lighter and more flexible paracord-like cables in their designs so this leaves the Kone Pure Ultra cable in the 'decent' category.
The cable is one of the main areas of focus (along with the weight, clicks, and larger mouse feet) according to Roccat and they did succeed in making it better than what they have in the Kone Pure Owl-Eye, so I suppose it's mission accomplished.
Performance and sensor
At the heart of this device you'll find the Owl-Eye sensor. That's a variant of the well-known and loved 3389 sensor and it performs, as expected, flawlessly in all situations. The fact that the sensor goes up to 16000 DPI gets a decent amount of attention in their marketing material but we all know that there's absolutely no reason at all to use anything even near that in real life scenarios. More importantly there's no smoothing, acceleration, or other nonsense that will mess with your ability to line up those crispy clean headshots (or share those memes with surgical precision; don't let me tell you what to do) so the KPU is very much up to today's standards.
Another feature that gets mentioned often is the 'AIMO Illumination' which is an intelligent lighting system that's supposed to learn from your behavior and automatically sync with other AIMO-enabled devices. I don't have any other AIMO stuff lying around to test this fully but as it stands I didn't really notice anything majorly impressive throughout my testing period so make of that what you will. Even if I had noticed anything it wouldn't really have influenced my opinion on this mouse since pretty lighting and all that jazz isn't important for competitive performance but I thought I'd briefly mention this.
The KPU can be finely tuned through Roccat's Swarm software. It's a rather expansive piece of software that has pretty much everything you could want out of this sort of thing, including the ability to create macros. The mouse does have built in memory, so if you're a software minimalist you can just open it up once to set up the mouse and then delete it forever. I did notice that the LED lighting went back to the default 'flood light' strength once I uninstalled the software which was a bit annoying.
Due to the unsafe shape (which, again, isn't a bad thing) this mouse won't suit everyone out there. It's probably gonna be a no-go for most people with larger hands regardless of grip type due to the very curvy shell, but if your hands are small to medium in size this could be your dream mouse if ergonomic designs tickle your fancy.
I can see this being a great mouse for palm and claw grippers in particular, provided that you like to have your thumb rest on a bit of a ledge. If you place your thumb near the bottom of the side panel of your mouse the ledge might interfere with your grip, unless your hand is large enough (or your grip places your fingers towards the front of your mouse) for your thumb to sit behind the thumb groove.
Take all of the above with a grain of salt though; grip styles and preferences regarding shape vary from person to person so I have no doubt that there are people out there with huge hands who love this design; this section is really just a guideline.
Conclusion & Recommendation
The Roccat Kone Pure Ultra takes what made the Kone Pure Owl-Eye such a great mouse and improves upon it on almost every front where it matters. Not all of the improvements are as successful: the cable, for example, is a clear improvement over the KPOE but it's not quite as good as what some other companies are offering these days.
Credit where credit is due though; Roccat knew what aspects of the KPOE needed improvements and did just that without needlessly touching on things that were already great to begin with. Special credit should go to the fact that they've managed to create an ultralight mouse without making any real and perceptible sacrifices elsewhere and without having holes in the top shell. This is an impressive mouse on all fronts and if you like this sort of 'extreme ergo' shape and your hands are small to medium sized this is a top recommendation.