Review:- Kana Gaming Mouse by SteelSeries

As you may already know, we’ve been on something of a hardware mini-campaign recently; looking at the peripherals often ignored / forgotten by many gamers out there. One of the most common “sins” of the PC gamer is to ignore their mouse, and you do so at your own peril. See our pitch for why you should have a gaming mouse here.

In an effort to rectify this situation we’re not only generally recommending you get yourself a gaming mouse, but actively reviewing some of the leading players in the space so you can make some informed choices.

SteelSeries Kana Review Box

Having had the pleasure of test driving SteelSeries’ “Kinzu V2 Pro” for a few weeks and providing you with as in-depth a review of it as any average gamer should ever need. We felt it only right and proper we bring you it’s “big brother” the “Kana”.Before we launch into getting down and dirty with the Kana I want to cover a few basics.

Firstly that the Kana is supported by the SteelSeries Engine (SSE), the same excellent software as the Kinzu V2 Pro, and as such a full description of it is available here. Suffice to say SSE is excellent, and continues to be a leader in the field. So a good start for the Kana.

The Mouse Itself

The first thing you notice about the appearance of the mouse is it looks awesome. Oozing minimalist, streamlined appeal it reminds me of an Aston Martin… where other mice have edges, cuts, blocky buttons and sides the Kana just has “sleekness”. As ever with SteelSeries, this is a sophisticated piece of kit and it doesn’t need to shout about.

SteelSeries Kana Review White

Sleek, non? It works equally well against light or dark backgrounds… it even has a mouse wheel LED! Sweet!

Before we move directly onto function itself I did just want to praise SteelSeries again for making a truly ambidextrous mouse. To me this is absolutely key in mouse design and a consideration all too often disgracefully ignored by other mouse makers. This feature would be pointless however if the mouse didn’t sit well in the hand. Well it does… the Kana feels almost built to order as your hand rests on it. Great stuff.

As is customary with SteelSeries mice the Kana not only looks sharp and feels great it also glides effortlessly and consistently. The mix of textures on it also helps provide a secure connection to it whilst not compromising its striking looks, which all combines to deliver fantastic ease of use.

And now we come to the real bread and butter of a mouse; movement sensor and buttons.

I must declare, at this point, an element of surprise in finding that the Kana, theoretically the Kinzu V2 Pro’s bigger brother, includes a lower sensitivity sensor. Yes it has 2 additional and very welcome buttons, but its sensor is effectively half the sensitivity of the Kinzu’s. OK, SSE mitigates the impact of this by providing “DCPI”, wherein the clever internals make up for this by doubling this limit using prediction etc, but it does not take a genius to figure out that this is never going to be as accurate as raw sensor input. Having said all that, through our pretty thorough testing across multiple genres we did not actually see anywhere near the accuracy drop we expected because of this. Testament to the Kana’s ability to extrapolate the extra “Virtual” sensitivity so accurately. Disaster averted! :-)

SteelSeries Kana Review Both

As ever, every angle is covered… you can even get it in black with an orange LED… nice…

In addition to the aforementioned, and important, two extra buttons and sleeker look, the Kana also builds on the Kinzu V2 Pro with both an improved mouse wheel and the introduction of an adjustable LED which can be used, usefully again, to signal which one of the two pre-selected sensitivity profiles is currently active.

All in all this is an excellent gaming mouse. Not only that but it achieves this status without compromising its sophisticated design and superb feel. Providing excellent value for money, and as many click-able buttons as one has fingers (and more buttons than fingers are, all too often, a curse rather than a blessing).

As was the case with the Kinzu V2 Pro all I am left to do really is recommend it as an excellent purchase, yes, I’d like higher raw sensitivity, but in reality this is almost completely mitigated by the compensation mechanism included. Importantly this mouse does sport the 5 buttons I believe are essential to enabling a truly powerful and flexible mouse which can deliver across all genres of game going forward.

Review Round-Up

Design: 5/5 – Superb as ever from SteelSeries. Love it.

Build: 5/5 – Combines quality and best of breed weight and feel.

Software: 4/5 – SteelSeries Engine is THE best OEM mouse software out there. Period.

Performance: 4/5 – Excellent. Nagging feeling that DCPI is an unnecessary compromise though…

Overall 4.5 out of 5

The only thing preventing full marks here was the lack of raw CPI, although the DCPI conversion is very strong. The 5 button setup is ideal in my view and they are crisp and quick. A superb mouse, even more so when you consider the cost.

- Richard “Rax” Burley

Fri, July 6 2012 » Articles, PC/Mac, Reviews

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