As we’ve mentioned before peripherals are the oft forgotten PC gaming accessory that can make the most difference to your gaming experience.
We’ve been lucky to get our hands on one of the latest gaming mice from SteelSeries, one of the leading gaming peripheral companies.
Reviewing gaming peripherals can be tricky, especially when you want to communicate their value and nuanced features to the majority of gamers who still play using “the mouse their PC came with”.
My focus here is not to convince you to invest in a gaming mouse; my hope is you already understand the value these devices can bring to each and every one of your gaming experiences. If you’ve never really thought about it too much then please do check out our Opinion:- Gaming Mouse / Mice And Why Every PC Gamer Needs One piece, but for now I’ll crack on with looking at the lovely Kinzu V2 Pro gaming mouse from SteelSeries.
Without launching into an in-depth study of all the industry players and available technologies, I’m simply going to look at this mouse in isolation.
I’m also going to dispense with over analysing anything about the Kinzu V2 Pro that is not directly related to gaming itself, as gorgeous as the packaging is, it’s just not relevant to a discussion about a peripheral which you will be using for years to come, years after you’ve thrown the packaging away.
As with all gaming mice the Kinzu V2 Pro ships with some software to help you configure it and optimise it to your style of play. In this case it’s the “SteelSeries Engine”, which, once installed, sits in your task bar and ensures you get the most from your new gaming mouse. Often these sorts of software can be both dull and confusing. SteelSeries Engine however is excellent. Offering both simplicity and a sharp design it’s clear that not only has a considerable effort gone into the design of the software, gamers appear to have been involved!
The software is so beautifully simple it almost defies me to describe it; everything is clearly labelled, every feature covered and its layout is intuitive and straight forward. But the soundness of its overall design belies its power and usefulness. SteelSeries Engine is no mere sensitivity tweaker… it’s a gamer’s dream of a configuration powerhouse. Beyond simply letting you change the “speed” of your mouse and re-map its buttons it delivers some exciting capabilities you may not have even considered before. We could spend a thousand words just on these features, but some of it is fairly high end stuff, which is fantastic, but I want to focus on the key basics that you need to know as an average gamer (such as myself!).
- Buttons: Quick Left / Right handed config swap. (EVERY mouse in the world should be designed to incorporate this!)
- Settings: Basically whack them all up to max. (It will be a steep learning curve but trust me, it will be worth it)
- Properties: You can basically setup specific settings for each executable / individual game!
- Statistics: A powerful tool for power gamers, but a lot of fun for us mere mortals too!
If you really want to get into fine tuning you can create macros for each button, have multiple separate complete profiles and even update your mouse’s firmware!
The Mouse Itself
So the software is fantastic, but how about the actual mouse?
Well, to start with it does look fantastic; sleek, minimalist and streamlined. Even the mouse cord looks rugged and futuristic. In the hand it’s surprisingly light, with a fantastic feel which oozes quality and sits perfectly in the palm, an important consideration for anyone more used to using a “traditional” mouse. This design choice might seem restrained, but I think it is an important and excellent one, it means your hand does not have to contort one way and the other when switching between say your “work” mouse in the office and your “gaming” mouse at home, which drastically reduces the chance of RSI and other injuries, not to mention fatigue and the requirement to “re-learn” the mouse’s layout. Combined with its superb shape and use of different textures delivers a polished “buttonless” look that’s sophisticated and aerodynamic. It could very well pass for an expensive executive mouse, but appearances can be deceptive…
We’ve covered its packaging, software and design, but now we come to the crunch how does it play?
As you may expect you will not be disappointed. Firstly I have to mention its weight, SteelSeries have nailed the balance between providing a super-light mouse and one which still feels robust and accurate. Perfect. The low friction pads on the underside also give it a near weightless quality which characterises top quality gaming mice and button presses feel strong, clear and sharp, it even sports a CPI / “speed” toggle button above the wheel (Perfect for switching mouse “speed” in-game, on the fly!). The mouse wheel itself is ideally placed and sized and has a very pleasing resistance and tactility.
So now, at last, we reach the key criteria of the mouse; its playability. It would be crazy to put such effort and resource into making such a beautiful piece of hardware if it didn’t do its job. Well, guess what? It does. And how!
Every move of the Kinzu V2 Pro is both responsive and accurate… you almost feel like there is no mouse on occasion… a fantastic feeling regardless what genre you enjoy playing. The quality of the engine inside the mouse is such as to render the improved control transformational to your experience of every game. Suddenly previously frustrating games begin to reveal themselves as joyous romps as your hand learns to trust and work with your new precision engineered best friend. This is the Porsche of gaming mice, sleek, fast, accurate and superbly well built, delivering fantastic handling and responsiveness, in all conditions, in a sophisticated and elegant package.
I want to bury it under more glowing praise but I will just say this; I have bought one for work.
What? How is that relevant? I hear you ask. Well, so taken was I by its combination of software and hardware, design and delivery, that I simply couldn’t tolerate the performance of my work mouse when I went back to work on Monday. This is not just an excellent gaming mouse, it’s an excellent mouse. It now travels with me everywhere I go so I can use it in Word, Excel, PowerPoint and Remote Desktop just as rewardingly as I can in Battlefield 3, Skyrim, Civilization V and StarCraft II.
I’m going to close this out by saying buy it, the only reason you might want to delay this is if you want a couple of extra buttons thrown in, in which case check out our forthcoming review of its big brother the Kana… but for many the SteelSeries Kinzu V2 Pro’s 3 buttons will be familiar and ideal. The important thing here is that buying either will certainly be the best money you’ve spent on PC gaming this year.
Design: 5/5 – Far more elegant than most gaming mice… More like this please people.
Build: 4/5 – Fantastic construction and feel in the hand, light and glides like a dream too.
Software: 4/5 – SteelSeries Engine is THE best OEM mouse software out there. Period.
Performance: 5/5 – Fast, smooth and VERY accurate. You’ll wonder how you managed without it.
Overall 4.5 out of 5
The only thing preventing full marks here was the lack of a couple of extra buttons, but to some this may be a positive. At the price this is a total no-brainer, a classy mouse with even classier performance.
- Richard “Rax” Burley