It's easy to tell that the Roccat Kova[+] mouse is targeted at gamers. It has the angular, gothic appearance of Christian Bale's Batmobile, colours light up periodically for no good reason and, most importantly, there's masses of customisable functionality.
The Roccat Kova[+] is nicely put together, if a little on the light side for our tastes, with a comfortable shape and texture (matt rubberised plastic). It also looks pretty good, for all its gamer-friendly sci-fi stylings. You can always switch off the flashing colours, if they don't appeal.
If you don't like blue, you can pick a different colour - or seven
Roccat Kova[+]: Customise your mouse
The Roccat Kova[+] has an impressive array of buttons. As well as the usual two and a scrollwheel (a nice fat wheel, like the tyre on a monster truck, which can be pressed for an extra button), you get a pair apiece on the left and righthand sides. That's seven by our count, and they can all be user-assigned in the driver interface.
One clever idea Roccat has come up with is a 'shift' button - by default this is set to button 5, the rear button on the left. The idea is that you assign secondary functions to buttons when pressed in combination with this one, almost doubling the effective number of options. You can expand the possibilities even further by creating user profiles for each game you play.
The Roccat Kova[+] mouse's extensive customisable feature list is handled via a driver application that Windows users can download from Roccat's site. Open the software and you'll see a huge range of tweaks, including dpi settings and a useful one-click option to reverse all the button settings when a left-handed gamer wants a go.
Here's where you change the flashing colours, and other settings for the Roccat Kova[+]
However, for all the software customisability, little attention has been paid to the physical side of things. That might sound odd, but this is an area other gaming peripherals have explored before now. Whereas Roccat seems to assume that all gamers - including southpaws - have the same hand shape, the Cyber Snipa Silencer, for instance, offers swappable side plates and optional weights to adjust the feel - which would be much appreciated on a mouse as light as this one. The Genius NetScroll G500 Laser offers something similar.
Roccat Kova[+]: Tracking performance
Cursor control was generally butter-smooth. But we encountered some problems with the optical tracking on shiny surfaces. The slightly bevelled desk in our Test Centre was fine, as were hardback books and other mousepad substitutes, but on a smoother tabletop the cursor moved sluggishly and erratically, with the optics seemingly struggling to track the mouse's movement.
This problem shouldn't affect many users, but if your gaming setup is based around a shiny desk you may need to go old-school and bring the mousepad out of retirement. Not a huge inconvenience, but rather disappointing in an era of accurate laser-tracking systems.
There are two customisable buttons on each side of the Roccat Kova[+]
Roccat Kova[+]: Mac warning
Finally, the slender crossover demographic of gamers and Apple fanboys should be aware that Roccat doesn't offer drivers for the Mac OS. As you'd expect the Kova[+] is still plug-and-play on a Mac, and you can enjoy the basic functions and the default button setup, but you won't be able to customise anything. This is the point at which you'll particularly regret Roccat's decision to leave some buttons unassigned by default.
It's hardly a surprising omission, given the lack of gaming on the Mac platform, but may be worth bearing in mind.
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