The Roccat Kone Pro Air ignores the "if it ain't broke, don't fix it" rule. As a long-running and well-loved brand that's been trucking along for years, the Kone didn't necessarily need an overhaul. But with the addition of new tech under the hood (Titan Optical Switches, to be precise), it was an opportunity to shake things up a bit. So here we are, staring down a fresh design.
The result is a mixed bag. There's a lot to love about the Roccat Kone Pro Air and its non-wireless sibling (the Roccat Kone Pro), but they also make a few missteps.
Price: $129.99 / £119.99
Form factor: Right-handed
Connectivity: Wireless (2.4GHz, Bluetooth), wired (PhantomFlex)
IPS: Up to 400 per second
Acceleration: Up to 50G
Sensor: Roccat Owl-Eye
Switches: Titan Switch Optical
Feet: Heat-treated pure PTFE
Weight: 2.6oz (75g)
Tested on an Nvidia RTX 2080Ti-powered gaming PC
Roccat Kone Pro: What makes the Air different to the standard Kone Pro? The Air is a little more expensive (the normal Kone Pro costs $79.99 / £69.99) and is ever-so-slightly heavier thanks to its wireless capabilities, but it's otherwise identical.
The Roccat Kone Pro range sees Roccat nipping at Razer's heels with optical switches beneath its primary buttons (the same ones seen in the Roccat Burst Pro). These are slightly faster than mechanical equivalents because they operate via beams of light, but they still maintain that weighty 'click' feeling nonetheless.
As for the new optical Owl-Eye sensor, it provides a DPI of 19K to go with an acceleration of up to 50g. This sits alongside heat-treated PTFE glides and a 'bionic' shell that's only 0.16lbs (75g) in weight. That's thanks to a honeycomb design and a hollow, aluminium Titan scroll wheel.
While both mice offer the above, the Roccat Kone Pro Air goes one better with wireless and Bluetooth functionality to go with a Phantomflex USB-C charging cable if you'd prefer to stay wired. According to Roccat, it can provide five hours of gaming after just 10 minutes of charging.
OK, own up - where's the DPI button, Roccat? A mainstay for any self-respecting gaming mouse, this allows you to switch sensor speeds on the fly. And it's completely absent from the Kone Pro and Kone Pro Air. Although there's a 'profile' button on the underside you can press while scrolling up or down to swap DPI sensitivities, it's not easier and it's not intuitive.
I'll admit that this isn't a catastrophe, but it's a weird choice for a modern gaming mouse - particularly one with as storied a history as the Kone. One step forward, two steps back.
Anyway. Elsewhere, the Roccat Kone Pro range has an ergonomic shell, a covered honeycomb design for the buttons that glow with underlit RGB, two thumb buttons on the left-hand side, and a hollow scroll wheel that's reminiscent of an old mill's water wheel. It's a fun look, and although it isn't as sleek as the Roccat Kain 120 AIMO, it's still very handsome.
The Roccat Kone Pro Air and I got off on the wrong foot. Before I downloaded the firmware, the mouse was oddly juddery and imprecise; it didn't like small movements and I needed to compensate with broad, sweeping motions. Oh no, I thought. Here we go.
Luckily, this was short-lived. The issue (mostly) sorted itself out the moment I downloaded the update. From there, it could start to show off. Which is just as well - this is a rather lovely piece of kit, and it caught me off guard with weighty clicks and a surprisingly comfortable shape.
The grips were much better than I'd anticipated, too; they look very slight, but provide ample purchase even in a heated battle. It's a very comfy mouse, more so than I thought it'd be. That's true of the scroll wheel as well.
In action, the switches and sensor perform just as admirably. Both are quick and reliable with everything I threw at them, so I've got no complaints there. The side buttons are well positioned too, sitting within easy reach. So far, so good.
Well, sort of. I'm still bummed out by the lack of a DPI button. Not having one available is fine, but I miss it. Plus, the Kone Pro Air doesn't 'wow' me in any particular regard. Both mice in the range are good, but not incredible at any one thing; the likes of the Razer Naga Pro are far more responsive in action, even if they don't glide as well. That makes the Air hard to recommend over other, similarly priced mice.
The one consolation prize? Roccat's downloadable Swarm software is better than it's ever been.
Overall - should you buy the Roccat Kone Pro Air?
Fans of the Kone range will find an excellent gaming companion in the Roccat Kone Pro Air. It's a good mouse in isolation. However, I'm not sure it does enough for me to recommend it over anything else within the same price-bracket. If you want a good esports mouse, you're better off with something like the Razer Viper 8K Hz instead.