Roccat Kova Gaming Mouse Review
Anyone searching for a new gaming mouse has a bewildering array of options. The market is flooded with models for every grip under the sun, with different weights and feels and cables and lifts. Yet despite the overwhelming choice, one segment of the market remains under-served: ambidextrous mice. While some mice are available in left-handed designs, a true ambidextrous mouse with the latest innovations is still a rarity. Today we're looking at the Roccat Kova 2016, a $49 mouse that aims to satisfy the ambidextrous market.
The Kova comes in two colours, white and black, although the majority of Roccat's peripherals seem designed to fit in with the black. It includes a glowing RGB strip and illumination around the scroll wheel, although the lighting isn't very bright and hard to see outside of a dark setting. As the Kova is designed for FPS and MOBA users, it's very light at just 101 grams and well balanced. The coating could be better, but at $49 we're not complaining.
When it comes to the shape, our reviewer liked certain aspects of the frame such as the small curve where the thumb rests below the side buttons. Yet because the same curve is present on the other side, it's less comfortable for your two outermost fingers and could lead to occasional accidental clicks. The good news is that those side buttons are angled inwards to prevent those accidental presses.
Towards the rear of the side of the mouse, there is a seam in the material. This is where your thumb naturally sits on either side, and it doesn't work. Putting a sensitive fingertip on a plastic seam is distracting and slightly uncomfortable, and it would be better if there was a smooth transition. Our hybrid-gripped reviewer's favourite ambidextrous mouse is the Zowie FK1, which has a smooth body and is also flatter than the Kova. While the larger slant on the Kova may not be perfect for everyone, it's still quite a comfortable design.
The mouse feet offer a smooth glide and the buttons have a satisfying click. The primary left and right buttons are actually surprisingly heavy for an MOBA and FPS mouse, and feel heavier than alternatives such as Logitech G502 and the Mionix Castor.
The scroll wheel is surprisingly good, despite having fairly weak scroll steps and a not-very-grippy rubber layer on the wheel. The dual side buttons are integrated into the frame and are easy to press without disturbing the aim. They have a satisfying amount of travel distance with a soft finish, making them great for quick in-game events such as melee fighting or throwing objects. They're a great addition to a mouse at this price point, as is the five-setting DPI shift behind the scroll wheel.
The Kova's R6 optical sensor work at up to 3500 DPI, with a software boost up to 7000. That's totally acceptable considering average DPI for gaming is below 2000. The sensor shows no acceleration so you can flick to your heart's content, and the sensor gives the mouse smooth tracking. One disappointing thing is a lift-off distance set by the manufacturer that can't be controlled through software. Despite that the Kova is a solid mouse, especially at $50. The sensor performs well and once you learn the resistance of the primary button, it feels natural.
The Kova comes with Roccat Swarm, the company's software hub for all of its peripherals. It includes all of the expected options for modifying speed and DPI. Add-ons like a lighting mode that's apparently connected to what's happening on your screen and even an online mode that lets you link your peripherals with apps to control your mouse settings are gimmicks, and they're pretty much broken for now.
At $49, the Kova delivers great sensor performance, comfortable ergonomics and quality buttons. Those are all done well here. However, the inability to control lift-off distance and the limitations of the software are knocks against it. It's a solid mouse, but spending an extra $20 to receive full control over the sensor is probably worth it.
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