A breath of fresh air in the largish, ergonomic mouse space.
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on 24 February 2020
I had to write this review, as I feel like this mouse absolutely needs more attention! I don't see mention of it anywhere in mouse enthusiast circles, and I also don't see any pro gamers using it, which is sacrilegious! Spoiler alert, but it's a really good shape for medium large to large hands. It also gets most things right, such as weight, shape safeness, clicks, and mouse feet. Also, note that review is for the Kain 120 - I've not tried the 10x or 20x versions. Anyhow, let's get started.
I'll get the simple stuff out the way before dealing with shape, so you can move on with your life if you don't find it relevant.
-- Sensor --
This mouse is my second Roccat purchase, after the Roccat Kone EMP Max. So I did have experience with the sensor coming in, and I didn't notice any issues with skipping or acceleration of any sort back then. The same holds true with the Kain 120, as it has the same sensor (they both use the Roccat "Owl-Eye" sensor), likely iterated and improved on since the EMP's release. In my experience, I'd say it's really good, though it's getting harder and harder to notice differences between individual modern sensors as the majority are Pixart 3360/3389 based with slight tweaks based on the manufacturer's priorities. But that's not necessarily a bad thing.
Moving between the Logitech Hero sensor (which is still my favourite in terms of feel) and this, I don't notice much of a difference at all. The Hero feels slightly smoother (if I'm not just fooling myself), but performance-wise they're identical from what I can tell. They both go exactly where I intend them to with flicks, and the DPI seems to be pretty spot on in terms of the actual sensitivity, so you won't have to alter your in-game sensitivity to adjust to this mouse, at least if you use 800 DPI and come from Logitech mice beforehand like myself.
-- Aesthetics --
The mouse is good looking I'd say, and the RGB is decently implemented. I'm not an RGB fan though, so I can't comment on anything more than that. The mouse has a somewhat industrial look, but I think it looks good and I like that Roccat doesn't follow trends when it comes to looks and design. Everything looks samey these days. I guess the only negative I can think of is that it's a bit blocky and underwhelming visually.
-- Build quality (clicks, button placement, feet, and grip texture) --
Roccat is quite renowned for their build quality, at least in mice, and it continues here as far as I can tell. The clicks aren't as crispy as Logitech clicks, as they require a bit more pressure from what I can tell, but they're also less likely to give up the ghost with a bit of frantic smashing (Apex mid-fight Peacekeeper, "please don't kill me"-type smashing), unlike the double clicks issues that plague Logitech mice.
The mouse feet are great. I love bigger-style feet like those Zowie use, and these are very similar. They feel great, and I've had no issues on any of my pads surprisingly, and I have a lot of mouse pads... *cough*
The mouse wheel steps are firm, meaning changing weapons with the mouse wheel is possible! Using the G403/703 the wheel would often move two notches instead of one which, in Apex, would cause the weapon switch to mess up, requiring me to juke the enemy around cover until I succeeded in getting the right weapon equipped. Needless to say, this would often lead to my needing a new set of pants once the battle had ended, due to all my panicking and frantic attempts at trying to equip the right weapon.
The texture on the sides is possibly a bit too smooth, but only if you're using it with fingertip or claw, and if you don't sweat like me. For palm it's perfect. It seems to be one of those textures that gets more grippy with sweat, but it's hard to tell.
My first gripe, is the DPI button. It's too large, and I keep hitting it by mistake (not often, but it happens) when I use the scroll wheel, which also happened with the G403/703. I'd love to see stats on how common changing DPI mid-game is, as I'm pretty sure it's under 10% (possibly 5%) of the player base, and those that do indeed use it have no idea how badly it can mess up their muscle memory, so I really wish Roccat would learn from the other manufacturers and move it to the bottom of the mouse, or at the very least, make it smaller, more recessed, and positioned further back from the mouse wheel on the top.
My second gripe is the cord. It's not as bad as say the G403 or Wired G Pro's cable, but it's close. This puts it in the bottom ranks cable-wise, as the G403 is probably right there in last place with how bad it is. They really need to either make a cord like Razer use on their recent mice if they want to stick with braided cables, or go with a more malleable rubber cord like Zowie. That's the bare minimum these days I would say. But it doesn't get in the way that often with my bungee, the exception being when it hits the leg of my monitor or something on the table near the base of the bungee.
-- Shape --
Now for the most important part, the shape! Firstly, I have large hands, at 22cm long from the base of my hand (at the top of the wrist), and 11cm wide. I'm going to be giving my subjective experience with this mouse and if my hand size is quite different to yours then you're likely not going to find it relevant.
Just a warning before digging in.
Secondly, I use a palm grip, that I often hybridize with fingertip grip due to most mice not being large enough for me. I've loved the G403 shape for years, and used it with the above-mentioned grip style. I've been using it primarily since 2016. But it was more of a love/hate relationship than outright love, as the mouse has a couple of shortcomings for me personally. I just wanted something that was less ergo-shaped, with a more symmetrical hump, better thumb support when palming it, and a longer right side so my fingers could rest flush against the side, but at the same general size.
So when I tried the Kain, it was almost like Roccat had heard my prayers, as it filled all the gaps left by the already decent G403 shape.
The biggest plus about the shape is how safe it is. It allows for so many grip styles. If you don't have super small hands, the chance of this mouse not fitting your grip is extremely low. To list but a few grips I can say work with it - palm, claw (though it feels too small for me to claw), fingertip, 1-3-1 palm, 1-2-1 palm, and probably many others.
The back is wider, so the thumb has more support on the left side. The wider back also allows for the area of the palm just under the pinky to rest on the mouse at the back right. Both of these things were not possible for me when palming the G403.
The right side is flat, and goes straight down to the mousepad (it doesn't go down at an angle like it would on say the Razer Deathadder or Zowie EC1), and almost perfectly straight, which allows the pinky and ring fingers to rest flush with it, giving a sense of more control. Not many mice have right sides that have enough space for my two rightmost fingers, and this does!
The side buttons are well out of the way, possibly because the left side is relatively tall on the Kain, so I have more room for thumb movement depending on what I'm doing aim-wise, be it tracking or trying to hit precise shots at long range, and I'm less likely to hit them by mistake than I was with prior mice.
If there was one thing I'd complain about shape-wise, however, it'd be that it's just a bit narrow for me (but not detrimentally so) and can tire my forearm out a bit faster than normal. If Roccat released a larger version of this, I'd get it in a heartbeat. I'd also love it to be a bit lighter, just to put less strain on my wrist, as I'm very much a wrist player. But the mouse is by no means heavy, at 89g.
-- Conclusion --
Get it! Especially if you're a mostly palm grip player using one of the G403 shaped versions of Logitech's mice. They are very similar, but also not, and it's a really welcome ergo mouse for larger handed players. It could also be a great alternative to the Zowie EC2 shape, say, if it feels a bit too short or narrow for you.
It's veritably a great mouse, definitely a 9 out of 10.
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