The Roccat Isku and Kone+ has been the first official pairing up of the keyboard and mouse featuring Roccat Talk. Roccat Talk lets your keyboard and mouse work together granting you a gaming advantage. Please note that the Isku and the Kone+ are the only devices right now that support the Roccat Talk feature.
The packaging to start was great and had a plethora of information about the device on it making sure you know what you’re buying without having to Google it. Included in each is a drivers installation cd (which you can also download online), user’s manual, as well as a Roccat ID card for item registration purposes. The Kone+ mouse also comes with a set of weights.
The Roccat Isku did not strike me as visually appealing due to the pseudo wrist rest area dedicated and elongated for the three thumb keys; however, due to the nature and ergonomics involved in placing thumb keys the design isn’t entirely at fault. There are only so many places your thumb can reach right? That issue aside, the Isku’s typing area is mainly covered with glossy plastic which easily makes dust visible and leaves fingerprints behind while the rest of the keyboard is of a matte finish. Without lighting the keys are fairly hard to see at an angle due to their transparency but with the back lighting on, I have no complaints. On the back of the keyboard are small channels allowing you to run the keyboard wire whichever way you want. Overall, if you slapped the Isku on somebody’s desk there is without a doubt that it’s a gaming keyboard and that’s what it’ll do.
The Roccat Kone+ to me first looked like a left-handed mouse in its packaging. Don’t ask me why but it’s probably because of the curves. The Roccat logo as well as the words “Roccat” are fairly abundant on their products which seems to me like a reminder for the consumer. Hey don’t forget you’re using a Roccat! A bit superfluous is my opinion because I don’t see why you’d need to “over brand” and clutter your device. What really won me over with the Kone+ was the lighting. Call me childish but this relatively “trivial” function was just to fun to play with. At first plug-in with no lighting adjustments, the Kone+ will cycle through all its available colors indefinitely allowing you to have a different looking mouse every few seconds which is what I eventually stuck with. Keep in mind that each profile has its own lighting customization allowing you to have a different glow based on what you’re doing.
Roccat Talk’s main feature is to give its user an advantage in gaming and to access that you will have to explore the utilities offered by the driver software. At first the software seemed intimidating and cluttered but once I took the time to read and understand each function, I began to change things left and right to my own personal taste. Of course everyone’s settings will be different and that’s the point. Roccat’s Talk system says, “How can I help you?” metaphorically of course.
The Isku was, how should I put it, the “command center” of my gaming experience with it. With the easy shift button on caps lock and multiple macros bound to different keys I was having the easiest time playing games. I spent the Guild Wars 2 beta weekend with this keyboard and even without an arduous amount of buttons needed for Guild Wars 2, it was even easier with the Isku. After playing MMO games for so long I’d have to say that a macro keyboard is a must for ease of use and to lessen hand strain. Playing non MMO games such as League of Legends or a FPS game such as Blacklight Retribution yielded minimal results primarily due to the lack of keyboard use. While it’s convenient to have “Top/middle/bottom missing” at the push of a button, I didn’t find myself using the keyboard any more than I needed to. The same thing for FPS games where movement is controlled by the keyboard. Aside from moving and simple interaction buttons, the keyboard no longer needed macro abilities. At this point is when I start yearning for Roccat to make a mechanical keyboard with all of these great functions. Through strenuous testing, I mean gaming, I have found the Isku to be fairly adequate for what it does and above average when facing tasks which require multiple key presses.
Moving on to the Kone+ I have to say that this is by far one of the most comfortable mice I have ever used. Using the palm grip, I find that I didn’t have any issues at all changing to this mouse from my last. The buttons are all easy to access and the glide is as you’d expect from a new mouse. Unlike a keyboard, the mouse is limited to the number of functions it has due to the number of keys it has. With the easy shift function I was able to expand a bit and try new combinations out. I didn’t find it entirely useful for maybe I haven’t grown accustomed to binding a lot of functions to my mouse yet or I just like my mouse as a mouse. There has been a slight positive acceleration issue reported from users for the Kone+ but if you’re an average gamer I’d say that you shouldn’t worry about it as it probably wouldn’t affect you that much.
To sum it all up, the Roccat Talk experience was great especially concerning MMO games. The macro function really decreased the amount of key presses I needed to game as well as hand movements which is probably better in the long run. Concerning other games outside of the MMO genre, there will be less obvious ways to get your “gaming advantage” but don’t let my inexperience stop you. I’m sure if you could find a way to use the macro system to its full potential on any game you will have your advantage regardless of how trivial the task. The complete “Talk” experience is easy on the eyes albeit the large keyboard but the real show is at night with your lights off and computer on. For the price the Roccat Talk experience is worth trying out and as Uncle Ben said, “With great power comes great responsibility”. Be sure to shine your trophies time to time.
Roccat Isku and Kone+ provided by Roccat.