ROCCAT Kain 200 AIMO Review
I have recently transitioned my gaming peripherals into the new age of wireless. Why? No longer does wireless gaming mean constant latency issues and poor battery life; Technology has evolved to a point where wireless peripherals are on-par with their wired counterparts and suddenly, consumers begin to demand more premium wireless products such as the Roccat Kain 200 AIMO. Roccat has stated that they are proud to call the Kain 200 AIMO their masterpiece, but does the Kain 200 AIMO reflect this title? Or does Roccat’s vision and ambition exceed the end product?
Roccat dedicated two years of research and meticulous testing into the design of their Kain range of mouses, everything from its shape to the internal mechanics has been redesigned and improved upon. This is evident from the moment you first grasp the Kain 200 AIMO in your hands; Its tapered ergonomic design allows for palm users to comfortably grip the Kain 200’s shape and is finished in what Roccat calls their ‘special performance coating’. This coating provides a soft touch feel that offers grip, durability and has an elegant matt finish that provides a nice level of contrast with its 2-zone RGB illumination. When designing their performance coating, Roccat took into consideration the fact that most gamers eat and drink while gaming. It wouldn’t be a thorough review if one didn’t eat some greasy pizza and soda (Pepsi Max Creaming Soda for everyone playing at home) while playing games and I must admit, any residue left on the Kain 200 AIMO after this binge session was easily removed, nice work Roccat.
The Kain 200 AIMO shares the same core design as the rest of the Kain range by featuring a split button design that is separated by a stylish brush aluminum strip. Its side buttons are larger than most and are perfectly positioned, even tapering out towards the front of the mouse for improved accessibility. What separates the Kain 200 AIMO from the rest of the Kain range is of course its wireless functionality. From my experience, wireless mouses tend to weigh more than their wired counterpart, and while the Kain 200 AIMO is no different in this aspect. Roccat has done an amazing job of packing in as much technology as they have while keeping the overall weight of the Kain 200 AIMO down. The mouse itself is lighter than I was expecting, only 105g, which is noticeably lighter than other premium wireless mouses on the market such as the SteelSeries Rival 650 Wireless (121g) and Corsair Dark Core RGB Pro (133g).
Despite weighing only 105g, the weight distribution of the Kain 200 AIMO is excellent, perhaps the best I have ever seen. This creates a consistent center of gravity that provides users with excellent tracking and the precision required for FPS gaming. Unfortunately, Roccat didn’t include the option to add modular weights for gamers who prefer their mouse on the heavier side (myself included), but due to a well-balanced design, I feel this is a minor criticism of the Kain 200 AIMO and one that doesn’t carry much weight (pun intended).
For day-to-day use, the Kain 200 AIMO is great but it’s within the gaming arena that the Kain 200 AIMO begins to showcase its true potential. Roccat has teamed up with Pixart to develop the Roccat Owl-Eye Wireless Optical Sensor. This sensor is based on Pixart’s 3361 optical sensor and utilises 2.4Ghz technology thanks to a small USB dongle. According to Roccat, their Owl-Eye Wireless Optical Sensor takes its inspiration from the natural world to deliver a real and responsive feeling. While this may be a slight exaggeration, the Owl-Eye does an amazing job of providing true 1:1 tracking at up to 12,000 DPI, all while providing amazing battery life of around 35 hours with RGB illumination on, and 45 hours without, all without sacrificing performance.
This sounds like every other optical sensor, right? Wrong. The majority of gamers use a DPI setting of under 2,000, this is why Roccat focused the development of the Owl-Eye on accuracy and responsiveness within 400 – 3,000 DPI, allowing the Kain 200 AIMO to deliver on its promise of accuracy and precision. I tested multiple low to medium DPI settings and was impressed with its precise and consistent tracking. The Owl-Eye sensor is also able to provide speeds up to 400 IPS with 40G acceleration, along with an adjustable lift-off distance of very low, and low — What are the LOD values in terms of millimeters? Roccat has forgone providing these details, but from my testing, low appears to be around 4mm and 2mm for very low.
Backing up the Roccat Owl-Eye Optical Sensor are the ever-reliable Omron switches that feature Roccat’s Titan Click technology. Titan Click technology is a mixture of low-tolerance springs fitted to the mechanical switches to provide increased precision and tactile feedback, along with improved software support. The tactile feedback was a feature that I loved — Pressing the main mouse buttons provided a satisfying click that reminded me of the audible feedback blue mechanical switch, just more subtle. This combination means that the mouse is able to recognise clicks faster, up to 16ms and when combined with its 1000hz polling rate, meaning that if both you and your opponent click at the same time, your input is going to register first — GGWP.
Scroll wheels are a feature that gets neglected when designing a mouse, but this isn’t the case for the Kain 200 AIMO. Thanks to the industry standard, most scroll wheels on the market feature basic 2D housing, meaning there is significant side play in the scroll wheel and as a result can feel ‘cheap’ and ‘wobbly‘. This isn’t the case for the Kain 200 AIMO as Roccat has developed the Titan Wheel 2.0 — a 4D housing that stabilises the wheel and guides the actuation force directly to the switch, ensuring precision accuracy and a premium feel when clicked. The result is exactly as Roccat describes it — There is no lateral movement at all with the scroll wheel and clicking the scroll wheel is nearly as satisfying as its main switches, nearly.
Software support for peripherals is always an interesting subject. It is obvious some manufacturers don’t invest much development into their software, but what is the point in having high-performing hardware if the software is bottlenecking its performance? Roccat Swarm is amazing; The number of adjustable settings such as both vertical and horizontal scroll speed, polling rate, zero debounce, LOD, DPI settings/profiles, and of course RGB illumination that is compatible with Roccat AIMO Integellent Lighting System. There are several feedback notifications such as signal strength and battery status that is displayed in both percentage (which can be displayed as a tray icon) and time, which I found to be quite a useful feature.
I was particularly fond of the button assignment feature within Roccat Swarm. This not only allowed me to map each mouse button to basically anything I wanted (keyboard buttons, macros, multimedia keys, internet browser functionality (page back/forward/refresh/stop), Windows options (lock, sleep, shutdown, etc.), but also enable Easy Shift+ that allows you to add a second function to each of the mouse buttons. This meant that I had full Windows and Multimedia controls from my mouse, which left my other hand free for other activities.
Roccat AIMO is an intelligent lighting system that is built into the Roccat Swarm software. AIMO has the ability to reflect your in-game status by using the Kain 200’s (or any/all supported Roccat products) RGB illumination. While RGB effects that reflect your in-game events are nothing new, Roccat has taken this premises a step further by developing software that learns and adapts to your play style. This means that the built-in AI is constantly studying your actions and learning how you are playing the game. In a nutshell, Roccat AIMO has the ability to predict what your are about to even before you do! This is then reflected by the RGB illumination of your AIMO products to create a dynamic and immersive experience. While I didn’t quite get the same experience as that, the software is constantly evolving and I can see the potential in AI integration.
ROCCAT Kain 200 AIMO
- PERFORMACE - 93%93%
- QUALITY - 90%90%
- DESIGN - 91%91%
- VALUE - 90%90%
I will be honest; The ROCCAT Kain 200 AIMO exceeded my expectations. For a product that costs around $159 AUD, its design, weight distribution, Titan Switch technology, Owl-Eye Optical Sensor, and excellent software support all combine to showcase Roccat’s dedication to engineering a mouse that they are proud to call their masterpiece, a statement that I 100% agree with.
For more information on ROCCAT, please check out our previous coverage here.