A Guide to SteelSeries Mice World
Posted 2012-03-27 mascot
A Guide to SteelSeries Mice World
This is SteelSeries flagship mouse, and it should be with the price. If the cost is any indication of how good this mouse will be, then it should be steller. The Sensei is the successor to the SteelSeries Xai, and in my opinion one of their best products to come out in a while. The Xai was known for having really good performance, while giving the user a lot of customization, and the Sensei picks up right where the Xai left off.
The Sensei is easily SteelSeries most customizable mouse to date. You can change everything from DPI to LED colors, and much more in between. Those settings are called ExactTech, and consist of ExactSens, ExactRate, ExactAim, ExactAccel, and ExactLift. ExactSens is simply your DPI setting, which you can change in increments of one, and max out at 11,400DPI. ExactRate is your polling rate, in hertz. You can adjust in increments of one, and max out at 1000Hz. ExactAim is sort of like negative acceleration, not positive. The slower you move your mouse, the more precise it will be. ExactAccel is the opposite of ExactAim, and is simply positive acceleration. ExactLift is the ability to change the LOD (lift off distance), and can be changed in certain percentage increments. Finally, there is FreeMove, which is your prediction adjustment. So if you like prediction, or not, you can change it right in the mouse.
As for specifications, you get quite a good list of numbers to take in. The Sensei supports 1-11,400DPI. You get up to 1000Hz polling rate, 12,000FPS, and 150in/s (inches per second). Also, one of the biggest additions to the Sensei is the 32-bit ARM processor. It's kind of overkill, but it helps with all of the programming you can do with this mouse, which is one of the issues with the Xai. The Xai would falter every so often, trying to cope with all of the options, but the Sensei is fast and stable!
Let’s move on to the actual mouse now, and for this review I have the Fnatic Sensei. I’ve used and reviewed the original Sensei too, so I can give insight to both. The Fnatic Sensei is a black, white, and orange theme. The top is coated in a matte black rubber finish. The sides are in a glossy white, and the scroll wheel and side buttons are orange. The materials and textures are almost the opposite of the original Sensei, which features a glossy metal paint on top, a black rubber paint on the sides, and black buttons all the way around. You have seven mouse buttons in total. Two side buttons on each side allow you to have quite a bit of programmable buttons. Mouse one and two use omron switches, so they are sensitive and provide a little feedback. In my opinion, it makes double clicking, or tapping, a lot easier than mouse with other switches. The shape is ambidextrous, and can be used for claw, palm, or finger tip grip.
On the bottom, you have three very large mouse feet, which are teflon. You also get the LCD screen, which can be customized with your gamer alias or logo. The glide from this mouse is extremely smooth, and can be quite quick depending on your surface. On cloth, it’s smooth and medium speed. On hard surfaces, it’s very quick and very smooth. Some may like that, some may not.
As for performance, the Sensei is no slouch. The average tracking rate, from 400-800DPI was around 4.6-5.0m/s (meters per second) or 180-190in/s (inches per second). Those tests were gathered with the Enotus mouse test. Changing mouse surfaces didn’t hinder the performance at all, and those numbers were gathered from a mix of hard pads and soft pads. The majority of the tests were done on a SteelSeries QcK+. Also, both tests were done at 1000Hz. So, all in all, this mouse is a really good performer. It exceeded my expecations, and claims the crown from SteelSeries as their best mouse.
The Kana is a completely new mouse from SteelSeries. This is not a remake or a version two product, they have never made a mouse quite like this. It’s supposed to resemble the Intellimouse 1.1, and it does it remarkably seeing as there are two extra large side buttons, one on each side. There are two different flavors of the SteelSeries Kana, Black or White. The Black version has a matte black top, textured black sides, and the mouse wheel and CPI toggle button are orange. The White version has a glossy white top, textured white sides, and the mouse wheel and CPI toggle button are black. The shape of the mouse is very much like the Sensei, ambidextrous and good for any kind of grip. The mouse is just long enough to palm, and still provides a great grip for finger tip or claw grippers.
The Kana is SteelSeries’ middle child, the one that never gets in trouble, kind of just passes by. It's a little shorter than the Sensei, while having the same width as the Kinzu. Mouse one and two both use TTC switches, which require a little bit of force to press, and they don’t have much feedback. Each side button is very clicky, and has a deep travel distance. On the bottom, you have three large mouse feet, and unfortunately they are plastic. The glide is not fantastic, but slow. On hard surfaces, the glide is medium speed, and on cloth is very slow. They are smooth however, so that is encouraging.
The specifications are nice on this mouse, you get 3600FPS and 130in/s (inches per second). The SteelSeries Engine software allows you to change DPI from 400, 800, 1600, and 3200. You are also allowed to change the polling rate from 125, 250, 500, and 1000Hz. Unfortunately, 1600 and 3200DPI are interpolated, so they have fairly bad performance. I would stay with 400 or 800DPI. The sensor has no prediction, no acceleration, and no negative acceleration within the perfect control speed.
The performance of this mouse actually surprised myself a lot. The sensor is very stable and pretty keen on most surfaces. I have had it malfunction on multi-colored mouse pads, but it only happened once out of twenty times I tried to force the malfunction, so you will be fine in-game. I found the specifications to be very accurate from real testing. The Enotus mouse testing program found a respectable 3.12m/s (meters per second) or 123in/s (inches per second). That is very close to the 130in/s promised by SteelSeries. Even though the sensor is lacking the FPS of some of the higher mice available, if you stick to 400 or 800DPI, your accuracy doesn’t suffer.
SteelSeries Kinzu v2 Pro
The second iteration of the Kinzu should be a good mouse. It’s personally my favorite mouse, but that is very subjective, and based on my own opinion. The first Kinzu was filled with acceleration and prediction, yet people still flocked to it. The new Kinzu uses a variant of the sensor in the Kana. Aside from internals, the design is the exact same as the first Kinzu. The same abidextrous grip, the same size, the same scroll wheel. The scroll wheel has a bit of play to it, and does scroll at the slightest touch. The only difference physically between the Kinzu and Kinzu v2 Pro is the new glossy finish. On the Kinzu v2 Pro, you get a choice of glossy silver, glossy red, and glossy black. On all of the options, you get a rubber finish on the sides. Another improvement over the regular Kinzu is teflon mouse feet. They glide very well, much like the Sensei, and in my opinion a little better.
As for specifications, the Kinzu is lacking a little bit. The sensor provides 65in/s, exactly half of the Kana. You get DPI adjustments of 400, 800, 1600, and 3200. Polling options are limited to 125, 250, 500, and 1000Hz, just like the Kana. Another improvement over the original Kinzu is the use of omron mouse switches, like in the Sensei. Mouse one and two both use these switches, and they provide a very sensitive click with a little feedback.
Performance is lacking a little bit, as you could guess from the specifications. The mouse, according to the Enotus program, couldn’t achieve a higher speed than 2.47m/s. That is the malfunction speed, not the perfect control speed. So after about 97 in/s, you will not be able to control the movements of the Kinzu v2 Pro. Within around 60-70 in/s are easily controllable, which is right within the specifications from SteelSeries. To get best performance you will want to stick with 400, 800, or 1600DPI. Only 3200DPI is interpolated an unusable on the Kinzu v2.
The only difference between the Kinzu v2 and Kinzu v2 Pro are the mouse feet, and omron mouse switches.
Which Should I choose?
I really can’t tell anyone which mouse they should buy, but I can only give you my experience with each. If you are strictly and FPS gamer, you want to stay with the Sensei or Kana. They both provide a good enough perfect control speed to be able to handle the fast movements of an FPS game. The Kinzu is lacking a little bit, unless you play with a higher sensitivity. I personally have no problems using the Kinzu v2 Pro as my main mouse, but it’s not for everyone.
If you play RTS games, the Kinzu v2 Pro is actually a great mouse to look into. It provides very nice clicking with the Omron switches, and most RTS gamers don’t venture anywhere near the malfunction speed of mice. So the Kinzu v2 Pro is acceptable for you guys. Also, since it is such a small mouse, it’s incredible with claw or finger tip grips, not so much with palm.
If you just want the best of the best, and not have to worry about malfunction speeds, perfect control, mouse feet, buttons, etc, you will be looking into the Sensei. It’s really an incredible mouse, and it gives you a ton of options. So if you play a lot of different games, and don’t want to worry about whether it’s good enough, just get the best, which is the SteelSeries Sensei.