A Mouse Your Cat Won’t Chase – SteelSeries Kana Review
Fresh from the people at SteelSeries comes the latest addition to the mouse roster: the Kana. This mouse was designed for gamers, by gamers, and is a brilliant option for those either looking to try a gaming mouse for the first time, or those on a budget.
As mentioned, the Kana was designed with gamers in mind. The mouse is about average size, weighing in comfortably between the smaller Kinzu and the larger Sensei, with an ambidextrous symmetrical shape. This allows gamers of any size or preference to simply pick it up and go.
Aside from your standard left/right clicks and scroll wheel, there is a large button on either side of the mouse. These can be re-mapped to anything you’d like, not just in-game commands. By default, they’re set to forwards/backwards for your browser, but can be set to just about anything from simple macros to launching an application.
For additional control, a small button set below the scroll wheel can be used to toggle between two different sensitivity settings. This can be used to toggle between a lower and higher count per inch (CPI), so users can switch on the fly to suit their needs. An endless amount of profiles, key maps, and various other options can be designated for your Kana using the SteelSeries Engine. You must have this program for customization, however, and it is not automatically installed when you plug in the device. It is available on the SteelSeries site’s download page (the link is provided in the quick start guide).
In terms of performance, the Kana has the stellar amount of control that we’ve come to expect from SteelSeries. With only a quick change from the default setting I’ve been able to put my mouse exactly where I want it every time, thanks to the 3200 frames per second optical sensor. To test this under fire, I booted up a personal favorite blast-from-the-past: Star Wars: Battlefront II.
Popping into a quick game on my favorite map (Mustafar), I grabbed my blaster rifle and Stormed my trooper into the fight. Instantly, I noticed just how precise and quick the mouse performed. With beautiful control I was able to put my cross-hairs on target faster and more accurately than with a standard mouse. The addition of the two side buttons allowed me to map things like reload and secondary fire options to my right hand, leaving my left on the movement controls more often. While in space combat, flicking the CPI switch for a sensitivity boost helped me make fast evasive maneuvers in a dog-fight, then return to normal when back on foot. Overall, the mouse performed immaculately – with all the control of a gaming mouse triple its price.
On the aesthetic side, the Kana’s beauty comes from its simplicity. Perfectly symmetrical, the Kana features a single piece plastic top and is available in two colours: high-gloss white and matte black. Underneath the scroll wheel is an LED light (blue for white and orange for black) which can be set to one of four different brightness levels. A nice use of this is to have different brightness levels for each CPI setup, identifying which configuration you’re currently on. The Kana is sleek yet simple, and looks just as good as it plays.
At the end of the day, the Kana mouse gives a wonderful performance at an unbeatable price ($49.99 retail). If you’re looking for something to give you an extra boost in your gameplay, yet don’t want to take a shot to your wallet, the Kana is your best choice. With its easy-to-use design, easily accessible side buttons, and customization options, the SteelSeries Kana is a mouse more than worth its price.
Final Score: 5.0 and a wheel of tasty cheese (you know, because it’s a mouse).
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