SteelSeries Kinzu v2 Pro Review
The SteelSeries Kinzu v1 was my favorite mouse, so I was naturally excited about the Kinzu v2 Pro. However, I was let down pretty hard. The design is the same, with more color options, but the performance is very bad. It doesn’t matter what mousepad you use, the performance is almost half of the Kana. If you decide to use a multi-colored mousepad, you performance will suffer greatly. The mouse is great for RTS, but unplayable for FPS.
The box is basically the same, it has a nice window of the product on the front, and is clearly meant for retail shops. It’s a shame there really aren’t any shops around in the USA that carry SteelSeries’ products, or gaming products in general.
Taking the mouse out of the package, I get a sign of deja vu. I’ve used this mouse before, I’m certain of it, but I haven’t. I couldn’t have possibly used this mouse yet, since it’s new. It just resembles the Kinzu in every shape, because it’s literally the exact same shape as the original. There isn’t a single design aspect that has changed, as far as ergonomics are concerned. The only thing externally that has changed is the appearance and the nice teflon mouse feet on the bottom.
The Kinzu v2 Pro comes in three different colors: Black, Silver, and Red. I have the Black and Silver editions to review. There is also another flavor of this mouse, and that is the plain Kinzu v2. The regular version does not have teflon mouse feet, or the Omron switches. The Kinzu v2 comes in Rubber Black, Orange, Yellow, and White. I wish the Kinzu v2 Pro came in a Rubber Black finish, like the original. The Kinzu v2 comes with three mouse buttons, mouse 1, mouse 2, and mouse 3; there are no side buttons.
With the Kinzu v2 Pro, I can definitely feel the differences in the main switches, which are now Omron switches. They take less force to press down, and last a lot longer than traditional TTC switches, which both the Kinzu v2 and Kana have. The mouse wheel has a little play in it, which causes some scrolling at the slightest touch, another issue with the original Kinzu in my opinion.
As mentioned earlier, the three large mouse feet on the bottom are a nice teflon. They are actually teflon, not plastic. On cloth, the glide is pretty fast, and on plastic the glide is even faster. It’s not uncontrollable, but it is a complete step forward over the original plastic mouse feet on the old Kinzu.
As for customization, you get a CPI toggle button which will allow changes from 400, 800, 1600, and 3200CPI. You can assign the different profiles in the SteelSeries Engine, and you can also adjust the polling rate from 125, 250, 500, and 1000Hz. Unlike the Kana, only 3200CPI is interpolated and pretty much unusable. I would stick to 400 and 800CPI for best performance, but 1600CPI is a viable option.
The “v2” signifies much more than just an external redesign, there are different workings internally that makes this mouse an improvement over the original Kinzu. Both Kinzu v2, and Kinzu v2 Pro use the same sensor, which is a variant of the Kana. Unfortunately the performance is less on the Kinzu v2 than the Kana. It’s clear this is SteelSeries’ lower mouse when it comes to performance and size.
I’ve updated to the latest firmware, just to make sure I will get the same experience as the customer, and this sensor is not particularly fond of multi-colored mouse pads. Plain mouse pads have a higher malfunction speed, and do not have the bug that is associated with multi-colored mouse pads. If you swipe past the malfunction speed, instead of hitting massive negative acceleration, your crosshair or pointer will shoot to the sky. This does not happen with a regular black mouse pad, like a QcK. It only happens with the team QcK+ mouse pads, like the Fnatic or NaVi mouse pad.
I regularly use the NaVi QcK+ mouse pad, and this proved to be an issue with the Kinzu v2 and a lower sensitivity. While deathmatching, I often found myself shooting to the sky when flicking a lot. This doesn’t bother me too much, because I’ve played Counter-Strike long enough that you don’t have to position yourself the same way you would in a deathmatch. However, that is not to mask the flaw here, which is clearly apparent. With the Enotus mouse test program, I achieved an average of 2.47m/s or 97.24in/s. That is not the perfect control speed, it’s the malfunction speed. I would say the perfect control speed is within 60-70in/s. This is within the range of SteelSeries’ 65in/s claim, which is well within target to be deemed acceptable. Oddly, like the Kana, I couldn’t achieve a true 1000Hz, but was stuck at 964Hz and couldn’t go past that mark.
The accuracy is pretty nice, but the sensor only supports 3600FPS, which is quite low compared to some of the new mice out there. If you play at the suggest CPI levels, you will have no accuracy issues whatsoever. There is very little prediction, if any at all, which is a complete reversal from the original Kinzu which had a massive amount of prediction.
There is a pixel jumping bug associated with this sensor, but with the latest firmware it has vanished on all of the settings I tried. It’s nice to know SteelSeries kept this mouse updated, since it’s one of my favorite mouses of all time.
It’s clear SteelSeries has deemed this mouse number three out of six that they offer. First is the Sensei, Kana, Kinzu v2 Pro, Kinzu v2, Ikari Optical, and Ikari Laser. Though, one could argue that there are better features on the Kinzu v2 Pro than the Kana, but with a lesser sensor that is all speculation. Where some features thrive, others have been purposely tuned down. As a consumer, again, I am confused with how SteelSeries decides to placer features in certain mice, and bog down other features in the same mouse. Regardless, the Kinzu v2 Pro is an incredible mouse. Its design is simple and perfect. The mouse feet are teflon and quick. The switches are Omron and sensitive.
This mouse is perfect for the RTS player or an FPS player. There are no side buttons, so communication will have be sought after in a different way, like mouse 3. I would not recommend this mouse if you communicate a lot, since it’s difficult to without side buttons. If you use a multi-colored mouse pad, with a medium to low sensitivity, this mouse is unusable for you.