It’s getting increasingly hard to recommend gaming mice in 2020. That’s because they’ve become so good across the board that there’s very little to really differentiate them. Excellent budget options like the Aftershock Hexar or the SteelSeries Rival 3 very effectively cover all the basics and then some.
That leaves the more expensive mice with aesthetics and gimmicks like 500-hour battery or joysticks on the side to justify their price tag. The Pareto principle comes into play here — 80% of gamers will likely never use more than 20% of features on their mouse.
The Roccat Kain 200 AIMO gets this; perhaps too well because by any standards, it’s a bland looking gaming mouse with nothing that stands out to make it stand out from the crowd. In fact, it’s hard to believe that the company that makes the insanely gorgeous Vulcan 120 keyboard made something so…normal.
Roccat says its goal was ‘to create an exceptionally refined and ergonomic build that doesn’t distract or limit you’ and it certainly succeeded. There aren’t a tonne of RGB lights or ludicrous space fighter wings on this mouse. The Kain 200 is for all intents and purposes, dull in appearance but don’t let that fool you. You are getting one of the best crafted and precise mice in the market today. Roccat has finely crafted everything on this mouse and you really can feel it from the get-go.
Roccat Kain 200 AIMO RGB Gaming mouse Review
The first thing I noticed about the Kain 200 was the feel of its surface texture. It’s a special blend of plastic/rubber witchcraft that feels slick but is incredibly grippy and seems to have been vaccinated against smudges and fingerprints. This surface covers the majority of the mouse case as well as the two symmetrically shaped right and left mouse buttons. It’s mindboggling how smooth yet grippy this feels and it’s probably the thing I love most about the Kain 200.
The Kain 200 isn’t a small mouse by any means. It’s 12.4cm long and 6.5 cm wide with a height of just over 4 cm. When I hold the Kain 200, I easily cover it with a comfortable palm grip which shows me that it’s somewhat smaller than my trusty Razer Basilisk Ultimate. I like the size and find it unobtrusive in the sense that I am not constantly fidgeting to hold it ‘right’. The Kain 200 is also heavy at 105g which gives it a heftiness that, again, isn’t cumbersome but rather reassuring. I’m not a fan of those ultralight exo-skeletal mice that weigh as much as a feather.
Turning to the buttons on the Kain, you have a total of five physical buttons including the scroll wheel which can also be pressed. The buttons are mechanical using Omron switches. It still blows my mind that we now have mice with mechanical switches. Anyways, the buttons are very clicky and responsive. I’m not an esports pro so I’m not hypersensitive to these things and most likely neither will most people. The two buttons are symmetrical which in theory means left-handers can use the Kain 200 without a problem. The only problem would be the thumb buttons on the right side of the mouse.
These two chunky buttons are just as clicky as the main buttons and feel satisfying to press. But my favorite thing about them is actually how easy they are to press because of their generous size. You see, most gaming mice try to make these thumb buttons as thin and low profile as possible but that really makes them a pain to actually use especially in gaming. I often get thumb cramps or end up pressing the wrong ones unless I actually look at the mouse. Which is obviously detrimental to your gameplay. So I really like the ones on the Kain 200.
The scrollwheel sits in a brushed metal strip in between the two main mouse buttons. This strip is similar to the finish on the Vulcan 120 keyboard and does a great job unifying the products aesthetically. The scrollwheel has treaded rubber that has just the right amount of grip so the wheel never gets away from you. The wheel has excellent tension with a noticeble bump with each step that I really like. It doesn’t beat the Basilisk Ultimate’s adjustable scrollwheel but it feels just right to me.
Of course you can adjust the scroll steps using the Roccat Swarm software hub. The hub also allows you to change the RGB lighting on the scrollwheel and the logo at the back of the mouse. You know, for a mouse that has RGB in its name, the Kain 200 is spectacularly underwhelming in that department. There really isn’t enough lighting on here to talk about so I won’t even bother.
Sitting behind the scrollwheel is a rubber DPI switch which cycles through the stored DPI presets. These can be set in the Swarm software to anything you wish. The button is nice and chunky – continuing the ethos of ergonomics and easy of use. The problem is you can only cycle forward through your presets so you can’t go backwards easily. When you’re in game, you only have seconds to switch and this could be a problem. I’m not sure why Roccat didn’t provide a rocker-type button so you can move forwards or backwards.
But if you aren’t lazy like I am, you can set up your preferred DPI’s in Swarm so you don’t have that problem. And while you’re in there, you can change everything from the polling rate to scroll speed or even adjust the energy saving features. The Swarm software is pretty simple and easy to understand with bold, blue titles and information popups for everything. Button mapping is equally straightforward allowing you to quickly change the function of every button on the Kain 200(and I do mean every button).
The Swarm also has a macro manager which is already populated with a number of popular games like Apex Legends. You can assign macros to native game functions like Supers for easy access. You can also record your own and save them to the list for future access. One of the things to note is Roccat’s Easy-Shift feature which effectively doubles the number of functions you can map to the buttons. Think of it as you would a shift key. Once you are done tweaking the Kain 200 to your exacting preferences, you can save up to five unique profiles to the 512Kb onboard memory.
Inside the mouse, we have a very cool named Roccat Owl-Eye Optical sensor with 16,000 dpi. It’s actually a Pixart PMW3335 sensor with a 40G acceleration and adjustable lift-off distance. The Kain 200 has a 1000 Hz polling rate which you can adjust downwards to save some of that precious battery life. The Kain 200 is a wireless mouse connecting over a 2.4 GHz band. I’ve become so used to mice running on this frequency and like the others, the Kain 200 performs excellently without any lag. But again, I’d need an esports pro to validate that since I don’t play comp. The Kain 200 also works wired so if you ever run out of battery or are struggling with signal interference, you simply connect the micro-USB to USB cable.
Yeah, you heard me right. Micro-USB still keeps showing up in devices in 2020 for some reason even though USB-C is a much better format for a lot of devices. Interestingly enough, the Kain 200 comes with a dock(more an adapter really) which you can plug the Micro-USB end into one end and then the Wireless USB dongle into the other. I don’t really get it. All it does is save you having to put the dongle in the back of your computer. That’s nowhere near as usefull as the Razer dock which gives you a convenient way to charge. To charge the Kain 200, you will need to wrest the micro-usb cable out of the dock and then plug into the mouse. It’s just a wasteful step that needn’t be there.
Speaking of charging the battery, you won’t have to charge that often. Roccat says the 1000mh Kain 200 will last up to 50 hours of game time and I can’t dispute that. I was able to get through five days of about 10 hours of use before the Kain 200 needed a top-up. That’s just awesome really and such a convenience. There’s also a lot of nifty energy-saving techniques employed by the Kain 200 to save power. The mouse will automatically turn itself off and unlike some others, doesn’t wake up until you actually click a button. As someone with you kids who are always running about and knocking things on my desk, it’s nice that the mouse isn’t continually waking up and wasting battery.
Gaming mice are a dime a dozen and performance differences between them are increasingly minimal; especially if you are not a professional game or esports athlete. But for the rest of us mere mortals, the $160 Roccat Kain 200 mouse performs well above and beyond the call of duty(pun intended) in gaming and productivity. It certainly isn’t the most beautiful mouse nor is it the most feature packed out there. What it is though, is one of the best crafted mice you can buy and at such a great price. For something that’s almost half the price of the Razer Viper Ultimate, it’s an easy sell. I actually prefer the Kain 200 over that mouse.
It’s really accurate, fast and smooth while aiming targets in fast-paced games like Valorant and Apex Legends. There’s an ease and swiftness to switching DPI for more controlled headshots when sniping and of course, the big chunky side buttons also make performing certain in-game actions a lot easier. On top of all that, it’s wireless with a battery that will take you through an entire workweek. So yeah, it might look standard but it’s actually stellar.
The Roccat Kain 200 AIMO was provided to PowerUp! by Roccat Australia for the purpose of this review.