SteelSeries Kinzu V2 Review

03 Mar, 2012

SteelSeries have been very busy with mice over the last few months, the Kinzu has been given a huge update, see what has changed inside this new mid range gaming mouse.

There are 2 new versions of the Kinzu, but there is only 1 difference between the regular version, which we are reviewing, and the Pro version, the mouse switches.  The Pro version uses high quality Omron switches for a more sensitive click; this is aimed more at gamers looking for a lighter, hair trigger style click, with the standard version being a more regular click.

What’s in the box?

The Kinzu V2 box isn’t packed full of accessories, in fact, there are none.  The Kinzu V2 is the only ingredient in the package, with a quick start guide to help you locate the drivers.  You will need this as there is no CD, something we now think is the norm with mice and keyboards, the latest drivers can be found on the Steelseries website.

The SteelSeries Kinzu V2

Sensor Pixart PAW3305DK 3200CPI Optical
Maximum Tracking Speed 65 IPS
Maximum Acceleration 30 g
Speed 3600 FPS
Polling Rate 1.0 ms
Hand Ambidextrous Ergonomic
Buttons 4
Onboard Memory Yes

Up Close

The Kinzu V2 features 4 buttons, left and right click, scroll wheel and finally the CPI switcher.  The Kinzu V2 mouse buttons are a typical switch you will find on most gaming mice at this price, as such, they are not too sensitive, but are more optimised for gaming that your typical office mouse.  The main difference between the V2 and V2 pro edition is here, with the Pro edition using an Omron switch, a more sensitive switch for those gamers who want a lighter touch.  We like the fact that SteelSeries has made both mice, as it gives the product more range in terms of customers.

The price does mean SteelSeries had to drop side buttons, which is a shame in our opinion.  There are some other lower priced mice with 1 or 2 side buttons, which we think would have added to the overall experience.  The scroll wheel is a nice action, you are able to feel each time the scroll clicks, which depending on your use, you may or may not like, and we like it.

Special Features

All these buttons on the Kinzu V2 can customise in the SteelSeries engine, the important button is on the top though, the CPI switcher.  This button quickly changes between 2 CPI settings that you configure in the software; one setting can be for Windows, one for gaming.   However, as the SteelSeries engine detects applications, such as games, you can load a profile with 2 different CPI settings per game, meaning one setting for Windows and two for in game, giving you a good amount of options.

The Kinzu V2 is very light, making it a good mouse for quick movements, but also for gamers who have a light touch.  We think this is a claw and palm style mouse, but it is smaller than the high end SteelSeries Sensei, so if you have larger hands, this may be something you should try before you buy.  For smaller hands, the Kinzu V2 is perfect.

The Kinzu V2 is also ambidextrous, so this is perfect for left and right handed gamers.

The Sensor

The Kinzu seems to have that tournament pedigree, backed up by the high quality optical sensor.  It is capable of 3200 CPI, but has 3 other CPI settings, 400, 800 and 1600.  These are configured in the SteelSeries engine, which we will cover later, but suffice to say, the Kinzu V2 has a good range of options at this price point.  These are fixed settings in the firmware, so you can’t change these settings to a preferred option, so you may have to adjust your gameplay.

“The gamer that has never used a “proper” gaming mouse will be at home with the Kinzu V2″

Let’s get down to the technical part, 65 inches per second may not be a headline speed, but can this mouse deal with large swipes and quick movements without skipping.

Testing

400-800 CPI : During gaming, we found the Kinzu did stand up very at these, no skipping and no signs we were hitting the malfunction speeds.  The gamer that has never used a “proper” gaming mouse will be at home with the Kinzu, as the lower CPI settings are perfect.

1600 CPI : Once again, we found the Kinzu V2 really takes as much movement as you can through at it with 1600CPI, it is a smooth and consistent feeling mouse.

3200 CPI : The good news is slightly tarnished by the highest setting, we did see some jumping and skipping as we hit the malfunction speed of the Kinzu V2, but only when we were doing enormous swipes across the mouse pad.

Above you can see an example of the mouse movement, as you can see, it has no prediction on.  This is actually turned off by default, something we would actually like the option to turn on again if we wanted to do different tasks, but we would prefer to have it off than on.

For the price, it handles are tests well in the small and precise movements better than most, only in the more extreme movements did we see some minor issues.  If you were looking for the higher CPI and huge movements, the Sensei for SteelSeries is a better choice, as it is the higher end tournament grade mouse, but for the price, the Kinzu’s sensor is a solid performer.

Software

 

The software for all SteelSeries mice is called the SteelSeries Engine, this is the single place for all changes on the mouse.  The pictures above show the various screens within the software, the buttons screen, settings, properties and statistics.

The buttons screen is where you are going to get into what you want the mouse to do.  Firstly, choosing a left or right handed set up, this is pretty straight forward.  It is important to note, that you can’t override the default profile, changing any setting will create a new profile for you automatically.

“We really like the SteelSeries Engine, simply and easy to use software that gives total control over the mouse.”

When you click a button on the picture of the mouse in the software, it will bring up new options for what the button will do.  Some of these settings seem a little unnecessary, but we are sure someone will use them.  The next step is to decide whether you want a macro to run, open an application or do nothing.  As you can probably guess, these settings on a mouse with 4 buttons are not going to play a huge part in your gaming.  The Kinzu V2 is a more FPS oriented mouse, even so, running a macro using the CPI switcher is the most likely of set-ups, so it is nice to have the option there.  Should you want to go further, run complicated advanced macros, you can, the SteelSeries engine also gives you the option to record actual delays instead of the pre-set.

The Settings screen is where FPS gamers are going to want to go first, set your CPI settings and the polling rate of the mouse.  The default 800 and 3200 CPI with 1000hz polling, so if that sounds good enough, no need to even jump into the software.  We really like the SteelSeries Engine, simply and easy to use software that gives total control over the mouse.

The Profile screen is where you are going to set up the different game profiles, one for BF3, one for CSS and so on.  Once you have picked your profile, clicking the Browser button will let you add all game launchers from a specific folder, this will save you time if you have customer launchers set up.  If not, then using the 3 dots button to locate the launcher, hl2.exe for example, then click save add the profile to the mouse.

The final screen the Stats screen, something of a bonus it seems, this will let you test how many clicks in a second you can achieve.  If you want to submit your highest score, we would be interested in what you can get.

The SteelSeries Engine is a great tool for quickly making the Kinzu V2 your own, although some of the features are a little gimmicky for this mouse, it will help you learn how the software works for the time when you upgrade to a new SteelSeries mouse.  The interface is simple, easy to use and doesn’t feel overcomplicated like other software suites we have seen, only showing the relevant information and options at the right time.  We feel any beginner could use this software, which is good given that many first time buyers will be trying the Kinzu V2

Game Testing

We looked at FPS, MMO and MOBA for this mouse, playing CS:Global Offensive, WoW and Dota 2.

FPS gaming is really what the Kinzu V2 is suited for, small and light weight, it enables quick CPI switching and fast swipes across the mouse pad.  The shape is the same style we have seen from SteelSeries for several years, making it comfortable to play with.  We would say this is comfortable for claw and palm grips, palm grips for those with smaller hands.  All in all, a solid performing FPS mouse for the casual and competitive gamer, though if you want a more sensitive mouse click, the Pro edition is a great choice.

MMO gaming is comfortable in that the Kinzu V2 is a simple shape for holding and moving.  For long durations, it felt good, though we did miss the buttons that you get on the SteelSeries Legendary edition mouse.  For this price, you are looking at comfort and simplicity, something the Kinzu V2 does well.

MOBA gaming, mice that are optimised for certain games with extra buttons and features often upset the balance of a mouse, or get in the way of just getting on with gaming.  The Kinzu V2 can be described as a mouse that you plug in and start gaming, if you like the sound of that, it should be at the top of your shopping list.

Who is it for?

I’m going to keep this short and sweet; the Kinzu V2 is very good for general use, games that just require point and attack and any FPS game.

Conclusion

The Kinzu V2 is a new breed of mouse, small, light, easy to use with solid performance at just £35.  It is attractive to gamers looking to take gaming more seriously, but doesn’t overcomplicate things, SteelSeries using the less is more philosophy to deliver a top notch well price gaming mouse.

We award the Kinzu V2 the GamersEdge Silver Award. You can purchase the Kinzu V2 from OverclockersUK

We would like to thank SteelSeries for providing the sample for this review.

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