Steel Series Kana Gaming Mouse Review - Performance and Software



We put the Kana through the paces with a couple FPS matches to see how well if meshed with our playing style. Thanks to the oversized side buttons, we didn't need to adjust our grip in any way when the action called for a quick weapon switch or evade. There were a few times when we actuated both buttons simultaneously, confirming our previously stated fears, but we don't see this problem continuing after further usage. The UPE teflon feet glided without effort and the soft touch coated shell gave us an added level of control, although it didn't take long before smudges upset the otherwise attractive finish.

We certainly don't have any bones to pick with the Kana when it comes to comfort. However, there are some hardware features of the mouse that hinder its overall performance. The exclusion of Omron switches is rather disappointing, as they are known to provide premium feedback. We are rather surprised that SteelSeries opted not to include Omron switches (or at least an option for them) given the fact that they are installed on the slightly less expensive Kinzu V2 Pro Edition. Instead, they have outfitted the Kana with lower quality TTC switches. There are a number of other similarly priced mice that offer Omron switches: the Razer Deathadder, CM Storm Spawn, Zowie AM, and Logitech G400 just to name a few. Another thing to consider is the sensor that SteelSeries has installed in the Kana. It is a Pixart PAN3305DK-H paired with a 0.5x lens, yielding half the DPI but double the maximum speed (130 inches per second) of a mouse equipped with the same sensor and a 1x lens such as the Kinzu V2. Although users initially reported buggy movement when the mouse was moved up and down rapidly at a low DPI, there have been no further complaints following a firmware update to SSE v2.1.745. There have also been complaints about the relatively high liftoff distance of 2mm, which unfortunately cannot be changed within the SteelSeries Engine.



We've already given our praise for the SteelSeries Engine in our review of the Sensei. The software allows an unlimited number of profiles to be created, each with its own settings. Looking at the options available for the Kana, we see that there are sliders for two separate DPI and illumination levels as well as polling rate. Being able to switch DPI on the fly via the center mouse button lends some strategic advantage to FPS gamers who might play CQB one moment and do some precision sniping the next. We tested the mouse polling rate using the application "Mouse Rate Checker" and obtained a maximum reading of 1022 Hz. A separate pane within the Engine allowed us to assign macros, bind applications, or disable any of the Kana's 5 buttons. Macros certainly have their place in popular RPG titles, but we've found another useful application - burst fire with a single click. Yet another pane gave us a heat map of individual button usage, and we promptly spammed the left button with our index finger to find out how many clicks we could register in 10 seconds. See if you can beat our score! One of our favorite features is the "Trigger Game/EXE" option. This allows the mouse to adopt different profiles depending on the game which is currently being played. When all is said and done, the SteelSeries Engine leaves gamers with plenty of room to customize their latest fragging instrument.



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