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Roccat Kone XP Air Review

Back in March, one of our favorite gaming mice of the year crossed our desk courtesy of Roccat, the German hardware maker housed under Turtle Beach’s corporate umbrella. The $89.99 Roccat Kone XP had it all: premium switches, a great sensor, tons of functionality, RGB lighting, and a reasonable-enough price for its feature set. So where do you go from there? Roccat has attempted to improve the Kone XP by cutting the cord—the Roccat Kone XP Air is the same top-of-the-line mouse, but now with both 2.4GHz and Bluetooth wireless support. Unfortunately, the price almost doubles to $169, draining the Roccat’s value appeal. Still, the Kone XP Air is arguably the wireless gaming mouse to beat, edging out the competition in many of the areas that matter most.


Kone XP vs. Kone XP Air: Mirror Images

At first glance, the Kone XP Air and its wired sibling look nearly identical, but put them under a magnifying glass and you’ll see some fine details that differentiate the two. The XP’s bulky shell has been shaved down a bit, and the glossy finish of the plastic housing has turned matte, giving the 3D RGB lighting a deeper hue.

PCMag Logo

With a slightly slimmer waistline than the wired Kone, the XP Air measures 1.5 by 2.8 by 4.9 inches (HWD). That’s just a bit wider than the competing Razer DeathAdder V3 Pro. Weight-wise, it tips the scales at about 3.5 ounces, heftier than other wireless gaming mice like the HyperX Pulsefire Haste or Roccat’s own Burst Pro Air.

Roccat Kone XP Air angle


(Credit: Zackery Cuevas)

Ergonomically, the Kone XP Air is just as comfortable as the original as long as you’re right-handed. The whopping 15 total buttons on its chassis make it the MacGyver of gaming mice, and Roccat’s EasyShift technology lets you raise the number of button functions to 29, ideal for strategy games and MMOs. All the buttons are easily accessible with your thumb and index finger, while a small lip on the edge provides some additional comfort as well as an extra button.

As in the corded model, Roccat’s optical Titan Switches claim to be faster than other mechanical switches and twice as durable. The extremely cool 4D scroll wheel returns, complete with RGB trim, and Roccat’s Owl Eye sensor still delivers a very respectable 19,000dpi and a polling rate of 1,000Hz. Both of Razer’s most recent pro gaming mice, the DeathAdder V3 and Viper V2, offer even higher resolution by a factor of 11,000dpi, so while the Kone XP Air is fast, it’s not the fastest mouse on the market.

Roccat Kone XP Air underside


(Credit: Zackery Cuevas)

What it lacks in raw resolution, the XP Air perhaps makes up for with Nvidia Reflex, depending on your style of play. The GPU maker’s technology allows developers to integrate low-latency features directly into their games by choice; you’ll mostly find it in popular FPS shooters like Overwatch and Call of Duty: Modern Warfare. Nvidia Reflex + Boost may shave off mere milliseconds in latency, but pro players know that a sliver of difference can mean life or death when you’re carrying your team in a ranked match.

I’m rarely in such high-pressure situations, but I admit every little extra helps. Rest assured that whether I was playing Overwatch or clicking around in Final Fantasy XIV, the XP Air’s wireless signal remained strong throughout, with no perceptible lag or random disconnects.


Connectivity: The XP Unplugged

Obviously, the main difference between the Roccat Kone XP and the Kone XP Air is that the latter is wireless, bundled with a 2.4GHz USB dongle as well as Bluetooth support. Switching between the signals is handled by a toggle on the mouse’s belly. There are two ways to charge the device: via a flex cable plugged into the USB-C port at its tip, or using the included rapid-charge docking station.

Roccat Kone XP Air and charging dock


(Credit: Zackery Cuevas)

The AIMO Rapid Charge Station, as it’s formally known, is a small dock with both USB-A and USB-C ports. Simply plug the cord into either end or place the mouse on top. The base has its own ring of RGB lighting, and an indicator light atop the mouse above the center dpi button lets you know when it’s topped off. The charging dock works fine, though it is a bit sensitive and prone to accidentally being knocked out of position. Roccat promises about 100 hours of battery life, ample time albeit eclipsed by other wireless gaming mice like the 420-hour Alienware Tri-Mode.

Roccat Kone XP Air on dock


(Credit: Zackery Cuevas)

Roccat’s Swarm software offers plenty of customization options across five mouse profiles. Remapping buttons, creating macros, and tweaking RGB lighting—all the features you’d expect are here, and the menus are simple and easy to navigate. The distinctly low-fi aesthetic remains, but Swarm earns a pass by being so feature-rich and simple to use.

Roccat Swarm software


(Credit: PCMag)

As mentioned, the biggest change is the price. The Roccat Kone XP was a steal at $89.99, but at $169 the wireless version is considerably harder to swallow. Even Razer and Alienware, two brands not exactly known for bargain pricing, usually tap out at around $150. The steep price is probably due to the bundled charging dock, but if I were Roccat, I’d either ditch it or sell it separately, because otherwise the Kone XP Air is one of the best wireless mice you can buy. It’s a pity to see it beyond the reach of many buyers, but for many folks, $169 is going to be a bridge too far.


Leave the Dock, Take the Wire

Gripes about cost aside, the Roccat Kone XP Air earns a place as one of our favorite gaming mice. It looks good, it’s packed with functionality, and its wireless play is solid. It’s just not worth the big surcharge over the corded model, in our opinion. It’s still a killer mouse, but if wireless mice with charging docks are your thing, you can save $20 with the older Razer Viper Ultimate.

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