gadg-et-oid [gaj-it-oid]


1. having the characteristics or form of a gadget;
resembling a mechanical contrivance or device.

SteelSeries Kana Mouse Review

Taking a step up from the Kinzu the SteelSeries Kana is the middle-ground of SteelSeries gaming mice, representing the balance of price and features that will suit most gamers. Dubbed “The Middle Child” by SteelSeries themselves, the Kana is positioned in between the Sensei and Kinzu in both physical size and features.

The Kana is also the culmination of the SteelSeries “Designed By Gamers” campaign, where more than 300,000 gamers were given a choice from multiple designs. It’s fair to say that the Kana wasn’t so much “designed” by gamers as “chosen”, with 60,000 “likes” determining the winning design.

I received the white Kana to give a once over, and I’d just like to address one little problem with it before I launch into a review. It’s white. Actually, to be honest I really like the white Kana, it goes fantastically well with the white keys of my Apple keyboard and looks great. Unfortunately white mice are cursed with one simple problem; they show up grime. I don’t know where this grime comes from, as I wash my hands almost compulsively, but when it builds up in the Kana’s joints, and around the buttons, it’s really, really obvious.

Perhaps the visibility of grime is a blessing, however, as it has forced me to clean the mouse more frequently. Better a clean, white mouse than a grime-filled black one I suppose! Keyboards are largely accepted to be quite filthy, bacteria riddled things due to their constant exposure to food crumbs and fingers combined with relatively infrequent cleaning…. ( relative to a toilet seat, if you must know ). I’m sure mice aren’t much cleaner!

With that out of the way, let me reiterate that I really like the white Kana. I had a white “Iron Lady” Ikari Laser mouse for a while and liked that, too, although its black sides made grime less obvious.

The Kana isn’t much bigger than the aforementioned Kinzu V2, making it a great all-round mouse that wont drive your spouse insane with ungainly bulkiness. It differs from the Kinzu, however, by including an additional button on each side and a little smattering of wholly unnecessary but pretty LED lighting emanating from the mouse wheel. Well, not quite unnecessary; The LED serves a dual purpose, offering a variable intensity to show which CPI mode you’re currently in.

Despite being lit, the mouse wheel has a noticeably better tactile feel than that of the Kinzu and even the earlier Ikari laser. It’s also a little quieter, too.

Like the Kinzu, it’s small size means you’ll have to hold it with your fingertips, and for folks used to maintaining a pretty firm grip on a mouse, this can be a little tricky as first. Once you get the hang of “the claw” grip, you’ll find you can move the mouse a fair distance with just your thumb and third finger, mitigating some of those small wrist movements that can otherwise quickly lead to RSI of the carpal tunnel variety.

The side buttons of the Kana are well designed, unlike many of the mice that came before it ( the Ikari, for example, had particularly tiny buttons ) they’re easy to press no matter what sort of grip you use. What I don’t like about them is that the base of the mouse sweeps in beneath the buttons and creates an area where grime likes to collect.

The Kana allows a range of customisable pointer speeds from 400, through 800 and 1600 and maxing out at 3200. The latter is for high-sensitivity, run and gun gaming with the lower settings being useful where more accuracy and less speed is required.

Once you’ve configured the two CPI options via the SteelSeries Engine software, the raised and easy to hit CPI toggle switch lets you flip between them on the fly.

The Kana is another fine example of a smaller, more accessible and more flexible gaming mouse. It seems SteelSeries have heard my cries, and those of others, for something a little less gargantuan. Dare I say it; girl-gamers will now have plenty of high-end mousing options to fit their smaller hands.

It can be picked up for around £35, placing it a reasonable notch in price above the Kinzu V2 Proffesional which is, in turn, a notch above the Kinzu V2. It’s clear that SteelSeries have now got an offering for everyone who demands good quality mice. With our games consoles stealing us away from hardcore PC gaming and making purchases like the Sensei a little unrealistic for infrequent bouts of gaming, it’s nice to be able to pick up decent gaming peripherals without breaking the bank.

The Kana is also available in black with orange LEDs.

Saturday, February 4th, 2012, Computer Gaming, PC.