SteelSeries Kana

For the price, the Kana actually does very well — unless you need greater flexibility over your macros, in which case you'll need to look elsewhere.


8.0
CNET Rating

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Craig was sucked into the endless vortex of tech at an early age, only to be spat back out babbling things like "phase-locked-loop crystal oscillators!". Mostly this receives a pat on the head from the listener, followed closely by a question about what laptop they should buy.


SteelSeries' Kana is like a grown-up Kinzu — a slightly larger shape, the addition of a single mouse button on either side, glowing orange bits and orange stripes on its braided cable. It's otherwise a standard mouse, aside from the CPI switcher under the scroll wheel.

It's not quite the Xai or the Sensei, and the pricing reflects this accordingly.

The Kana plugs into SteelSeries' "Engine" software — a universal driver for all of its mice. Engine sadly still has the issues it had four months ago; the macro-recording process is confusing thanks to the layout, and button text is blurred in places — even SteelSeries' own logo is out of focus. It's also too tall for 1366x768 screens, and it can't be resized smaller. Impressively, though, as you switch between SteelSeries mice, it detects them and changes the options accordingly.

In small images, SteelSeries' "Engine" looks good. But it needs an overhaul to its usability, and advanced macro editing needs some attention, too.
(Screenshot by Craig Simms/CBS Interactive)

Once you get the hang of macro recording (select a button, just start typing and then hit save when done) it gets easier, and you can go into advanced editing for a little extra control, like deleting mistakes or editing delay times. You can't insert delays or extra commands, though, and you can't extend an existing macro, making your options quite limited.

Being a relatively simple mouse, other settings are limited — you have two user-customisable CPI settings (where you can choose 400, 800, 1600 or 3200 CPI), which are switched between when you click the button under the scroll wheel, along with USB polling rate adjustments.

Despite our grief with SteelSeries' control panel, its hardware cannot be questioned, with the Kana proving accurate, smooth and deadly in Serious Sam HD.

For the price, the Kana actually does very well — unless you need greater flexibility over your macros, in which case you'll need to look elsewhere.

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