Page 2 - A Closer Look - Hardware and Software
From a design standpoint, the ROCCAT Kain 120 AIMO is probably one of the more conventional looking mice I have tested in a while. There are still some elements that make it stand out from the rest. The body of the Kain 120 AIMO is made up of a full plastic shell with a rubberized matte finish on top. This texture is found on all of the top facing elements of the mouse with the exception of the secondary buttons and scroll wheel. I think the texture feels nice to the hand. It is also pretty good at not getting shiny from oily handprints or sweat, but grease from food will still show on the top, so I would not recommend eating and gaming. On the other hand, the soft-touch finish can be a bit slippery at times, and I would have liked to see a contrasting surface to make it easier to grip, even if it takes away from the simple looks. Overall, this dark gray-to-black exterior is pretty standard, but ROCCAT has a white variant of this mouse too, if you so desire. A translucent ROCCAT logo can be found near the rear end of the mouse where one of the RGB illumination areas are.
When we pull out the measuring tape, the ROCCAT Kain 120 AIMO measures in at 124mm in length, 65mm in width, and 43mm in height. This peak height is situated near the middle, with a smooth slope from the primary buttons to the middle and a more notable slope at the back. Unlike some mice which have a larger rear-end than the front, the Kain 120 AIMO has a very consistent width throughout the mouse, making it look almost pill-shape in terms of its footprint. The Kain 120 AIMO tips the scales at 89g. This weight is balanced to the middle, lining up with the sensor placement on the bottom of the mouse. The mouse is very clearly meant for right-handed use, as the change in slopes between the left and right side and the placement of the secondary side buttons are geared towards such users. Build quality overall is quite great, as it feels good in the hands and shows no signs of flex or rattle in day-to-day use.
This is a wired mouse and ROCCAT has employed a slightly different cable as compared to some previous mice we have seen in the past. It still is a braided cable that measures 1.8m in length and it terminates in a USB Type-A plug. ROCCAT has said this cable has "34% more cable flex", presumably compared to previous ROCCAT mice. While I cannot necessarily vouch for the exact numbers, I will say the braided cable is quite a bit more flexible to bends and thus is less resistant to movement. It still is not as great as some other more weave-like cables we have seen in the past, but I think it is an improvement nonetheless.
From the left perspective of the ROCCAT Kain 120 AIMO, you can see all of the buttons you have access to when holding the mouse. The primary buttons on the top are separate from the rest of the shell to reduce the amount of resistance you might see if the button is connected to the rest of the body. Underneath, we have Omron switches with an endurance rating of fifty million clicks. According to ROCCAT, they have developed a better click dubbed the "Titan Click", which should make button presses feel more reactive and precise. While I did not notice a huge difference from other mice with Omron switches, I will say the primary buttons do provide a nice tactile response when clicking.
In between the top buttons is a notched scroll wheel with a rubber tire around it to easily grip onto and translucent sides for the RGB lights to shine through. Under the scroll wheel, we have a square DPI button that has a rubber finish on the top for a very different feel from the rest of the buttons. This is probably intentional so that users do not accidentally click this while in use. It offers a nice tactile response, especially with the rubber cushion-like feel. On the left side, we have the two secondary buttons that are mapped to Forward and Back by default. Even though these secondary switches usually are not as nice as the primary ones, they are located in a good area that is just out of the way to prevent accidental presses, while also being close enough to be easy to reach. There is a decent amount of travel in these buttons and they do not feel spongey in their bottoming out.
If you flip the ROCCAT Kain 120 AIMO over, you can see the large mouse feet and the sensor in between. The feet are made up of PTFE, which is commonly known as Teflon. These provide a smooth glide and travel. Just to note, the photo does have the blue protective plastic still on, but this is just meant for protection while the mouse is in transport and should be removed prior to use. In the middle of the base is the ROCCAT Owl-Eye 16K sensor. Under the hood, this is a PixArt PMW 3381, which is a PMW3389 with a modified firmware. Older variants of the Owl-Eye sensor utilized a modified PixArt PMW 3360. Otherwise, the PMW3389 is one of the top-of-the-line PixArt sensors out there and can be found on many gaming-focused mice. The base PMW3389 tracks at high speeds of 400 IPS with acceleration up to 50g, though it is not enabled by default. Polling rate is set to a minimum 1ms, or a maximum frequency of 1000Hz, and a maximum resolution of the aforementioned 16000DPI. The sensor is firmly attached to the mouse, so there is no sensor rattle found here.
The Kain 120 AIMO uses the latest version of ROCCAT Swarm, which can be found on ROCCAT's website at press time. It is a 157MB download, but it is used to work with all of the recent ROCCAT peripherals, such as the Vulcan 121 AIMO. After installing the corresponding hardware module, you will be prompted to update the mouse firmware. This setup process is quite seamless and easy to work through. In addition, ROCCAT does seem to constantly maintain their Swarm application, as it has received multiple updates within the month of testing it.
After selecting the ROCCAT peripheral for configuration at the top, there are four tabs for changing options on the Kain 120 AIMO. This includes Settings, Button Assignment, Illumination, and Advanced Settings. Under Settings, you can adjust specific things like various movement, scrolling, and clicking speeds. You can also adjust the sensitivity of the mouse. As I have mentioned previously, this mouse supports up from 50 to 16000 DPI in increments of fifty dots per inch. Button Assignment is where you can set the functions to the different buttons around the mouse, including changing even the primary buttons, though ROCCAT does make sure you at least have something assigned to the primary functions before you can reassign the main two buttons. These include macros, standard functions, media controls, and ROCCAT functions like Easy-Shift[+], which lets you add more functions via combining key presses.
Illumination is where you can control the two illuminated areas on the Kain 120 AIMO, which are on the scroll wheel and the ROCCAT logo. These have standard lighting patterns like fully lit, breathing patterns, and rainbow wave, as well as AIMO, which changes based on the applications you use. Finally, Advanced Settings is where you can adjust other settings including polling rate, angle snapping, lift-off distance, and lighting timeout. I really appreciate the timeout here because I have set it to turn off after a certain time period of inactivity. There are two more tabs underneath on every screen for managing profiles and macros. This also has macros and actions for a library of games and include many different esports titles like League of Legends, Overwatch, and CS:GO, as well as applications like Photoshop. You can also record your own macros here.
All in all, the ROCCAT Swarm is an intuitive piece of software, though it does seem like they have not updated the user interface in a while. As well as it works, it is feeling a bit outdated and could benefit from a visual refresh.
1. Introduction, Packaging, Specifications
2. A Closer Look - Hardware and Software
3. Subjective Performance Tests