SteelSeries Wants you to GO play Counter-Strike with this Sweet Gear, and they were kind enough to send us the trio of their Counter-Strike: Global Offensive-branded gear and instructed us to work them over like a captured terrorist. So, I unwrapped all three Jack Bauer-style and got cracking. First up, an old favorite: the Siberia V2 PC Headset.
We covered this headset (in blue, not this sweet camo deco) extensively in the RipTen Gaming Headset Buyer’s Guide. If you are looking for a solid stereo headset that emphasizes comfort (and can even be used with a mobile device thanks to the near-invisible retractable microphone), look no further. One of the things that sets the Sibera V2 apart from many other products is that it offers dynamic adjustment.
The headband is actually two pieces. The top layer gives the unit shape. The inner band is padded and connected by two metal cables. These stretch, allowing the headset to conform more perfectly to your head shape.
We loved how well the unit blocked out external noise to create a more enveloping soundscape. It offers up 50mm drivers and loud, thumping bass (at the cost of some added distortion and fuzziness). If you like your explosions to shake your teeth out, the Siberia can make that happen. On the recording side, the Siberia is perfectly adequate for game chat, but not the best unit we’ve reviewed for podcasting purposes. You can read our more detailed analysis of the Siberia V2 right here. Note: the Counter-Strike: GO model is $99.99 versus the $89.99 of the solid color varieties.
The Kana mouse, redecorated in an urban camo motif with the CS:GO logo and wirecutter graphic was a real treat. It’s a smaller mouse than I’m used to after coming off the Razer Naga’s high-backed design, but it was comfortable nonetheless. The device features six buttons (left, right, mouse wheel, DPI button below the wheel and an extra-large one on each side).
The Kana is ambidextrous, but both of the side buttons are functional regardless of which hand you prefer to use for pointing. I’ve reviewed others with symmetrical side buttons, but the off-side customizable keys aren’t always useable. That gives the Kana a leg-up on some competitors.
The device is compatible with PC and Mac, though the finer customization is only accessible through the SteelSeries engine, which doesn’t play nice with Apple computers yet. The DPI switch button underneath the mouse wheel is a double-edged sword. In the software, you can customize two different settings that the button will activate (with related scroll-wheel light intensity) While this makes the mouse absolutely compatible across platforms, it also reveals a weakness.
Whereas many pointing devices offer a spectrum for the DPI (dots per inch – how far the cursor moves in proportion to a hand movement), the Kana can only be stepped through 400, 800, 1600 and 3200. For me 3200 is a bit too fast, but 1600 won’t work well on my 27 in screen. If you are looking for a finer level of customizability, you might need to look elsewhere. For those that know that they will be able to work with one of the four presets and want something that isn’t going to break the bank but still provide a solid experience, the Kana is a good fit.
It isn’t overly flashy with the only lighting on the scroll wheel, and it doesn’t overwhelm with buttons, but it does work very well, making the most of the feature set on hand. It’s comfortable, with a soft-touch back (again, with that extremely attractive Counter-Strike styling) and it isn’t overly large. SteelSeries describes it as their “middle child.” It’s more than their Kinzu mice and not quite up to the feature set of the Sensei. The $60 price tag is certainly fair for what’s on offer, even if you are paying an additional $10 for the deco.
Finally, no desk is complete (nor is this set) without a branded mouse mat. This low-profile, cloth QCK pad provides the perfect combination of glide on the top surface and grip thanks to the rubberized underside. It’s more in line with a traditional mouse mat rather than the harder surfaces that are making an appearance from other manufacturers.
The QCK is nice and large, providing plenty of surface to move your Kana (or other mouse) without having to lift up and reposition. For first-person shooters, the glide is really nice, making for smooth turning and aiming. I never got hung up using it, especially in combination with the smooth feet. The CS:GO version of the QCK retails for $15 (versus $10 for the non-branded version).
All three of these items are available now from the SteelSeries website and other retailers.