When trying to thrive in the personal computer market, it is always a good idea for companies to add a little variety to their lineups. Gamers love to see die-hard peripheral markets, but we need to be honest about them for a moment. If they only made gaming parts and only catered to that market, the company would have a good chance of going belly-up in no time. It looks like Roccat got that message and has started to create some mice that won’t just appeal to gamers alone. The Lua mouse looks to bridge the company’s gap between the gamer and causal market places.
At first appearances, the Lua seems to be just another black mouse in fancy packaging. True, the Lua is still in the same angular packaging of other Roccat mice. However, opening the box takes you away from any misconceptions you may have had about it. Consumers will be greeted with a standard looking mouse. It has the normal two button configuration: left and right mouse buttons, wheel, and wheel button. The only other button on it sits behind the mouse wheel, which acts similar to the menu button on some Microsoft mice. The Lua even has a low profile to reflect everyday use (34.75mm). This is especially surprising considering how high its big brother, the Kone[+], sits off the desk (42.10mm). That doesn’t mean the Lua can’t have a little fun though.
It may appear that the Lua is an average chunk of black plastic on the desk now, but it is still far from it. The Lua is first and foremost a gaming mouse. It just isn’t what you might consider a high-end mouse. It lacks the extra buttons gamers have grown accustomed to; there aren’t 15 programmable buttons for your World of Warcraft character’s abilities. Another notable absence is the lack of compatibility with Roccat’s signature software Roccat Talk. If you saw my Kone[+] review, you’d understand why this is a big loss. Even with the loss of the Talk feature, the mouse still makes use of Roccat’s topnotch software. Users will undoubtedly notice that the software is a little stripped down. The lack of button assignments, a simplified LED configuration, and DPI manipulation will be noticed quickly. All of this is intended for the Lua though, as it is meant to be lower-end. But did I mention it was also ambidextrous? Well, for all you left-handed gamers out there, it is. It is as easy as filling in a radio button in the software to change it over.
Roccat made sure that some style was brought over from their other mice. For instance, “Roccat” is etched into the top right of the mouse starting about half an inch from the top. While your finger is sitting on the right mouse button, you can feel the name rub against your skin. Also brought over was the company’s use of vibrant LEDs placed around the mouse, and there is nothing wrong with bringing along a little flair. Everyone has to wear a piece of it, right? The material on the sides even has a slight grip to it, which makes it much easier to hang onto when your hand begins to sweat. You can’t forget the roaring cat logo that sits against the palm either.
I’ve used the Lua for some time now (on PC and without the drivers on Mac), and I must say that I’m impressed with its functionality. I’ve done normal everyday Internet surfing, a range of gaming, and even a little bit of graphics tinkering during my time with it. It has risen to the challenge every time. DPI (250-2000) can be changed on the fly, with the button behind the mouse wheel to adjust for whatever you are doing. It still acts smooth on a variety of surfaces, from the basic laminate on my desk to thin padded foam, and even high-price gaming surfaces. Not once did it skip around or jump on me. I have to admit that it even reacted better to having dog hair in the laser over other mice from Roccat. It’s been slammed against a desk to simulate gaming rage numerous times without any damage or hiccups in use. The Lua was also test-dropped from three feet to carpet and chair mats to test everyday accidents. Again, the Lua didn’t show any signs of performance loss. The only loss I considered in everyday functionality was the missing thumb buttons, but his is something you can get over.
Tearing apart the mouse showed a few differences from the Kone[+], just in terms of quality control. The most important difference was that the Lua didn’t show any manufacturing defects with the fit between the bottom and the top like the Kone[+] did. This was something that really irked me when I did my first Roccat review. Second, the Lua had padding over the circuitry. This was to protect it from scraping against the top and possibly dislodging something. It may be a design flaw for placement of the board or due to the low profile of the mouse, but I thought it was a nice touch. There was a step backwards, however, in the way the mouse wheel button triggered its switch on the Lua. Instead of it being set to be clicked by a rod being depressed to the side, it was set to depress at the back of the wheel. I thought it left it less sensitive, with more importance on placing the pressure backwards on the wheel. That isn’t to say the mouse wheel is terrible; in fact it actually felt improved over the Kone[+]. Some folks may be familiar with the jumping problem that was occurring with Kone[+], but thankfully that didn’t return with the Lua. I don’t know if it he Lua makes use of the new Titan Wheel hardware or if it was just corrected, but it is something I’m glad to comment on.
I think that Roccat has created something really great here. While some will shrug it off because it isn’t the gaming mouse they are used to from the company, the Lua shouldn’t be so easily cast aside. It functions well, still has that touch of gaming possibility to it, and doesn’t have a gaudy style that would be keep people from using it in the workplace. Personally, I would love to have the Lua at my office over those cheap mice that come with pre-built machines these days. If anything else, it will probably be a permanent addition to my laptop bag. You never know when you might need to bust out a mouse for some gaming on the road. Thankfully, the Lua lets you have some of that gaming edge and still look like you are working on spreadsheets at the same time.
Mouse provided by PR for review.