During the years I have had opportunity to both own and test different mousepads and lately I've gotten quite a few of them into my hands. Because I have some free time I might as well review them even though I'm no professional reviewer but I've played computer games ever since the Spectravideo was released in Finland in the early 80's. Well, I was quite the child back then but still...
My conclusions are based on the mice I have had and actually the more important factor, the mouse feet or skates if you will. The mice I have used for gaming in this century are: Logitech Dual Optical, MX310, MX510, G5 and the current one, G9. The mousefeet I have used are: Icemat padsurfers for MX310/MX510 and Steelseries Glide
for G5 and G9.
So, let's start checking the mousepads: (all SteelSeries mousepads are 32cm*27cm unless stated otherwise)1) Func 1030
This was my first "professional grade" plastic mousepad ever and it was quite a shocking compared to the usual cloth pads you can get for 1 euro from the various stores. The time I had this mousepad I used either Logitech Dual Optical or MX310 (MX510 later on). I didn't have any special mouse feet to be used in combination with DO/MX310 but still the glide was exceptional at that time compared to normal mousepads. I really liked the rough side of the mousepad and it was decided on that point that I'd go for rough surfaces as the smooth side kinda sucked. My sensitivity was only 1 revolution on that 25cm wide mousepad at that time.
+ good rough surface with low friction
+ lasted almost two years
- smooth surface isn't that good
- way too small
- annoying rubber base and edges2) Icemat 2nd Edition
My first glass/metal mousepad. I used this mousepad with MX310/MX510 and I got Icemat padsurfers for the MX510 because the problem with Icemat is that it eats mouse feet pretty fast due to its surface and hard material. The glide isn't all that frictionless but it's really constant everywhere on the pad and the smoothness of the movement HAS NO EQUAL. I'm pretty sure I'd still use this mousepad for everyday usage if it didn't eat mouse feet so badly. But for QW I really wouldn't recommend this mousepad. The size is around 30cm*25cm.
+ everlasting surface unless you intentionally try to scratch it with something
+ looks nice
+ glide smoothness that is second to none (SX is an exception)
- a bit too much friction
- gets dirty really fast
- screeching noise when moving mouse
- destroyer of the worlds... er, mouse feet3) Xraypad Thunder9
My second rough surfaced plastic mousepad that I used with MX510 equipped with Icemat padsurfers and G5 with default feet. This is probably one of best gliding surfaces with very little friction I have had. It's actually so frictionless that you might end up missing a lot of shots due to hand slipping "a bit". However for tracking moving targets this is really a must have mousepad. The size is around 35cm*29cm.
+ cheap for plastic pad (~17 euros)
+ rather durable, lasted more than a year for me
+ really low friction (if you like low friction)
- really low friction (if you hate low friction)
- the surface isn't actually even (it's a bit higher from the center than edges)4) SteelSeries 5L
for laser mice
The worst of them all. Why on earth do I have this? Anyway it looks nice and has some special multilayered surface that's supposed to work great with bad laser mice. Umm, yeah, it does. However the glide is terribly bad. It feels like your mouse is glued to the surface even if you have special mouse feet installed. What's the point having big surface area if your mouse can't glide well from one side to another?
+ looks good
- way too much friction
- the price is too high
- forcing yourself trying to play for long periods of time will cause severe wrist injury due to friction even the best car tires lack5) SteelSeries QcK+
A very big cloth pad that is 2-3mm thick. The usual problems apply here considering cloth pads. Not too good glide, gets wet when your hand sweats and glide changes because of this. However the pad is quite big being 45cm*40cm in total. Perhaps you could use this as a welcome mat infront of your outdoor?
+ price (~7 euros)
- everything else6) SteelSeries S&S
One of the best plastic mousepads I've ever had. The surface is semi-rough meaning that the glide is rather smooth while still having not too much friction and it makes the surface also really accurate. I used G5 with Steelseries Glide G feet with this mousepad. It had the perfect control and just about the right amount of friction for me when playing QW. However this mousepad is anything but everlasting so I managed to get its surface destroyed in a year which is pretty bad.
+ superb surface
+ superb control
- a bit high price (~29 euros)
- wears off way too fast
- bad base won't keep the mousepad in place all the time7) SteelSeries S&S 2007 edition
Supposed to be improved model of S&S and should have better durability (longer life). However at the same time the surface has become rougher in a bad way and the friction has become annoying. Now there is more friction when you are starting to move the mouse than when you are actually moving the mouse. Due to this the accuration has decreased. Also the control is decreased because the surface feels strange all the time, not having constant glide everywhere. I used G5 (glide G) and G9 (default feet) with this mousepad.
+ more durable than S&S pre-2007
- has "improved" surface and glide charasteristics (what have you done Steelseries?!)
- G9 default feet feel like horseshit on this surface
- bad base won't keep the mousepad in place all the time
- is slightly inferior to pre-2007 S&S8) Func F30.R
Pretty nice rough surfaced plastic pad from Func. The surface has a unique texture that feels quite strange to your hand/fingers. At first the glide is just too much and there is absolutely no friction but after few days or weeks the glide smoothens out. Almost comparable to SteelSeries S&S pre-2007 glide but has a bit more friction. The overall control is quite nice and the the difference in glide is neglible compared to S&S. This mousepad is special in a way that you can bend it pretty easily, like a thin cloth pad (don't do this or you'll end up destroying the surface if you bend it too much). I used G5 (glide G) and G9 (default feet) mice with this mousepad.
+ nice size (35cm wide)
+ semi good surface
+ rubber base prevents the mousepad from moving on the table
+ price: ~20 euros
- there could be less friction9) SteelSeries SX
Very solid anodized aluminum mousepad from Steelseries. The surface is everlasting and glide is really smooth depending on the mouse feet. This aluminum surface is actually considerably better (less friction) and smoother than Icemat Second Edition under the G9 (default feet). However if I throw G5 (glide G) on this mousepad things change, friction increases and smoothness decreases.
+ everlasting surface and perfect finish
+ good rubber base prevents mousepad from moving around
+ awesome accuracy
+ GODLIKE SMOOTHNESS under the G9...
- ...but things can change depending on the mouse feet
- very high priced: over 40 euros
- feels cold at first when you start gaming sessions
- wears mouse feet off faster than plastic pads but still slower than Icemat10) SteelSeries SP
I saved the best for the last. This is the newest member of the Steelseries and improved model of SteelSeries S&S. The surface is considerably more durable than previously. Also the mousepad has very little friction so that it's comparable or even better than Xraypad T9 or SteelSeries SX. However the mousepad isn't as smooth as those mentioned earlier but this is due to increased roughness and decreased friction. Also note that this surface is made so that the friction will stay low even for gamers applying a high force of contact on their mice. The surface of this pad looks really nice too, like a hologram or similar. However from what I've read for example Razer Lachesis has problems with the surface but my G5 and G9 both read the surface without problems. So in short:
+ durable rough plastic surface
+ very low friction (even if you try to force your mouse through the pad)
+ looks stunning
+ good rubber base that prevents the mousepad from moving
- could be smoother
- problems with some sensorsUPDATE: 20.10.2008 !REVIEW: Qpad XT-R
So there you go, 10 mousepads reviewed to some degree. Keep in mind that I reviewed the mousepads only considering QW sessions and nothing else. If I wanted to go further than that it would have increased the size of this blog by three to four times and I don't want to write that much here.
Also note that these results are merely an opinions so you can't take them as a fact. Players considering buying mousepads could still get some heads up from the text.
As for further info, I'm a medium sensitivity player, meaning that during the past years I've upped the sensitivity from 1 revolution per 25cm to 1,75 revolutions per 32cm (1 revolution per 18cm) so people have to take this into consideration especially if they are high-sens users.
There is also something that should be considered here. If you need to able to move your hand on top of the mousepad surface, then smooth mousepads like SteelSeries SX and Icemat are bad choices. Only rough plastic pads or cloth pads allow your hand to "properly" slide on their surfaces while smooth ones act almost like a glue, especially if your hand is a bit sweaty.
And the last thing I want to mention is that the glide depends on TWO things so just getting a mousepad won't make the whole picture. Different surfaces can behave very differently under different mouse feet (SteelSeries SX is a great example of this).Additional Information 28.10.2008
It appears that Steelpad has renamed all of their mousepads. Instead of being Steelpad they all are now called SteelSeries
(SteelSeries SP, SteelSeries SX, etc). Keep that in mind when checking stores for them.