Date: December 5th, 2003
Article By: Matt (Hardware Reviewer)
Edited By: Nathan Glentworth
(Owner, Head Editor & Hardware Reviewer)
Product was donated by:
<--Shop for Mousepads Here
PRODUCT WALKTHROUGH & TESTING
I chose to test the Icemat first without using the Pad Surfers. I wanted
to see how the mousepad would feel using two different mice; one ball
and one optical. I figured I would install the Pad Surfers afterward.
Without the Pad Surfers covering the mouse feet, the mouse
makes a sliding noise not unlike nails on a chalkboard. It was very
annoying to use the mouse for a long time when it made so much noise.
I was listening to music on headphones for the duration of the testing
so the noise was not bad, but otherwise it would be unbearable during
long work hours.
Testing of the mouse pad was mostly done in games because
that is where accuracy and speed are both important. I tested it in
games such as Unreal Tournament 2003, Soldier of Fortune 2, Call of
Duty, etc. I also used it to surf the internet and to do my other computer-related
After testing the mouse for a couple hours with the games,
I will never use my other mousepad again. You can feel a difference
in accuracy right away. No matter how much I turn up the mouse sensitivity,
it is still extremely smooth and accurate movement. It makes aiming
quick and following very effortless because there is very little friction
between the mousepad and the mouse. The mouse moves very quickly and
smoothly over the surface of the pad. I tend to remove my keyboard tray
from my desk when playing games, so I can lean back in my bed and relax.
The mouse is so frictionless that a few times while I was using the
keyboard, the mouse slid right off the pad!
The pad is only a few millimeters thick which means it
is not hard on the wrist and it does not rise up enough from the desk
to make it a problem.
As I said earlier, I was wearing headphones for the majority
of the game play because the mouse's scraping noise is uncomfortable
to listen to. I was hoping that the Pad Surfers would get rid of the
noise or at least lessen it.
The Pad Surfers are recommended to cover the mice feet
and a little bit more to prevent dirt and grime from collecting under
the Teflon tape. I found it tricky to cut the Pad Surfers to the perfect
shape for the "U" foot on the mouse, but ended up with a close to perfect
fit. The Pad Surfers make no difference in how the mouse looks from
above, which is a good thing because the color and design clash would
ruin the product's promise of being aesthetically pleasing. As a gamer,
results speak more loudly than aesthetics, so I was eager to see the
change that the strips of Teflon made to the product's performance.
The Pad Surfers turned out to be a godsend. They tone
down the scratching to a bearable whisper, and even further reduce the
friction between the mousepad and the mouse. I also noticed an increase
in speed, with little or no change in accuracy.
I had been expecting optical mice not to function properly
on the pad due to both the reflective qualities of glass and the black
shiny material used under the glass. When tested however, I noticed
none of the glitchy movements I had been expecting. I am pleased to
say that the optical mouse outperformed the ball mouse in all aspects
on the mouse pad, just like it does on any other surface that does not
mirror the laser. However, there are reports that some optical mice
do not work on the pad. For the purposes of this review though, the
IBM optical worked like a dream.
The Pad Surfers that came with the ICEMAT come loose fairly
easily if they are not applied to a flat surface. You have to make certain
to have quite a bit of overlap over the mice feet, otherwise the tape
peels off the corners. Also, it is interesting to note that the Teflon
Pad Surfers that came with the SteelPad 4D (www.steelpad.com) work much
better on the ICEMAT than mice with the Teflon Pad Surfers from ICEMAT
Within hours of attaching the Pad Surfers to the mouse,
they had started to peel off slightly at the edges. I attribute this
mostly to my inexperienced application of the pads. ICEMAT should have
included a spare Teflon strip just in case of miss-application, especially
considering the extremely annoying noise of the mouse pad when used
without the Teflon. It would be a hell of a shame for someone to pay
$40 for a mousepad, and then accidentally apply the Pad Surfers wrong.