Date: March 1st, 2006
Article by: Mike "Twitch" Carter (Hardware Reviewer)
Edited by: Nathan Glentworth (Owner / Head Editor)
<--SHOP FOR A MOUSE PAD HERE
The pad system arrived at my house in a plain, white mailing box. Since GWS is primarily a mail-order company, fancy packaging isn't really necessary, although you do miss some of the “gee-whiz” factor of a colorful package.
Opening the box, you find a clear plastic bag containing a Killenflor mousepad and a black, plastic frame with integrated mouse bungee. GWS was kind enough to also include a bottle of their Killenflor Mousepad Wax (more on that later). Simple, easy, no assembly required.
It's a mousepad, what's to install, right? Not a whole lot. Drop the plastic base and pad onto your desk, insert your mouse cable into the bungee and you're ready to rock. If the bungee isn't necessary, or the frame is too wide for your desk, the pad is easily removable, and actually holds fairly well to a desk on its own.
The core feature of this set is the pad itself. It's a thin, slightly gray-tinted white pad, with a smooth, stiff surface, manufactured from PVA (a type of vinyl), while the backside is a polyester/rayon material. Sounds like your favorite sweatshirt, but it's actually the same type of stuff that's used in a lot of product packaging. The last motherboard you bought probably had a sheet of it wrapped around the anti-static bag for shock protection. It serves the same purpose here, giving a bit of “give” to the pad, while maintaining a solid surface for mousing.
The white color of the pad isn't an aesthetic decision. White or light gray pads are reported to reflect laser and infrared light better, which translates to faster response and better battery life for cordless mice. That said, it does set the Launchpad apart from the bevy of black and dark-colored gaming pads on the market. It'll get you noticed at a LAN party.
You'll also notice the small hole on one side. I originally thought this was to aid removal of the pad from the frame, but the guys at GWS explain that this is actually an engineered hole to aid in the use of their R2 mouse. You place the tip of your pinky in the hole, and use that as a leverage point to move your hand back and forth. I tried it with a regular mouse, and it does add a bit to your precision. You can hold the mouse with a more solid grip, and “anchor” your hand to the pad for precise aiming. It's an interesting, but useful touch.
The second part of the Launchpad is the frame. It's relatively lightweight plastic, with the mouse bungee affixed to one of the wider edges. The “waffle” design helps keep the frame lightweight, but provides a grippy surface for the pad to cling to. The underside has six rubber feet, to prevent the frame from sliding under heavy use. They appear to work well, even fairly wild movements on my part keep it from moving too much.
Here, we see the mouse bungee. It's a simple, two-spring affair, with a squeeze-type cord holder at the top, and a snap-in cord groove at the bottom. The size should fit most standard mice without a problem, and it grips tight enough to keep the cable from pulling out. The springs are at a good angle to provide strain relief, so you don't accidentally pull the tail off your rodent's backside.
Just below the springs, you can see a large chrome ball. This weights the pad at the top side, off-setting the weight applied at the other side by the heel of your hand. It gives the pad a solid feel on the desk, and adds a touch of “bling”. Like the rest of the pad set, it's simple and effective. My only wish is that the bungee could be removed for cordless mouse users.