Date: April 6th, 2005
Article by: Josh (Newsposter & Hardware Reviewer)
Product was donated by: XTRAC <--SHOP FOR A XTRAC HYBRID MOUSEPAD HERE
PRODUCT WALKTHROUGH & PICTORIAL (cont'd)
The picture (yes I have a shaky hand, no further comments please) shows to you just how thin the pad is, less than 0.5 cm, about the same as my sweater right now to put it in perspective. The small amount of material between the top and bottom of the pad is has a rubbery feel with a spongy texture. The small holes mean that its weight is not compromised, giving a pad that weighs just over 200g (that's right, I weighed it for you =D).
The back of the pad uses XTrac's “Sure Grip” rubber backing, and as it says…it sure does grip. This is an essential feature of a mouse pad, which XTrac has tackled with full marks. The pad refuses to move whilst using your computer, and barley moves when I apply full pressure with both hands to attempt to prove the grip wrong, unfortunately I failed. This rubber material allows the pad to be rolled with ease and gives a very comfy arm rest/pillow when using the mouse, which I must say I like.
Also provided with the pad are some XTrac Mad Dotz “Mouse Feet Enhancers”. These are here to get the most out of your mouse when using your brand new mouse pad. Within the slip are 12 Circularly cut pieces of Teflon tape and 1 Alcohol wipe which is to be used on your current mouse feet to remove any excess food…I mean dirt. Their purpose is to reduce friction over any surface your mouse encounters to give you the “smooth ride” mice love. What I must say is that they make a huge difference over standard mouse feet, so I 100% recommend you apply them when you get them. If you are a current user of another pad, but still have your stock mouse feet, I would also recommend you go out and pick up some Dotz (yes they can be brought separately), for the small price you will notice a great difference.
PRODUCT TESTING (aka GAMING EXCUSE)
Well well, it seems I'm going to have to play a game, oh my. There were 2 games that came to my mind when I was thinking of what to test. One game will be CS:S (I'm addicted); the other will be UT2004 (simply because it's so damn fast).
Before playing a game with the Hybrid, I had always been a person to use no pad, and just make use of my table, little was I aware of the difference I was about to notice. From the moment the commentator in UT2004 said “Play” I noticed a huge difference in the sensitivity of the mouse, I barley have to move my hand to swivel and nail the opponents. As well as this, I felt there was an increase in accuracy of the mouse, which can ONLY be a good thing in gaming. After putting CS:S to the test, I actually found I had to decrease sensitivity of the mouse after my scouting skills were compromised after moving past the opponents head and onto the brick wall, after that was sorted, the feel in accuracy paid off and I felt I had made a new friend very quickly.
I also feel that although it is a product aimed at gamers, it's a great option for any computer user where the mouse is an essential tool. Web and graphic design can sometimes be awkward when the pointer doesn't go over exactly where you want, and with the improved sensitivity as well as accuracy, this will happen less and less often.
CONCLUSIONS & AFTERTHOUGHTS
XTrac aim to give us a gaming mouse pad, and there is no doubt that they succeed in doing so. They have provided us with something that looks good, feels good, is easily packed and most importantly achieves what it's meant to do, provide you with something that gets the most out of your optical mouse.
Its downsides (though little, and may not even be considered downsides in some peoples view) are that it is on the market for around $25 (unfortunate for some, it is not available in the UK ), which may be considered a little pricey for what it is when compared to competition. It is also large, not a problem for someone with a large desk, but otherwise some consideration may have to be taken when purchasing a pad of this size, though I feel XTrac got its size just right. The final downside, is that I noticed the edges were a little prone to being caught on, and because of its material, may become a little un-neat and scruffy over time, though I think this would take a considerable amount of time =D
To the point, it's a product that does its job very well and can only satisfy its user!
-Great sensitivity and accuracy increase
-Easy to pack
-Free “Mad Dotz”
-Possibility of edges wearing down
If you have any further questions or comments, please feel free to post them in forums HERE.