OK, so you’ve got a great gaming computer with a huge monitor, you’ve picked the best gaming keyboard and chosen your ideal gaming mouse. But have you given much thought to which gaming mouse pad you should use?
Mouse pads are often overlooked, but if you want the best performance from your mouse you should consider getting a good mouse pad. But what features should you look for?
- Size – large or small? As a general rule you could say the bigger the better, but it does depend on whether you like to make large movements with your mouse. The amount of space on your desk is also a big factor!
- Material – a mouse pad can be much more than a floppy piece of cloth. It can be made of glass or plastic, can be as smooth as silk or rough as a badger’s bum.
- Price – you can use the surface of your desk for free (you cheapskate) or pay a few dollars for a cheap and flimsy mouse pad, but if you want the best mouse pad for gaming you’ll have to spend more. Expect to pay nearly $40 for the top gaming pads.
So now that we know what we should be looking form lets look at some of the best mouse pads for gaming.
HARD GAMING MOUSEPADS
A hard gaming mousepad is a great way of ensuring a flat surface for your mouse. They can be made from plastic, metal or glass and can have a textured or smooth surface. One thing to be aware of is that the sensors of some mice struggle to read the polished surfaces of metal and glass mousepads.
Razer Exactmat And Wrist Rest
The Razer Exactmat has a clever design that distinguishes it from most other mouse pads. It comes with a detachable wrist rest that slides underneath the mouse pad to hold it in place, meaning your wrist is always supported whenever your hand is on the mouse. It’s removable, too, so if you don’t like it you can take it away.
The Exactmat is a solid pad build from an aluminium base, making it a stable surface for your mouse. It has a choice of two surfaces, one for gamers who like a high-sensitivity (DPI) setting on their mouse, while the other side is better suited to low-sensitivity gamers.
Dimensions: 330mm (length) x 265mm (width) x 2.5mm (height)
The Exactmat is a great surface for gaming, and the gel-filled wrist rest does make long gaming sessions more comfortable. The only downside is that because this mouse pad is made from aluminium it cannot be folded up and carried in a bag if you’re off to a LAN party.
Steelseries Experience I-2 (a.k.a Icemat 2nd Edition)
Probably best known as the Icemat, the Steelseries Experience I-2 is probably the classiest mouse pad you can buy. Made from glass, the Icemat looks great in any of the four colours available (black, clear, pink or blue). Its cool surface feels great too, and gives the mouse a lovely slippery feel as it slides across the surface of the glass.
Although not marketed as a mouse pad built for gaming, the Icemat is ideal for gamers and graphic artists alike. The surface of the glass has a ‘secret’ coating that helps optical mice read the surface, as well as reducing friction.
Dimensions: 305mm (length) x (width) x 254mm (length) x 4mm (height)
The Icemat manages to combine both form and function to give a gaming mouse pad that’s great to use and great to look at. Just make sure you don’t drop anything heavy on it!
Nova Killer 2
At first glance the Nova Killer 2 looks an unusual gaming mouse pad. For a start it has a very distinctive shape, but it also has a gritty texture to the surface that feels slightly rough to the touch.
However, in use it’s great. That gritty texture is made up of tiny crystals that really boost the sensitivity of your mouse, and despite feeling rough the pad creates very little friction so the mouse is easy to move.
The unusual shape works well, giving you plenty of room to move the mouse. There is a raised edge around the pad so you insitinctiviely know when your mouse is about to go over the edge, while the straight edge on the left of the mouse pad allows you to position it to the side of your keyboard (assuming you’re a right-handed mouse user). On the base of the pad is a rubbery substance that grips to your desk like a limpet, meaning the pad won’t shift in the middle of a firefight.
Dimensions: 337mm (length) x 307mm (width) x 3mm (height)
It might look funny, but don’t let that put you off as the Nova Killer 2 is a fantastic gaming mouse pad.
SOFT GAMING MOUSEPADS
Softer gaming mousepads are generally made of cloth or very thin plastic. Cloth mousepads are usually flexible enough to be rolled up, making them ideal for gamers on the go. The rubber backing is also ideal for those gamers looking for a little extra comfort for their wrist.
Razer Kabuto Mousepad For Laptop Gamers
As more and more gamers start to use laptops as their main gaming machine there’s been a growing need for a mousepad that can be easily carried around without taking up too much space. Some cloth mousepads are fine for this, but the Razer Kabuto manages to combine a great gaming surface with a sleek profile that makes it perfect for laptop gaming.
The Razer Kabuto is so thin (just 1.2mm) that it can be placed inbetween the keyboard and screen when the laptop is closed. This means it not only takes up no extra space in your bag, but it also offers some protection for the screen.
Measuring 280mm x 195mm, the Kabuto is big enough for gaming. It’s rubber backing makes sure it stays firmly in place on whatever surface you choose to place it, and the microfibre material ensures a great tracking response from your gaming mouse.
Roccat Sense Gaming Mousepad
The Roccat Sense mousepad is a large cloth pad that featuring a microcrystalline coating. Sounds great, but what does that mean? Put simply, there are tiny crystals embedded in the mouse’s surface that both help the mouse glide more easily and enhance the reflectingbest
The Roccat Sense is available in a choice of two designs, Glacier Blue (above) or Adrenalin Blue, both of which are technically identical.
Dimensions: 400mm (length) x 280mm (width) x 1.35mm (height)
Overall this is a good choice for a mouse mat. It works well with any mouse and comes with a tube so you can roll it up and carry it around with you. It also looks pretty cool!