Friday, September 28, 2007
If you have a laser mouse then you need one of these
Its called a Fellowes Optical Mouse Mat and it is made by a company called Brite Mat. It is quite simply the best mouse mat I have every used.
You may know I have been playing Freespace 1/2 for the last few weeks. I spurned a joystick in favour of mouse control but I soon realised that my normal Logitech MX600 wireless laser mouse was not as precise as it should be. It is not a high spec gaming mouse but it is supposed to deliver a smooth 800dpi yet it was jumpy and imprecise - making accurate flying very difficult. I got suspicious when I swapped over to a seven year old Microsoft Optical mouse and found that it was much more precise. A bit of experimentation convinced me that the problem wasn't the mouse but the surface I was using the mouse on.
The problem seemed to be twin fold. First off it seems to me that the laser mouse is quite fussy about the surface texture - and it hates shiny surfaces. Secondly - My wireless mouse is quite heavy with batteries inside and stiction is a major problem. If the surface has too much friction the mouse seems to stick between moves causing jerkiness. Twitch shooters require precise jerks of the mouse jumping from one stationary position to another and stiction absolutely kills precise control in this case.
Originally I was using the surface of my wooden desk but that was hopeless and the grain seems to upset the mouse. I then tried an assortment of mousemats. Most of them were even worse than the wooden desktop especially spongy "comfort" models. The mouse just sinks down and beds in. The best thing I could find was actually the cover of a book that had a matte finish.
I discovered this Fellowes/Brite Mat by accident today when I was browsing in my local Maplin electronics shop. It was advertised as being optical mouse friendly and it only cost €8 so I grabbed one. It is brilliant. It is a hard plastic circle with a slightly rippled matte finish. It has excellent grip underneath due to a high friction underlay yet it presents very low friction to the mouse. The difference in mouse precision with the laser mouse has to be experienced to be believed. The mat is surprisingly small being only 20cm in diameter but because of the excellent precision and the convenience of the circular shape that is all you need.
I can't find any reference to this mouse on Fellowes Website. The reverse of the mousemat says it is made by Brite Mat but I cannot find their web page. Here is a link to it on Maplin's website.