Sunday, October 28, 2012

My new favourite gaming mouse mat ever.

Long time readers of my blog (I guess that's you and me Mum) will know that I believe every PC gamer needs a decent mouse mat. Unfortunately mouse mats went the way of the buggy whip about a decade ago with the advent of optical mice that worked reasonably well on just about any hard surface.  "Reasonably well" is fine for browsing the internet or editing text documents but "reasonably well" doesn't cut it when it comes to PC gaming. I have yet to come across a table top that allows the precision and freedom of movement that a PC gaming mouse requires.

Here are the basics requirements for a gaming mouse mat:

1. The surface needs to have sufficient texture for the mouse optics to pick up. This is by far the easiest requirement to achieve because a modern optical or laser mouse seems to work on just about any surface.

2. The top surface needs to have very low friction.  This is where most table tops fall down. Any friction will drastically reduce the responsiveness of the mouse. Worse it can give rise to a jerky movement due to sticktion. Many mouse mats with textured material or rubbery surfaces are just as bad. On a good mouse mat tapping the mouse gently with your fingers should send it sliding across the surface.

3. The bottom surface needs to have high friction so that it doesn't slip around the table. Some cheap mouse mats fail this test.

4. The mouse mat needs to be either very thin or very hard.This is where many fancy mouse mats fall down. A cushioned foam surface may be comfy for your hand but it is disastrous for a gaming mouse. The mouse will literally bed down into the surface making it impossible to move the cursor with any precision. Jerkiness is almost guaranteed with a spongy surface.

The incredible thing about these requirements is how many expensive mouse mats get it so wrong. In fact I have come to the conclusion that the more expensive a mouse mat is the worse it will perform. My new favourite mouse mat cost me all of €1.99 and it is superb. I am convinced that this mat would do more for any PC gamer than a fancy €100+  gaming mouse. 

Here are some pictures:


Front
Back
 

edge view

another edge view

The packaging
 The mat itself is paper thin with a picture on the top side and a stippled foil backing. The top side offers very low friction while the foil side sticks, somewhat surprisingly, to the table like glue. In fact the only downside to this mat is that you literally have to peel it off the table if you want to move the mat to a different position.

The mat is manufactured in Taiwan and the distributor is either called Smiling Hand or Yummy, the packaging isn't clear (hey it was only €2) but I cannot find it online. This 3M precision mousing surface looks like something similar however.


3 comments:

Benita Bolland said...

It seems to comply with the gaming mouse pad standards from the looks of it. How does it feel using it? I know how important it is to have a stable mouse pad, as I’ve played quite a few virtual games before. How about your gaming mouse? We know missing one of the two would mean a wasted investment.

mbp said...

My mouse itself is quiet old and not all that special. It is a Logitech M300 wireless mouse. It has plenty of buttons which I like but it is heavy (batteries) which is why I cannot abide a spongy mouse pad the mouse just gets bogged down in it.

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