The new EC-R has the same arched designed as the old XT-R, which maximizes the usable area of the mat. Another important design feat of the EC-R is the thickness, measuring in at only 1.5mm. The pad is really thin and that makes it really comfortable to use, compared to other hard mats, and the shape of mat makes sure that your wrist won't be hammered by extensive use.
As I've said earlier in the review QPAD continues to bundle these mats with precut teflon. I've made a little illustration showing the ideal solution and the solution QPAD provides with their hard pads.
The illustration on the left shows the area (red) that teflon should cover in order to perform at its best without picking up dirt from the mousemat when moving. The right illustration shows the area (blue) that you can cover with the precut teflon, it is far from being the optimal solution.
One of the things that have always amazed me with the hard QPADs is the surface, the carbytek2 surface is amazing, providing excellent tracking and the right amount of friction. The surface is well balanced and that makes it suitable for both low and high sensitivity gamers.
As you can see from the picture above, the surface is medium grained.
I don't know if it's due to the way the pad is made or if it's the grain, but the EC-R tears up teflon at an incredible rate, just like the old XT-R. This of course isn't really a problem because high quality teflon only costs like 10 € per meter.
The bottom of the EC-R is where you find the major difference between it and the XT-R. Where the XT-R had 8 rubber feet the EX-R has some softcompound rubber spray all across the bottom, this is nice because it provides excellent grip, between the mat and the desk surface making sure that it doesn't slip around while gaming. The only downside of such an option is that the rubber has a tendency to rub off after a while.
PerformanceThe performance of a mouse mat is really hard to measure unbiased, because it has a lot to do with personal preferences. I have tested this mat with a Microsoft IntelliMouse Explorer 3.0 (IME 3.0) and a Razer Copperhead (Firmware v.6.18). The IME 3.0 is an old school optical mouse with a 400 DPI optical engine producing 9000 fps on average, the Razer Copperhead is a laser mouse capable of producing 7000 fps on average. The major difference between an old optical mouse and a new laser mouse is that the laser needs a constant reflection from the surface in order to work whereas the optical doesn't.
I found that both the IME 3.0 and the Razer Copperhead work just fine on this surface, there was absolutely no stuttering or excessive negative acceleration while using this mat. One of the things that surprised me was just how precise the tracking was with my IME 3.0. If you are a big fan of both the IME 3.0 and hard pads you should consider this combination.
I tried using my Copperhead for a while on it and it seemed to perform really well, it didn't have any problems with reading the surface.