IntroductionI would like to thank SoftTrading for supplying the mat for the review.
SteelSeries is a leading manufacturer of gaming accessories, including headsets, mouse pads and mouse accessories. SteelSeries have been on the forefront of professional gaming gear for 5 years, thanks to continued innovation and product development in cooperation with leading professional gamers. SteelSeries is constantly engaged in development and design, based on inspirational input from gamers across the globe. SteelSeries supports the growth of eSport through aggressive sponsoring of teams, organizations, news-sites, communities, tournaments and LAN-events all over the world.
I’ve been an avid gamer for a long time now and as long as I can remember SteelPad has been providing quality mouse mats made of various materials. I have been given the task of reviewing the latest mat in the SteelPad family the 5L, this mat is the first hybrid mat that SteelPad has made specifically for laser mice.
First look & closer examinationAt first glance the mat stands out from the rest of the SteelPad family due to its rather extravagant graphics. The mouse surface is quite large with 380mm x 280mm, so it might be too big for some people's desks. The basic shape is rectangular, but the bottom has a curve so that it aligns with the movement of your hand. This mat is quite different than any other SteelPad due to the graphics, it is slightly more dull than you would expect from marketing pictures, but still it looks great on your desk. Its surface is smooth and is actually faster than it feels when you touch it, I noticed this because I had to take a notch off my pointer speed.
As you can see from the pictures the front of the mat is covered with an almost airbrushed image. It gives the mat a nice and extravagant look. This mat definitely stands out from the rest of the high-end mats. The backside of the mat is done just like the old S&S mat from SteelPad with scattered rubber elements, which lets the mat grip almost any form of desk-surface. I've tried to get the mat to move but no matter how hard I tried to push the mat it didn't move, this is a big plus since you can't have your mat moving around when gaming.
The five layers of the mat:
- Plastic coating on the upper most part of the mat ensures durability.
- Cloth ensures a stable and uniform gliding experience when using the mat.
- Soft polyisoprene makes the mat feel soft, this feature ensures the user's comfort.
- Hard plastic bottom makes the mat sturdy and helps it maintain its shape.
- Scattered rubber elements on the bottom make it grip the desk surface so that the mat doesn’t slip around when playing.
Since it's a hard mat it is not as easy to transport as an ordinary cloth mat and due to its size 380mm x 280mm it is not easy to get from A to B. This isn't a problem if you are just gaming at home, but if you go to a lot of LANs you might want to consider the size.
The gaming surface at first glance looks like the typical cloth type mouse pads of back in the day when we all had roller style mice and input devices. The cushion layer that's between the surface and backing resembles a thin layer of neoprene, so the surface has a stiff but sponge-like feel to it. While the surface looks like cloth, it does not feel like cloth, it appears to be impregnated with a polymer plastic that gives it a final texture and surface area. The overall feel of the surface is comfortable and smooth to the touch. This surface will need to be used in clean environments. You will not want to get ashes or dust and dirt around this pad or any pad for that matter as it will severely hurt glide performance.
On the backside of things, the SteelPad 5L reminds me of a stucco finish or like ceiling and wall knock down. The rubber elements are splattered all over the bottom surface. This helps keep the SteelPad 5L firmly secure to most surfaces such as Formica, wood, marble and/or tile surfaces. Under heavy gaming the SteelPad 5L does not slide or move while using the pad's huge real estate. So the rubber elements are used to necessitate a firm grip to most surfaces.
One of the main features of this mat is that it’s built for laser mice such as the Razer Copperhead, and the Logitech G5/7. This is very nice because other high-end mouse mats don’t really support laser mice, ex. Icemat 2nd, SteelPad 4S. I don’t really know why the other mats don’t support laser mouse. It seems odd because the laser engines were designed so that the precision wasn't affected by the surface.