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Tips from Readers
Ratpad Mousing surface!
generous TechTips fan wrote a review of the Ratpadz
mousing surface that was beyond reproach! Not to worry! the
MailBag is to follow - read on!
|Livin' large! Ratpad!
Iíll admit it. I never really thought that a mousepad could
make much of a difference in gaming. Even though I would call
myself a serious gamer, I figured that products like the 3M
Precise Mousing Surface, and the Everglide pad were really
more hype then actuality, catering to the truly competitive
person who just HAD to have that little extra edge. I was
wrong. I look back now and see the grave error of my wicked
ways, and I repent! I humbly ask the gaming gods for forgiveness
as I raise my arms in cheer of: The
all started after Beatdown
2000, when I noticed that my old 99 cent cloth mousepad
was just plain thrashed. I had gotten it only a month or so
before and already the surface was coming off, it was constantly
grimy, and slid around the desk like butter in a hot frying
pan. So, I needed a new mousepad and finally decided to take
the plunge and invest the cash in a REAL pad, one that would
cater to my needs and last a long time. But which one? There
are several options out there for those looking for a gaming
mousepad. I had briefly tried a 3M pad, and although accuracy
was much improved it had several drawbacks. Namely, it was
tiny, it didn't wear well at all, and it slid around the desk
like crazy. Therefore I concluded that the 3M was definately
out. Then there was the Everglide....although I have never
used one personally, simply looking at it reveals that it
too shares the 3M pad's small stature. UPDATE: I've just learned
of Everglide's new pad, the Giganta,
which is about as large surface area wise as the Ratpad, and
offers a very similar surface. I've never used the Giganta
so I won't comment on how good it is, although it has been
very favorably reviewed as far as I've seen, however I CAN
say in all honesty that I think the Ratpad looks cooler. :>
The Ratpad was invented by Kyle of HardOCP.com,
one of the most popular and overall kickass computer overclocking
sites out there. After visiting the Ratpad site, and reading
some reviews of it on the net, I was hooked. THIS was the
pad for me! At $18.95 plus $5.60 for shipping and handling,
it was competitively priced with the other available options,
and hey, it was endorsed by Kyle so it had to be good!
Ratpadz are all shipped by Priority Mail, and I recieved mine
precisely three days after placing the order. After gleefully
ripping it out of the package I was left to stare at it's
graceful form in awe. First impressions are always inciteful
and mine proved to be as well. This thing is HARD. Not flimsy-yet-firm
like other "hard" mousepads, this thing is a hunk of molded
plastic that has the density, elasticity, and weight of a
dinner plate. The second major feature I noticed was it's
size, this mofo is < bad scottish accent > FRIGGIN HUGE! < /bad scottish accent>.
Seriously, at 9.5 inches tall by 11.5 inches wide, this thing
has an impressive wingspan, totally dwarfing the 3M and original
Everglide pads. It's edges are beveled down so as not to incur
any infamous "handcuff marks", and it's surface is texured.
The texuring is interesting because it applies a great amount
of friction against the mouseball, but not against the mouse
feet or your hand. The end result is that you're mouse glides
along the surface. The lack of friction took a bit of getting
used to for me, being as how I was used to cloth pads that
took about 20 pounds of force to move the mouse across. Complete
with it's jet black color and silver Ratpadz.com logo this
thing looks positively bitchin. I could almost feel my keyboard's
fear as I placed this bad boy beside it. Now came the fun
part, the tests!
it comes to games I'm pretty fanatical about my favorites.
Right now I'm a committed Tribes junkie, and Quake 3 addict,
and these were the games I tested the pad on. I will break
this down into sections for your easy digestion.
While I haven't had the Ratpad long enough to really give
a definite answer, I would bet my boot drive that the Ratpad
will outlast your mouse, your computer, and probably even
you. It's plastic is very hard, and even bending this thing
at all takes a great deal of effort, and breaking it is practically
out of the question. It's textured surface also doesn't seem
to be going anywhere. Although the logo on top will fade (as
with any writing on this kind of surface), the texturing should
last pretty much indefinately (unlike the 3M pads, which are
notorious for wearing out quickly). I'd count on the Ratpad
being alive and kicking for years.
For me at least, this was a big issue. My previous mousepads
were like unwashed armpits, they got grungy and nasty. This
grime they collected was then transferred to the mouseball
resulting in my having to clean my standard Intellimouse (which
gets dirty easily anyway) every couple days. But I'm happy
to say that if cleanliness really is next to godliness, then
the Ratpad is an angel. Even after many hours of intense gaming,
one look inside the mouse reveals no dirt buildup, and the
Ratpad itself is as clean as a President's urinal (or whatever).
And if you do manage to gunk the pad up, a simple wipe of
a cloth or shirt tail or what not usually does the trick.
For those of you who are a bit more obsessive (or plan to
eat off of it) you can clean it with soapy water. I even heard
a rumor somewhere that you can toss these things in the dishwasher
although I wouldn't try it. So even for those of you with
sweaty palms should find the Ratpad stays quite clean.