An Essential Item for All Computer Gamers
Gamers are often looking for ways to improve their gaming skills, comfort and functionality. For PC gamers there are many ways that they can do this. One way that is often over looked is their mouse pad. A gaming mouse pad will help increase stability and accuracy for the PC gamers that use the mouse and keyboard set up when gaming. If you already have a gaming mouse and are still looking for ways to up your gaming experience here is what you are looking for. Finding the perfect mouse pad can be just as hard as finding the perfect gaming mouse so here is a guide to help you identify the perfect gaming mouse pad for you.
If you are a serious gamer, one that is on the competitive level, a gaming mouse pad is a must have. A split second can be the difference between life and death. Whether it is a fast paced first person shooter (FPS) or a more tactical team based MMORPG (massive multiplayer online role playing games), a gaming mouse pad can help improve your game. This grade of mouse pad will help make your cursor movement faster, and more consistent. Most of these quality mouse pads have enhanced tracking surfaces which will help keep tracking with those much needed quick reaction movements.
Now, I play both FPS and MMORPG’s. Now whether it is improving my quick aim for those head shots, or dodging that massive aoe (area of effect) attack in a boss fight, I know the importance of quick, and accurate reflexes. I went from having an old, slightly torn mouse pad to having a brand new gaming mouse pad. And let me tell you, it has made a difference. My muse movement is much more controlled allowing me to get in the headshots quicker and dodge those deadly aoes better.
So you are probably thinking okay this is great but what exactly makes a gaming mouse pad so much better than a normal mouse pad?
The Difference with Normal Mouse Pad
Gaming mouse pads are made specifically to help with gaming reactions. There are 4 main things that set these pieces of gaming technology apart from your basic mouse pad.
First up, the surface.
The material that makes the surface helps determine the responsiveness of your movement. Responsiveness also plays an effect on sensitivity which is another key element in the gaming world.
The most common, and probably best, option to use for a gaming mouse pad is cloth. Cloth is great as it does not reflect light back, erasing the chance of a sun or laser mouse created glare coming and hitting you in the eyes. It may not offer as high responsiveness as aluminum or plastic gaming mouse pads but it is a good choice for some quick and accurate scope work in your average FPS or MMORPG.
Second, is the size.
Gaming mouse pads are larger than your average mouse pad. This gives you more movement room for those evasive maneuvers in your game or the scope tracking of an enemy. The fact that they are larger makes them much more comfortable for gaming. As gamers we enjoy our comfort while we game. What makes this more comfortable is the fact you have my room, you don’t have to worry about trying to chase down an enemy with your scope and just as you line them in your sights, fall off the edge of your pad, resulting in a horrible attempt at a headshot. Not only that but also the material of the gaming mouse pad is of higher quality which makes it more comfortable to the touch.
Third is how the pad itself is made.
The surface of a gaming mouse pad is much more than a plain piece of cloth. It is a reliable and even surface. This helps get rid of cursor jump and twitch. These pads are made of multiple layers of different materials. These layers can be altered with different amounts of effect on friction, texture and glide. So be sure to pick the right one for the type of gaming you do. A gaming mouse pad that is great for your favorite MMORPG may not always be the best for that FPS you will be playing later depending on your style of play in the two.
Lastly is the chance to Feel like a competitive gamer.
A state of mind can go a long way. If you feel like a gamer you do better when gaming. It feels more natural playing on a mouse pad that was made just for gaming. Well make you feel more comfortable for the online battle that is about to commence.
Mouse Pad Glossary
Now that you have more reasoning here are some things you need to know before you go out to but the right gaming pad for you. First some terms that you will find on packaging and what exactly it means.
Anti-Fraying: edges are reinforced to prevent fabric from separating
Anti-Static: will prevent the release of the sometimes annoying electric discharge
Control: these mouse pads have more textures
Glide: how quickly your mouse moves on the pad
Responsiveness: how much a surface reflects light back to the tracking sensor (and not your face)
Speed: these mouse pads have less textures
Textures: micro-bumps that provide resistance when moving over the mouse pad
What To Look For When Shopping For A Gaming Mouse Pad
Here are the top five things you should look for when shopping for a gaming mouse pad.
This is of high importance when it comes to gaming. A gamer with a hand cramp is a much less effective gamer. Pads range from thin, great for long hours of gaming as they won’t cause soreness in your wrist. Others are thicker with raised edges that extend further off the desk. If you end up picking a metal pad for the extra speed boost be sure that your wrists won’t pay the price! Metal is also more susceptible to cold and condensation.
Need more room than what one pad can cover? Go all out and cover as much space as you feel you need. Pads are also a good fix for that keyboard that likes to slide around.
3) Smooth Surface
These type of mouse pads are built for speed. The smoother the surface there is the less resistance there is. However what you gain in speed you will lose in accuracy as the movements you make will be more sensitive.
Make sure that the bottom of your mouse pad has a layer of rubber on it. You don’t need to be chasing a mouse pad around as you are chasing your latest enemy.
5) Textured Surface
This is the opposite of the smooth surface mouse pad. It has extra bumps for extra resistance. Will not be as fast as the smooth pad but will be more accurate.
What Makes a Gaming Pad
Mouse pads come in a wide variety. Although a normal pad can work for gaming it is nice to have the extra comfort, room, speed boost and accuracy improvement.
Picking the best surface for your play style.
Smooth or textured surface can make all the difference based on your playing style. The texture density has an impact on the glide and grip of the pad. The less grip you have the faster you will move and the smoother your movements will be. Add more grip or texture and you get movement with better control and precision. Hard mouse pads generally have better glide capabilities than soft ones. If you want the best of both worlds, speed and precision, then you will want to check out a mouse pad with a dual surface system which we will cover later.
If you are a gamer who likes to run in and blast everything to bits with your favorite shotgun, machine gun or huge sword then a smooth surface would be a better pick for you.
For those of you that play a sniper class, or a aoe laying spell caster, a textured surface is more for you. It will make your movements more accurate allowing for better headshots or placement of the crippling aoes.
For the most hard core of gamers, those that spend hours in front of the screen at a time like myself, you may want to get some extra wrist support from your pad. Nothing ruins gaming like carpal tunnel. This will help reduce soreness allowing for better hours of gaming while you hunt down your targets.
Though having no extra wrist support has some benefits as well. You will have a longer range of wrist movement which is ideal for some gamers who feel restricted with the limited movement that a wrist support provides.
A thicker mouse pad can also act as extra support for your wrist for the down times you will have between maps or dungeons. This will give you some wrist support without sacrificing range of movement.
Cloth pads are mostly padded which is nice for your wrists. This is a great material choice for those FPS players who have rest time between matches or for MMORPG players after those more intense dungeons.
Hard surfaces like aluminum are more durable than their cloth counterpart. They are also water proof so if you spill your soda on them they will be fine. This is also the better choice for laser sensor mice as it reflects the laser back to the mouse better than cloth.
The Best Four Gaming Mouse Pads
This wouldn’t be complete without providing you with the names of some of the best gaming pads out there so here they are in no particular order.
We have two pads from SteelSeries. First up is the SteelSeries QcK. This mouse pad has been out for a long time. These slim cloth mouse pads that provide a nice, smooth glide. You will feel like there is nothing because of its soft surface, more than 1162 five star reviews, friendly price for beginners, if you want to move to gaming mouse pad but don’t want to leave the comfort of the dirty dolphin cloth pad, QcK is a perfect choice. Along with the normal QcK there is QcK Mini, QcK Heavy and QcK+, 3 different versions.
It is easy to clean and can grip the table nicely, stylish design and glides like a butter on the pan.
QcK cloth mouse pads are comfortable and smooth, but they are weak in durability and waterproof. May have a slight odor (won’t last long time).
Last up is the SteelSeries 4HD Professional Gaming Mouse Pad. This is a fine textured surface pad with a hard surface. This was made specifically for laser mice and if you like a little more room they have a 9HD pad available. The textured surface has thousands of light reflecting microscopic points which can improve the mouse tracking capability obviously.
Nice looking, good in durability and waterproof. But plastic surface is not so smooth.
Razer Goliathus is another popular cloth pad in the market, it uses a more textured cloth that some people called it Fibertek, some older gamers might refer to as “control” cloth pads, it’s because some people want to feel like controlling the game so they need a textured mouse pad, you should consider this one if you are still looking for a satisfying cloth gaming mouse pad.
It comes in two versions, control and speed, so be sure to pick the one that best fits your game.
This pad is very unique. It has two different surfaces and even comes with a detachable, gel-filled wrist rest. One side has the smooth pad (speed mode)and when you flip the pad over, then you have a textured pad (control mode). The base of the pad is made of aluminum making it very sturdy and good looking, the cons is that you can’t roll up it or put it in a bag, but the price may be higher than cloth mouse pad.
Now you know everything you need to go out and find the best gaming mouse pad for you.