A decade ago, before I really got into PC gaming, I had your generic ball mouse and mousepad that you’d find at any Walmart. It wasn’t until I started to heavily game online (on a 56k modem, no less) in Quake 2, that I started tweaking my computer, upgrading to the latest and greatest, and learning that I need a better mouse and mousepad. The first specialized mousepad I got was a 3M pad that was sleek, thin, and tiny. So tiny and thin, in fact, that it would curl easily. It didn’t last long.
Then HardOCP came out with their Ratzpad. It was hard plastic, had a slight texture to it, and ended up lasting me a long time. It wasn’t until 2 years later that I realized it was worn thin. Next up was the funcpad 1030, which lasted about a year. It was too tiny for me, and had a bad habit of slipping around. Finally, I broke down and spent $40 on the Icemat, 2nd revision. I’ve had this mousepad for a year and a half now.
The reason for my history of mousepad use is to highlight how I’ve tried to find that perfect mousepad over the years. A perfect mousepad has to be versatile for a variety of gaming styles, but still be durable and easy to clean. At first, I thought cloth mousepads were horrible; too much friction, and not easy to clean compared to a glass/plastic/metal one. For over 7 years, I’ve had the hard plastic and then a glass one, and only the Icemat had been worth the purchase. The Icemat was durable, easy to clean, and frictionless. Now I’m not so sure cloth mousepads are bad for gaming.
The reason for my change of mind? The Steelpad QcK heavy mousepad, which is cloth-based and gigantic. No wait, don’t go, I’m dead serious. I’m not kidding here. This is a big mousepad. Its dimensions are 17.7 inches wide and 15.7 inches tall, and almost a quarter of an inch thick (.23in). Get a ruler out to understand that size, or check out the picture below, with a Logitech MX700 and MX510, plus CD to give you a reference of its scale:
With that in mind, you seriously need to make sure you got the deskspace to spare if you buy this mousepad. This is the only real drawback to using this monster of a mousepad.
So why do you use a mousepad this big? What’s the point, you ask? Well, for one, it is absolutely perfect for the gamer who likes to game with a low sensitivity movement. This gives you more real estate to work with in those hectic shooters where you need all the space you can get. Moreover, a big mousepad gives you that peace of mind knowing that you just won’t bump off onto your desk, and that counts for something. It’s even possible to use two mice at the same time. It’s also heavy enough that you don’t ever have to worry about it sliding around on you, helped in no small part by the rubber base, and it holds a flat shape on your desk as a result, giving you an even surface to work with.
The logo on the left corner of the mousepad is painted on, so I don’t think it will last too long. I could be wrong though, only time will tell. Overall not a big deal.
The texture of the Steelpad QcK heavy is smooth, there’s not too much friction, but just the right amount to count. It doesn’t seem to attract dust, and the particles that do land on it are easily brushed off, unlike other cloth mousepads where the surface is so rough that particles actually get stuck to it (think Velcro.) Furthermore, you don’t have to worry about your optical/laser mouse not working on the surface, as every mouse in existence will work on this mousepad. It’s also nice that I don’t have to worry about mouse feet anymore, too.
After having used the Steelpad QcK heavy for 2 weeks, with heavy gaming during that time, I’ve realized that perhaps me ignoring cloth-based mousepads all these years was a bad idea. I’ve noticed that in shooters where reaction time is king, that my aim is jerky and swings around a lot. I always attributed it to me being jumpy and too much adrenaline pumping in my system. Now I realized that the mose minutae movement of my wrist causes my aim to jump. This is a result of a frictionless mousepad and a high sensitivity. It may work better for most people, but if you’re like this too, then you’ll be like me and realize that a low sensitivity, slight friction mousepad is the way to go for these type of games.
Obviously for games that don’t require such lightning-fast reaction times, this mousepad won’t excel as much as a slick mousepad like the steel-based Steelpad or the Icemat, but that’s where the large size comes in handy. Not to mention with mice from Logitech that allows you to adjust the sensitivity on the fly, this wouldn’t be a factor at all. Even so, in a real-time strategy game, I found that I’m more accurate, and the same could be said for clicking around in Windows.
Obviously I’m not the only one, as there are a breed of hardcore gamers out there who swear by cloth mousepads over the trendy glass/steel ones out there. One of them is the Russian player mouz|cooller, who Steelseries claims is considered one of the best all-round Quake-players in the world; achievements include ESWC and CPL championships in both Quake III and Quake IV. That’s a hefty sponsorship for this mousepad.
The funny thing is, when I got the Icemat, I figured I wouldn’t have to buy a new mousepad for a very long time, so long as I didn’t break the glass. Now I’ve set it aside and am using the Steelpad QcK heavy mousepad full-time. I never thought I’d go back to using, and loving, a cloth-based mousepad again. If you got the real estate to spare, I would highly recommend getting this mousepad. You can read more and purchase the Steelpad QcK heavy mousepad at the Steelseries website.
As an extra bonus, this mousepad has other awesome abilities, such as a blanket for the dog on those real cold days during the winter:
Or as a placeholder at your dinner table for when you run out of placeholders: