MyGamer Hardware Score: 10/10- Flawless!
We'll make this easy for you: buy this thing now.
Yes, we know… fourty smackers for a mouse pad is expensive. CompUSA sells foam ones for $10. Copies of Wired magazine (always a hax0r favorite) can be had for free after you're done with them and feature sporty graphics. But such surfaces are just not built to match the needs of serious gamers, and, if you're reading this review in the first place, then you're probably in that category.
Oooooooooooooh… sexy! And, unlike Madonna, it looks even better in close-up and person!
Lets hit the basics. The 5L is a positively gargantuan mouse pad (I love that word… "gargantuan"… I so seldom get to use it in the course of everyday reviews), measuring in at a whopping 11X15 inches. To give you an idea of the unit's size, when mousing on the 5L, I don't think that I ever wandered out of the center 50% of the pad, no matter how energetic- my wife would say "flailing"- my hand motions.
The 5L is not really a plastic pad, nor is it a cloth pad, but is a hybrid of the two. In making the 5L, SteelPad started with a layer of rigid plastic, added a layer of spongy polyisoprene foam on top of it, then laid down a thin layer of cloth on top of that, and finally topped off the whole thing with a plastic coating. The bottom side is liberally sprayed with an even coating of sticky rubber bits, that serve as edge-to-edge, non-skid feet, assuring that where you put the pad is where it stays.
The benefits of this admittedly Frankensteinien manufacturing system are legion. Rigid pad fans will love the 5L's unbending firmness; cloth fans will appreciate the pad's cushioning; fans of plastic pads will like that the unit can be wiped off after it begins to get grimy. Heck, the thing even comes with an awesome graphic that's totally eye-catching. Yes, the 5L does not light up, vibrate, shoot lasers or anything like that, but so what, when it looks as good as it does through simple yet vibrant printing?
Multiple layers create a glorious, mutant mousepad that should appeal to all kinds of gamers…
Best of all, every mouse we tried on the 5L worked flawlessly, even our cranky Logitech laser mouse. We don't know if it's the lightly-textured plastic coating, or the irregularly-patterned design they used or what, but optical, laser, and ball-type mice all performed flawlessly on the 5L. The plastic coating gives a feel that's slightly slower than hard plastic or glass but faster than cloth alone, making it the perfect intermediary surface for gaming and everyday use, and the rubber cushioning assures that your wrist will be pain-free even after hours-long PC sessions.
Congrats, SteelPad, on winning this month's "Hard Core Hardware" award.
Pros: Flawless execution on a complex design merges plastic, rubber and cloth pads into one mutant whole. The sum exceeds the measure of its parts. Huge surface guarantees you'll never need to lift and reposition your mouse ever again. Works equally well with laser, optical and ball-type mice.
Cons: None. It costs more than a cheap-o CompUSA rubber special, but like we always say, you usually get what you pay for.