With Logitech’s launch of their G series devices, it was interesting to see how many comments were asking for or recommending that Logitech produce a gaming grade mouse pad. Mouse pads have had an interesting life. They were all the rage with ball/mechanical mice and fell out of favor as optical and laser mice have made them less necessary. Since then, gamers have led an industry with their money to create premium mouse pads even though Logitech has not jumped onboard yet.
Some of the big companies in the gaming gear market are also dominant in top-ranked mouse pads. While many debate the difference a mouse pad can make or scoff at paying for the things that were once given out freely at conventions or with pre-orders.
Two companies that seemed to get the most mention in my searching were Razer and SteelSeries. They offer a wide variety of mouse pads across different models. The material that the mouse pad is made of can differ greatly from plastic to cloth to aluminum and new fibers. The texture can also be a defining quality. Razer even offers dual-sided mouse pads that can be flipped over for different strengths. Given the gaming market, Razer calls one side the ‘speed’ side and the other side ‘control’ which offers a bit more texture to allow more precise mousing.
After looking at reviews across the web, I saw the SteelSeries QcK mouse pad was highly recommended as were a handful of Razer products. The keyboard tray on my desk was getting a bit worn so I figured a mouse pad might do the job to smooth things out and prevent further damage to the desk. Meanwhile, I could also check out the “gaming mouse pads” and see if it could improve my gaming.
I went with the Razer Vespula, one of the dual-sided mouse pads, which includes a wrist rest. Instead of the old mouse pads of yesterday where your mouse might run off the edge, gaming mouse pads are large and provide enough real estate for comfortable mousing even if you’re in a furious FPS battle.
The speed side is very smooth which is optimized for twitch gaming and fast movements with FPS games. The control side has a little bit of texture to it which gives you a bit more precision, ideal for RTS games and sniping in FPS games.
You can definitely notice the difference between the two sides but I think it also comes down to personal preference and what you are looking for. I liked having the Vespula because I could try both out and see which I preferred. So far, I have stuck with the speed side. I will have to try increasing the DPI of my mouse on the control side compared to using the middle sensitivity on the speed side to see if that is a better combination.
Will a gaming mouse pad make a difference in your gaming? I would say probably not with a few caveats to that statement. It depends what you are coming from and what you are using it for. My desk had gained some scratches so it had a bit too much texture. It is more comfortable to use the Vespula and its accompanying wrist wrest. It really stays put thanks to the green rubber feet on the mouse pad and the mat under the wrist rest. Before my loose wrist rest could work itself off the edge of the keyboard tray in the middle of a game.
The other factor with gaming mouse pads are their real estate. Given the mouse pad’s size (10″x12″), you might have to find a location for it and that alone could improve your gaming experience by ensuring you have enough real estate instead of a cluttered desk.