Anytime input is provided to a computer, the human element is involved. This is most notable with the mouse. Every person is different, and so comes many different ways to control your cursor. Some simply think that this is the jurisdiction of the mouse itself, but since when do humans operate with DPI? You don’t go to your barber and have them cut your hair to the precise millimeter, do you? You want style, you want what’s fresh, and you want it to WORK FOR YOU! Jump into the article to take an in-depth read on three different styles of an under-appreciated aspect of your desktop, the mouse pad. Oh, and did I mention, STARCRAFT II?!?
steelseries QcK Ltd. Ed.
(Images courtesy of Steelseries)
10 x 12 x 0.08 in
12.6 x 10.6 x 0.08 in
12.6 x 11.2 x 0.08 in
Fiber polished aluminum + anodized oxide coating
6 rubber pads
Very accurate, chalkboard-feel
Flawless glide, holds oil
Starcraft II art, very secure
Entirely enclosed with a black cardboard box, advertised with a sleek grey-tones and orange labels (which seems to be Steelseries favorite). Inside of the box the I-2 is encased in Styrofoam for protection.
Included with the surface was a pamphlet of other products, a sticker of the Steelseries logo, and five stick-on Teflon feet for your mouse. This is by far the most conservative package in this comparison.
Wrapped on one side with cardboard and encased in plastic so that a side of the surface is visible to the onlooker. Similar theme to the I-2 for the box, the SX also came with a pamphlet and Steelseries sticker.
A big difference here is the oily cloth included with the SX. This may be to compensate for its fingerprint-a-bility (more on that later). The cloth comes in a plastic baggy and cleans the surface well.
QcK Ltd. Ed.
Most similar to the packaging of the SX but with some of the limited edition Starcraft art “spilled-over” onto the front to accent the colored image.
Unmistakably stamped with the Starcraft II logo in the bottom left, the packaging cradles the front of the mouse pad stylishly and provides a beautiful look at the art. Practical and cool, but lacking the extra “oomph” of the SX’s cleaning cloth.
Unlike the rubber texture of the SX and QcK pads, the I-2 employs the use of six small rubber feet around the perimeter of the bottom of the mouse pad. They hold to the surface of my desk surprisingly well and raise the surface slightly from the desk.
Identical in shape and only slightly smaller in size, a large rubber pad covers the bottom of the SX. A wishbone texture engraves the rubber with a grid of faint pinholes, presumably from the manufacturing process. The sheer area of this grip is more than enough to provide stability, unless pushed directly from a side.
QcK Ltd. Ed
Most secure on the desk, the rubber grip covers the entirety of the bottom and features a wishbone texture far more pronounced than the SX. The best hold of all three pads, and is even more resistant to lateral force than the SX.
Using the I-2 was an experience of its own. The glass surface produced a chalkboard-like feeling and the sound of dragging the mouse across its surface could easily be compared to dragging your nails. I’m strange enough to actually like this, but it has been reported to me that most people aren’t fond of nails on a chalkboard (surprising, huh?). The brushing noise wasn’t very loud, but it may be distracting for anyone who’s PC is silently cooled.
Speaking of cool, the glass surface was also a little cool to the touch at first, but not as much as the SX.
The smoked glass was very stylish and looked fantastic over the white background (and reflective Steelseries logo), but brought attention to even the faintest smudges and specs of dust. Fortunately, dirt didn’t cling well to the surface and either was unknowingly brushed off or simply didn’t hang around.
Glide with the mouse was somewhat improved over my desk, but precision was far more reliable. The resistance was consistently smoother-than-average and I had no trouble adjusting.
Almost braggingly known as the most expensive gaming surface provided by Steelseries, the SX boasts “fiber polished aluminum with anodized oxide coating” as a surface. I don’t know about you, but I’m just happy if my clothes are 100% cotton. Perhaps this aids in the SX’s almost silent operation, but upon my use of the SX I immediately became aware of its unsurpassed precision, smoother-than-silk glide, and a dramatic drop in resistance.
The high quality was most obvious during gameplay, particularly for FPS. I had more than enough room to drag my mouse around obnoxiously. Even after testing on low DPI, the SX showed no fault, so long as you kept your eyes on the screen.
Aside from the chilling touch of the metal surface, the SX was remarkably good at containing the oils from my hand and even held fingerprints with fantastic detail.
This is probably a good reason to include a fine cloth with the mouse pad, and its use was helpful, even if the cloth was oilier than my hand. I’m unsure of what exactly the cloth is soaked in, but it keeps the SX in great shape and very clean
QcK Ltd. Ed
Contrasting the most from the I-2 and SX, the QcK not only had vivid art on its surface, but was made from traditional cloth. The surface is firm and very smooth, but provided much more resistance than the others, reminiscent of the roller-ball days, of course with much greater precision.
This QcK was not a mouse pad that I would be interested in myself, because I prefer something with less resistance. This may be different for you, and as a high resistance mouse pad, the QcK comes highly recommended with its extremely smooth surface and soft feel.
Let us not ignore the best part of this QcK pad, though. It is a limited edition version and displays breath-taking art from Starcraft II, right smack-dab on the top of it for all jealous eyes to see! Now, the I-2 and SX may be stylish mouse pads (and costly) but the QcK Limited Edition is screaming
for attention, and my attention it has. Try to be careful that your keyboard doesn't get too jealous of your mouse!
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Note: Performance on ALL surfaces was greatly improved with use of included Teflon pads, as opposed to stock feet on mice.
Despite its shortcomings in the category of “reminiscent of high school detention”, the I-2 is extremely stylish and clean looking thanks to its smoked glass and reflective Steelseries logo. Even more convenient for the fashionistas out there, the I-2 comes in a variety of colors (see a review specifically on a blue version here
Probably the choice of the most serious action-gamer, the SX’s high quality comes at a price. Perhaps as a downside to the fancy-pants aluminum and la-dee-da-odized oxide coating, the SX also seriously shows off your sweaty hands. Unmentioned before, but seen in the pictures, the SX features a small curve at the bottom of the surface; Practical or useless? Who cares? It looks really cool and when you’re spending this much on a mouse pad anyway, you deserve it!
QcK Ltd. Ed
I don’t think I can mention this enough, but: STARCRAFT II! Have you seen the art on this mouse pad? Do yourself a favor and stop
right now to look at the enlarged images. Go ahead; I can wait for you…
Steelseries spared no artist in the quality of that image. I wouldn’t be surprised if it was hand-dyed (lol jk
but srsly). Playing video games is way cooler when there’s an equally awesome battle going on right under your hand. Playing video games is also way cooler when you’re using a mouse pad that fits your preference.