As gamers, competition is in our blood. Whether it's a quick match online, a neighborhood LAN party, or an official tournament, the desire to win is always present. No one is more familiar with this than SteelSeries, manufacturing professional-grade gaming equipment based on needs of gamers and less on fancy logos and slogans. In the PC realm, equipment is all the more important it takes a mix of preference and quality to allow for a player to gain an actual advantage. Today, I sit down with the new NP+ gaming surface to see how it helps gamers perform at their best.
Product Name: NP+
Review Sample Provided by: SteelSeries
Review and Pictures by: Adam
The NP+ is packaged just as most of SteelSeries surface's are; a simple tube with a plastic cover to display the actual product and some specifications on the back. A simple incision at the top will not only be enough to remove the pad, but also allows a nice case for transporting it to and from events. The surface comes rolled, but the material is heavy enough that you won't have to worry about it bowing from an extended stay in packaging. Inside is a small leaflet and a SteelSeries logo sticker to display your pride of purchase.
The NP+ measures at 17.7 x 15.7 x 0.16in, allowing you plenty of surface area for movement. The material used is unique in a few manners, the first being that the surface is designed to appeal to gamers who prefer a rougher glide, providing higher friction than other SteelSeries surfaces. The second is that the NP+ is stain and water resistant, achieved through highly compressed textile fibers, as opposed to chemicals or additives. "You should see the mother f***er of a machine that compresses these fibers," as Kim Rom, Chief Marketing Officer of SteelSeries, put it.
SteelSeries does plenty of research on their products, identifying the needs of gamers of all types. The NP+ isn't a product made to appeal to as many customers as possible, but rather a specific demographic of users who prefer, as mentioned, a rougher glide. That being said, the material of this product isn't going to be for everyone, but for those whose needs it does address, it does so with excellence. The added benefit of the compressed fibers being waterproof is great, especially for LAN gamers who constantly have open beverages in reach. Testing the resistance of the NP+ to water was a simple matter. We a poured a bottle of water over the NP+'s surface, and as you can see from the pictures below, the water doesn't get absorbed into the pad, it beads off the the fibers. This gives a mercury-like affect, allowing you to shift the puddles of water and easily soak it up. Just to emphasize, the water was patted dry with a towel, then a piece of paper was immediately pressed on to the area that previously had water sitting on. No moisture was transferred from the surface to the paper.
Interestingly enough, our product sample is missing one of the letters of the SteelSeries logo. Though they would've been more than happy to send us another, in this case it had no affect on the performance of the product.
Being largely a review site for gamers, its refreshing to see a company that focuses on the needs of gamers. The NP+ is an excellent example of SteelSeries' commitment to professional gaming, aiding gamers with glide performance, anti-slip rubber base, plenty of surface area, and water resistance. All that and a price that can compete with any other gaming surface it's truly difficult not to love the NP+.