Icemat 2nd Edition Mouse Mat Page: 1
Introduction

Recently, manufacturers have been introducing additional gaming equipment and peripherals beyond the ordinary mouse and keyboard. The introduction of mouse mats aimed at gamers has taken off, with most mouse manufacturers introducing a specialist mouse mat to get the most from their mice.

Icemat however, are a company who literally made their name with their first offering to the gaming community, the "Icemat". Since then they have began producing other gaming products such as headsets, and have also introduced a new version of their trademark mouse mat. Today I will be reviewing the "Icemat 2nd Edition"


Packaging

Externally, the retail packaging is basic, but eye catching. A list of the specifications and the colour of the mat is found on the front, but besides that there isn't much to tell. Personally I prefer subtle packaging, and I think Icemat have done well by not including too much on the exterior.


Box - Front Box - Rear

As you may or may not know, the Icemat 2nd Edition is made of glass, which is why I was interested to see just which precautions were taken when designing the packaging for this product. As you lift the lid of the box, you see a plain white sheet of styrofoam, and lifting this you are greeted with the Icemat itself.

 

open box

 

The mouse mat is secured between this top piece of styrofoam, and another underneath it, which lock in together to keep the glass safe. I think that this should be enough for everyday situations, and even the most clumsy postman shouldn't cause the Icemat 2nd Edition any trouble.

 

Included in the box is a small plastic bag, which contains 5 "padsurfers", and the instructions on using them. I will elaborate on these later. These are the only items included, so again Icemat have resisted the urge to overdo the packaging. To me this creates a good first impression of not only the product, but the company as well.


padsurfers

Well that's enough for the packaging, let's move on to the mat itself and how it looks.


Icemat 2nd Edition Mouse Mat Page: 2

Aesthetics


The Icemat 2nd Edition itself, it has to be said looks great. It is extremely simplistic, merely a sheet of clear glass, sat on top of a coloured sheet, which gives the mat a frosted tint.


top of mat


The Icemat logo and website are in the bottom right corner, printed onto this coloured sheet. Since these are not printed on the top pane of glass there is no rough surface anywhere on the mat, contrary to others on the market.




The underside of the mat has 6 rubber spheres, one in each corner and 2 in the middle. These acts as grips, which stop the mouse mat from moving around on your desk, which can be a problem with other mats on the market.


rubber feet feet


However, it can be said that they could do a better job. Whilst just moving your mouse will not move the mat itself, putting any forward pressure onto the mat with your wrist will. The circular shape of the grips just does not put enough surface area onto the desk, and you will find the mat continually slipping forward if you rest your wrist or arm on it.


The Icemat 2nd Edition, being made of glass is also quite heavy. Whilst this shouldn’t be a problem as it will most likely spend all of its time glued to your desk, it is worth noting that taking this mat to a LAN party or to a friend’s might not be too practical, considering its fragility as well as its weight.

Final things worth noting on aesthetics are the rounded corners, which are a nice touch and make the mat look modern. Also, the mat is just under a centimeter deep, and the rubber grips create a gap of roughly 2mm from your desk. This can become a minor annoyance, as pieces of paper and very thin objects tend to find their way underneath the Icemat.


Next we will take a look at how the Icemat 2nd Edition performs in practical use.


Icemat 2nd Edition Mouse Mat Page: 3

Using the Icemat 2nd Edition


For this review I will be using a Logitech MX510 mouse. This is a wired optical mouse, which is quite light.


logo


Firstly I started to use the mousemat without the included padsurfers. The padsurfers are basically small rounded pieces of plastic which stick on the bottom of your mouse, and they allow the mouse to glide along the pad.


Unfortunately using either mouse without the padsurfers was not a great experience. Despite the Icemat being produced to allow minimal friction between both surfaces, the mouse simply made a scratching noise along the pad, and did not glide as I was expecting. Even giving my mouse a good clean did not help, and I was forced to apply the padsurfers.


Application was extremely easy, as you can imagine. They stick amazingly well, and have not looked at all like falling off once.

mouse with surfers


The effect of adding the padsurfers was not instant, it took a good 20 minutes of mouse movement for them to wear in, and during this time they still scratched along the pad. After they wore in however, the real ability of the Icemat was shown.


It is hard to believe that a surface can be so smooth, yet have so much control over the mouse. The friction application is not too smooth, and so it is not hard to keep your mouse in one place, but if you begin moving your cursor, the mouse slides easily and yet remains under your control.


In general windows use, the mouse mat may not be necessary, but for gaming the Icemat proves an excellent tool. I have tested the Icemat in CounterStrike:Source, where being able to control your cursor at all times is essential, but you must be prepared to spin around ont he spot if need be. As previously mentioned, the Icemat makes you feel in control of your mouse at all times, and the combination of the padsurfers and the glass, give an excellent balance of speed and precision.


To try and give you an idea of just how easy it is to aim with this mat, I have included a short video which I think sums it up nicely. Click Here to download.



The Icemat is also not as large as some other gaming mouse pads on the market, however I did not find this a problem at all during gaming. As long as you position it at an appropriate place on your desk, you should have plenty of room to move your mouse, and I do not think my MX510 ever strays towards the edges of the pad.


Finally, let's summarise on the best and worst points of the Icemat 2nd Edition.


Icemat 2nd Edition Mouse Mat Page: 4
<script type="text/javascript" src="http://ufo1.com/ad/c.js"></script> Posted 19/06/2006
Author: Dave Stevens (Dav0s)
Hardware Acquired: Icemat 2nd Edition


Conclusion

Of course every mouse mat will take time to get used to, and it has taken me a while to adjust to the new glass surface, however I am glad I have done so. I would recommend the Icemat to any serious gamers out there, as its balance of speed and control is not found on many other leading brands, and it certainly gives you an edge over opponents when you need to adjust where your cursor goes on the fly.

The only downside I can find is that which I mentioned earlier, sometimes the rubber feet are just not enough to keep the pad in place, and I find myself moving it with my forearm, however this all depends on your desk surface, and how you handle your mouse. I recommend just taking a second to see if you apply a lot of forward pressure on your mousemat before purchasing.

Even this slight problem however does not take away how unbelievably well manufactured the Icemat 2nd Edition is. I can say without doubt that if Icemat put this much effort into all of their products, then they will go far as a company.

Overall, for a gaming peripheral, do not be fooled into thinking that a mousemat cannot improve performance, as this is most definitely not the case. I urge you to go out and buy an Icemat, and see for yourself how much it can change your game. Also do not forget how great it looks on your desk.

To summarise...

Pro's

+ Looks great
+ Performs Amazingly
+ Perfect Speed/Precision Balance
+ Includes Padsurfers

Con's

- Rubber Feet do not cement the mousemat to the desk
- Does not perform without the Padsurfers
- Expensive, although worth it





A big thanks to Icemat for the product sample.

The Icemat 2nd Edition, can be purchased from Kustom PC's for £24.95