SteelPad 5L Gaming Surface Page: 1
Introduction

So you've just gone out and bought the best mouse available on the market, but your current mouse mat (probably 'borrowed' from work) is hindering its performance.

Enter SteelSeries, manufacturers of the well know SteelPad range of mouse mat...

Today I'll be taking a look at their latest '5L' model, which interestingly isn't made of steel (or any type of metal for that matter), but a combination of cloth, plastic and rubber.

About SteelSeries

SteelSeries is all about gaming. Our mission is to create performance enhancing gaming gear, created for and by leading professional gamers. We continuously strive to better ourselves, and work with leading professional gamers from 3 different continents to create our products.

Our staff is distributed throughout the world, working from offices in Europe, North America and Asia.

The SteelSeries headquarters are located in Europe (Copenhagen, Denmark), and host the primary office facilities for the company. The headquarters handle all planning, production and partner coordination.


Packaging

All previous mouse mats that I've purchased have normally come wrapped in cellophane, so I wasn't quite sure what to expect from SteelSeries in the packaging department...

Steelpads 5L Steelpads 5L

The mat is contained within a moulded plastic casing complete with a cardboard sleeve on the front right & back of the packaging. The sleeve gives some basic information about the mat, including what the mat is constructed of and some of the awards it has received. It's also worth noting that 5L isn't just a made up name, but actually stands for '5 Layers'.

Overall the packaging is very functional and allows for potential buyers to see the design that has been printed on the mat, and just how big the mat actually is.

With the combined rigidity of the mat and plastic casing it would be very hard to cause any damage to the SteelPad 5L during transit.


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Appearance

Wanting their mat to be recognised for more than just gaming performance, SteelSeries went 'all out' on the styling, printing the cloth surface with some rather cool graphics.

Steelpad 5L Steelpad 5L

Steelpad 5L Steelpad 5L

Personally I think the graphical design on the mat looks somewhat like sunlight breaking through a forest of tree's, but be sure to let us know what you think by posting your opinions in our forums at the end of this review.

Steelpad 5L Steelpads 5L

The underneath of the SteelPad 5L is a solid sheet of black plastic splattered with small amounts of rubber, which provide the mouse mat with the ability to grip to almost any surface.

Let's get on to the testing...


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Testing

For this part of the review I'm going to be using my trusty Logitech G5 laser mouse along with my favourite FPS game - Counter Strike:Source.

Steelpads + G5

Right off the bat, I could tell that the Steelpad 5L surface was designed for precision rather than speed. As the mat is made from cloth, it causes a fair bit of friction, meaning that the mouse will not slide around on the mat without your intervention. In fact, it was actually possible for me to tilt the mat up by around 20º before the mouse started to move.

As cloth isn't exactly the hardest wearing of surfaces, SteelPad have sprayed the cloth with a plastic coating to increase its lifetime considerably. Already I have used the mat for around 1 month, and it appears to be lasting better than my previously used Ratpadz GS.

Counter Strike Result Counter Strike

In game, I found the mat assisted in the prevention of 'over-shooting' (where you move the mouse too far ahead of the target). This certainly helped my overall score as you can see above.

Steelpads 5L

The only slight problem I found with the mat was its height. Being quite a bit thicker than most mats and having a rather sharp edging, the mat regularly rubbed against my wrists. Use of this mat along with a gel wrist rest is certainly advisable.


SteelPad 5L Gaming Surface Page: 4
Conclusion

The SteelPad 5L is great mat for gamers that requires precision accuracy found on cloth mats along with the rigidity of a plastic mat. The massive surface area ensures that you don't run out of space while performing those multiple 360º turns, and is visually attractive to boot.

Priced at £25 on most sites, the SteelPad 5L is at the very top end of the scale compared to other gaming mats available, but with the high level of craftsmanship that has gone into this mat, I have no reservations in saying that it should last you for a very long time.

Komplett


Pro's
+ Soft, smooth surface.
+ Precision control helps prevent 'over-shooting'.
+ Quality construction.
+ Effective anti-slip base.
+ Large surface area with good looks.

Con's
- Surface may not be suitable for those used to high speed mats such as the Icemat.
- Slightly high price tag of £25
- Edges can cause scratched wrists if not used with wrist pad.


Gamers Choice

Thanks to SteelSeries for providing this mat for review.

Discuss this review in our forums.