SteelPad QcK heavy Mouse Mat Page: 1
Introduction

The SteelSeries is a range of gaming gear aimed at the professional gamer. With an increasing amount of companies aiming their products at this popular field, they have their hands full making their products stand out.

Mouse mats are (to put it simply) essential for gamers. You can have the best mouse in the world, but if it's not sitting on a mousemat that takes full advantage of the mouse, then it will be no good at all.

SteelSeries aim to give you that surface and make sure it is one part of your game where you cannot blame your tools.

Packaging

SteelSeries have packaged the SteelPad QcK heavy fairly simply. With a plastic tube partly covered in a cardboard box, the packaging is attractive but not overbearing.

SteelPad QcK Heavy

As you can see the branding is very much on the professional gaming gear. This is certainly reflected on the box with a nice style of package and the specs written on the box. Nothing overly flashy, which is always nice to see.

steelpad QcK heavy

The parcel I got through from the courier was not exactly what you would call "unscathed", but the packaging held up no problems and there was no damage to the mat at all. This is definitely a good thing for those e-tailers that use less than careful couriers.

The packaging also reveals the gaming teams and people that SteelSeries sponsers and who use their mats. This is quite an impressive list and certainly encourages you to think that you have chosen wisely.

Usually I say something about the "bundle" in with the product, but the SteelPad QcK heavy came with....the mouse mat. So all in all pretty much you buy a mouse mat. I was ever so slightly disappointed that there wasn't some kind of holder for LAN party's and suchlike, but I suppose this would add to the cost.



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The Mat

Let's take a look at the Mat itself.

It's a huge beast of a pad. Shown here is my Logitech G5 (not a small mouse)

steelpad QcK heavy

Black is always a good colour for a mousemat and I'm happy that it's a plain mat. with a nice looking logo on the left, the mousemat is a very "professional" looking. This means that you don't have to feel like an "uber geek" by having a loud mousemat. This suits me fine as I like the subtle look.

Lets zoom out and see just how big this mat really is:

steelpad QcK heavy

This gives you an idea of the sheer scale of the mousemat. when I first took it out of the box I thought it looked a little ridiculous. It's literally fills my entire (rather small) desk.

This was actually worth a bit of a laugh at first, but then I started using the mousepad.

The thickness of the mat is in a word: awesome. It is basically like having a wrist-rest for your arm the whole time you are on the PC. I will comment more on this later.

The surface of the mousemat is material and is pretty slick. Having tried a couple of cloth mouse mats and not liking them at all I was pretty hesitant: results later on.

steelpad QcK heavy

A very smooth surface. The only downsize is that the mat tends to accumulate dust, but not a huge amount more so than a hard surface mat.

Let's take a close look at the base.

steelpad QcK heavy

Made with a non--slip material, the base is designed so that the mat doesn't sail around your desk whilst gaming. I don't have much to say about this apart from the fact that the base of this mat does its job with 100% efficiency. No slip at all even whilst hardcore gaming.

Specs

Quick facts about SteelPad QcK heavy listed as on SteelPad's site:

* XXL-sized cloth mouse pad
* Heavy thickness eliminates uneven surfaces
* Ideal for low sensitivity mouse settings
* Compatible with all mice
* Specially designed non-slip rubber base
* 450 x 400mm (17,7 x 15,7in) - thickness 6mm (0,23in)

Moving on to some testing...



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Testing

The only spec really relevant when testing this mouse is the mouse used. I did try a couple of mice on the mat.

HP Ball mouse
Microsoft Laptop Mouse

hp ball mouse

Both of these worked fine and I will not focus on how they tested. suffice to say that the mousemat will work with any lesser standard mouse.

But the mouse I used for this review was the Logitech G5 laser mouse. This has a 2000DPI gaming grade lazer and fast DPI switching, allowing me to test the mat in all scenario's at different speeds.

steelpad QcK Heavy

Test Procedure

I tested the mouse in many situations that I work in. for the purposes of this review I will give three example situations.

* Gaming - FPS: Counter Strike Source
* Gaming - RPG: Oblivion
* Professional Graphics Work: Photoshop/Sketchup/Macromedia Fireworks

I used these three scenario's to really give a feel for the situations that the mat was intended for. Quick reflex gaming, slower reflex RPG's and precision graphical work.

Results - Gaming - FPS: Counter Strike Source

First of all gaming with the mousemat felt very strange. I use an IceMat V1.0 and this is a very different experience to this cloth mat. I found that this was quite distinctly a slower surface to play on than the IceMat. This was soon remedied by upping the sensitivity in-game to allow me to use my usual "twitch-gaming" style.

After half an hour of play I got the feel for the mat and was able to make fast accurate shots. Gaming on the mat felt more precise than the IceMat and easier to play with once I had adjusted. I did find that using a sniper rifle and switching to the middle DPI setting to snipe made for very accurate shots: more so than on my IceMat.

Results - Gaming - RPG: Oblivion

Oblivion is a very popular RPG that requires fairly precise mouse movements, mixed with some slightly more swift movements.

At this point I was more used to the mousemat, which made the experience easier than CSS. Gaming in Oblivion was very pleasnt and incredibly accurate. The smooth surface helped me use the mouse much more precisely than with my previous mats, allowing for an easier game.

Results - Professional Graphics Work: Photoshop/Sketchup/Macromedia Fireworks

Here the SteelPad shines again. For very precise, accurate and high detailed work the mat is far superior to any mat I have used previously. The smooth and precise surface is great at a low DPI and I was able to photoshop more accurately than I have before.

Comfort

This pad is the most comfortable mousemat I have ever used. This includes mats with gel wrist-wrests and a variety of other mousemats. The thickness of the pad and the large size mean that you can use it for prolonged periods of time without discomfort. This is in contrast to many other mousemats that have a smaller surface to move. The SteelPad QcK heavy has made my desk into one huge mousemat and this is a great experience.

My first thoughts out of the box were that it is far too large, but my mind has been changed with use, bringing a great level of comfort to my mouse experience.




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Conclusion

I have been extremely impressed with the SteelPad QcK heavy.

The pad is extremely comfortable and easy to use. Gaming at high and low DPI settings is an easy and smooth experience. I don't think it made me any better playing Counter Strike Source, but that may be a lost cause. The pad made my general PC use much more comfortable, meaning that the hours I spend in front of it are that little bit more bearable.

I will also say that the Teflon pads on my mouse do not wear down at all with this pad in comparison with my other, hard pads.

Having said that, this pad will not be for everyone. It is VERY big and would not fit on a very small desk. Portability is also a negative: with no LAN case for the huge (and as the name suggests: heavy) pad. A case or something similar would have been a definite bonus.

If you want a large surface area for gaming, graphical working or even just general use, and need something comfortable and precise - you should not look further than the SteelPad QcK heavy.

Price has not been released as of yet, but SteelPad list Overclock UK and Dabs as they're UK distributers.

I am giving this a Gamers Choice Award - a great product made for gamers.

gamers choice

Pro's

+ Awesome smooth surface
+ Incredibly Accurate
+ Very comfortable
+ Amazingly big surface area

Con's

- Perhaps too large for some desks
- Not as portable as some mousemats

Thanks to SteelSeries for providing the product.