Zowie TF Series Mousepads Page: 1
Introduction
 
Mousepads are difficult things to review. After all their simple nature usually means that reviewing is simply a case of "put your favourite rodent on it, if it moves, then it's good enough.
 
That doesn't make for the most interesting read though. Thankfully the two TF series mousepads that Zowie have given us for review hold a phenomenal unique feature that is as exciting as almost anything ever found on a mousepad.
 
Before we reveal this patent-pending piece of wonderment, let's have a look at the packaging and specifications.
 
 
Packaging and Specifications
 
Both the G-TF and P-TF that we are reviewing today are what are called soft mats. Unlike a lot of hard coated mats this means that they can be rolled up into a very convienient box for shipping.
 
The packaging itself is very sturdy made from thick cardboard that will ensure your mat arrives in the best of conditions. A small window on the front allows a view of the mat. But the main box is dominated by two things. Firstly is a truly enormous Zowie logo. Nobody will ever be in any doubt who is the manufacturer of these mats. Secondly is the the endorsement by Abdisamad “SpawN” Mohamed. His face is on the side, his logo is on the front, and it's also one of the only two logos visible on the mats themselves.
 
Zowie package  Close up
 
As mentioned above, only two things are visible on the TF series mats. Firstly is a embroidered Zowie logo on the top right of the mat, and a screen-printed SpawN logo on the bottom left. Otherwise these are very plain mats and certainly meet my seal of approval. I always prefer a stealth mat to an all-singing huge-logo one.
 
The mats themselves are available in two sizes. The G-TF is the larger of the two at 440mm x 380mm with 4mm of base to cushion your wrist. The P-TF is identical apart from being 340mm x 290mm big for those with smaller desk spaces.
 
Mats out
 
Let's go over the page and have a closer look at the mat and the pièce de résistance. 
 


Zowie TF Series Mousepads Page: 2
 
A Close Look
 
Both the Zowie TF series mats are 100% cloth which makes for a very comfortable experience when in use. The edges of the mats are rolled to provide additional comfort, and finished with a triple-stitched anti-fray edge to ensure that they never suffer from the regular problem cloth mats have of the edges gradually decaying under hard use. The embroidered Zowie logo in the corner is a little raised off of the mat, but is tucked away so far and so small that it will not interfere with the use of the mat at all.
 
SpawN logo  Zowie Logo
 
So What's So Special?
 
I'm sure many of you are sitting there going "yeah it's a cloth mat, whoo". Ahh but here is the part where Zowie makes this mat go from the average to the extraordinary. The TF series has a coating that still gives the comfort and accuracy of a cloth mat, whilst providing the speed of a hard mat.
 
The most impressive feature, by some distance, is the water-repellent nature of the coating though. It's not the easiest thing to take a photograph of, because it's that mind blowing, but here is some water we placed on it an hour before taking the photographs and as you can see it hasn't soaked in at all. To test it to the extreme it was placed on the draining board, had a pint of water tipped all over it and an hour later the water just ran off and the mat was dry. Completely dry. So if you are the kind of user who occasionally knocks over a drink or has similar liquid issues, this is absolutely perfect.
 
Water Repelling  Water Repelling 2
 
Time for a some tests, and we'll wrap this up.
 


Zowie TF Series Mousepads Page: 3
 
Testing
 
As a cloth mat but with a pseudo-hard surface, if ever a mat was going to be an all-rounder it would be this one. Using my trust Logitech G9 and CM Sentinel I ran through the usual battery of tests. The Zowie TF showed its class by performing equally well with both mice, and the cloth surface should ensure that even if you have just woken up from a 20 year coma and only have a ball mouse, it will work fine.
 
Because the Zowie TF are endorsed by the Counter-Strike World Champion, it would be foolish to not try a few FPS games out first.
 
Starting with the game that is probably one of the most anticipated and popular of recent times, Modern Warfare 2. Two things became quickly apparent. The water-repellent coating hasn't affected the ability of the mat to track well. Secondly although it's not as fast as a dedicated hard mat, the extra precision really helps rack up the frags. Comfort never became an issue and the design input of "SpawN" definitely shows here.
 
Moving to Photoshop in which response is almost a non-factor compared to the control and accuracy needed for those pixel-perfect edits the Zowie TF performed with aplomb. If you are, like me, someone who uses Photoshop regularly but cannot afford a Wacom tablet, then the support and comfort the thick sponge base provides will be of huge benefit. Although it isn't strictly marketed as a control pad the Zowie surface tracked accurately enough for nearly every task.
 
In general desktop use again it proved its worth as an all-rounder. No matter whatever it was I had to do at the time I never felt like I needed a more specialist mat for the occasion.
 
Conclusion
 
The one over-riding impression of the Zowie TF series mousepads is the comfort. The combination of a cloth mat, but with the Zowie special coating, ensures the pad was very comfortable to use and yet gave the precision and speed you'd hope for from such a hybrid.
 
It certainly isn't as insanely fast as a hard gaming-surface and if you are at the extreme edge of performance and like your mouse to feel as though it is on ice regardless of the cost in accuracy, then perhaps this isn't for you. But the benefits from the comfort of the cloth base, allied to incredible Zowie coating the mean that this will absolutely cover all your needs. Sometimes a product can be, as the expression goes, a jack-of-all-trades, master of none. That's way to derogatory though. This certainly is an all-rounder, but a very very high-standard all rounder. The only surfaces that are better at control or at speed are so extreme on that end of the scale that they are not very good at much else.
 
The only real downside is the price. Currently on the US market it's available for around $30 and it has come to the UK at  £20 for the large mat and £17 for the small. That's a serious amount of money for a cloth mat and up against some very stiff competition. Whether you feel the price is justified is largely down to how you feel about the water-proof nature of the coating. If you're slightly clumsy or game in a tin shed, it's a bargain. If you're a neat-freak it's pricey, but the high performance nature shouldn't dissuade you.
 
The Zowie TF series is a water-resistant, comfortable, hard-wearing, multi-purpose mousepad and an easy recommendation. Very good indeed and if this is a sign of things to come from them, Zowie will quickly become a major player.
 
 
   Gamers Choice
 
 
Many thanks to Zowie for providing the mousepads for todays review. Discuss it in our forums