| | At competitive levels, even the simplest of elements like a mouse mat can very well be a deal maker or a deal breaker. When your gameplay revolves around split second twitches of your mouse to nail the target, every aspect of your equipment must be perfect - down to the very mousing surface your weapon lies on. Like choosing between a devastating sniper rifle and a brutal shotgun, it simmers down to your preference and playing style.
The Sweet Science in Mousepad Design
The glide of a mousing surface will be the primary factor that most gamers focus on when selecting a mouse mat. Glide is a more common term for the amount of friction a mousing surface has when in contact with the gaming mouse. A mouse mat with more glide allows the mouse to slide over it smoothly with greater ease and with less resistance. Generally, hard mats offer greater glide over soft mats due to their rigid, uniform surfaces.
The grip of a mouse mat is proportional to the amount of friction of the mousing surface. As a general rule of thumb, less glide equals more grip. Grip matters to gamers because it determines how far the mouse still slides when the gamer stops the mouse after moving it. Soft mats deliver fine control to gamers who prefer more management of their on-screen cursor compared to the increased glide of a hard mat when swiping their gaming mouse for a quick spin to look behind them or when swiping to fire at an enemy.
The surface of a mouse mat, when magnified, is either made out of bumps (plastic, glass and metal surfaces) or weaves (cloth mats). How far these are set apart from each other and how large these weaves and bumps are determines the amount of tactile feedback a gamer gets when he moves his mouse over the mousing surface. Some gamers like a slightly coarse surface that provides a tactile feedback when they move their mouse as it gives them a better indication of control over their movements. This is very similar to grooves in the scroll wheels of computer mice that give users an idea of how much they have scrolled.
The Razer Goliathus CONTROL and eXactMat CONTROL gaming surfaces were designed for gamers who desire grip in their mousing surface and a tactile feedback when moving mouse over mat.
Comfort VS Thinner Surface
Some gamers swear by cloth mats because of the added comfort provided by the soft cloth or fabric material when they rest their wrists on the cloth mat. And we all know gamers spend hours in extended gaming sessions and if you are playing MMORPGs like World of Warcraft where raids can stretch for hours, comfort becomes a key consideration when selecting a mouse mat. The trade off for this is that gamers who prefer their mouse mats to be as thin as possible for less clutter and obstruction on their tables will not be able to enjoy the comfort advantage of a cloth mat.
Laser and Optical Surfaces
Optical sensors have set themselves as the standard in the gaming scene and are well-tuned to work well with hard and soft mats. Laser sensors, on the other hand, are a new breed of sensors that offers higher precision compared to optical sensors. New generation laser mouse sensors work off the Doppler Effect. Laser beams fired from the sensor onto the mousing surface reflects back up into the path and mixes with the original beam. This causes a flux in the power of the laser that is proportional to the speed of the mouse. Compared to the standard optical sensors, these new generation sensors do not rely on optical imaging to determine movement of the mouse.
Due to the inherent nature of how laser sensors work, they perform better on rigid, uniform surfaces like hard mats due to its sensitivity to movements of the mouse. When used with a soft mat, the sinking of the mouse mat caused by the weight of the mouse creates an increased distance between the sensor and the surface. Laser sensors might see this as additional movement causing erratic movements on the on-screen cursor.
*If you would like to learn more about other Razer Gaming Surfaces and their varying textures and gameplay usages, please visit the Razer Mouse Mat Guide.
Magnified view of SPEED and CONTROL gaming surfaces.
Close up view of Goliathus CONTROL textured weave surface.
Thicker cloth mats provide wrist support and comfort for longer gaming sessions.
Doppler Effect seen in laser sensors.