You might be thinking that mouse pads are just simple surfaces for you to use for your mouse to rest on or for it to look like you’re actually a gamer. Mouse mats hold far more value than that, and we unpack some of the best gaming mouse pads available and why they are the best.
So, what’s the biggest fundamental difference between a normal mouse pad and a regular one? Well, size is one of the bigger differences. Looking at the sheer size of some of them, you may feel that you might need a whole other desk just to move your mouse around. Some of them are rather large and for good reason.
This is because, especially in competitive first-person shooter games, you’ll need to be able to quickly aim at your enemy, tracking the mouse all the way across the surface. Usually, players who are a cut above the rest will have a low mouse sensitivity or DPI. The reason for this is so that you can maintain as much accuracy as possible.
Think about something like Counter-Strike: Global Offensive. If you’re aiming across a map with or without a scope, you need to have pixel perfect aim to get a headshot. Less sensitivity makes this easier because you’re able to be far more accurate by moving the mouse across the pad, rather than in one quick direction, perhaps causing you to go past and miss the target. This is why a lot of pro gamers will sweep across the pad with the mouse, then lift it off, go back to the start, and sweep again, especially when needing to do full 180 degree turns.
Better Mousepads Help with Lift-off
Don’t expect your mouse to jet off into space or anything like that, that’s not what we mean by lift-off. In the case where your sensitivity is really low and you need to make a complete turn to see what’s behind you, sometimes a full sweep of the mouse pad isn’t enough. In this scenario, you’ll physically pick the mouse up off the pad, set it to its original position and then sweep again.
It’s best to have minimal lift so that you can get back to the starting point as soon as possible, but also not have the sensor in the mouse picking up the pad while you’re moving back to the starting position. A good mouse pad in conjunction with a good mouse will help to minimise this risk for you when you’re playing.
Not only can this distance be almost negated and minimized, but due to the material of gaming mouse pads, they’ll stick flat to the surface and won’t shift around when you’re making such big motions with the mouse. This is also why gaming mouse pads are a lot bigger than others, purely due to the size of those motions when players are trying to turn around.
Perhaps one of the best, and original mouse pads on the market, the QcK is a tried and tested favourite. It has an ultra-smooth cloth top with a large surface area. The mouse pad is well priced and available almost anywhere. The downside to it is that the edges will fray after continued use, but it’ll be a good few years before you’ll need another one.
We added the Sphex to our list because it’s an ultra-thin mousepad. It has a polycarbonate surface that is durable and comes in a smaller size and a larger size. It’s interesting because it’s so wafer-thin, you’ll hardly know that it’s actually there.
A rather unique mousepad here, it’s a little smaller than the others but still larger than your average mousepad. If you use a wireless mouse, it has a zone in the top right-hand side of it that will use Qi charging to charge your mouse. You could even charge your Qi wireless phone there too. The pad itself is a little raised off the desk and has a hard, plastic surface.
Roccat’s Taito Control is a soft, cloth mousepad with a rubber base. We found that it could be a little noisy at times, but it’s very similar to the SteelSeries QcK. The designs are a little different and the Taito Control is a thicker synthetic fabric, favouring mouse control instead of speed across the pad.
This cloth top mousepad has been treated to prevent stains and damage, and along with it, comes a bit of a smell. But that soon fades. The reason we make this one of our chose pads is because of the size and the fade protection. The horizontal space of this pad is huge, and many gamers will actually run some of it under their keyboards too. It doesn’t slip and it’ll be a big addition to your gaming arsenal.
"You’re not anything without a professional mouse pad. Forget those pads with wrist support, or the ones you get for free at business conferences. 2019’s best mouse pads. "
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- Gaming Mousemats