Nova are a company that took an old design, the humble mouse mat, and attempted to do something special with it. They added fancy features and outlandish colours with their Killer and Winner mats but today I am testing a slightly more conservatively styled pad, the Raider. Lets see how it does.
A little about Nova
1991- NOVA created the concept of custom printed mousepad for corporate advertising. Today, NOVA has become the european market leader, and its products are distributed worldwide. Still matchless in choice, innovation and quality, the NOVA range of custom mousepads is produced in Savoy (France), the foothills of the french alps.
NOVA owes its success to a team that is extremely dynamic and efficient, creative and technically skilled as well as decicated to great service.
NOVA exports to over 59 countries and operates two subsidiaries in Seoul, South Korea and in Montreal, Canada to cover North America. Thoroughly on going, NOVA’s know-how adapts to the expectations of its customers. Our custom mousepads are only the first of an extensive list of quality products.
Nova’s Take on the Raider
RAIDER: With its 6000 DPI precision, the same adhesive strength than the KILLER, it is a long-lasting pad that offers a nice glide and a neat finishing.
Its intermediate size, between the one of the KILLER & WINNER (266 x 230 mm), will appeal all the gamers who want the best pad for € 15.
- 6000 DPI – Random micro-mirrors to detect and amplify the optical and laser signal.
- Alterting Flame- To instinctively re-center the gamer on the pad.
- Adhesive Strength- Its cellular foam sticks to surfaces by micro-suction.
- Ergonomic Design – Size 266 x 230 x 2 mm.
- Mono-Component Foam – Long-lasting pad.
Bits and Box
The Raider’s packaging is see through plastic topped with yellow and orange to draw attention to the product. The Raider is visible through the front and its name along with the small dragon logo are also quite clear to see. This is a great idea with products that are designed to have aesthetic appeal, like mouse mats, as it allows the customer to see what he is buying up close before doing so.
The back of the packaging has multilingual specifications and feature lists.
This mat, as per most others, does not have any fancy extras so we can move onto taking a closer look at the Raider itself.
The Raider itself is topped with a grey speckled finish similar to its bigger brother the Killer. This surface is designed to provide a very smooth surface to glide your mouse across while using its micro-mirror technology to give the user a 6000dpi range allowing for even the most sensitive of mice to be used at optimum sensitivity. Micro-mirrors are very small highly refletive mirrors. They are used in these mats to provide as clear and perfect reflection of the optical or laser beam as possible.
The pad features several aesthetic qualities designed to enhance the look of the product. There is a silver dragon’s head poking through the edge of the mat in the top left. This is followed vertically by the name of the mouse mat, “Raider” emblazoned in silver just beneath it. There is also a small Nova logo at the bottom right, in the same slightly reflective silver.
The edge of the Raider has a tiny gulley all along it. This is designed to let the user know when their mouse is moving towards the edge of the mat, giving them an early warning that their gaming surface is about to run out of room. This is quite useful on this mat, as it is quite small and if you are used to a larger mat it is quite easy to forget that you are using a relatively small mouse pad.
The back of the Raider uses the same special suction foam that the larger Winner and Killer pads use. It is designed to fill all the tiny rivulets and gulleys in your desk and then expand, causing the pad to be held very firmly in place. The pad is so sturdy once in place that it is literally impossible to move it by sliding, you have to peel it up to remove it. No more lost accuracy due to the mat moving underneath your sweaty hand now!
To test the Raider I used 2 different mice, a generic logitech optical, and a high sensitivity mouse, the Razer Krait. I used these mice for several Windows based tasks and in different gaming genres to see how well the pad performed during high speed gaming, precision gaming and in reptivite Windows applications.
During Windows based tasks the mat seemed to perform fine. I was not inconvenienced by the size of the pad as much as I thought I would, only in Photoshop when long brush strokes were required did I stray to the edges.
In the FPS gaming test the pad again performed mainly without fault. Though the noise created when you move across the surface quickly (A slight scratch noise) can be a little grating. The main problem for me however, is that I very often found myself at the edge of the pad making it imperative for me to lift the mouse and recentre it. This was rather annoying, but thanks to the edge gulleys I was able to notice quick enough, and bring my hand back within the centre area of the pad without too much mishap.
The RTS gaming was much better. The less drastic and more controlled mouse movements lent itself perfectly to the Raider. It was big enough, smooth enough and plenty fast enough.
The Windows tests were performed flawlessly and the increased sensitivity of the Krait was able to be used to its full potential thanks to the Raider.
FPS gaming was just as good as with the Generic mouse, but with the increased sensitivity of the Krait the problems of reaching the edge of the pad were greatly reduced. However, the movement noise was still present and a little irritating.
RTS gaming was a little harder with Krait as it was a little too sensitive for the game. But after turning down the DPI a little I was able to enjoy the smoothness of the Raider’s surface.
The Krait was much more effective on this pad throughout all tests, simply because it is capable of utilising a much higher sensitivity and therefore requires less movement. This made getting to the edge of the pad much more difficult, meaning that I was able to keep control of the mouse for much longer during all tests.
One advantage to the surface used for this mat is that it does provide a fantastic middle ground between cloth and glass mats. It has a high movement speed like the glass mats, and smooth precision and accuracy like the cloth mats.
The mat was farely comofrtable to use, though the sweat issue did start to cause problems after a couple of hours of gaming. When I game I tend to sweat, and this begins to cause problems with mats with this surface, as it makes them sticky and clammy. This makes gaming a little uncomfortable and can cause problems if you roll your mouse over a wet surface as the optical receiver will sometimes not recognise the light and your mouse movement will not be recorded.
The price for the Raider is in the low to mid teens, the average price being £13. This is a prety reasonable price for a mat with this performance and this size.
The noise caused by the mat when you move across it quickly is a quiet, high pitched scratch noise. This is not annoying when movement is infrequent, but can be a bit irritating when you are in a high speed game and you constantly hear the swish of your mouse crossing the mat. This problem would of course be completely limited if the user was wearing headphones.
The Nova Raider is a well balanced gamers mat. It provides support for the highest DPI mice the world has to offer, great speed, great accuracy and it doesn’t look too bad either. However several niggles mark this mat down, the size of the mat being the biggesy annoyance for me but the noise and the “Sweat Issue” also scored the Raider a couple of minus points. If you are in the market for a cheap, ghih performance gaming mat and you don’t think size matters, then this could be the gaming surface for you.
|Supports high DPI mice||Pretty small|
|Allows high speed movement||Makes scratch noise when moved over quickly|
|Allows high accuracy gaming||Can aide sweating|
|Edge gulleys let you know you are near the mat edge|
I’d like to thank our sponsors Meroncourt for providing us with the mousemat.
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