Hard OCP are well known in the review industry for their popular website, and now they are trying to get into the mouse pad sector with their Ratpadz range. Today I have their XT model which promises a slick surface and a large gaming area.
EDIT: Obviously Ratpadz have been around for years, the introduction was poorly worded apologies to anyone misled.
The original Ratpadz is now the XT! This favourite has been brought back by popular demand that again uses the heavy duty solid construction that will stand up to all kinds of abuse. If you are a hardcore gamer or mouser, logging hours and hours with your mouse; the Ratpadz XT UltraSlick long-lasting surface is for you.
The ‘z’ makes it that much cooler
The Ratpadz XT doesn’t come in any kind of packaging and obviously isn’t destined for the shelves of a shop; instead mail-order/e-shop sales.
The pad is touted as ‘huge’ which I feel is a little bit misleading, take a look at the picture below. The last pad is a SteelPad QcK heavy, then the NOID pad, then a SteelPad 5L, then a SteelPad S&S and finally – the smallest – the XT. Huge applies to a Corepad Deskpad or a XTracPads Ripper XXL, possibly the SteelPad QcK heavy but definitely not the Ratpadz XT.
The edges of the XT are rounded/bevelled to provide a more comfortable place for your wrists to rest against. However, these edges have obviously been milled from one large sheet of plastic and you can quite easily see these machine marks. In one place there is a visible ridge where the milling has jumped. Running your finger around the edge of this pad isn’t smooth and you can quite easily feel where the cutting bit has made the smoothed edge.
At the bottom of the pad is a semi-circular concave part which is designed to accommodate the gamers wrist. It also allows the pad to be used sideways at the end of your keyboard according to the Ratpadz website, although that sounds like marketing spiel.
On the back of the pad you find 9 self-adhesive rubber feet which stop the pad from sliding around when you’re doing your fraggin’. These are easily removed which isn’t a good thing as you could easily lose one if your not careful. Ratpadz know this and if you give them your order number they’ll send you some more feet if you need them.
Also on the back is a milled text label telling you that you are indeed using a Ratpadz product and that it was made in the USA. However, it looks like this has been done by a human and it’s a little shoddy. This combined with the uneven bevel bring down the overall feel of quality of the XT.
The surface is the standard hard pad style 3D bumpy pattern which allows your optical mouse to differentiate between two points and accurately recreate the movement of your mouse on-screen. However – as I have gone into many times before – this means that the surface can never be as smooth as a cloth pad and you will get noise when you move the mouse over the pad.
The XT surface is good for a hard pad, it almost feels like its been rubbed with oil. It feels slimy (in a good way) even though this is definitely not the case.
Compared to the SteelPad S&S the surface pattern is larger and hence the troughs and peaks are further apart. This means that it can’t be as smooth as the S&S. However, as the pattern is larger it should allow compatibility with older mice which don’t have ridiculously high DPI settings.
As the Ratpadz XT is a solid lump of plastic, there is no chance that you are going to break it. In fact, this pad had been tested for 5 years without breaking. The pad is apparently indestructible if you use just your hands. I bet the worlds strongest mad would beg to differ…
The first thing that I noticed was that the pad simply wouldn’t lie flat on my desk, it was bent. According to the Ratpadz website, the rigors of postage and packing cause the pad to bend. Baring in mind that it’s a solid piece of plastic, and more delicate things make it through the postage system fine, I feel that this is a pretty weak point.
After bending it to a more acceptable shape, I was ready to go.
The bottom feet hold the pad to your desk pretty well and the pad never slid around whilst I was using it.
As well as my usual gaming tests, I have developed a brand new test to show how accurate the pad is. It’s a fairly simple test that involves drawing the test mice down along a straight edge while the mouse is on the selected mouse pad. Using the power of Paint, you can draw the line that the mouse takes. A perfectly straight line is a perfect score, a line that varies means that the mouse pad provides poor tracking and accuracy. The test is done twice, one slowly and one at speed. Note, as a PERFECTLY flat edge is hard to find (even a tiny difference will mess up the test) I used a engineering metal rule. Also, the test was done three times and the most representative result was chosen.
Ratpadz XT- Deathadder
Ratpadz XT – Optical
SteelPad QcK Heavy – Deathadder
As you can see, the Ratpadz XT isn’t that great. Due to the pattern that the pad has, there are areas where your mouse essentially gets ‘confused’. Even though I was pulling the mouse perfectly downwards, the cursor was far from staying in a straight line. While this was only a difference of a few pixels its definitely not as good as the QcK heavy. Interestingly, I did the test with just my desk and it managed to get a better tracking line than the XT; especially at high speeds. Using a generic optical mouse, the line just turns to a mess.
To test the pad in real world conditions, I used Command and Conquer: Zero Hour, Command and Conquer 3 (demo), Supreme Commander, Battlefield 2142 and general Windows usage.
The surface of the XT is actually quite smooth for a hard pad, and there wasn’t much of the usual grind that a mouse over the surface usually makes. The mouse did glide well over the pad and it is quite comfortable due to the bevelled edge.
While playing Battlefield 2142, especially at high DPI settings (1800), the pad really began to tick me off. Trying to hit a moving target at the extremes of your vision, with a pad that simply doesn’t track correctly is ridiculously annoying. If you cursor moves, even by just a pixel, from where it should be, you’ll miss. After a few missed shots the pad was thrown across the room.
This brings me onto the pads durability. When the pad was thrown in rage, it managed to clock the end of a desk. Thinking that the pad would be ruined, it only received a minor dent to the edge. In long term usage, I would be surprised if you would see any wear at all. Apparently, this pad is good for 5 years +. In value for money, this pad comes top if you use it/put up with it for a while.
In all of the strategy games I played, the accuracy wasn’t such an issue as lower DPI is used. Even now and again, a building or a unit would be built/moved to the wrong location. This pad really, really, really annoys me. It feels like the money spent on a decent mouse is completely wasted.
This pad sucks. I actually now feel bad for giving the SteelPad S&S a bad score; its miles ahead of this pad. Its plus points are surprisingly short:
Other than these, you’ll receive a poor tracking, bent lump of plastic that tracks worse than your desk. Waste your money elsewhere.
I’d like to thank Ratpadz for providing us with the mousepad.
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