Testing mouse mats is always a hard task as everyone has a personal preference on what mats they like to use. Some prefer cloth, some hard plastic, others simply a sheet of paper or their desk. Taking this into account, I used the MP1 for extended periods for basic windows tasks – web browsing, file navigation etc. – and under gaming conditions. This allows me to judge the mat’s ability to deal with slow sweeping movements and short, fast bursts.
While performing these tests, I also took into account the comfor and it’s ability to handle different mouse types. In this case, I tested the mat using the following mice:
- Ideazon Reaper Infra-red
- Logitech generic optical
- OEM generic roller ball
NB. I know it states it’s designed for use with laser and optical sensors, but I thought it would be interesting to try a rollerball anyway.
The games used for testing were Unreal Tournament III and Lost Planet: Extreme Conditions.
Unreal Tournament 3 is a first person shooter developed by Epic Games and is the follow up to best selling FPS Unreal Tournament 2004. It features the same “unreal” but frantic gameplay that made it’s predecessors some of the best FPSs around in their time.
I decided to use the single player campaign as my test base for this review, so I skipped the starting cut-scene and got down to showing Jester my mad skills. During the whole test, I never once felt that I my speed was hampered by the pad like you sometimes get with cloth. However, I did find the mat a little too slick and found a few of my quick movements over shot enough for me to miss with my next rocket or flack grenade.
Although Unreal is mainly a game that benefits from speed and reaction time as apposed to accuracy, it does require some level and while overshooting can probably be avoided once you get used to playing with the EvoG, it shouldn’t make you miss by the margins that it did.
Lost Planet is a 3rd person shooter developed by Capcom and was originally an XboX 360 title until it was ported to the PC some time later. It uses the same engine as in other Capcom titles, such as “Dead Rising” and “Devil May Cry 4” known as MT Framework. It features some fast paced sequences and epic boss battles that require pin point accuracy.
Lost Planet tends to require continuous fire towards certain targets, be them large or small, as you attempt to shoot the “orange stuff” from the abdomens or certain snow dwelling creatures. Here the MP1 faired very well, with the slightly less frantic movements proving to be easier to control than those experienced in Unreal. The only problem with this, is that without the fast paced gamplay, the reasoning for the plastic surface is lost; you might as well use a cloth pad.
For windows usage the MP1 performed perfectly well. I did occasionally overshoot when attempting to click small objects – EG. red corner “X” – but this didn’t annoy as much as it did in Unreal. The lack of drag on the mouse itself was nice; traversing large desktops with a low DPI mouse on a cloth surface can be annoying. Although the pad did fairly well in both game tests, I felt it excelled the most in the windows environment as it’s easy glide surface was useful for navigating large resolution desktops and it’s slight overshooting of targets wasn’t as crucial as that of a game where if you miss, you’re dead.
While the Mp1 may have faired relatively well so far, when it comes to comfort it lets itself down; in my mind, considerably. While gaming you have very little support for your hand or wrist as the plastic coating seems to almost cancel out the cushioning you get from the cloth beneath. Full, thick cloth pads can offer a surprising amount of support for those that really like to rest their hand on the surface, as apposed to holding it above.
The other problem that the plastic coating causes while gaming, is sweat. I know this next picture may not be the nicest to look at, but this was after only 10 minutes of playing Unreal:
I tend to be a relatively sweaty person during gaming, but this was in a nicely chilled room and there was nothing particularly stressful about any of the levels I was playing. This sweat build up not only made my wrist and hand feel clammy, cold and uncomfortable, but it also increased the occurrence of overshooting my mark on Unreal as it made the surface even slicker than it was before.
One plus point though, that can be said of comfort, is that not once during gameplay or windows usage did I feel the mat move. It’s woven rubber base held it perfectly in place without a hitch.
All mice were able to perform on this pad, though some better than others. The Infra-red Reaper mouse from Ideazon performed the best with it’s teflon feet gliding effortlessly over the surface and it’s sensor picking up every movement. The optical came in second place with almost zero drag and pretty much flawless movement detection. Unfortunately the roller ball didn’t fair as well, it’s ball struggling to find the friction it needed to turn the metal ball within. This made tracking a problem as soon as you tried to do anything faster than a snails pace; if you get this pad, don’t use a roller ball with it.
The MP1 from EvoG can be found for $20 on some American websites, which would equally translate to around £10 over here. However, as we know, we Europeans tend to pay a littlemore for most things, so we can safely assume a UK price tag would be somewhere around £12-13. While this isn’t a horrendous price for a mouse mat, with the low levels of comfort and occasionally problematic accuracy I would expect to pay less.