Gaming and Conclusion

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The two games I tested were UnrealTournament 2003 and Age of Mythology. UnrealTournament 2003 tests the accuracy and speed derived from the mousepad, whereas Age of Mythology tests the mousepad’s ability to do more general tasks such as grouping, selecting, and scrolling in a fast-pace environment.

I’ve been playing a lot of UnrealTournament 2003 recently with the Fragging Frogs and have gotten used to my green cutting mat as my surface. Switching to the RatpadzGS was quite a change. I found myself being able to track jumping enemies more quickly and accurately. Strafe-shooting became easier and the large surface area helped keep my crosshair aimed properly.

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The effects of the pad were less pronounced in Age of Mythology than in UnrealTournament 2003. The general feel was a lot more fluid and smooth, and I was able to scroll and select with less effort. However, it did little to actually improve my game. The pace and “twitch” requirements for a RTS-genre game is a lot less than in a shooter, therefore any surface would suffice in this case.

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Impressions & Conclusions

The applications we tested shows that the RatpadzGS is a competent replacement for the conventional mousing surface with the only exception being some aspects of image editing. Though the bumps and inconsistencies in image tracing I reported may not be a big issue to majority of you, professionals or enthusiasts should be aware of this as it will make a difference. The biggest change was an intangible improvement in my first-person shooter game. That experience alone is worth the money paid for the RatpadzGS.

The best analogy I can think of to summarize the experience of the RatpadzGS is the difference between using regular unleaded fuel and premium high-octane fuel in a car. When switching from regular to high-octane, the driver will experience smoother and quicker acceleration, and generally better responsiveness from the vehicle. This is very similar to the experience with the RatpadzGS – accomplishing activities feel quicker, smoother, and more responsive. However, not every driver needs premium gas in their car, nor will each driver experience the same effect when using premium gas. Similarly, the experience of the RatpadzGS will vary from user to user, but for $10 USD, it’s hardly a major investment or a big risk.

However, at the end of the day, the RatpadzGS is just another mouse surface. It will do the same job as the cloth mousepad you got from Comdex or even your tabletop. What makes the RatpadzGS so compelling is that it improves the general feel of your computer interaction whether it be image editing, web surfing, or playing games. Everything just feels a lot smoother and more natural. The price buys you a new feeling to your daily computer activities.

For those using a conventional mouse surface, this is an interesting product to try. It’s not a huge investment and has minimal risk. If you find yourself in a store looking at one of these, don’t let the “finger-test” fool you! Put a mouse on it and hopefully you will see that it is a totally different experience.

For those of you already using a “premium mouse surface”, the RatpadzGS will probably not be much of a change. The principles used in other premium mousepads are similar to that used on the RatpadzGS. However, that’s not to say it isn’t worth considering. The thinner form is easier to pack for a LAN party and for $10, it’s worth trying to see if it replaces your existing pad. At worst, you can use it on your 2nd rig.

The best features about the RatpadzGS are its price and its versatility in usage. The RatpadzGS has been priced and designed to give you the best value for the money. You simply can’t go wrong if you’re using a conventional mousepad and worth a look if you already own a premium mousing surface.

Finally thanks to Kyle Bennett for taking his time to answer our questions. Feel free to discuss this review in our forums.

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