Should you buy a gaming mouse pad
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When people talk about gaming PC upgrades, first of all, they mean the purchase of CPU, RAM, graphics card, SDD-drive, and other expensive and powerful hardware. Meanwhile, even such a simple and inconspicuous accessory as a mouse pad can have a significant influence on the gaming results, because of the accuracy of mouse movement, the comfort of the gamer, his mood, and sometimes even his health depends on the right choice.

Even novice gamers these days understand how a gaming mouse or headphones differ from the usual ones. But the word combination “gaming mouse pad” sometimes causes bewilderment. Modern mice with a laser sensor, unlike old ballpoint models, theoretically don’t need a mouse pad at all – they can work directly on the table, on a piece of paper, on an old book, or a 10 years-old cork pad. Anyway, here’s why you should buy a gaming mouse pad.

What is a gaming mouse pad?

In practice, the properties of the surface on which the mouse works significantly affect the speed of its movement and the accuracy of sensor positioning. In general, the smoother the surface, the faster the mouse glides over it.

On the other hand, the rougher the pad, the more accurately the laser tracks movement. Since in modern games, and especially in eSports, speed and accuracy of reaction can make the difference between winning and losing battles (especially when it comes to Apex Legends rankings), even such a humble accessory as a mouse pad can bring a player to victory.

Today’s gaming mouse pad manufacturers keep these factors in mind when designing their products, and they aim to maximize both speed and accuracy with cutting-edge technology and materials. As the mouse goes faster, the range of the mouse on the table increases, and so the gaming pads are often much larger than the classic mousepads.

The back side of a mouse pad also has a function – it should firmly fix the accessory on the table, preventing it from shifting during the player’s sudden movements.

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What difference does it make if it’s a gaming mouse pad?

Potentially it all comes down to ergonomics. Any eSports peripheral is the same as an office item, only much more geared towards precision and making each gamer as comfortable as possible. For this, quite naturally, you will have to pay a little extra, however, and performance what in games, what for various office activities.

What is an ordinary office mouse pad? Just look at the cheapest models. Here are its features:

  • Very small size. Approximately A5 format, which is slightly larger than the mouse itself (even a laptop mouse).
  • The same coating. Transparent plastic, which rubs off very quickly, so the pad has to be replaced in a matter of months.
  • Low-quality base. Very thin foam polystyrene. The problem mechanically is the thickness – cheap office mouse pads permanently deform and break.
  • The only difference between the different models is the picture and the print on the surface. The blank always stays the same.

It’s worth buying a gaming pad for a gaming mouse so that you can completely exclude all the possibilities of discomfort regarding the gaming itself. An A5-sized pad isn’t able to make a difference in the game and work, but only spoils the feeling itself. The mouse constantly slips, and when the backing inevitably rubs off, the response of the mouse sensor is much worse than before.

What exactly does the gaming mouse pad improve?

First of all, it’s about ergonomics. There’s a very unpleasant thing – carpal tunnel syndrome. This is a disease of professional gamers and people in general who sit at a gaming PC for a long time. Its essence is that a person’s palm stiffens in an unnatural position. An uncomfortable desk and a bad mousepad are the direct cause, which is eliminated through proper sliding, which you can’t get on a bad surface.

The second point is the cybersports results themselves. And you don’t even have to be a professional player. For training and just playing for fun, it’s much better to have not only a properly tuned mouse and the surface itself.

Those who have played shooters for a long time know that it’s best to minimize the “sense”, that is, the sensitivity of the mouse, to be able to aim as accurately as possible. If the laser sensor works correctly, it can give you a big advantage. However, if a mouse pad gets in the way, it can cause a natural decline.

Buying a gaming mouse pad is usually not so expensive that you should seriously consider it an unnecessary expense. However, the pleasantness of the pastime is worth it. In addition, you need to look at the cushioning of the surface. Here’s the situation where a gamer’s product means a much better build and is therefore much more preferable to the questionable economy (which is very comparative).

What are the signs of a good gaming mouse pad?

The problem is that buying a gaming mouse pad by appearance is almost impossible for someone completely unsophisticated to pick up PC components. The production of mouse pads is cheap, and it’s very easy to paint the plastic with cheap Chinese stencil paint, it’s the easiest way to improve sales. However, there are obvious signs of a good gaming pad:

  • Large size. It doesn’t have to be A4, but the pad should be much bulkier than the mouse. Everyone has a different gaming style, but when choosing, just take the mouse that’s your primary mouse and make a few passes over the table. The largest diagonal movement of your hand equals the optimal area of the mouse pad.
  • Greater thickness. Regardless of the backing material – it shouldn’t have any effect at all on gameplay.
  • Flexibility. The pad needs to be cleaned, and over time, temperature deformations are inevitable. Therefore, a good mouse pad won’t only be thick but also quite comfortable to roll up.
  • Convenience in washing. Even the best product will collect dust and dirt on itself. The mouse, along with the keyboard, is the dirtiest place on the PC. Therefore, you will wash the pad for the “rodent”, there’s no doubt.

The material from which the gaming mouse pad was made doesn’t have cardinal importance, but there’s a certain specificity of different materials. Let’s consider in detail exactly the difference between pads, produced by different processes.

What kinds of gaming mouse pads are there?

A significant influence on the properties of the gaming mouse pad will have the material from which it’s made. Currently the most common are the following materials:

  • Rubber or rubberized fabric – essentially an intermediate variant between gaming and ordinary mousepads. They give a good grip of the mouse on the surface, protect the table and hands quite well, and slightly increase movement speed. Nevertheless, they usually have problems with positioning precision.
  • Plastic is harder and smoother. It’s characterized by a little more speed than cloth ones, much higher precision, and a little higher price.
  • Metal (usually aluminum and its alloys) is the hardest and smoothest variant, it’s characterized by maximum speed and accuracy. Besides, this gaming pad is almost immortal, especially against the background of quickly wearing out fabric versions. However, tactile feelings of cold hard metal are much less pleasant than those of warm and soft fabric.
  • Glass – in properties close to metal, shares all its advantages and disadvantages. Nowadays it’s almost impossible to buy such an option online.

In addition to the material, gaming pads are often divided by surface roughness. The rougher ones give more accuracy, so they’re categorized as Control (sometimes Grip). Smoother mats increase the speed of movement, so they’re categorized as Speed (sometimes Glide).

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How to choose a gaming mouse pad

Buying a gaming mouse pad is the cheapest investment in gaming peripherals in general (not counting small adapters and holders for peripherals). However, it’s still worthwhile to understand the manufacturers’ pricing policy. The general lower price point is three to five dollars. It’s not worth buying a pad cheaper, even with a discount, because there will be the cheapest plastic that will crumble in no time.

There’s no upper price bar for gaming surfaces, as with any other PC peripherals. Practically speaking, a large pad shouldn’t cost more than a few dozen dollars. Anything higher is overpaying for branding or design, in general.

The practical choice, however, always comes down to personal ergonomic sensations. Hand sizes and the mice used vary greatly.

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