SteelSeries SteelPad S&SJul 11th, 2007 | By Archive
SteelSeries SteelPad S&S
: 07/11/07 – 04:53:31 AM
Page 1 : Index
SteelSeries is no stranger to most any gamer and for a good reason. If you visit their 'About' page on their website, the first line reads "SteelSeries is all about gaming". That sentence pretty much describes their company's focus on gaming as they produce everything a gamer could need from mousepads to headsets. In fact SteelSeries works directly with gaming clans to develop their products.
Today I am looking at their SteelPad S&S gaming surface. The SteelPad S&S was originally released back in 2004 and earlier this year it received a facelift of sorts with a new surface.
Page 2 : Package and Specifications
The SteelPad S&S is in virtually the same packaging as when it was first released with a few exceptions.
The S&S comes in a one inch thick box with a darker design than the original blue box. The main point of interest with the new package is a graphic proclaiming the new improved surface. You also have a picture in the lower left hand corner showing you the included pouch. The SteelPad S&S is also available in a solo edition that does not include the travel pouch.
On the back of the box we have testimonials from 3 different gaming clans that SteelSeries has worked with in development of the SteelPad S&S. There is also a small paragraph about what SteelSeries stands for as a company along with the companies web address.
A quick visit to the product page for the SteelPad S&S gives a rundown of the product features and specifications.
SteelSeries S&S highlights:
– The most popular hard plastic gaming mousepad in the world
– Includes protective nylon sleeve
– New improved surface released in spring 2007
– Compatible with optical, laser and ball mice
– 320mm*270mm (12.6 x 10.6in) – thickness 2mm (0.08in)
Page 3 : Contents
Now it is time to open up this handsome package and get to the goods.
Opening up the box you find the mousepad enclosed in the travel pouch. The travel pouch is made out of nylon with the Steel logo embroidered on the lower left hand side. Two zippers open and close the pouch.
On the opposite side there is a small zippered pocket. There is enough room to fit your mouse or even a few CD cases if you wanted to.
Inside the pouch you find the mousepad and a set of five S&S Padsurfers. The Padsurfers are mouse skates that are designed to reduce the amount of friction between the mouse and the mouse pad. I find it a nice touch that SteelSeries has included these and will touch on them more later in this review.
The pad itself is made of a hard plastic and is about the thickness of a CD. As you can see the surface has a bit of texture, but you can hardly feel any texture running your finger over it.
The bottom of the S&S has a mirror finish with bits of rubber sprayed on for grip. I have set the pad on various surfaces from wood to glass and it gives a firm grip on all of them and won't allow the pad to slip during use.
At 12.6 x 10.6 inches in size, the SteelPad S&S is quite a bit larger than your standard mousepad, but not grossly enormous like other mousing surfaces out there. For me it's the perfect size as it completely covers the area between my keyboard and the end of the tray where I use my mouse.
Page 4 : Installation and Testing
Ok so there really isn't any installation other than plopping the mousepad down, but with the S&S, SteelSeries has included some mouse skates.
Here you can see the Padsurfers installed on my MX700 mouse. Installation amounted to peeling them off the backing and holding each one on with pressure for about thirty seconds. One thing I was concerned about with the Padsurfers was whether the charging contacts on my mouse would still touch on the base since they add a little bit of height, but a quick slip into the charging base eased my worries. While it didn't affect me, I'm not sure if this would affect other wireless mice with a charging base.
Now there really isn't any benchmark to run for a mousepad, it's more of a try it out and see. Unfortunately I don't have a laser mouse to try out, so all use has been with my MX700. If I said I wasn't skeptical of a hard mousing surface I would be a liar. I have had one prior experience with a hard surface and I came away with a somewhat dissatisfied taste in my mouth as it was thick, made a lot of noise and just didn't feel any more precise than any old generic pad. Up until receiving the SteelPad S&S I had been using my bare keyboard tray and then a large cloth mousepad from X-Raypad that I have been quite satisfied with.
I decided to try with and without the included Padsurfers, so for the first week I used my mouse without them installed. The minute I set my mouse on the SteelPad S&S, I have to say I was impressed. It had an unencumbered feel that just isn't there with a cloth pad. It does produce a very slight noise that is audible to the person using it, but the noise is not even noticeable to anyone standing more than about four feet away. That was something I was concerned about since my PC resides in my bedroom, so late night gaming sessions with a loud mouse pad could cause issues with my sleeping wife. Over that first week of use I really grew to appreciate the great feel and accuracy of the SteelPad S&S.
After the first week of use I installed the PadSurfers. I have to say they are well worth it. The mouse just floats across the surface with such ease. During this past two weeks of testing I have played Battlefield 2142, FEAR Combat and CounterStrike:Source. I'm not going to claim that this pad has suddenly made me the greatest player ever. However I did manage to get my first two wins playing the CounterStrike GunGame mod in the last week. I can tell you this, the mouse pad can no longer be used as an excuse for a loss when you use the SteelPad S&S.
Page 5 : Conclusion
I think SteelSeries can rest assured that the newest version of the SteelPad S&S will remain atop the heap. I have had nothing but good things to say about this pad since I have started this review. The SteelPad S&S hits on all the important points a gamer should look for: a large smooth surface that is comfortable. If you enjoy gaming or even get into some heavy graphic work, you owe it to yourself to give the SteelPad S&S a try. I can almost guarantee that you will be more than satisfied as I have been.
- Smooth surface
- Carrying pouch
- Large surface area
- It's an expensive pad
Overclockers Online would like to thank SteelSeries for supplying the SteelPad S&S for review.