Alright, technically this is not Hardware, but most of us do not give much of a thought towards our mouse pad, er… gaming surface. Face it, the thing just sits there, sopping up sweat and spilled soda until it either gets a hole worn through it or you start to smell it when you sit down. If you even have one, nowadays with most computer mice, I bet most of you are just using your desk surface, just like I did, and it wasn’t until I started using a quality surface again, that I noticed any sort of difference.
We’ve taken a look at SteelSeries stuff in the past, but let’s face it, they make some damn good stuff. And they don’t limit themselves to just one class of item, either. That is where the 4HD comes in.
Uh, well it’s flat. Of course that would not cover it, and it is hard to wrap your mind around the thought of a pad, surface, or whatever you want to call it as having features, but it does. This is a fairly rigid surface, consisting of a hard plastic material that does flex a little bit, but remains consistent throughout. That means there won’t be any give, or a depression 6 months from now left over from the weight of your arm resting on it.
The top has a slight texture to it, that surprising you cannot discern when the mouse is moving over the surface. This helps in the gliding, but also guarantees the mouse sensor will pick up the surface, and react accordingly. The bottom itself has a non slip rubber texture, and seems to grasp onto whatever surface it is sitting on, whether it be hard or soft.
I’m generally more inclined to like a harder surface over a soft, simply because they are easier to clean. Having spilt coffee, soda, and sneezed all over it, the assurance of an easy cleanup is something I do take into consideration.
Well, you just don’t get any better than this…I mean, if you can’t comprehend how to set up a mouse pad, then you have other problems to worry about.
Size wise, the 4HD measures 9.4 inches by 11.4 inches, and is .08 of an inch thick. There is a larger version, the 9HD, which measures 10.7 by 12.7 inches, and is made identically for those of you wishing something larger. For me, the 4HD is a perfect size for my desk.
The flexibility I mentioned earlier comes into play here as well, making it perfect for transporting. Having no metal in its construction will keep you from getting hemmed up in the security line. Best of all, you won’t feel self conscious having this thing sitting on your desk, making it really ideal for an item that may stand double duty in a professional environment.
I’ve tried several models of mice with the 4HD, and overwhelmingly I noticed a difference between this surface and others. It will perform better when coupled with a SteelSeries mouse, since they were designed with each other in mind. But even with non-gaming mice the difference is immediate. A gentle nudge can actually move the mouse a few inches, and it almost feels like there is a cushion of air between the mouse and the surface.
The construction is solid, and the 4HD can take a bit of abuse, from nearly folding it in half, to chucking it across the room in a fit of rage (I’ve never done that). After bending it, the pad returned to its original flat shape, and performed just as it did the first day. I’ve put it through all sorts of hell, from using it as an impromptu clipboard, to smacking my wife in the ass when I walked by. It’s hard to find ways to stress test something with the sole purpose in life of just sitting there, but I got creative. Short of taking my folding knife out and stabbing it, or putting it in the dishwasher, I really think it has all the durability anyone could ask for.
You can pick up the 4HD for about $20 USD, which is half of what you could expect to pay anywhere for other high end surfaces. That makes this particular accessory well worth the money, and a solid edition to your setup.
You have to get past the point of thinking a that a mouse pad or surface is something other than a cheap add on. Sure, you can get by the same old pads and surfaces you buy anywhere for a few bucks, but that is like putting cheap tires on a a Ferrari. The 4HD will give you the performance you want, and will not choke out your wallet while doing it.