SteelSeries SP Professional Mouse Surface
- Sean Potter
SteelSeries has been making professional-grade gaming products for the last several years. They feature several lines of mice, headsets, mouse pads, and more. In November of 2007, they announced their latest professional mouse surface, the SteelSeries SP. The SP features durable construction and a texture optimized for optical and laser mice.
Packaging, Appearance, & Features
The SteelSeries SP was shipped to me in thin cardboard packaging. Inside, the SP was packaged in a heavy plastic pouch, complete with a zipper.
Also included were a few SteelSeries stickers and a small product catalog. I think the stickers are bonus points, not that the SP needs them.
Let's look at the features of the SteelSeries SP before I pull it out of the pouch it came in.
- Extremely durable hard plastic mouse pad
- Macroscopic texture offers minimal friction
- Medium-sized, optimized for optical and laser
- Two component mouse pad; plastic surface with rubber bottom
The SteelSeries SP doesn't sound all that different than the RatPadz XT I previously reviewed. The RatPadz lacked dual-layer construction, and the SP is slightly larger, measuring in at 12.6" by 10.6", with .1" of thickness.
Pulling the SP from its pouch, the first thing I noticed were the two unique textures. The back of the SP is made of a non-slip rubber, so the mouse pad never moves while you're gaming. The top surface is hard plastic, with a macroscopic texture designed for optical and laser mice.
The macroscopic texture was also designed to give gamers as little friction as possible. If your mouse's glides are worn down, SteelSeries has a selection of replacements in their online store.
The SP is also very flexible. It's not as thick as the RatPadz XT, which we were unable to snap in half. We didn't want to push the SP that far because it's much thinner to begin with. I was able to touch edge to edge without breaking or permanently bending the pad, and I think that's enough to say that the SP is durable enough to survive trips to several LAN parties and gaming events. Let's look at how the SteelSeries SP faired in actual usage next.
The SteelSeries SP offers more surface area than the RatPadz XT, and that was fantastic news to me. With the RatPadz XT, I always found myself running out of space and could have used an extra inch on the top or side, and that's exactly what the SP is offering.
My Logitech G5 mouse glided across the SP's surface almost as if it were ice. Who's to say that next-generation mouse pads won't be frozen liquid? (Stay tuned, we have one of these queued for a review for 2012, hehe).
If I were to push on the mouse with a finger, the mouse will glide for a moment, whereas on another surface it would abruptly stop. That's close enough to ice, right?
In terms of performance, I did not find much different difference in my game play from the RatPadz XT. This could, of course, just be human error. Perhaps I've reached the peak of my gaming performance, and no additional augmentations are going to aid me further. Or, perhaps we've simply reached a point where the best-of-the-best gaming surfaces can offer little performance increase over each other.
The SP is definitely a performer, don't get me wrong. And I really appreciate the extra space the SP has instead the RatPadz XT.
Conclusion & Final Thoughts
From the increased size to the durability that the SteelSeries SP Professional Mouse Surface offers, I can't argue that it's not a great product. It's fantastic gaming surface.
The only downside to the SP, and many other plastic surface mouse pads, is that plastic doesn't allow room for the breathing that cloth pads allow. This results in sweatier hands, but such is the trade-off for the more-accurate gaming surface.
Overall the SteelSeries SP is a fantastic professional mouse surface, suitable for regular or gaming use. The SP does carry the heavy price tag of $39.99 at most retailers, but the increased performance it gives over other mouse pads makes it a worthwhile purchase.
- Large surface area
- Rubber base keeps the SP anchored
- Durable plastic top
- Low friction surface
- Plastic doesn't breathe, hands can start to sweat after prolonged use
- Price to Performance Ratio slightly high for some applications