In the gaming peripheral market, itâ€™s not unusual for game publishers to collaborate with some of the manufacturers to design and develop hardware themed after their game. There comes a time where a product might be good but due to poor game reception, the product itself suffers. Also possible is the game itself might be good but the peripheral might suffer from a lot of issues. Different manufacturers approach these kinds of situations differently; some just stylize already good-selling products and some completely build from scratch.
Today we feature one such offering from Razer and their Star Wars: The Old Republic (SWTOR) line of gaming peripherals. Weâ€™ll be taking a look at the SWTOR mouse mat for this post and weâ€™ll be testing it with the SWTOR gaming mouse, which weâ€™ll be reviewing separately. Letâ€™s see if this mousing surfaceâ€™s force is strong enough to resist the dark side of unwanted drag. Letâ€™s make this showy!
Razerâ€™s been very busy recently venturing onto new territories with their Blade gaming laptop and the Project: Fiona concept which was unveiled just a few weeks ago. But prior to that they launched their licensed product line of Star Wars: The Old Republic peripherals. In this line-up are the SWTOR gaming mouse, headset, keyboard (which features the much revered switchblade interface) and this reviewâ€™s subject; the mouse mat. Letâ€™s get on with the review shall we and first up: products specs.
- Dual-sided mouse mat to display different faction choices – Sith or Republic, pick your faction dude.
- Performance-grade hard surfaces for smoother mouse swiping
- Non-slip, anti-reflective, abrasion-resistant hard coating on surfaces
- Approximate Size: 316 mm / 12.4â€ (Width) x 219 mm / 8.62â€ (Height) x 5 mm / 0.2â€ (Depth)
- Approximate Weight: 650 g / 1.43 lbs
|The SWTOR Gaming Mouse Mat comes packaged in a wide and shallow box featuring the SWTOR boxart on the left while most of the right side is made up of clear window that lets buyers see what’s inside.||Flipping over the box we see some marketing bullets highlighting this mat’s features.|
|We also get a small peek window on the upper-left corner to let us get a feel of the non-slip base and metal frame.||Opening up the package we have the hard mat surface, the metal frame, and the usual Razer Paper|
|Razer’s SWTOR Mouse Mat features a greyish uniform to the entire SWTOR line, adorned with panel line designs running from top to bottom of the pad. The faction logo is emblazoned on the center of the pad.||Lifting the main surface and flipping it over gives the same surface but with the other faction’s logo.|
|Flipping the entire mat along with the frame we get to see the non-slip base and a hole in the bottom for a peek of the other symbol.||A closer look at the hole in the middle of the base of the pad. This also serves as some sort of duct so the base doesn’t create a vacuum and ends up stuck on your desk.|
|Here’s the mat with the SWTOR Mouse and the dock on it. The mat is approximately 4-5 times the width of the mouse but only 1.5 times the height so vertical swiping is a bit congested.||A new challenger appears. The Razer Spectre that we haven’t heard from for quite some time now.|
PERFORMANCE, COMFORT AND FUNCTIONALITY
To test out the SWTOR mousing surface, we use the SWTOR Gaming Mouse primarily (which is its intended partner) and we also used the Razer Spectre Starcraft II gaming mouse (review here) and a generic A4tech OP-720 optical mouse to gauge the performance of the SWTOR matâ€™s across several devices. Thereâ€™s really no clear-cut definitive test to measure a mousing surface so we try our best to describe our experience and be as fair possible.
For performance, we carry out day to day task swapping around with the OP-720 and SWTOR mouse. Optical doesnâ€™t really suit these kinds of surfaces anymore as evident in our experience with the OP-720, nor were they really intended for such usage. That said, the mouse had so little drag it made the mouse glide over the surface the optical sensor couldnâ€™t keep up. Switching over to the wireless SWTOR gaming mouse was a different experience altogether. Razerâ€™s slick mouse feet coupled with this surface is silky smooth. The mouse being wireless, I developed a habit of spinning it around the mat and with very minimal force exerted the mouse would spin smoothly. Watch Â this video and see what I mean.
For gaming performance, we load up my GOTY for 2011; COD: MW3 for some good survival missions and a couple of round in Starcraft II with the Spectre. As mentioned before, the amount of glide this mat has is just silky. The grittier surface makes sure it gives you that amount of fine control for pinpoint FPS accuracy and RTS micro.
The SWTOR mouse matâ€™s comfort level is just about the same as any other hard mat. Its smooth and its gritty surface has a very good feel to it. The metal frame which encases the mousing surface also has a good feel to it and the thick is just about right not to cause discomfort from bumping the edges. The added stability provided by the wide non-slip bottom is a major plus point but I really gotta point out that you need to lift the bottom to move this mouse mat around as the base will not let you slide it around on most surfaces. Thatâ€™s how non-slip it is. Some might find the metal frame too hard especially people with bony wrists, we suggest either mousing closer to the lower part so the parting line between the mat and frame donâ€™t rub too much against the wrist.
Functionality is a bit of more of an extra on this product as itâ€™s all about the surface. Razer designed this mat to have two sides with two distinct insignia to reflect which faction the player prefers. Itâ€™s also a nice Star Wars collectible to show off your fandom.
To close things off, weâ€™ll start by mentioning the SWTOR mouse matâ€™s good points. First up, you have a solid textured surface with a great feel to it that gives laser mice excellent tracking. The metal frame also adds to that robust and high-end feel to the package with the non-slip (and I do mean non-slip) base rounding up that experience. We canâ€™t help but feel that the size of the mat is a bit on the small side. As a control mat, it shouldâ€™ve had a bit more surface area for wider swipes. Couple that with the SWTOR mouseâ€™s lift-unfriendly design and players who prefer low sensitivity will have to exert a bit of effort during 360* or wide-angle swipes. We also felt that there shouldâ€™ve been some allowance on the sides so the mat can be lifted for simple moving. The heavy frame and non-slip surface ensures the mat stays in place but it tends to overcompensate making it hard to move the mat around if the user doesnâ€™t have long nails. Still, these things are minor and don’t take away much from the the mat’s excellent performance.
All in all, the Star Wars: The Old Republic (SWTOR) gaming mouse mat from Razer is clearly a good choice for Star Wars fans and SWTOR players looking to spice up their desks with a bit of Jedi swag. The performance and feel also brings this mat up in there with the big boys proving itâ€™s not just all show. Coming in at US$50, itâ€™s steep for a mouse mat but a fairly reasonable price for something of this build quality with a solid steel base and all, so if youâ€™re looking for a hard, gaming mat and just so happens youâ€™re into Star Wars then we have no problem recommending Razerâ€™s SWTOR Gaming Mouse Mat for you. Heck if youâ€™re REALLY into Star Wars, this is THE only pad that will scream out fandom on your desktop.