Recently there has been a return of an old friend in the form of cloth mouse mats. Remember the good old days when that was the common type where you could peel off the top cloth layer to leave the sponge underneath? Well it seems they are making a comeback with several different styles and types of your flexible friend becoming available at your local computer shop.
The difference these days is that the new breed are actually being branded as gaming mats, which in computer terms means precision equipment and better than your everyday computer accessory. So what can we expect from a modern day cloth mat? I mean how different can they be? Why are they making a comeback? Weren't they just inferior to solid mats? The only way is to check them out of course. So let's get stuck into the latest offering from Corepad - the EYEpad and EYEpad XL.
Just incase you wondered about the name it is because The EYEpad is the result of a cooperation between Core Gaming Gear and Team EYEBALLERS (Eyeballers (EYE) is a professional gaming team, founded in Sweden in 1998). This also means that the mat is not only for gamers, but it was made by gamers, so I'd expect it to be pretty good although I was really not sure what a cloth mat could offer.
The mat looks exactly like this:
This view shows a bit more what this mat is all about:
You can see just how thin and flexible the EYEpad is. It is approx 1.6mm deep which enables a solid surface which is good obviously. Now you might think that it too thin but I can see that it does not really matter how thin the surface is as long as it provides a nicer surface than the one provided by your desk / workspace. It does just about provide enough cushioning to be more comfortable than the desk or a more solid mat made from plastic / metal / glass. So it definitely has one over the solid mats in this respect.
I think one of the biggest pluses of this design is that it is not affected by temperature as much as other mats. Usually if a mat is cold and you use it, a layer of moisture forms where your hand has been, same s if your in a tense match and your palms are sweaty, then your optical mouse will go nuts and you miss your targets. This affects different players in varying degrees but if you have this problem then this is a genuine solution.
I know some people have problems with mats warping to, notably with plastic mats rather than glass or metal ones. The cloth mat eliminates this problem to.
Grip wise, there is no problem, the bottom of the mat is just one big grip, this ain't going nowhere ;)
I can't really fault the accuracy of this mat either, which did suprise me to be honest. My optical mouse has no problems tracking its position, infact in the past few weeks, I cannot remember a time where my mouse pointer or crosshair has gone off with a mind of its own or skipped a pixel. I think that is the only mousemat that never let me down, and I'm shocked that I can type that, because all the other mats I've used seem to have slipped up at least once or twice.
If you like rolling up mousemats than you can get excited about this mat because it rolls better than any mat as well ;) Because it is quite heavy / dense, you can actually give it a good twist and it retains its shape without any curling etc. Also the top layer is very reluctant to be separated from the bottom grip part so you would be hard pressed to destroy the mat that way.
Dimensions are fairly large with the Eyepad being 325 mm x 290 mm and the XL version is bigger as you would expect at 455 mm x 405 mm (both are 1.6mm deep if you forgot). Just to help you figure out that in your mind, here is a quick picture of it compared to the eXactmat of which I would say is a regular sized mat:
It is pretty large so you will need some space for it, but if it is a problem you could just get out the scissors and modify it to your needs I guess. If however you have loads of spare space or are a low-sensitivity gamer then forget the Eyepad ... get the EYEpad XL!! check this beast out:
Actually it's not easy to see just how big it is from that picture, but it's freekin huge, about the same size as the side of my case. Enough space for all the family! Washable to!!
I think you can tell that I do like this mat :) It just seems that simple works well here and it out performs other more expensive mats. Which brings me to probably the most appealing thing - the price. It currently retails at €12.95 for the EYEpad and €16.95 for the XL flavour on Corepad.com and they are also available at many online stores. Although there is not a lot to it, for the performance this is hard to beat.