SteelPad S&S - a gaming surface created by gamers, for gamers. SteelPad S&S has been developed in close cooperation with SK-Gaming, one of the biggest front figures in eSport.
SteelPad S&S offers unprecedented control and accuracy allowing the user to perform minimal and extremely precise movements. The surface is made of a special responsive plastic compound and the back side features small soft rubber elements offering non-slippery steadiness.
The highly durable surface obtains increasing durability and offers a consistent glide experience that only gets better over time.
The pad comes with a cool nylon sleeve which offers protection for the pad during travelling and other transportation.
So a mousemat made in cooperation with SK Gaming huh? (Feel free to check out http://www.sk-gaming.com/ if one of your first questions is who is SK Gaming). Now if you know SK at all the you know that in gaming terms it is about as competitive as you can get. I'm always skeptical when a product is team branded in this way, because sometimes it's just a marketing ploy and the product itself is really not that good. Have SteelSeries done the same with their SteelPad S&S?
First off we have the packaging:
Inside you can find the goods:
You get a nice case for the mousemat as you can see in the pic above. It is made of cloth and is just about larger than the pad itself for a close fit. There is some thin padding and a zip that opens three of the four sides of the case for easy access. Do you actually need the case? It depends on your circumstances, for instance, if it's just going to sit in your house, then you don't really need the case. However, if you plan on traveling with your mousemat, then yes this is a handy addition. If you have taken time to choose this mat and paid good money for it for the good surface, the last thing you want is to get a large scratch on it or get it damaged and scuffed. The case is only soft, so won't prevent bending, but the pad appears to be very good at retaining it's shape even if bent quite forcefully.
Also with the SteelPad S&S comes a packet of PadSurfer all-round which you can also buy separately right here: http://www.steelseries.com/products/steelgear/steelgear_padsurfer_all-round/information . The set in the pack are designed to be used on Microsoft and Logitech mice. Basically they are very low friction feet for your mice to allow a smoother mouse action, and often lower noise depending on the original feet on your mouse. This is a nice addition to the SteelPad S&S and adds to an overall better gaming experience which you take for granted very quickly. Unfortunately it ultimately leads to you being frustrated when using someone else's system!
The eagle eyed might also have noticed this on the box:
Arguably the most important part of the mousemat is the surface, this is what it's all about and can definitely make or break the pad. According to SteelSeries, this pad went through over 200 surface adjustments before this one was decided on! It seems that SteelSeries have been very dedicated in producing this mousemat but was it worth it? Here is a close-up of the actual surface:
The pic above is actually approx. 3cm across in real terms, so you might be able to see how detailed it is. Click on the pic below to get another idea of how it actually is:
As far as I'm concerned, they certainly picked a damn good surface, I'm seriously impressed with the performance regardless of dpi sensitivity on your mouse. One thing I noticed was that even if you move your mouse the tiniest amount, the surface is detected and the cursor or crosshair will move smoothly on the screen. It is a pretty much faultless surface in my opinion.
You might be able to see from one of the pictures that this pad is very thin, the depth is approx. 2mm! And to be 100% honest, when I first opened the package, my initial thought was "is this it!?". This is probably because I've mostly been using large and thick cloth pads recently and this was a bit of a shock. However being so thin rectifies an issue that I have with some solid (metal/plastic) mousemats, which is that because their profile is not always this slim, they can be sometimes uncomfortable when your arm/hand/wrist comes into contact with the edge. With the SteelPad S&S this is much less of an issue.
One other feature of the SteelPad S&S that helps keep the low profile is the uniquebase:
Yes it certainly does look a bit odd, and here is a close-up:
I have to admit that I was skeptical about the effectiveness of this system. It's like bits of rubbery material sprayed on the base, which because there is quite a lot of it does create enough surface area to provide a reasonably sticky surface. I say reasonable because it is not as effective as other mousemat bases like ones with large rubber pads or a whole base of rubber. It is possible to move the pad fairly easily, however I've not had it slip whilst gaming even once. I'm trying to figure out why it doesn't move while in-game or using my computer in general, but at the moment all I know is that the base is definitely adequate and acceptable, and I think the base does get more grip after a couple of weeks and the rubber pieces on the base begin to flatten out a little.
You should be able to gauge the size of the pad from this picture:
As you can see, it's pretty much perfect for my setup, but that doesn't mean a lot to you. It is defiantly on the large size and bigger that most pads that I've used. You would have to be a very low sensitivity gamer to run out of space on the SteelPad S&S.
I think it's pretty hard to find a better overall mousepad than the SteelPad S&S at this time, it's reasonably priced, looks great and pretty much outperforms any other pad I've tested. Seriously if you have never had a mousemat before, and have been a skeptic, then visit the SteelSeries website: http://www.steeleries.com and treat yourself to one of these. Combined with the PadSurfers I'm quite sure you will be impressed and admit that you have a better gaming experience and find your mouse better to use in general when on your computer.