Steelseries is a name that is no stranger to the gaming scene. They have an impressive array of merchandise for the gamer to indulge in. They are well known for their product development with some of the big online gaming teams on the internet, teams such as SK Gaming, Meet Your Makers, fnatic and Made in Brazil. Working directly with these teams allows them to key into gamerís needs and work to delivering products that will support them in their achievements.
Today we have the pleasure of reviewing one of their very popular S&S gaming pads. The S&S was originally released back in 2004 but has since been revised and given a new look.
Packaging and Closer Look
The packaging for the S&S is eye-catching and captures the professionalism of Steelseries. We get a glimpse of the S&S through a transparent case. There are a few details about the pad on the front of the packaging, and likewise on the reverse of the packaging there are some more details including a list of teams that endorse Steelseries products.
The S&S includes the following specifications.
- Material: Textured hard plastic
- Surface treatment: Coating
- Dimensions: 320 x 270 x 2 mm / 12,6 x 10,6 x 0,08 in
- Size: Medium
- Glide: Smooth
- Compatibility: Optical, laser, ball
Itís interesting to note that the Steelseries S&S mouse pad was developed in collaboration with SK Gaming. Working alongside the guys in SK is valuable for Steelseries as it gives them indepth knowledge of specific user requirements of gamerís at the highest level. Itís one thing to have an expensive mouse and all the high performance components to give you those smooth frame-rates and itís another thing to have a poor gaming surface that causes aiming annoyances and frustrations. It really just renders a gaming machine almost ineffective from a gamerís perspective Ė because it doesnít matter how well the system performs if you needed that last frag to win and the pad would of aided this then Itís quite obvious Itís a benefit and a necessity.
Unpacking the S&S then, we have some extras inside the packaging included with the pad itself. There is a Steelseries manual and badge and a packet of ĎGlide MSí Ė glide pads to attach to the feet of your mouse to reduce the friction and optimise glide movement. Sadly the pads included in the pack are suited for Microsoft (MS) mice; we have no Microsoft mice available for testing. This shouldnít affect this review though.
On first impressions the S&S pad certainly does look like a very suitable surface for a gaming mouse. The Steelseries is nicely placed in the bottom left corner of the pad. As you can imagine from reading the specifications, the surface of the pad is quite firm the thickness of the pad is only 2mm which is wafer thin. This shouldnít interfere with anything on your desk.
The size of the pad is suitable for desktop and gaming use. The surface area isnít as big as the QcK Heavy we reviewed some months previous in our mouse pad roundup, but it is more than suitable for most gamers and desktop users.
On the reverse of the pad the surface has a mirror finish. To grip the desk there is a generous amount of rubber scattered across the entire surface. True to the design, this does give a great bond between the pad and the desk thus ensuring that the pad does not move during usage. To move the pad you have to actually pick it off the desk.
To judge the performance of a gaming pad there is no hard and fast benchmark to prove how good or bad a gaming pad is. Itís really down to personal preference and feelings regarding aesthetics. Nevertheless, we will be putting it through its paces on a range of games to judge the Steelseries S&Sís overall performance.
Unreal Tournament 3
Warhammer 40,000: Dawn of War II
Right from the start the S&S impresses. The response felt from this pad is great, the mouse glides over the surface easily and what I like especially is that it can be cleaned easily without any permanent marks being seen. In total I tested this pad for around 2 hours, after such a length of time your palms can become sweaty and itís good to be able to clean the pad so easily.
There is without doubt enough surface area for your gaming sessions and this pad is unquestionably up to the task of arming you with enough glide and traction control for those difficult battles. Throughout the 2 hours of gaming, the pad did not move whilst being used at all. It stayed exactly where I placed it which was pleasing, thereís nothing more annoying than a moving mouse pad Ė it just leads to inaccuracy.
It comes as no surprise that Steelseries are a leader in their field; the S&S is a great example of their quality and how with the assistance of a squad of gamers they can tailor their products to suiting the needs of a specific audience. The S&S is the gamerís choice, in every game that I tested it with it didnít let me down and I felt at ease whilst using it.
I would also suggest that using the S&S for desktop usage and graphic design would also provide some smooth operations. It can only be appreciated.
The only factor I can see as a slight issue is the price. It is amongst the expensive of pads, just how whether this is worth the £20 mark should be left to the judgment of the individual user. I would suggest that if you are in the market for a new pad that you test before purchasing. It is of my opinion that the S&S is worth the extra, Itís simply a pleasure to use. I would like to thank Steelseries for providing us with the S&S for review, and award this product the Vortez Hardware "HOT" award.