Developed by fUnc Industries
Not just a piece of foam
The mousepad has come into its own as an essential piece of gaming gear in the last three years. It wasn't that long ago that everyone had to put up with the common foam and fabric "dirt sponges" to roll their mice on. Others, like myself, used the bare desktop. The problem with both of these solutions is that they don't allow you the maximum possible precision with the mouse. Foam pads are too uneven and promote the collection of grime on your mouse rollers (for those of us who don't use optical mice). Wooden desks don't provide enough friction - I clearly remember times when my pointer didn't move as I flicked across the table.
Gaming pad history
A little under three years ago, materials giant 3M released a thin plastic sheet that they dubbed "the 3M Precise Mousing Surface." The 3M PMS (what an unfortunate acronym) boasted a textured surface that was consistent and even all throughout. This regular surface allowed mice to track much more predictably and consistently, which was a huge plus for hardcore gamers. The problem with the PMS is that it wore out quickly. The surface scratched rather easily, and the thin sheet would eventually refuse to lay flat on the desktop, bubbling up on the spots where you rested your hand. I kept replacing my 3M pad every two or three months before I got fed up with it.
Cutting boards to the rescue
Later that year, an enterprising man named David Welsh started up a company called Everglide
. Their product was a textured slab of plastic that closely resembled a kitchen cutting board. Despite its unusual appearance, the Everglide had two things going for it over 3M's product. For one, it tracked faster than the 3M PMS. The Everglide surface didn't bite quite as hard onto the mouse as the PMS, so mice slid much more quickly across it. Everglide's textured surface kept the mouseball rolling about as consistently and precisely as the PMS. Whether or not this was a good thing depended on personal preference. Thresh still preferred the 3M, but the rest of FS and Gamers preferred the faster tracking of the Everglide.
Secondly, the Everglide was much more durable than the PMS. You could clean Everglides with dish soap and water, which extended their life. With everything it had going for it, and the endorsement of top gamers, the Everglide became a huge hit, spawning many imitators. Everglide's success created a niche business within the gaming community. Some companies, like Logitech, latched onto the 3M design for their gaming mousepads. Others, like Ratpadz, emulated Everglide instead.
20 bucks for the pad
Over the last couple of weeks, we've had the pleasure of reviewing a product that we think is as much a quantum leap over the 3M and the Everglide as those two pads were over traditional foam mouse pads. That product is the sUrface 1030. The sUrface 1030 actually comes in three pieces. There's a double sided plastic sheet that serves as the mousing surface, a rubber base that "holds" the plastic pad, and a metal cord clip.