||X-Ray Thunder8 Professional Mousepad Review
December 22, 2004
Summary: It has been a long time since FiringSquad has taken a look at a mousepad. Check out our review of this dual-sided X-Ray Thunder8 mousepad review, and why mousepads are 'cool' again.
| All Mousepads aren’t created equal||Page:: ( 1 / 4 )|
What are you mousing with?
Do you have a ‘regular’ mousepad? You know what I’m talking about. It’s there, always making out with your mouse. Whether it be one of those flimsy porous foam-y types with a flower print, or maybe even one with a *gasp* gel pad for the wrist. Or worse, you are using NO mousepad at all! Anyway, as a gamer, we would like to have the best stuff to strut, right? Especially if we are to impress the ladies at our LAN parties – ok, there are no ladies there – but still, a true gamer would want every peripheral that he or she games with, to be top-notch. What does it matter if we have a super funky Logitech MX1000 Laser Mouse – if it’s sitting on a burlap cloth for a mousepad? It’s like having a Ferrari run on 13” rims with a plastic wheel hub.
It has been more than four years since Bob Colayco posted his surface 1030 Mouse Pad Review, and we feel that it is high time to take a closer look at another one.
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Enter the X-Ray Thunder8 Professional Mousepad. It comes in many color varieties such as orange, emerald, blue and black. The one up for review is the black one, model T8/BK (black). The only difference is the color of the plastic base, but each mousing surface is black. Geared for gamers, this slick-looking mousepad has a reversible surface, as well as sturdy construction throughout.
From first opening the shipping box, our first impressions of the case was from its retail packaging. It came in a clam-shell type tin case, with the branding embossed on the front, along with rivets, giving it a sleek industrial look. If this were sitting on a store shelf, it will easily stand out against its competitors.
We tore off the shrink wrap, and opened up the sleek case. We found the packaging to be extremely snug (as to not have the product damage during shipping, we suppose). There were two layers of styrofoam sheeting above and below the pad. In the bottom layer, there is a rectangular indention where the removable mouse cord clip sits. The package includes a how-to-use sheet (funny, I thought these things were self-explanatory), but it didn’t mention anything about what applications were good for the coarse and smooth side of the pad. It did, however, conveniently mention that there is a small gap on the bottom left of the pad (called the ‘Easy Lift Corner’) through which you can squeeze in a finger tip to raise the mousing surface (to clean or switch side).
The Thunder8 measured 11.4” x 9.3”, and is quite large for a mousepad, enough room to maneuver in those tight situations in heated FPS combat. The base is made of tough non-flexible ABS plastic. On the underside lies 10 evenly-spaced out rubber pads, more than enough to keep it from sliding around on a desktop. The reversible mousing surface is shaped so that it can only be placed on the pad in one direction, keeping the logo on the top-right when placed properly. The dual-surface mouse pad is slightly flexible, but not enough so that we worry about cracking it.
The black metal mouse cord holder can be attached at any four points on the keyboard, all located on the ‘top half’ of the base. This reviewer had a very hard time installing it into one of the slots, and after 10 minutes of trying, he gave up. Seeing that the reviewer only used cordless mice, this point is quite moot.
| Two sides of the tale||Page:: ( 2 / 4 )|
We tested out both sides of the mousepad with an optical mouse and a laser mouse. Having this flexibility in one mousepad is a great feature, so we don’t have to buy multiple mouse pads for different needs. We didn’t test with a ball mouse because, face it, gamers are way past that now, and we always hated to clean them out.
The smooth side is slightly more glossy than the coarse side. It is smooth enough to retain oily human finger prints. When you rub your hands on it, the surface feels very even. Optical mice performed poorly on this surface, occasionally missing the tracking of mouse movements, whether it be fast movements or slow. Sometimes, it even froze for a few seconds while I moved the mouse around on it quickly, and other times, the cursor moved sluggishly.
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Switching over to the laser mouse, however, worked like a charm. Cursor movement was tight and precise. Because this side is so smooth, however, there is little mechanical ‘feedback’ from the mouse besides its weight when mousing around. Users who prefer to have a little feedback when mousing, should opt for the coarse side. There is slight audio feedback (from the friction) and also some resistance, which is good for some cases.
The coarse side worked well for both optical and laser mice. Yes, we know that optical mice generally do not fare well on dark surfaces (in this case, black), but there is enough light refraction from the rough surface that the optical sensor can pickup to enable smooth cursor tracking when gaming or working. The coarse side would probably work well for ball mice as well, since the ball would grip well with the uneven surface.
As said in the previous section, the rough side is for users who want to have either more tactile and audio feedback when they are mousing, or more resistance, or both. We generally used the softer side, but it is a matter of preference.
| Ballistic Report||Page:: ( 3 / 4 )|
• Sturdy construction and high-quality feel to mousepad – stiff non-flexing base
• Dual surface caters to most, if not all different users’ needs
• Great tracking ability for optical (rough side) and laser mice
• Well packaged and retail tin case can be shown off to impress the ladies (as well as serve as a butler’s tray
• Generously sized for a wide range of mouse movement
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• A little more pricy than the average mousepad at around $23
• Metal mouse cord clip is difficult to install – we’re talking about ‘installing-heat-sink-into-motherboard’ hard here
• Smooth side prone to retain oily hand and finger prints
| Final Verdict||Page:: ( 4 / 4 )|
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