Steelseries 5L Gaming Mouse Pad Review

I was skeptical of the Steelseries 5L when I first read about it. When something is advertised as both a “hard and soft” mouse pad – the best of both worlds – it awakens the skeptic inside of me. After having used it for several months, I am glad that I gave it a chance.

The Steelseries 5L is taller (meaning height off of the desk) than the pads I’m used to, but I didn’t mind. The softness makes it comfortable to rest on. The mouse does glide smoothly over the surface. The smooth surface is great for those who enjoy high-sensitivity gaming, but the surface is controlled enough and large enough that it is also excellent for low-sensitivity purposes. Obviously applying a lot of pressure to the mouse will slow it down.

The Steelseries 5L was definitely able to impress me. You might be wondering how the 5L pulls off the claim that it works like a hard mouse pad, but feels like a soft mouse pad. The 5L is so named for its 5 different layers of material. On the top layer is a hard plastic coating that gives the pad its smoothness. Beneath that is a layer of cloth, which gives it the cloth feel we are used to. The third layer, made of a soft foam, gives the 5L some softness and makes it comfortable to rest one’s hand upon the pad. The fourth layer is like a frame, and holds the mouse pad in shape. The final layer is the base, composed of a rubber that is sure to hold the pad in place.

Please keep in mind that this is a very large pad (15 x 11 x .2 in.) and you should check your desk size before buying it. The only users that won’t enjoy the feeling of the Steelseries 5L are those who have small desks or who want something as smooth as a glass surface or an adonized aluminum surface. The 5L is a smooth pad, but truly hard surfaces are smoother. I am becoming quite fond of the soft, smooth surface.

We were initially concerned about the durability of the 5L. Hard surfaces usually last about three times as long as soft surfaces before showing wear. We wondered how the 5L would fare with its hybrid hard/soft surface. According to long-term users, the 5L’s durability is fantastic. We spoke with many hardcore gamers who had been using the pad for three years, and there were no problems to speak of. Steelseries seems to have done a great job constructing the 5L. There are only a couple pads like the 5L, but the 5L offers the best performance and best durability of them all. After many years of serious 40-hour-per-week usage, the 5L only displays some fraying on the edges and a lightly worn (but still usable by hardcore gamers) surface. Fraying will be more significant if you rub your wrist against the edge of the pad, rather than raising your wrist.

Cleaning the 5L is not as easy as cleaning a hard surface, but you really wouldn’t expect it to be. It’s also not as hard as cleaning a cloth surface. The plastic-covered cloth seems to not absorb liquids like a cloth pad would, so you’re left with a surface that isn’t sticky. Just use a wet cloth to clean up spills, and you’re good to go. One user reported that the pad had no stains or spots after multiple soda spills. Seriously, though, I think something is wrong with you if you spill near your computer multiple times in one month.

Let’s check out the marketing claims made by Steelseries. Does it feel soft like cloth? Check. Does it offer a smooth surface like a hard pad? Check. Does it hold up like a hard plastic pad? Check. Does it do all of this without any trade offs? Pretty much, check. The price might be the only trade off, but you get what you pay for here. Click through to get the Steelseries 5L or just look at the current price you can get it for. Head back to the mouse pad reviews main page for more mouse pad info. If you think you might want any other soft surface, I think you’re missing out. This is the best “soft” pad out there.

Logitech MX815 Gaming Mouse Review

The Logitech MX815 Gaming Mouse is a rather well-known device in the computer gaming community. It’s one of the more popular gaming peripherals, and for good reason.

Logitech’s MX815 is a wonderful entry-level gaming mouse. I say it’s entry-level only because of the fact that it comes with the basic needs that your average computer gamer would need, without a ton of extra bells and whistles that might be overwhelming (and often unnecessary) for most.

Features:

– 1800 dpi optical engine

– Ergonomic comfort design

– In-game sensitivity controls

– Programmable buttons

– Software to customize mouse for certain games

Probably the most important factor when buying a new mouse, for gaming or not, is how it feels in your hand. Let me start off by saying that I personally love the feel of this mouse. I do a decent amount of gaming, and this mouse does everything I would ever need it to. Even the clicks feel very strong and responsive. The natural shape with the thumb rest is fantastic and my mouse hand honestly never gets too tired or cramped even after many hours. If there is one complaint, it’s that the mouse is rather light and a weighted mouse is normally preferred for gaming.

The MX815 comes with a multitude of different buttons that have their own functions, however they can also all be customizable to do whatever you want them to. The standard functions include your two primary left and right clicks, two side buttons positioned near the thumb, a + and – button for quick access to different DPI settings, an “alt+tab” button, and the scroll wheel buttons that click right, left, and down. While their standard settings are extremely useful on their own, remember that you can customize them to follow all sorts of macros or other functions. One set of buttons you probably won’t want to change are the DPI buttons – These are quite useful for on the fly setting changes. If you like different sensitivities for different games, you simply have to click the + or – button to change it, and it’s just as easy to change it back.

Overall it’s just a great mouse, for gaming or not. It feels good, it’s very responsive, it has a lot of room for customization, and it’s something that’s going to last you a long time. If you’re looking for a solid gaming mouse that will cover all your needs, as well as having a very reasonable price, I definitely recommend checking out Logitech’s MX815 Gaming Mouse.

Brief History of the Optical Gaming Mouse

If you’re like me, you’ve been a gamer since you can remember. You grew up playing games the likes of Wolfenstein 3D, and in actuality it was only the demo version since I was just a kid and my parents at that time didn’t believe in using a credit card to purchase a game “through the modem”.

You were playing Commander Keen and Avoid the Noid, all using the arrow or WASD keys on your keyboard. Soon we were using the mouse after a time of conversion from the comfortable keyboard controls, inside the bounds of gaming, we were running around in Rise of the Triad shooting enemy gangsters and dogs and taking out enemy monsters in Doom with our mechanical ball rodents.

Soon games became more detailed and required better accuracy and a quick wrist to be successful. Traditional ball mice would gunk up and skip across the screen, they just couldn’t keep up.

Voila! Enter the Optical mouse in the form of the Microsoft Intelli-Mouse Optical. In general, the “new” Optical mouse technology of the time provided higher sensitivity, no skipping cursor across the screen because of gunked up mechanical features, and the mouse could now be used on a wide variety of different surfaces. Read here to learn how Optical Mice work.

The only limits were set on the capabilities of the LED optics of the optical mouse and the speed of which the processing of these images takes place, the measure of this is called Dots per Inch (DPI). It wasn’t until the Gaming Mouse that DPI numbers shot up utilizing the Optical mouse technology. An Optical Gaming Mouse of the past couple years is capable of over 1600 DPI, example: Logitech MX518,yet early ball mice were capable of around 200 DPI. Over 8 times the resolution!

Although traditional LED Optical mice are still the majority rule, the Laser Optical mouse made its huge explosion into the Optical Gaming Mouse market with the introduction of the Logitech MX1000 in 2004. The initial advantage the Laser mouse provided was the exact precision of the laser sensor was more accurate than an LED based optical sensor. The MX1000 only had a max sensitivity of 800 DPI but its precision blew all previous mice out of the water, move your hands even the slightest bit and you will see the relative movement of the mouse immediately, no more “stuck” cursors because of the lack of precision. Laser mice can track on even a wider array of surfaces than typical LED based Optical Gaming mice can.

Since the MX1000, Laser mice have made leaps and bounds to where even 5600 DPI is possible as demonstrated in the Razer Mamba There are plenty of other specifications and features that matter on a gaming mouse nowadays, customization of mouse buttons, USB polling rate, max acceleration, even on-board memory storage to store profiles of the above mentioned options.

The computer peripheral we know as the Mouse has gone from plain and clunky to sleek and agile in a mere 10 years time. The Optical Gaming Mouse has played the majority part in the push for this technology and the race between the different companies in the market. The demand has grown as Gamers realize the limitations of the old age hardware and the near limitless possibilities of digital enabling them to step up their level of competitiveness. Technology is a beautiful thing, the Mouse is a platform where this has been shown over and over again.