ROCCAT Hiro Mousepad Reviewhornybluecow - May 19, 2013
Category: Mouse Pad
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ROCCAT Hiro Introduction:
ROCCAT is a relatively small company that has been putting itself on the map for gaming peripherals. Founded in 2007 and located in Hamburg Germany, ROCCAT has been busy creating a vast lineup including mice, keyboards, and mousepads. If you are interested in learning more about the other products, OCC just completed a ROCCAT Roundup review. Make sure to take a took at it if you hungry for more! Today I will be looking at ROCCAT's top mousepad, priced at $49.99. This review will mark the most expensive mousepad I have ever seen or used, so let's see what ROCCAT is offering
Roccat Hiro Closer Look:
If you haven't caught on yet from my previous review, I really like to tell stories and this one is a double whammy, but I will keep it short. Do you ever feel that there must be some cosmic sync among enthusiasts? An example would be; you have just finished reading your favorite book for the fifteenth time and that day you run into someone who has just started reading it for the first time. In my situation, the UPS guy knocks on my door once again and hands me a box that says "Press Release". As I open the box and find this nice and large mousepad, my phone rings. It ended up being my friend calling to ask if i knew any new and good mousepads. What are the chances of that? I was almost tempted to go find the UPS guy and make sure he wasn't captured and held for information. So I lied through my teeth because of the NDA and said "No I don't, but I will find out for you; give me a week."
That started me to think of how to tackle a mousepad review and what a mousepad really has to offer. I used to play Counter-Strike 1.3, Unreal Tournament, and Quake 3 on dial-up nearly every day. I knew this nine year old kid across the street that was unstoppable in Unreal Tournament, easily beating God-like bots and constantly getting banned from Quake 3 servers for using cheats, which wasn't true. He owned a laser mouse (which was very new at the time) and a nice mouspad, while I was stuck using one of those now-nonexistent ball mice directly on my desk without a mousepad. If only I could go back in time with a few ROCCAT products, maybe everyone would know M$sterC0w as the top eSport gamer rather than Fatal1ty.
Looking at the pictures below, ROCCAT took great care in the presentation of its top of the line mouse pad. It's held in a plastic clam shell, but without the need to cut through the plastic - once you remove the cardboard cover, it pops open. Quite simple and I wish all companies did this because scissors are annoying to use. Backtracking a little to the cardboard cover, on the front it gives you the run down and the need to know. Top left reads "ROCCAT Hiro, 3D Supremacy Surface Gaming Mouse." Down the side it gives you the major features, most notably "No-Fray Edges," while an image of the mousepad sits in the middle, with dimensions 350x250x2.5mm prominently displayed. On the bottom front, ROCCAT has two squares in which you can feel the texture so you know the company is not lying about "Non-Slip Rubber Base" back or "Covert-Tech Silent-Glide Treatment" front. Speaking of the back, ROCCAT went one step further and made sure if you spoke any major language in the world, all the features are listed and readable. I typed a Russian sentence into Google translator and it came out mostly the same in English. The top corner lists major mice that have been tested, including Razer and SteelSeries. On a side note, I made a poll on OCC forums last week asking what people's favorite gaming peripherals were. At the time of writing this, Logitech is the most liked. If you do not already have a mouse, ROCCAT entices you to pick one of its series by having the first few mice tested as its own.
Looking at the mousepad closer, the front has a ROCCAT Hiro logo in the bottom corner. From the packaging you would think the logo is embossed and may cause issues, but you would be wrong like I was. I can't say for sure, but looking at it close up, it really looks like a screen print and may wear off over time. This is still much better than having your mouse getting stuck on it or not reading properly, which is not the case. On the back, just as the packaging promised, is in fact a "Non-Slip Base." When using your mouse it is preferred that the mouse moves and not the mousepad. That has been a problem in the past and ultimately led me just to use the desk surface rather than constantly moving the pad back into place. That alone is worth its price in gold.
Next up I bring you a very rare glimpse into what a mousepad looks like up close. The left picture makes a little more sense once I explain it a bit. The surface of a mousepad has a bit of science behind it. In theory, a mouse can use any textured surface because its laser is a very simple device. It calculates or "reads" the distance from the surface to the laser and reports the numbers back. The higher the DPI (dots per inch) a mouse supports, the more reads it can potentially give. This has a few different outcomes because the software also plays a large role in this. A cheap mouse with a high DPI could run into problems because it reads out every little fraction of a mm. When programmed correctly, the mouse software is armed with algorithms to ignore odd values that could be false reports or simply a change in texture. This is when a nice mousepad comes into play. Having very fine threads like the ROCCAT Hiro and having them weaved consistently can change how a cheap mouse performs and gives those gaming mice an extra bit of control. I will cover more on the mouse control in detail later in this article.
The next picture over is also at high magnification. ROCCAT states on the packaging, "Force Field Protective Coating - water - and grime-resistant and easy to clean." This I took to heart because all to often I end up spilling my soda and ruining the mousepad. At $50, that is a very costly spill and I wanted to see if ROCCAT is trying to sell me a gimmick or telling the truth. I am happy to report the soda drop didn't even stick and rolled off leaving no residue. The same happened to the front, it was just easier to photograph the blue back. The whole thing is constructed from plastic and the threads look very much like nylon, though do not quote me. This would explain why the soda didn't soak into the front.
Here we are at the very end of show and tell. I took the liberty of snapping a few photographs for comparison on how big this mouse pad really is. The picture of the left has the mousepad setting next to a Logitech G510, which is its flagship top of the line keyboard and one of the largest. Putting that into perspective, the picture on the right is the Hiro sitting next to what I consider average generic mousepads.