ROCCAT Raivo Stealth Black Mousepad Review
Reviewed by: hornybluecow
Reviewed on: November 3, 2013
ROCCAT Raivo Stealth Black Mousepad: Introduction
Today I will be looking at ROCCAT's Raivo Stealth Black mousepad, priced at $29.99. 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. It is all to often when playing PC games the difference between winning and losing is twitch reflexes, which is reinforced by using a good mousepad.
ROCCAT Raivo Stealth Black Mousepad: Closer Look
Here we see the Raivo packaging, which is very similar to the Hiro I previously covered. This time it is no different; ROCCAT took great care in the presentation of its gaming mousepad lineup. The mousepad itself is 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.
The cardboard cover has a great deal of information about what it has to offer. On the front it gives you the run down and the need to know. Top left reads "ROCCAT Raivo, High Velocity gaming mousepad." Down the side it gives you the major features, most notably "Micro-Granular Surface". On the bottom front, ROCCAT has two squares in which you can feel the texture, which allows a customer to check the mousepad out before opening it up. ROCCAT went one step further and on the back 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 Translate and it came out mostly the same in English, same goes for the rest. The top corner lists major mice that have been tested, including Razer and SteelSeries.
Once the Raivo is out of the plastic clam shell you can see what it really looks like. Looking back at the previous picture you can see the ROCCAT big cat logo's seamless transition from cardboard to the actual mousepad. On the front bottom left corner is the name just in case you missed it before. Looking closely, all the colors themselves seem to be screen printed on. This means overtime it's possible the image will fade away and you will be left with a grey mousepad. On the back is ROCCAT's non-slip solution for the Raivo. It's nearly impossible to see in the picture below but there are thousands of little circles raised slightly. This in turn acts as little grips to keep the mousepad from sliding around. This worked well enough for the desk surface I was using.
Similar to the Hiro review, I was able to capture a high magnification photo of what is really on the surface and If you missed it previously, let me recap. The picture below will make 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 millimeter. 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. A good example is using very fine threads and having them weaved consistently. This can change how a cheap mouse performs and gives those gaming mice an extra bit of control. If the weave is inconsistent or the thread count is low, you will have major problems with cheap mice and less accuracy with a good brand.
Last up is a look at the size. ROCCAT likes to make large mousepads, On the right you can see the Raivo sitting next to a Logitech G510, which is one of the largest keyboards you will find on the market. For most if space is an issue, you can push the mousepad under the keyboard. The mousepad itself is sold under three different versions. The only difference is the color for the screen printed image.
ROCCAT Raivo Stealth Black Mousepad: Specifications
350 x 270 x 2 mm
All Kinds of Mice - 80 Mice Tested
ROCCAT Raivo Stealth Black Mousepad: Features
- MICRO-GRANULAR SPEED SURFACE - For ultra-fast gliding with mega-precise control
- INTEGRATED FLEX-SUPPORT PLATE - For max stability with the longest play comfort
- ERGONOMIC BATTLE SHIELD SHAPE - With wrist cut-out for top combat effectiveness
- NON-SLIP RUBBER BACKING - For worry-free warfare during even the most hectic battles
- DIRT-RESISTANT COATING - For tracking interference protection; easy to clean
- COMBAT-TESTED MATERIALS - For the longest life of relentless, hardcore gaming action
- PERFECT SIZE FOR GAMINGv - 350 x 270 x 2mm – for top notch performance and comfort
All information is courtesy of: http://www.roccat.org/Products/Gaming-Mousepads/ROCCAT-Raivo/#crb_2
ROCCAT Raivo Stealth Black Mousepad: Testing
To give you an idea of how the ROCCAT Raivo compares to other mousepads I will be using a qualitative approach for the Precision, Speed, and Control. Each description of my findings will be based off observation while playing Unreal Tournament 3. My choice to use a semi-dated game and not another game or office software was because Unreal Tournament is known for its twitch gameplay. The graphics may be showing its age, but the core gameplay has not changed since its first debut in 1999. The ROCCAT Raivo is marketed toward gamers so it seemed most appropriate.
Let me give a quick rundown of what my observations are based on. For Precision, I will keep track of how often I miss due to inaccuracy of the mousepad. Speed was based on how fast I could move the mouse across the screen with the DPI at 3500. Control is directly related to how smooth the cursor traveled across the screen and the ability to track targets. There will be no hard data or quantitative chart this time around, because I feel It does not give a good comparison for a mousepad.
- Processor: Intel i7 4770K @ 4.2GHz (1.1v)
- CPU Cooling: Thermaltake NiC C4
- Motherboard: MSI Z87-GD65 Gaming
- Memory: Patriot Viper 3 Series 16GB 2400MHz
- Video Card: NVIDIA Geforce GTX 770
- PSU: Thermaltake Smart 750W
- Hard Drive: OCZ Vector 120GB SSD
- Optical Drive: DVD-ROM
- OS: Windows 7 Pro 64-bit SP1
- Mouse: Razer DeathAdder 3500 DPI
- Desk Surface
- ROCCAT Hiro
- ROCCAT Raivo
While playing twitch reflex-type games, it's important to remember you only have one chance to be on target before they shoot back. Sometimes It even comes down to who has the best aim. This is where having more than just a generic mousepad makes you the winner of a showdown. Being on target the first time is absolutely necessary and the Raivo did not disappoint. I ending up switching around the pads enough to get a feeling for each one. In doing so, the generic mousepad was clearly the worst as I often missed my shots as a result. The desk surface was actually better because of my time without a mousepad and I have become accustom to it . For most people, it is uncomfortable and hard to use and any mousepad is better than the desk surface.
For the Speed comparison, I turned the DeathAdder to 3500 DPI with the goal to see if the mousepad was still readable. The Razer DeathAdder was able pick up the Raivo on the highest setting. The worst of them all was the desk followed by the generic mousepad. There is not much to this observation, but just remember fast is good because you can always turn down the sensitivity. On the other hand, if your mouse does not pick up the pad in the first place, then that becomes a problem. I find myself leaving the DeathAdder at 1800 DPI and making slight adjustments in game. If you are playing a real-time strategy (RTS) game, a low DPI might suit you better, but I've also known a few people who max out the DPI so they basically don't have to move their hand at all.
Control is a little hard to explain if you are not a first-person shooter (FPS) gamer. The problem I had across all the mousepads except for the Raivo and Hiro was moving the mouse in a diagonal direction. If you play FPS games you know that being able to look up, down, and left to right is essential. Interestingly enough, if you pay close attention, you are often traveling at an angle. If you have played Unreal Tournament, this is something that is constantly happening and everything is based on twitch reflex. The second you stand still to readjust, you become a target. I could feel and see a noticeable difference between the Raivo and the generic mousepads. Similar to the Hiro, the Raivo was smooth and was always just where I wanted the cursor to be.
When it comes to long gaming sessions, comfort plays just as important of a role as the rest. The ROCCAT Raivo wasn't perceptibly more comfortable; in fact it felt more like an extension of the desk surface. The mousepad has sharp corners that cut into your arm as it rests and the materiel itself feels like using a mouse made of cardboard. A simple solution is to get a gel pad for the wrist and your comfort problems disappear.
ROCCAT Raivo Stealth Black Mousepad: Conclusion
To sum up the review, let me give you the rundown on how I based my scores. Much like any other review, I split it into the three sections to determine the final award. First I looked at what the company is saying it offers. For example, if the company states the mousepad supports a smooth surface and is waterproof. In any example, I examine what is advertised versus what is actually offered. Most of this becomes uncovered as I take pictures to document the product. If the company does not stay true to its word, then it loses points because no one ever wants to be sold on false advertisement. Next I look at what the product is marketed for and put it into perspective. An example of this could be using a cheap mouse and expecting the same high scores. This would contradict its target market and something I try to catch so it does not affect the score. The last bit is my own interjection. What could the mousepad offer in its price range, and what do other companies offer. This category may include larger or smaller pads, different colors, or support for higher DPI. This list is endless so let's move on to the conclusion.
Before I say my final words, let me recap the Pros and Cons pertaining to the Raivo. Starting with the Cons: the Raivo only has a few, but for a mousepad that is one too many. The biggest issue I have isn't the semi-sharp edges. While they are not enough to cut you, it is definitely uncomfortable to lean your wrist on for a long period of time. The mousepad feels like a piece of cardboard with some color added to the front. It's not a good feeling after a few hours of gaming and the only solution would be to get a gel pad, which adds to the final cost.
Next are more minor issues. First is the cost and frankly, it's too high for what it has to offer. I ended up looking at other brands and ROCCAT's own mousepads to find similarly priced ones with more to offer. It is a tough market to be in considering the vast amount of mousepads already floating around. Last up for the Cons is the size. Now I cannot mark a company down for making sure you have enough room, but it is a very large mousepad and less than half of it I used. Overall the Raivo is a tad bigger than the flagship Hiro mousepad, which was monstrous, let alone overkill.
On to the Pros! ROCCAT has delivered on its promised advertising, which is high DPI support, among other things. Having the DPI support is the defining difference between a generic or cheap mousepad. If you have a $70 mouse and play a lot of first-person shooters, you need that extra control. The Raivo is smooth and consistent when moving the mouse around, which is also necessary. Not once did I hit a bump or miss while aiming because of faults from the mousepad. It does comes with a price: a hard surface that is unconformable, as explained above. Finally, the Non-Slip backing does its job as you would expect any decent mousepad to provide. It is, however, based on the surface the Raivo is placed because it has no cushioning of its own. The mousepad uses small bumps to prevent movement and it loses this effect when placed on an uneven surface.
My final thoughts are that the ROCCAT Raivo is good enough but could use a little TLC. The Raivo priced at $30 is right next to many other mousepads that are just as good, if not better. It's hard to justify that amount of money for a mousepad, especially if it does not offer something truly unique. Adding the fact it hurt my wrist after a session of gaming, I would advise to wait and see if something the same price or cheaper replaces this entirely.
- High DPI support
- Smooth and consistent
- Non-Slip backing
- Very large
- Sharp corners