Vantec Spectrum Mouse Pads Review

Bosco - 2007-02-03 20:24:02 in Mouse Pad
Category: Mouse Pad
Reviewed by: Bosco   
Reviewed on: January 8, 2004
Vantec
Vantec
Price: $21 USD
Introduction
When you think of Vantec, fans and fan controllers would probably could to mind. We should now add mouse pads to the list of products Vantec manufactures. Today we'll be looking at the first mouse surface Vantec has designed, the Spectrum Mouse Pad. This new offering from Vantec is no ordinary mousepad - it glows! (Okay, so the Spectrum name may have given that away...) Its a good looking pad, and it glows, but can it hold up to our performance tests against the current reigning champion - the XTrac Hammer? Only one way to find out, so let's get into it.

Company Profile
Founded in 1994, Vantec is recognized as one of the premier thermal solutions leaders. We are devoted to manufacturing and developing total PC solutions for every computer user, from mainstream to enthusiast. Utilizing our technical expertise and innovative designs, we are constantly expanding our product line to offer advanced computer peripheral to meet the personal and industrial needs of modern computer users. Our primary goal is to create viable solutions to satisfy the consumer’s needs. Offering complete and affordable ways to upgrade and maintain your personal computer, Vantec is a name you can trust for quality and reliability.

At Vantec, our mission is to produce the best thermal solutions on the market. Vantec produces quality products that help you keep your system cool. However, that is only the beginning. We produce two of the quietest power supplies on the market in our Stealth Power Supply and ION Power Supply. Our Multi-function Panel (NXP-101) and fan controllers (NXP-201 and NXP-205) give you a variety of options to monitor and control the temperature and noise of your computer. We also provide cold cathode lights in a myriad of colors, including UV, for you to light up your computer. And with our new Fan and Light controller (NXP-301 and NXP-305), you can control your fan speed and lights all with one convenient unit.

Adhering to the theory of both form and functionality, Vantec has the end-user’s best interest in mind. Though the computer scene is constantly changing, you can rely on Vantec to provide quality components to improve, enhance, and insure your computing experience.


Specifications
Outline Dimension: 258x230x12 mm
Weight: 420g
Output Voltage: 350V
Output Current: 1.86mA
Input Voltage: 5V
Input Current: 300~500mA
Mouse Pad Material: PVC
Cable Length: 140cm
Safety Agent Approval: CE & FCC
In-Depth Look
The mousepad was safely delivered to me inside a cardboard box with foam chips. The mousepad itself was in it's retail packaging - clamshell sealed plastic. It makes for nice packaging, but once the package is open, unfortunately it doesn't close again (especially when you tear it apart with scissors...). Fortunately, this packaging is good and strong, which means your mousepad is safe and sound inside.



The mousepad includes a USB plug/switch, which allows you to power the mousepad without the inconvenience of tying up one of your USB ports. This may not be a problem for those motherboards which have 4+2 USB ports on the back and 2 more for the front, but its nice for lesser boards which might only have 2 total. The cord is definately long enough, at nearly a meter and a half (140cm). This plugs into the mousepad itself, right beside a convenient switch which allows you to choose whether or not the cathode is on.



The mousepad itself is appealing to the eye, and ergonomically shaped. The indent in the front alleviates pressure on your carpel tunnel, and the rounded edges help with that - much better then on the corner edge of a desktop. The height of the mousepad may be unappealing to some, as it is over a centimeter thick, but because of the design, I found I wasn't paying very much attention to that. The mousepad is made tough - I dropped it a couple times to make sure - and the cold cathode still works after a bunch of abuse. The mousepad is made from PVC, so it can be scratched, but its tough enough to take pretty much anything short of a steel edge.

In-Depth Look Continued
The surface of the mousepad itself its a micro-stippled design, allowing for the use of both optical and ball mice. As far as I can tell, the surface has been bonded to the body of the mousepad. Its extremely secure (I can't pry it up) and there is a slight ridge from the miniscule drop from the surface to the body that serves as a finder for the edge of the surface by touch.



Now to the fun part - it glows! Well, really that's about it. The switch allows for control of the cold cathode, and the mousepad itself glows a nice blue, easily noticible and quite bright in the dark, but not quite as noticible in normal light. The cathode doesn't heat up the mousepad, so you're not going to have a hot wrist after extended use.


Testing
Once again, we will be testing with the Logitech MX700 mouse. The mouse has pre-applied teflon tape attached to it (allows similar conditions for testing and comparison) even though none was included with the Spectrum Mousepad. For testing, once again I got to have a bit of fun and play some of my favourite games, paying attention to how many times I had to pick up my mouse, the ease of use on the surface, accuracy and comfort.

The Vantec Spectrum Mousepad was great for ease of use, the mouse glides over the surface quite smoothly. Because of the material used, there is a bit of noise (slight plastic-on-plastic rubbing-type noise) but its hardly noticible if you have even ambient noise from games. The accuracy and response is excellent, definately on par with our best thus far, and the comfort (as mentioned before) is great because of the ergonomical design.

However, where the Vantec Mousepad falls woefully short is mousing surface. At 18cm in diameter, the circular mousing surface provides almost enough room for desktop cruising, but for games its not nearly enough. In Counter-Strike I was constantly having to pick up my mouse, and the mouse would often bump off the side of the surface. The mousing surface was only good for wrist movement - anything more and its off the side.

Conclusion

Although an excellent mousepad in terms of performance, the Vantec Spectrum Mousepad just isn't BIG enough to offer a viable solution for a gamer. Now, if you're just an internet surfer looking for a sweet looking mousepad, then this is a good choice. For gamers, it doesn't beat our current champ because we simply need that big surface for one less distraction and continuous motion. The mousepad is durable, the surface allows accurate optical mousing, and the cold cathode looks great, so if you really want to go for the ultimate matching accessory for your mod, then the Vantec Spectrum Mousepad is for you.

Pros

  • Very durable
  • Looks great!
  • Comfortable
  • Performs excellently
  • Glows! (with on/off switch)
  • Doesn't hog one of your USB ports

Cons

  • Mousing surface too small


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