Xtracpads Hammer & Ripper Mouse Pad Review
Reviewed by: Admin
Reviewed on: December 3, 2003
Price: $14.00 - $19.00 USD
Today we'll be looking at some more optical mousepads, this time from the fine folks over at XTracPads.com. We have in our possession the XTrac Ripper and the XTrac Hammer. Now, optical mousepads are different from ball mousepads. In order for an optical mouse to perform properly, the 'picture' it takes has to change, whereas the ballmouse just needs a surface to move on. This is where the XTrac mousepad comes in - its unique hexagonal and random dot design are supposed to allow better mousing performance. Again, our test mouse will be the Logitech MX700. We'll be comparing the XTrac Pads against the victor of our last optical mousepad shootout the ICEMAT Black.
XTracPads is a leader in the mouse pad industry. We manufacture high-tech mousing surfaces for serious computer users that demand more than just a simple mouse pad.
Started in March of 2002 by a small group of avid PC game enthusiasts, our optical mouse pads and accessories are designed for fast paced mouse movement with minimal drag. We offer a variety of surfaces and optical mouse pad sizes. Not only are our products used in computer gaming, they are equally efficient for many other applications such as digital animation, desktop publishing and more. The medical, military, gaming, art, scientific and aerospace industries all benefit from the high quality, speed and accuracy found in all XTrac optical mouse pads. XTracPads is headquartered in Salt Lake City, Utah.
Well, the mousepads were delivered to me packed in foam in a big cardboard box. We got 1 XTrac Ripper, one XTrac Hammer and 1 package of XTrac Eels (teflon tape). This next part blew me away though. The mousepads are 11"x17"! That's HUGE. A distinct advantage for the hardcore gamer.
The Eels came with a nice set of instructions, and about a 4" piece of teflon tape. The backing is blue, the tape itself is clear, and after you've made it past the initial frustration of separating the backing from the tape, its fairly easy to place on. I highly suggest you keep the teflon tape as one piece and then cut off smaller pieces AFTER you've got the backing separted. This makes for much easier placement.
Upon first look at the mousepads, I was curious to see how they would actually perform. After all, our previous review was all about the micro texture on the mousepads for movement. These ones are all about the pattern. So, let's find out if there is a difference.
Once again for testing, I get to play sweet, sweet games. We have on our lists this time Max Payne 2, Counter-Strike, BF1942 and GTA: Vice City. I played each for a couple hours, for...testing...yes, just to get a good idea how often I had to pick up my mouse, comfort, response and smoothness. The XTrac Ripper
Product Page: http://xtracpads.com/ripper.htm
Price: $14.00 USD
The XTrac Ripper is a cloth optical mousepad. The design is the aforementioned hexagons with the random dot patterns. The Ripper is pretty thin - about the average thickness of a ball mousepad. Since its made of cloth, it is extremely flexible.
The Ripper was fantastic for size, reponse and comfort. The cloth surface is nice and soft, and since it is thin, there is no edge rubbing on your wrist. The design on the mousepad does in fact provide a responsive mouse environment, making for quick starts and stops, and very good tracking. As previously mentioned, the surface area of this mousepad is huge, at 11"x17", I rarely, if ever had to pick up my mouse.
However, the cloth surface seemed to drag at the mouse. The MX700 isn't a light mouse, since it's wireless. The response was wicked, but the ride wasn't smooth at all. Didn't seem like the teflon has much of an effect on the cloth surface.
Product Page: http://xtracpads.com/hammer.htm
Price: $19.00 USD
The XTrac Hammer is a lot like the Ripper. Its got the same hexagonal random dot design (albeit a bit smaller of a pattern), it has the same surface area - at 11"x17". However, the Hammer is a nice light blue color, and its made of plastic. So, lets see if the different surface has any effect on performance.
Once again, testing was done for a couple hours, and let me say this is one impressive mousepad. The actual pad is so thin as to not actually notice it - its not so much a mousepad as an extension of your desktop! The response was virtually identical to the Ripper, however, what really set this mousepad apart was the smoothness of the mousepad. The Teflon on the mousepad really comes in handy - the mouse just glides over the surface with hardly any power put into it whatsoever - something that I really like in a mousepad. The fact that this mousepad is 11"x17" is fantastic. I don't think I ever have to pick up my mouse anymore, and it certainly isn't falling off the edge of my mousepad.
We now have the XTrac Ripper, XTrac Hammer, and the ICEMAT Black to compare with. The main comparison points for all of the reviews are; Comfort, Size, Response, and Smoothness (Glide, whatever you wish to call it).
The ICEMAT Black is an excellent optical mousepad, and you can't help but love its sleek black design. Thus mouse surface was excellent for response and smoothness - two very important factors in a performance mousepad. However, relatively its size is quite small - and since a picture is worth a thousand words...
Also, the Icemat has a high profile at 6.2mm. It doesn't sound very high, but when your wrist is resting on an edge for a while, it gets rather annoying. I would highly recommend using a wrist pad when using the Icemat.
The XTrac Ripper is another great optical mousepad, with excellent response, comfort and surface area. However, it's lacking in the smoothness of the ICEMAT Black or the XTrac Hammer, which is unfortunate.
The XTrac Hammer makes up for the slight misgivings in both the Xtrac Ripper and the ICEMAT Black. This is one smooth mousepad, and I think we have a new desktop king. With an intensely low profile, excellent reponse and a smooth glide that makes even my MX700 feel like moving air, this one looks to be staying on top for a while!
So there you have it, the XTrac Hammer - a fantastic mousepad for the extreme gamers and hardcore computing world. Now if only they made it in a couple of colours to match your computer - then we'd have a mousepad made in hardcore heaven. It would also be great if XTracPads could create custom designs with clan logos or just hardcore gamers looking to be different. Thanks to XTracPads for sending us the Ripper and the Hammer, and thanks to ICEMAT for the ICEMAT Black.
We give the XTrac Hammer, the OCC Recommended Award!