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Steelpad 4S
Page 1 - Gaming Mousepad
Author: Dan Podhola (WebMasterP)
Date: July 03, 2003
Category: Hardware
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Steelpad 4S

If there is one thing I have reviewed of a lot on Xtreme Tek, it would have to be mouse pads. More specifically, I have reviewed gaming mouse pads. This review will be my 5th gaming mouse pad I have reviewed and I have used even more that I have reviewed. However, out of all the mouse pads I have reviewed, the Steelpad 4S is by far the most unique in terms of material. Will the material be the products ending or the beginning of a new era in mouse pads? I decided to test the pad to figure out the answer.

I will start off with some basic specifications for the product.

Steelpad 4S
Material Aluminum
Dimensions (LxWxH) 290x267x3.5 mm
Observed Color Matte Black
Polishing Method Fiber Polished

The packaging is basically a large envelope made out of paper as thick as poster board paper. Inside the 'box' you get the mouse pad with a piece of 'Steel PadSurfer' (essentially mouse tape) taped to the back of the pad. I held both the Ratpadz GS and the Steelpad 4S in my hands; the 4S weighs just a tad more. The pad seemed to have some color 'blemishes' in the center of the pad in the form of vertical streaks. I ran my hand over them several times but could not detect a defect in the surface. It appeared just to be just a paint issue, hardly noticeable unless you are really looking.

The Box Shot
The Box Shot
The Pad
The Pad

The mouse pad has different gripping 'feet' than I am used to seeing from Everglide or Ratpadz. Everglide and Ratpadz use rubber feet about the size of an Altoid or a Certs candy. The feet on the Steelpad 4S are like size of a very small mint and are very rounded, not flat on the bottom. They hold just as well as the pads on Ratpadz and Everglide's surfaces.

The Bottom
The Bottom
The Different Feet
The Different Feet

How the product actually works is what really matters.

The Steelpad 4S has great sliding action. A slight tap on the side of your mouse will move your mouse a considerable amount more than a textured surface (Everglide, Ratpadz). This difference also is noticeable when you are sliding the mouse around with your hand on top of the mouse (regular use). However, there is a bad side to the sliding of the 4S. The sound of the friction over the aluminum is really annoying and quite loud compared to the sound of any other mouse pad I have used. I should note that I made all my comparisons with the mouse tape on the mouse.

Size Comparison (Giganta, Steelpad 4S, Ratpadz GS)
Size Comparison (Giganta, Steelpad 4S, Ratpadz GS)

The mouse tracking is a mixed bag. I judge mouse tracking by the accuracy of the mouse as it moves across the screen in relation to what you are actually doing on the pad. Optical mice work great on the Steelpad 4S. However, my Razer Boomslang (a high performance ball mouse) does not work as well as it does on a Giganta or a Ratpad. Granted the tracking is better than an ordinary cloth mouse pad, but it just is not up to snuff with the Ratpadz or Everglide products.

The one area I prefer the Steelpad over the textured pads I have used is comfort. I have fairly long hands and I am, what I like to call, a wrist dragger. My hand is too big to keep solely on the mouse I have; so, the bottom, left part of my palm drags on the pad. The steel pad is cool and smooth and doesn't irritate my palm like the Ratpadz or Everglide pads do. The difference is very noticable and after sustained periods of use it really makes a huge impact on how my palm feels.

Overall the pad works well. I like the comfort of the pad. The pad's size and ability to stay in place are great. I would not recommend this pad to people who use ball mice. If you use an optical mouse however, you can go with any of these pads. The noise the pad makes is disturbing and I question the durablity of the pad (I already scratched mine when the arm of my chair rubbed the pad). However, it is not a bad product when you get used to the sound. What really kills this product is the price, $46.94 from Steelpad.com. I was very tempted to give the product a 3.5 just because of the price, but the fact that it doesn't chaffe my wrists kept it at a 4, barely.

Final Score

4 out of 5 Weird Blue Faces

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