Reviewed: November 6, 2003
Type: Mouse Pad
Mouse pads are to PC’s as floor mats are to automobiles. You usually get a generic “mat” with the initial purchase and then you replace them about once a year as they get dirty, torn, or worn out. Mouse pads are the second most important status symbol in offices next to screensavers and have been one of the best promotional gimmicks since matchbooks went out of style.
The underlying function of a mouse pad is to provide a suitable surface for the ball inside the mouse to roll on, but for most of us it simply reserves enough space on our desk to actually use a mouse. With the advent of optical mice the need for mouse pads has become all but extinct, but even those fancy lasers need something to bounce off of and the folks at Icemat have figured out the perfect surface for the ultimate in precision tracking - glass.
For those of you still in the “Dark Ages” of computing and using a mouse with a ball, you will find the Icemat has been developed and tested by computer gamers, and a special developed treatment of the surface gives the user an experience of great accuracy and precision, due to the fact that the surface gives an excellent grip on the mouse ball.
The Icemat shows its true power when you place an optical mouse on it. The Icemat is 250 x 210 x 6.2 mm and is basically a sturdy piece of glass overlaid on a reflective surface. The metallic flake coating beneath the glass offers the ultimate in precision tracking as evident by my ability to draw a perfectly straight line in Photoshop for over 400 pixels without the slightest twitch in the tracking. Obviously, for the gamer, this translates to pixel-perfect targeting that will have your opponents cowering in terror.
In my computing environment I use a glass-top desk so even though I have been using an optical mouse for several years I have still had to use a conventional mouse pad. The slick surface of my desk has always caused my mouse pad to scoot across the desk, but the polyurethane feet on the bottom of the Icemat grip my desk with suction-cup tenacity. My Icemat hasn’t budged a millimeter in the three weeks it’s been on my desk.
Aesthetics - 10
The Icemat has a sexy styling whether you choose the icy blue transparent pad or the black metallic pad. It will compliment any desk it occupies and tell the world you are an elite user.
Durability - 10.0
Even though the Icemat is quite sturdy it is made of glass and needs to be treated as such. If you drop the pad or drop something on the pad it could break or chip. The top edge of the pad is a bit sharp; not sharp enough to cut yourself, but if you aren’t careful you can find yourself resting the palm of your hand on the edge and putting an uncomfortable crease in your hand.
Performance - 10
I tested the Icemat with three mice; my Razer Boomslang 2000, the Logitech MX500, and the wireless MX700 (part of the MX Duo). The first thing to be done for all the mice was to attach the felt adhesive “Pad Surfers” to the footpads on the bottom of the mice. While all the mice had smooth movement on the pad initially, once you attach these tiny pieces of felt your mouse is transformed into a frictionless hockey puck that will move effortlessly.
The Razer Boomslang 2000 is still one of the highest dpi mice you can buy and when you combine its amazing technology with the precision of the Icemat you can actually get better precision than an optical mouse. Even so, I gave up on cleaning the gunk from inside my mouse several years ago and still prefer the optical technology. The MX500 and MX700 are identical mice, both in size, shape, and technology. The only difference is that one is wired and one is wireless. Both mice performed flawless but with the added weight of the rechargeable batteries in the MX700, the mouse seemed to have a momentum all its own.
Value - 10
The Icemat is still a challenge to find in the US and you will most likely have to order online, either from the UK or from Soft Trading in Denmark. At just under $40 this might seem like an extravagant purchase but once you experience the ultra-precision tracking and the inertia-free glide of your favorite mouse it will all be worth it.
Overall – 10.0
If you consider yourself an elite gamer or just want an extra edge over your opponents the next time you go online for some Counterstrike the Icemat is going to give you that edge. I went into this review a bit skeptical but after almost a month of using this amazing "piece of glass" I am convinced that the Icemat is the second most important device you can buy (next to a good mouse) to give you the ultimate in precision input and control. I highly recommend it.