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XTrac Hammer
Page 1 - Gaming Mousepad
Author: Philip Lam (Phirewerkz)
Date: August 08, 2003
Category: Hardware
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XTrac Hammer

As computer gaming becomes more intense, a high degree of precision is needed. In many first person shooters, quick decisions and movements must be made or else youíll be killed by an enemy, whether itís a counter terrorist or a quake master.

Because of this, many companies have developed optical mice to allow the user enjoy smooth and constant mouse movement with no cleaning at all. The next leap towards gaming perfection lies on the surface. What makes a good mouse pad? Companies like Ratpadz and Everglide have produced mouse pads to fit gamers' needs. Thanks to ADPmods, I have the oppourtunity to review the XTrac Hammer mousepad equipped with some XTrac Eels Mouse Tape. Will this new mouse pad by XTrac satisfy the average gamer? Take a look at the specifications:

XTrac Hammer
Front Side Material Plastic
Back Side Material Polypropylene (Sure Grip II)
Dimensions 11" x 17"

The mouse was enclosed in a box filled with Styrofoam bits. After careful inspection, I found no blemishes or machine marks that discontinued the smooth and slight texture. What astonished me was the size; it is much bigger than XTracís previous mouse pads (8.5" x 11"). This benefits those gamers who need a lot of space for mouse movement and wastes desk space for those that do not.

One unique feature about this mouse pad is its thickness, or lack of it. Notice that their specifications do not even include the third dimension; the mouse pad is practically as thick as a business card. As a result, you can place one part of the mouse pad underneath a keyboard and the keyboard will not rock. This means that this mouse pad will not affect other peripherals even under cramped conditions. One thing to keep in mind because of this is the fact that the mouse pad can bend and crease very easily which would damage it.

The Logo
The Logo
The Mouse Pad
The Mouse Pad
The Thickness
The Thickness

Contributing to the lack of thickness is the fact that there are no gripping feet. Instead, the whole surface is used to reduce the movement of the mouse pad. The rubberized backing utilizes XTracís Sure Grip II, which is made of polypropylene. I found that the material used for the backing prevents the mouse pad from moving at all.

Hexagonal Texture
Hexagonal Texture

Again, the design of the mousepad is composed of hexagons. This is like all the other mouse pads XTrac has made. It has a nice texture and is not harsh on one's skin. The sliding motion on this mousepad is great. When I started using my Microsoft Optical WheelMouse on the new mouse pad I could immediately feel a difference in the sliding motion. It feels a lot easier to move the mouse around; this was later proven when a slight push of the mouse sent the mouse a lot further than my other mouse pads.

There is very little sound produced by friction, definitely not enough to bother the average gamer. A noticeable improvement can be seen when switching to this mouse pad while using an optical mouse. Ball mice performance is also increased, but not as much as an optical mouse. This does not surprise me because this mouse pad was designed for optical mice.

The overall feel of the mouse pads ranks the same as the Ratpadz in my opinion. Both have a large surface area and a texture that combines precision with quickness.

Eels Mouse Tape
Eels Mouse Tape
After Application
After Application

Along with the XTrac Hammer, I also received XTrac Eels Mouse Tape, which allows for smoother mouse movement. After five minutes of trying to peel off the adhesive, I finally applied the mouse tape. An immediate difference was felt; there seemed to be less noise produced due the difference contact surface. It also seemed to take less force to move the mouse around. All in all, the Eels Mouse Tape is a nice addition to a smoother gaming environment. It sells for $6 CDN per 5 inches at ADPmods.

Overall, the XTrac Hammer mouse pad is a nice addition for gamers who need a large yet precise gaming surface. The large area as well as its thickness allows the user to place it almost anywhere they want without disrupting other objects, like a keyboard. The nice texture combines precision with easy movement. The Sure Grip II backing works efficiently and keeps the mouse pad in place. Just be sure to take good care of it; any slight bending may result in a crease. However, some people will probably prefer another mousepad if he or she is looking to save some money. The XTrac Hammer sells for $30 CDN ($21.35 USD) at ADPmods. Comparing the Everglide DKT and this mousepad (both are large mouse pads), the Everglide costs around $0.06/in2, while the Hammer costs about $0.12/in2. All in all, I give this mouse pad a very deserving 4.0.

Final Score

4 out of 5 Weird Blue Faces

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