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SteelSeries S&S Review

SteelSeries S&S pack shot
Manufacturer:SteelSeries
Product:S&S Mouse Surface
Platform:PC/Mac
Official Site:http://www.steelseries.com/../ss
Reviewer:Scott Smith (Poog)
 

For those of us with recent (2001 onwards) experience of online gaming the name SteelSeries will probably ring a bell. SteelSeries is one of the leading gaming accessory manufacturers in the world, most notably in the mouse mat area. While SteelSeries have branched off into headsets and the likes they will always be known as one of the first big mouse mat manufacturers.

Their original masterpiece was actually made of steel (hence the name), I'm not too sure on the year they first started kicking them out but I personally bought one around 2001/2002 and used it for over a year. The metal eventually wore down from overuse and I moved onto a new technology called the func pad. What relevance does this have you might ask; well this SteelSeries S&S reminds me greatly of the func pad a pad which many people consider a classic, even though they aren't exactly all that hard wearing. I suspect the S&S will be somewhat more robust over time and early signs are definitely good in that respect.

SteelSeries S&S screenshot 1

At 320mm x 270mm the S&S is of medium size (most would regard it large but those of us that have seen pads like DKT etc will know what a large mat truly is) and is wafer thin at only 2mm. As mentioned before the surface is a textured hard plastic.

Performance wise it is brilliant, at this time I only have laser mice to test with it but SteelSeries say it is compatible with both ball and optical mice and I can't see why it wouldn't be great with those too. Having used a DKT cloth pad for the past 4 years+ the transition to a hard plastic surface was a strange one but not that time consuming. The smoothness of the S&S was an age ahead of the now old and dirty cloth mat; the mouse glides across its surface easily. At first it most definitely felt a little too "skiddy" but after a week or so it becomes second nature. The precision you get from the pad is something else; there is a great balance between smooth gliding and friction, it's incredibly easy to swiftly move side to side while still maintaining precise accuracy with small movements.

SteelSeries S&S screenshot 2

It is the perfect complement to games, having tested more than a few FPS's I definitely felt very comfortable with fast long movements, sometimes a slightly less sensitive mouse setting might be required though. SteelSeries are a big sponsor of professional gaming and in particular clans like Schroet Kommando (SK), this sponsorship does involve such clans being involved in the development of new SteelSeries kit like the S&S. With input and direction from one the world's leading gaming clans you're not going to produce average products and average the S&S is not.

What did surprise me though, was the difference it made to my general computer use. These days I spend most of my time researching and writing assignments with a little less gaming time mores' the pity. But simple things such as browsing the web become so much more effortless if your pad is consistent and accurate.

My only gripe would be its size, for the majority of you it will be adequate but after using the enormous DKT pad I've got used to being spoiled for room so I have ended up spinning it around 90 degrees to give more vertical room which seems to have done the trick for me, any chance of a bigger version please SteelSeries?

Summary

Overall the SteelSeries S&S is a great mouse mat, one I would highly recommend. At EUR 34.99 + shipping direct from the SteelSeries on-line store it isn't a cheap option, but it's sure to be a little cheaper if you can find a local distributor to avoid the overseas shipping costs. However if you take your gaming seriously then I doubt you'll find much better bang for your buck.

The bottom line
8.5 / 10

Good stuff

  • Smooth and responsive surface
  • Great precision
  • Sticky underside provides good stability
  • Comfortable over extended use

Not so good stuff

  • Could be bigger
  • A little expensive for the money conscious gamer


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