XTracPads Ripper XXL Review
|Reviewer:||Craig Dudley (Mani)|
Reviewing a mouse mat is never all that easy, what can you really say? Sure you can talk about how well different models of mice might track on its surface or how that might relate to increased potency in your favourite shooter but that's all really quite subjective and for the most part useless.
However, the review becomes so much more fun when it's something that little bit different. Meet the XTracPads Ripper XXL, at 36 by 18 inches, that's more than 90 x 45cm this is perhaps the biggest mouse surface in the world. In fact it's so big that calling it a mouse mat is somewhat futile, this is why XTracPads themselves call it a Desktop Experience and it's hard to argue.
The mat itself is a black cloth covered foam rubber design, similar in makeup to most of the mats we've all ever used if a little thinner and much larger of course. The slight difference here is that this particular cloth is woven very tightly and has a very smooth feel; all the mice I have tried glide across it with ease. Still, let's be brutally honest, your mouse will probably glide better on a hard plastic or metal pad, but that sort of low friction, highly sensitive mouse movement is not for everyone, me included. However the Ripper does ship with two pieces of 'Mad Tape' which has a very similar look to old school cloth sticking plasters but is in fact exceptionally slick. When applied to the feet of your rodent things get a whole lot smoother, this is of course optional.
As I've said, I'm not going to talk about how well your mouse will track on the Ripper XXL, if you've ever used a half decent cloth mat, you'll already have a pretty good idea, though this is a very good cloth mat indeed. Instead I'm going to talk about the sheer size of it and how that affects your gaming and general PC use.
If you ever get sick of having to reposition your pad or annoyed at it slipping about the table then a super large mouse surface like this may well be for you, this thing is so big and has so much desktop traction that it's never going to slip while you move your mouse, not unless you're the Hulk anyway.
If the noise of keyboard activity annoys others in the house then a mat big enough to big all the way under your keyboard will help to dampen that noise and might just be ideal, this side effect has really helped me, my wife is much less likely to get upset with me in the evenings anyway and that can only be good.
My favourite feature; whether by design or not, is the general feeling of comfort this mat gives your whole computing experience. If like me you like to rest your arms or elbows on the desk while you chat or play then you will love the Ripper XXL, your whole desk becomes a comfortable, cushioned environment. I have to be honest, even if I didn't want to use a cloth mouse surface, I'd be very tempted to buy one of these just to sit underneath whatever other pad I choose and the rest of my desk of course.
Of course being cloth and so damn large means that cleaning is bound to be an issue; sweaty hands, spilt drinks and food crumbs are all things that would usually not matter, but the muck doesn't have any other place to go with the Ripper XXL, it does cover pretty much my entire desk after all. So how easy is to clean? Well I have spot cleaned some areas of it with reasonable success just using warm soapy water, in a similar fashion you might use on a hard surface, this just takes much longer to dry. However the real test comes when the mat requires a serious clean. The sort of clean only a full 40 degree cycle in the washing machine can provide!
Having washed cloth mouse mat in the past, I know that they tend to fray quite badly around the edges; this isn't usually such an issue with cheap mats as you can simply bin them and get another, that's not something you can really do with the much bigger and more expensive Ripper XXL. You could of course accept that it will fray and trim the edges either with a pair of scissors or singe them a lighter, though I didn't tell you to do that and if you do so it's entirely at your own risk. Alternatively you can try to prevent the fraying in the first place, my solution to this was to roll up the Ripper XXL and wash it inside a pillow case. While not perfect, it does reduce fraying to an absolute minimum.
Finally, after many washes and much trimming of frayed edges your enormous mouse surface has plenty of spare real estate and an edge trim with a pair of pinking shears or very sharp scissors will rid you of unsightly edges very easily while making very little difference to the overall size. Or course should the fraying an general wear and tear being to take too much of a toll on certain areas of your pad, you could always chop it up into small pieces, I fully expect you could get twelve small mouse surfaces or six large ones from this baby if you really wanted to. Personally, I think when that time comes, I'll use a different matt on top of the Ripper XXL which is staying on my desktop for the foreseeable future.
- Tracks reasonably well with ball, optical and laser mice
- Gives you a luxurious and comfortable desktop
- The included Mad Tape works well
- Not hugely expensive given it's size.
- Can be washed if care is taken
Not so good stuff
- Cloth mats aren't for everyone
- Hard surfaces are easier to clean
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