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Flexiglow xRaider Mouse Pad Print
Written by Scott Harness   
Friday, 13 August 2004

articles.jpgFlexiglow xRaider Mouse Pad

We look at Flexiglow's latest mouse pad which improves on their past designs, and of course, it still glows.

Manufacturer:
Buy: (US) & (UK)

I think that everyone by now must be familiar with the concept of a glowing mouse pad. They take on various designs from a completely glowing base, to the edges glowing, to bubble styled acrylic glass... you get the idea. But more often than not a simple idea is the best one, and whilst the Flexiglow FX Game Pad was a good pad with an innovative 7 colours in one, sometimes you just want one colour. If you're a gamer, there will be other things you will consider when it comes to a mousing surface too. Features such as a low height to reduce wrist strain, plenty of room from the mouse pad, and of course the surface has to be just right.

have a new line of mouse pads on the market, aimed once more at gamers but with a subtly simpler approach to the design whilst still retaining the "fun" factor of having a pad that lights up. Today we'll be checking out the xRaider Mouse Pad.

 

Features

Gamer approved mouse surface.
5 Silicone feet for added surface adhesion.
1.8 meter USB power cable.
Dimmer control dial.
Size: 290mm wide x 223mm x 5mm high
Mousing Area: 260 x 213mm
Colours Blue, Red, and Green
Connection: USB wire ( 1.8m)

Once more the packaging by Flexiglow is excellent. We have a good deal of info visible, as well as a glance at the product itself. You also won't need a hacksaw to get at the mouse pad, which is a pet-peeve hate of mine.

Inside, the contents are few; the mouse pad and information sheet which details how to use and look after your xRaider mouse pad.

Unlike the FX Game Pad, the xRaider pads come in a singular colour (3 of them to choose from, Red, Green and Blue) which whilst limiting the diversity of themed applications does make more sense in that if you are planning on buying lighted mouse pad, you probably have a colour theme in mind.

The X Raider pads have a nice low, thin foot print which should help to reduce wrist strain for those long gaming sessions. It's also nice to see that Flexiglow have kept the acrylic surround to a minimum width allowing for more mousing surface area. Speaking of the surround, there is a great tribal motif etched into the acrylic which glows beautifully when the pad is powered.

All of the corners are nicely rounded and the mouse feet grip the table below very well, and whilst the glow is nice the last thing you want it for it be overpowering. Well once again Flexiglow have thought of this and provided a dimmer dial on the USB cable, so not only can you turn the glow off, you can also choose the intensity of the glow. Underneath, the LEDs that provide the light (4 of them aimed at each corner) are covered to help direct the light to the acrylic.

Each of the colours are very bright and a perfect shade of the colours they should be. That's to say that the red is RED and not pink, the blue is a clean blue, the green is a fresh green and there are no obvious deviations from the correct colours.

So that's quite a lot of positive comments, and bad ones? Not at this point no, but the proof is in the tasting as they say. (Ed. Note: I always thought it was proof is in the pudding. Dang slang!)

In Use

This is a very subjective part of the review but hopefully I'll be able to include enough information to help you make your own minds up. To test the pad I've been using it in both every day normal tasks such as web browsing or just clicking icons etc., as well as an intense few days of nonstop gaming (woe is me). Games of choice have ranged from Jedi Knight: Jedi Academy to FarCry. What I've been looking for here is to see the difference in the feel of accuracy both from my own sensory feedback as well as how I felt it affected my gaming and general use.

Weapons of choice here have been the Intellimouse Explorer V3.0 and the Rotokiller RTR-720 rotary ball mouse. In comparison I've used a cheap laminated mat (ugh), and the desktop surface itself as well as the Steelpad4S. The precision was determined in the following ways:

1) Sniping in FarCry
2) Sabre attacks in Jedi Academy
3) Pixel by Pixel drawing in Photoshop
4) Moving the mouse from lower left of screen to close a window as fast as possible

Do I have to go through how much I hate a standard laminated pad, not just for gaming but for general use, once more? There is no room, the surface drags on the mice... you get the picture.

The SteelPad4S is a great pad, although the scratching noise can be become grating (pun intended) after a while. Whilst the overall size isn't anywhere near that of the desktop, it does provide for a good surface that maintains a grip on the mouse ball and still allows the mouse itself to glide freely. The optical mouse is just as precise in use with the SteelPad4S as the ball mouse.

The desktop's big appeal is obviously real estate. But not everyone has the same desktop area or surface so this is subject to what you use as a desktop. For me it's a wood grain that is great for opticals, although some precision is lost in comparison with the SteelPad4S and xRaider. It does however impact on the grip of ball mice, making traction a hit and miss affair.

The xRaider pad is very precise. You get a good grip on the ball and it's still slick enough to glide a mouse across it. Optical mice are just as easily used and their isn't any unwanted noise from the pad. The low height of 5mm makes it very comfortable to use but its downside (for me at least) is the overall mousing area size.

It could benefit greatly from an extra couple of inches all round. I'm at a disadvantage in that I've gotten used to the desktop real estate, but I'm pretty sure any gamer would like a little extra room. It's a fine pad, don't get me wrong, and everyone is different. You get more room than a standard pad, but I would have liked to have seen a little more. Since Flexiglow are very good at listening and act on feedback, hopefully we'll see this addressed in future products.

Final Words

have once again produced a good product. I like the tribal design and the dimmer dial is a great idea. The low height makes it a very comfortable pad in use. It is very precise in use for gaming as well as other tasks such as windows navigation and image editing, although I'm pretty sure gamers would prefer a little extra room. Keep the dimensions in mind (290mm wide x 223mm x 5mm high) before you buy but I've no doubt if the size is Ok for you, you will be happy with the rest of the pads performance.

The glow from the pad is pretty much spot on in regards to colour shades and coverage. It's shaped nicely and has a rather fetching tribal motif engraved into the acrylic, so the aesthetic attraction is also there. A nice pad from Flexiglow.

Pros: Love the glow - correct shades and coverage. Tribal motif engraved in the acrylic surround, low height for comfort, precise surface with good glide of mice. Dimmer dial to control light brightness.

Cons: Some extra mousing surface area would be welcome.

Bottom Line: If the surface area of the mouse pad is large enough for you, then the xRaider pad will give you a nice look to your desktop with an adjustable glow, while still giving you correct precision for everything from everyday tasks to headshots in FarCry.

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