If you were to ask the question "how do you control your PC?" pretty much the majority of answers will be along the lines of "with my mouse". As such, mice have been designed and redesigned for changing markets, new features and of course to try and appeal to the individual in all of us. It's the fascination to have something a little different from the rest that has extended to mouse surfacing as well. It may be a simple image imprinted onto the mousemat, differing shapes, textures and materials, or as has been seen in both the modding community and now retail companies, differing designs featuring some kind of illumination.
However I think that this review item certainly tries to appeal to more than just one user base with its differing colour cycling which is a little different, especially from a manufacturer. What am I talking about? .
7 Colours options in one pad choices
Eight function is automatic cycle through the seven colours
Incredible lit up bubble effect
Gaming enthusiast approved mousing surface
Terrific night time illumination – ideal for LAN parties
Low power consumption LED lights
USB Cable 1.8m
Slick mousing surface that works well with both Ball and Optical Mice
The FlexiGlow FX GamePad comes in a clear plastic shell type package with all the usual PR info displayed, and partially the pad itself. Opening the package you are presented with the pad itself and attached 1.8m USB lead for power, as well as a small packet with two spare feet which I thought was a great touch by Flexiglow. Sure, the chances of losing a foot are minimal but the thought was their and it could happen.
The surface of the pad itself is a textured black plastic which works well for both ball and optical mice so a good choice their. Bottom right of the face of the pad we have an FX Game Pad logo and top middle is a FlexiGlow logo. Next to this is the button for cycling the colour options.
The rear of the pad shows off where the colours come from. The base of the pad is a clear, bubbled plastic with the center area housing the LEDs for colour; three LEDs in each of the four corners of the black circle aiming to the four corners of the pad. Despite the fact there are only those tiny 3mm LEDs, three of each in each corner, they do a terrific job of lighting up the base, even in broad daylight. I've had to (unfortunately) colour edit some of the photos below because my camera wouldn't pick up the colours to well, but the colours are very good in real life.
You can get 7 colours from the pad ranging from Green, Red, Blue, Yellow (red and green), Purple (red and blue), Aqua (blue and green), and finally RGB/All/White. All of these are cycled through by pressing the button. When you power the pad (plug it in) the pad will go through a light show testing all of the colours smoothly, and then one after the other quickly before finally stopping all lighting. You can then press the button to go to green, again for off, again for red, again for off... wash rinse repeat. This will get you through the 7 colour options, although there is an 8th option which will slowly and smoothly cycle from one colour to the next in about 4 seconds continuously.
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 Call of Duty (specifically the last level). 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 Call of Duty
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
I've said it before and I will say it again, the laminated standard pad is awful; full stop. It's too small, drags on the mouse feet to much and frankly ruins my gaming and any precision work in Photoshop.
The desktops big bonus for optical mice is simply space. When it comes to gaming and graphic work, having a low sensitivity and lots of room can be a real boon. However not everyone can say the same thing about their desktop surface, it all depends on what you have (mines pine woodgrain for reference). It is also pretty bad for the ball mice, since they can’t get a good grip on the surface and you often end up slipping/skipping.
The Steelpad 4S reduces the overall size the desktop has, but has almost perfect precision and grip with both ball and optical mice. It's noisy but all of the cons are something you can get used too.
The FlexiGlow FX GamePad has a moderately small area for mousing in this day and age although the overall size of it (including the clear base) makes you think it is bigger. The surface itself is textured nicely and works very well in graphic programs, general day to day use, and even gaming... if you can get past the highly irritating placement of the colour changing button. Putting the button on the surface of the pad itself was a big mistake as any movement of the mouse (by even those with high sensitivity) towards the top right will invariably find you catching the button. You mouse will either come to a dead stop, your hand will slip, the mouse will turn on the spot, you mouse will be lifted from the surface and you will lose traction.
You get the idea.
I also suspect that after a time, this little rubber button will be accidentally removed by continually knocking it with the mouse. What I would have liked to have seen is the button for the colour cycling on the USB lead as near to the pad as possible, or at least off of the pad itself.
have created a visually appealing pad (assuming you like flashy lights) and have made the correct choice of giving you, the end user a choice in the colouring you might want. Not many companies give you this flexibility, as you are usually restricted to one colour and that colour is more often than not blue. Even when unlit the pad is appealing for its clear bubbled base alone. Flexiglow even go so far as to include spare feet for the pad, just incase.
Power for the pad is obtained via a 1.8m USB lead so you should have a generous amount of leeway for positioning your pad. The colours on the pad are terrific; when you cycle to red, it IS red. Blue IS blue, etc. And all of this can be changed from the push of one button.
The surface of the pad is standard size but works very well with both optical and ball mice so it is a shame that with a pad which has obviously been thought through before being brought to market, and indeed was delayed for a redesign, they chose the surface of the pad to place the colour cycling button. This is the pads major flaw, and for me personally was frustrating enough to delay the review itself, as I often became too irritated using it to give the pad a ‘fair chance’.
If the button was relocated to somewhere off the mousing area, preferably onto the wiring, perhaps increase the size a little as well, would have a real winner on their hands. But as it stands right now, that button placement kills off one quarter of the pads usage (the top right).
No sooner had I finished this review than Flexiglow contacted us with updated info and pictures. Take a look below.
On the left is the orginal button, on the right is current style of the button (albeit retail units are in matching black rather than the clear silicon). This should be pretty much perfect as a light touch from a finger will trigger the colour cycling but the movement of the mouse won't. If you're looking for a new mouse pad, and want something a bit flashy, I don't think you'll find another pad that can offer as many combinations of colour as this one.
Pros: USB Power - not rocket science. Has an off function as well as being lit, 7 colours to choose from - not restricted to one or blue. One touch button to choose colour/function. Colour cycling mode for that disco effect! Very good colours displayed - no off colours; red IS red. Good surface for both ball and optical mice.
Cons: Could be bigger.
Bottom Line: Flexiglow have done almost everything right with this pad, you have multiple colours, an off function and a great surface. You can grab this mousepad over at (US) and at (UK).
If you have any comments, be sure to hit us up in our forums.