“Should I get my fingers on a gaming mouse pad?”, or ”What should I look for?” These are questions that many gamers might ask if they don’t own a gaming mouse pad and consider buying one.
A mouse pad is basically a surface that your mouse is gliding on, which was pretty much essential back when mice were using a trackball to track their movements:
Yup mice were rolling on that grey ball, as you can see above.
These old mice needed a surface that gave friction for the ball to roll. But today modern mice don’t utilize a tracking ball, but rather laser- or optical sensors. Therefore, a mouse pad isn’t needed on that particular case, since they do work on most surfaces.
However, there is a difference between tracking on random surfaces and tracking on optimized surfaces. Of cause, the mouse may track on a surface such as glass, but that doesn’t mean that you might enjoy it. Maybe it gives too little friction, too uncomfortable for your wrist, and so on. The issue for gamers that consider buying a mouse pad is mainly because of the material of the surface.
Yes, it is a personal issue and in some cases also a luxury issue, but having the right mouse pad with the right surface, does help you feel right when using your gaming mouse.
Types of Mouse PadsThere are many types of mouse pads out there with their own specific shape, feature, and material. I’ll try to account for types of common mouse pad materials and their advantages and disadvantages.
Cloth padsCloth pads are usually made from soft foam and fabric and are known to be the most comfortable type of mousepads. Though thin cloth pads are not as comfortable as the thicker ones, they are less bulky. Taking LAN parties into consideration, cloth pads are also the most flexible and transportable pads because you can just roll them up and go.
Gliding and griping wise, they do give friction and tactile feedback when you glide your mouse over the surface, which some do prefer.
However, cloth mousepads tend to get dirty over time, and they can be a drag to clean. Their edges also tend to fray or start coming off every 5-6 months or so, which can be a deal-breaker.