Home Editorial Are gaming mousepads worth $40?

If you told the average consumer you spent $80 on a gaming mouse, they might laugh at you. Hell, they’d probably laugh at you for spending $40 on one.

So what would they think if you told them that’s how much you spent on your mousepad?

Ludicrous as it may sound, PC gamers aren’t well known for restraint when it comes to computer accessories. Swedish manufacturer Mionix is well aware of this opportunity, and is positioning itself as the luxury brand for your laser-guided gibbing. But are pro performance placemats worth it?

 

Choose your weapon holster

Upon opening Mionix’ storefront, you’ll find there’s a pretty broad range of mousepads available, with the last fix products comprising the company’s most recent movement-tracking materials. Essentially, these boil down into two lines of ‘pad:

  • Sargas mousepads are made of dense, black microfiber with rubberized bottom surfaces.
  • Ensis mousepads are constructed of polished aluminum alloy, also with rubberized footing.

Additionally, Ensis accessories are available in both black (default) or alloy (the Ensis Luna line). They’re basically made of the same material, so what color you pick is a personal preference. That said, there are stain-related arguments for each, which I’ll get to in a minute.

Each Mionix product is numbered by its width, in millimeters; the smallest of each line is a not-that-small 320 mm. With the base model already considerably huge, the Sargas 900 is a sight to behold – at just under a meter, it took up my entire desk.

 

Come relax at my pad

Immediately upon unboxing and placing each of the five samples (Sargas 320, Sargas 400, Sargas 900, Ensis 320, Ensis 320 Luna), my first impression was comfortable. The microfiber Sargas mousepads are all very soft, yet reasonably firm, providing support without accompanying pain. These products are also incredibly smooth, so your mouse and hand can glide around fairly effortlessly, provided you have a good gaming mouse, of course. The silky, sheer feeling of the Sargas microfiber was certainly most pronounced in the gigantic Sargas 900, which invites full-length arm resting, if not midday naps.

While I didn’t expect resting my hand on a gigantic piece of metal would be good for my wrist, the aluminum Ensis line is also comfortable, in a different way. The hard surface isn’t exactly cushy, but it is quite literally cool. The broad surface and conductive nature of the Ensis 320 mean it dissipates heat quickly, keeping your mouse-using experience at a lower temperature. That might not be preferable if you shiver easily, but it was a welcome side-effect in my otherwise stuffy office.

You can have soft, or you can have cool. Choose wisely.

 

Cleanliness is  next to 1337ness

On the topic of the Ensis aluminum line, the most obvious sticking point is, well, sticky things. Unlike a cloth mousepad, the metal Ensis surface attracts smudges, fingerprints, and oil-stains rather easily. While using the Ensis 320 Luna for a week, I felt consistently compelled to wash my hands, even though they were, by all reasonable measures, clean. If you’re a neat freak, you’re probably not going to be able to control your OCD long enough between mousepad polish sessions.

That said, the flat, solid nature of the Ensis line also means they’re easier to clean than the Sargas pads or other cloth/plastic surfaces. I found that a daily wipe with a microfiber eyeglass cloth restored the Ensis 320 to an impressive shine. I’m a pretty neat person, though, so more thorough cleaning may be needed if you’re regularly downing Doritos while gaming.

The Sargas series mousepads aren’t by any means hard to wipe down – no more so than a typical off-the-shelf solution. They are particularly dark black, making it easy to spot dust, crumbs, and hair that happen to land in the vicinity of your mouse. I don’t know how these super-spongy products would handle a spill of water or, god help you, Coke… my recommendation is try not to find out.

 

Extremely serious performance test

If you’re in the market for a gaming mousepad, your primary question is probably “WiNG, does this actually increase my KDR?” Using both the Sargas and the Ensis mousepads for a week, I was having a hard time saying yes with any conviction. I felt like I was playing better in most titles (as well as navigating Windows applications fluidly), but surely there had to be a more objective test? I fired up FRAPS and took the Mionix gaming mousepads to task:

 

At what cost luxury?

While my performance test was by no means conclusive, I can say without a doubt that both series of Mionix gaming mousepads are comfortable, well-built, and a pleasure to look at. On multiple occasions, others remarked on the beauty of these surfaces, which is worth something, I guess… but how much?

Sargas microfiber mousepads start at $14.99, which is pretty much comparable to what you’d see from other performance shops, if not cheaper. The 320 is certainly a reasonable surface to work with; the Sargas 400 is still a good deal at $19.99. For $29.99, the Sargas 900 is probably overkill for the average consumer or gamer, though I lent it to a graphic designer who positively remarked on having “almost infinite space for my mouse” and “such a nice, large surface to rest on.” That’s great if you have the money and space to spare, but it’s certainly not for everyone.

At $39.99, the Ensis 320 is a steeper investment. I’ve certainly enjoyed these surfaces, primarily because of the cool, metallic feel they provide. But at just under forty bucks, I’d be hard-pressed to recommend them to everyone. If you tend to have a lot of mess or food in your mouse’s area of influence, the Ensis will probably make cleanup easier. Or, if you have lots of cash lying around and just want to make people pause at your cubicle, consider your mission accomplished.

The fact of the matter is you can’t go wrong with either mousepad line, as they’re all stylish, comfy, and responsive. You may or may not see a score increase compared to your current mousepad, but you’ll most likely be able to play at the top of your game for longer when your wrist isn’t in pain, right? For this reason, Mionix should be considered as an alternative to any gaming-grade surface you’re thinking of purchasing.

Just try to keep your grubby little hands clean, okay?

5 replies to this post
  1. By the way, the Lusitania was sunk in 1915, not 1910, and the Nazis did not take control of Germany until some 20 years later. So they had nothing to do with the Lusitania sinking, especially as the Nazi Party was formed in 1920. Thanks for good and amusing review, despite the lousy European history lesson lol

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