By: Jonathan Kwan
August 5, 2006
Mousepads has been quite a big thing here at APH for quite a while. We've looked at mousepads of various sizes -- from the huge XTracPads Ripper XXL to average sized mousing surfaces such as Func's sUrface 1030 Archetype. Besides physical dimensions, materials and its properties has been put into consideration -- from our favorite XTracPads Hybrid to our plastic collection such as the Corepad Victory; and let's not forget all the cloth pads we'll be looking at in the next few weeks. All we have to say is that mousepads may sound common, but it's not easy to make a good one that we just want to recommend to everyone. However, when the ever-so-common cloth or plastic (Or a combination of both) is put away, we've got other contestants as well who want to join the game -- and that includes mousing surfaces made out of glass. Remember Icemat 2nd Edition? Let's see if our Corepad Magna, another glass pad that we'll be reviewing today, is any competition against the Icemat. Will it challenge the highly praised APH Recommended Func sUrface 1030 Archetype as well as the XTracPads Hybrid too? Let's dig into our review today and we'll find out.
Our review unit came in an 'ABC Mail' labeled box from The Netherlands, which held our Corepad Victory that we've looked at two weeks ago. We still have quite a bit more products to review, but at least we are on our second article right now!
Out of the reusable cardboard box as we've seen with the Corepad Victory, you'll get the Corepad Magna glass surface itself, along with a second piece acting as its grip. I found this approach pretty unique, since majority of mousepads have grips or grip backings integrated under the actual mousing surface. This will have its advantages and disadvantages; I'll elaborate more upon this later in this review. A Teflon mouse feet tape is also included as well as a short multilingual specification sheet. Speaking of specifications, the following information were taken from Corepad's website:
Large gaming surface with unique surface:
- Long lasting safety glass surface
- For low and high sensitivity mouse settings
- Inclusive non-slip rubber base
- 315x255x4.0mm / 12.4"x10.0"x0.16"
- Weight: 1325 grams
Size comparison with other mousepads. From top left: SteelPad QcK+, Corepad Magna, Corepad Eyepad S, Corepad Victory, Icemat 2nd Edition, SteelPad 5L, XTracPads Hybrid, Corepad Eyepad M, XTracPads Ripper XXL. For your interest, the one rolled up unopened is the Corepad Deskpad XXXL and beneath it is a Corepad Eyepad XL. The Corepad Magna is pretty good in terms of area for mouse usage.
When placed side by side with the Icemat 2nd Edition, Corepad's Magna is slightly thinner than its competitor product, even with its separate grip backing placed underneath the glass surface. Unfortunately, I still find its height a little too thick for my likings -- and this is one major disadvantage of glass surfaces due to the nature of glass itself.
Its separate flexible rubber grip backing is one unique and interesting implementation we have not seen in other mousepad that we've reviewed so far. A major advantage comes into play during cleaning. When mousepads are washed, the rubber backing usually absorbs and holds some of the water until it has a chance to evaporate; which will render your mousepad unusable for at least a few hours. With a separate rubber backing, that part of the mousepad will not be exposed to water, therefore as a glass surface, it will be usable again right after cleaning and a quick towel wipe because no water will be absorbed at all. On the other hand, it will pose major disadvantages to the end user. Instead of the grip holding itself only down to the desk, now it not only have to establish a strong traction with the surface it's been placed on, but also the glass part of the Corepad Magna itself. In addition to that, relocating your mousepad will require more effort than usual. When traveling with this product, you'll have to worry about two things instead of one -- and the rubber backing, if you lose it or break it, you will be in trouble. Double the advantages, double the disadvantages.
A close up look at Corepad Magna's tracking surface. Instead of the frosted glass approach as we've seen with the Icemat 2nd Edition, there is a consistent amount of little pits acting as Corepad Magna's texture. The back of this mousepad is polished to a complete glass shine therefore won't be usable for mousing.
So, instead of using frosted glass, the Corepad Magna is unique and looks pretty good with a 'cool factor' such as being transparent as the bottom of the pits can be seen through; with its solid surrounding, it creates a mesh-like effect. Like how glass is supposed to be, the Corepad Magna is fairly reflective as you can see in our second photo above.
I noticed a few things in regards to the physical tendencies of the Corepad Magna. It is prone to attract dust and fingerprint/hand marks, and that will happen the moment you touch this product. As glass, in theory it is supposed to be easy to clean with plain water. However, putting it under the water tap or showerhead proves my initial expectations wrong. The Corepad Magna is actually pretty hard to clean with only water; adding a bit of soap assisted in cleaning, but still not what I expected. After an attempt involving using soap and water, it removed dust and some fingerprint marks, but remnants of hand marks still remain on the mousing surface. Not an easy surface to clean.
Moving onto our standard tests, I completed both our Photoshop freehand trace test and Counter-Strike: Source in game performance analysis. Using firmware version 1.1, our Logitech G5 will be used alongside for benchmarking. We will then rate our mousepad based on the following categories after obtaining our results:
Glide - For quick and effortless mouse movements across the mousing surface.
Control - For precise and accurate cursor/crosshair handling.
Grip - The mousepad's ability to stay in the same position on the desk without undesirably relocating itself.
Noise - Will this mousepad generate noise when the mouse is being used?
The first thing we'll talk about today is glide. When I first ran my Logitech G5 over the Corepad Magna, I cannot believe what it felt like. The glide is absolutely horrible, especially for a high-end enthusiast product. It felt like that the Corepad Magna was designed to create traction with my mouse instead of enhancing glide, and I am pretty disappointed in this. Corepad sent along a small bottle of Corewax, a product designed to enhance glide. I applied a small amount and spread it over the whole surface of Corepad's Magna; glide improved a bit but still not up to par.
In terms of control, it's pretty... average. I can say Corepad Magna's control likely came from its lack of glide, and not the performance advantage or design of this product. Grip with its two-part design is acceptable; due to the weight of the glass applied over the rubber grip. I noticed minimal undesired relocations of the mousepad due to normal usage or even during first person shooter gaming.
One problem with glass pads is that they generate noise. As the Icemat 2nd Edition created undesired sounds when mouse is moved across its surface, our Corepad Magna is no exception. In addition to that, the Polytetrafluoroethylene feet on my Logitech G5 was really scratched up and worn down after less than a day of usage. I am pretty grateful Corepad sent along a set of replacement Teflon mouse feet for my G5.
All I can say is that the Corepad Magna is a good experiment with glass for a mousing surface. With nice looks and 'cool factor' such as being shiny and mesh-like see through design, its unique two part approach has its advantages and disadvantages; which primarily involves theoretical convenience in cleaning. However, the glass surface itself proves to be too hard to clean and generates annoying noises during usage. Unacceptable glide performance with a surface that worn down my mouse feet when used -- this already outweighs this product's control and grip factor. There are better products out there for your money, and it would be excellent if this product will be improved upon next time. Looking forward to Corepad's next launch of improved glass mousing surfaces.
Special thanks to Marcel over at Corepad for making this review possible.
Note: The number ratings below has been adjusted accordingly to comply with our new Number Rating System.
What do these ratings mean?
Hard to clean mousing surface and unacceptable glide performance alone just simply turned us away from this product. There are better things out there for your money; and while this product is a good experiment with glass surfaces, there are definitely things that should be improved upon. We'll definitely be looking forward to Corepad's improved glass mousing surfaces next time.