ROCCAT Sense Core, CTRL, Pro Review (Page 2 of 4)

Page 2 - A Closer Look

With all three of the ROCCAT Sense pads out on full display, you can see each of them are quite different in their appearances and sizes. Starting from the similarities, you can see all of them have a fully black surface with a silver ROCCAT head logo on the top right corner. The two larger pads have bright green ROCCAT tags on the left side of the pads. Starting with the Core Mini, we have a 250mm by 210mm pad with a thickness of 2mm. This is pretty small, but should be good for laptop gamers who presumably will connect a mouse. Moving up, we have the Pro Square in a notably larger 450mm by 450mm with a 2mm thickness as well. This takes up quite a bit more depth than you may expect, but I like this size for users that do not want a full-length pad. Finally, the CTRL XXL is our largest one at 900mm by 420mm and a thickness of 3mm. It spans double the Square in length, but has a slightly narrower width. As I mentioned on the first page, these pads are all available in Square and XXL, with the Sense Core also available in the smallest Mini size, too. As such, you should be able to find a dimension that works better for you. Otherwise, the Sense CTRL and Pro are the only two pads with stitched edges to ensure the sides do not fray or come apart from the rubber base. ROCCAT has used a lower-profile stitching to make sure the edges do not bother your wrist or arm as it rests upon it. I wish they included this stitching on the Sense Core too, because it helps with durability over time.

As for the surfaces, the differentiation between the three siblings is just as apparent as their size differences. Starting with the Core, ROCCAT has branded this as their balanced pad, and as such has a semi-smooth surface despite being a cloth pad. I can understand the balanced name, especially since it really does sit in between the CTRL and Pro in terms of roughness of surface. The Sense CTRL is quite a bit rougher with its vulcanized heat-treated surface and rougher feel. It is not as textured as a Cordura surface like the Cooler Master MasterAccessory MP510-L. From a surface perspective, the CTRL has a much tighter knit for a slightly smoother feel than the MP510-L, but the surface friction difference between the Sense CTRL and the other pads are noticeable. Finally, the Sense Pro is on the other end of the spectrum with the smoothest finish. ROCCAT says this is a military-grade fabric with an even more tightly woven material for the smoothest finish. It definitely has the fastest feeling surface with an almost plastic-like finish.

Before we continue on to the surface inspection, let me quickly go over the advantages and disadvantages of a cloth-based mousing surface. Cloth-based surfaces provide better comfort and control, are easier on mice feet, generates little noise during use, can even out some imperfect surfaces, and is more portable. Unfortunately, it can come at reduced glide performance, and is inherently bound to attract and accumulate dust, dirt, and liquid. This can include human liquids too, such as sweat from your hands. Plastic, aluminum, glass, or any other solid surface can easily be run under the tap to restore it to original condition, but you cannot do the same with cloth surfaces. I would not recommend this with any of our ROCCAT Sense mousepads, as soaking it in water can potentially negatively affect the consistency of the surface. One thing that does make the CTRL and Pro a bit different is that ROCCAT has made these cloth surfaces more resistant to liquids. Whether it is the vulcanized finish or the military grade material on the CTRL or Pro, respectively, these surfaces are more repellent to liquids compared to the Sense Core. In fact, water will bead on the Pro surface, while it only slowly gets absorbed with the CTRL, giving users time to get to wipe the liquids off.

As usual, I threw all of these surfaces onto a scanner and ran it through at 1200dpi to ensure we could get a closer and clearer image of the surface while also looking for any imperfections. With the Sense Core on first, you can see the dotted pattern here with a consistent pattern all throughout the surface. There were no apparent defects or flaws with a constant pattern and feel other than the ROCCAT logo, which is placed far out of the way of the middle of the pad. Compared to the other pads, the ROCCAT Sense Core seems to be the baby bear in terms of its tightness of braiding, sitting between the CTRL and Pro.

Moving on to the ROCCAT Sense CTRL, you can see how this slightly rougher surface translates into a bit less of a patterned surface as depicted by the scanned image. While I can assure you the fabric feels quite consistent across the pad, its rougher surface is clearly seen with a more seemingly random pattern of the material. This is probably also due to the heat-treatment of the fabric to make for a more control-oriented surface. We will see how this change affects our performance in our tests later on.

As I have described the ROCCAT Sense Pro, you should know this is the smoothest-feeling of all of the pads we have today, and this scanned image clearly shows it with the more uniform pattern here. As mentioned previously, it definitely feels closer to plastic than fabric, but this smooth finish is precisely targeted for those wanting a glide-focused pad for quick and snappy movements. It was also the most water repellent of surfaces that we had today, which again is no surprise. Once again, this finish was quite consistent across the pad.

While their top surfaces are all different, the bottom of all of the ROCCAT Sense pads have the same pattern. From here, you can see the tread pattern on the bottom to ensure the surfaces stay gripped to the surface. This angled pattern is very similar to other base surfaces we have seen and do an effective job of keeping the pads in place. The angled zig-zags are consistent around the bottom, so there are no areas of slippage or accidental movement here.

Page Index
1. Introduction, Packaging, Specifications
2. A Closer Look
3. Subjective Performance Tests
4. Conclusion