Page 3 - Subjective Performance Tests
Testing of a mousepad is quite subjective in nature, since there are no true objective benchmarks to spit out quantitative numbers for us to compare results when done. In order to make this subjective analysis a little more objective, I will be using my daily driver, the ROCCAT Kone Pure Owl-Eye. The tests will be completed in both graphics and gaming scenarios. These are two crucial areas where a good mouse in conjunction with a good mousepad really makes a difference. My intrinsic familiarity with the performance characteristics of the mouse will make it easy to determine differences between mousing surfaces. We will then break it down to the details, and rate our mousepad based on the following categories:
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?
As the SteelSeries QcK Prism has not one, but two sides, both of them will be tested in each category. Starting with glide, this is quite obviously where the harder surfaces will win over softer ones due to the lower friction. As such, the QcK Prism's hard surface was superb. It did not create too much friction, despite having a bit of grit to it. The mouse I tested the QcK Prism with did have Teflon feet underneath, and it helped with keeping a smooth and consistent feel. Thankfully, the hard surface did not leave any marks on my mouse either. Switching to the softer fabric surface also translated into a good experience. It might not have been as smooth as some of the other cloth pads we had tested with a bit more resistance, but it still was decent nonetheless. I can also report the surface felt consistent, whether moving up and down or left to right. In gaming situations, I definitely felt like the harder surface was easier to move the mouse around compared to the cloth one, but of course this also comes down to preference.
When it comes to control, this is where the story flips between hard and cloth mousing surfaces. The QcK Prism's harder side has a bit of grit, but due to its good glide feel, some may find the hard surface to allow for almost too much movement. I personally thought it struck a good balance between glide and control, and did not have any tracking or smoothness issues. However, if you want more control, then I would say the cloth side is perfect for you. In my testing, it offered the right amount of resistance to allow for handling the mouse. I ran through some lasso tests on Photoshop, and I was happy with the experience. Personally, I think cloth pads will do better in this area compared to hard surfaces as aforementioned, but this is based on preference. In game, the cloth side of the SteelSeries QcK Prism felt pretty similar to the HyperX Fury S, so I did not have much difficulty adjusting to the different surface. Sniping people down as Widowmaker in Overwatch was about the same experience as usual, and I was actually able to get a few more headshots than expected. In addition, the side mounted USB cable meant I never ran into issues with the cable of the ROCCAT Kone Pure Owl-Eye getting caught.
Moving to grip, the SteelSeries QcK Prism had zero issues in accidental movements. Even though this is a smaller surface than some of the larger mousepads I have seen, the grip on the bottom really stuck to the desk. I did mention already the amount of debris that was caught underneath here too, but it was not a huge deal. In addition, the weight helps in anchoring the QcK Prism down without concern of movement. I never had the SteelSeries QcK Prism slip about on my table, though I have rarely seen this happen with any of the mousing surfaces I have tested.
Finally, for noise, this is one area all soft surface pads will be better, at least in comparison to the hard surface counterpart. Since cloth mousepads can absorb sounds, they are much better in the noise department. The one place where unintentional noise might be made is when debris gets caught on the pad and rubs against the mouse. For the SteelSeries QcK Prism, this holds true, as the harder surface definitely generated a bit more noise than the softer one. It was pretty quiet still, but the difference was noticeable. Overall then, the SteelSeries QcK Prism gets check marks in all categories, allowing you to choose the surface you want for day-to-day use, and swapping between them whenever you desire.
1. Introduction, Packaging, Specifications
2. A Closer Look
3. Subjective Performance Tests