By: Preston Yuen
July 6, 2012
Back in the days when I was still a kid, everyone always talks about obtaining a job that has an important role in society. These included doctors, lawyers, hockey players, and actors. But what struck me the most was when my friend said, "I want to be a movie producer". Being naive kid that I was, I asked myself how such a person could be important or famous. I mean, movie producers do all their work behind the scenes and are never filmed, so how do they become famous if I can't see them? I didn't understand this concept, so I simply shoved the idea of becoming a movie producer at the back of my mind. I watched movies, but I cared less about the producer's name mentioned in the credits. None of this mattered to me until I was asked to be one of the major crew members in a recent film that I was part of producing for my local church. To keep things short, I realized it takes quite a bit of work behind the scenes as well to produce a film that captures interest. The same idea applies just as much in the world of computers. Some may think it takes only a mouse, keyboard, monitor, and some computer to get work done. To tell you the truth, I was at that stage once, and I didn't like it. Without a mousepad, or an ergonomic keyboard or mouse made it difficult to complete work. With my old hardware now pushed aside, I looked high and low for all the good hardware down to the good old mousepad. What we have here today is the Tt eSPORTS Ladon from Thermaltake. As you can see, I am now all about ergonomic accessories to help me complete work. Let's find out today how well the Ladon performs.
Our review unit of the Tt eSPORTS Ladon came in a medium-sized, corrugated cardboard box from our good neighbors down south via UPS Standard to our Calgary, Alberta, Canada headquarters. Whatever it has been through, it seemed like a nice cruise while making its way here, as there was very little bumps and bruises on the box. It didn't make very much sense to package such a small product in a medium-sized box, but Thermaltake has another product included, so we won't have to worry about wasted space. Without further adieu, I quickly opened the box, and got down on reviewing the Ladon mousepad.
The packaging of the Tt eSPORTS Ladon is quite simple and consistent with other products in the Tt eSPORTS series. The background design consists of a studded sheet-metal design mixed with different shades of black and dark grey. Of course, we have the model name printed boldly at the bottom right, company logo stamped at the top right, with the company name on the other side. As you can see, we have received the Speed Edition of the mousepad. I'm sure Thermaltake has other editions too, but it wasn't mentioned specifically on their website as to what editions they will provide.
Before we move on, let's take a look at the features and specifications of the Tt eSPORTS Ladon, as obtained from the Thermaltake's website:
- Durable Surface: For long-term gaming session
- Solid Sewing Edge: Prevents peeling and warping problem
- Unique Sensor Reflection: High content of micro fiber with superior density gives excellent control
- Sturdy Non-slip Design: Unique pattern creates effective gaming precision
- Gaming Profiles Optimize: Optimal surface for any type of mouse and is specifically geared for RTS and MMORPG gamers
- Dimension (LxWxH): 360x300x3mm
- Ultra-Thin Fiber and Natural Rubber Base, ensuring Mousepad Stays in Place.
- Ideal for MMORPG Game Genre’s Demands in Precise Control and Movement.
- Perfect Match with Tt eSPORTS AZURUES or AZURUES Mini mouse.
Sliding the Tt eSPORTS Ladon out of the box, you will also receive a miniature warranty booklet as well. Unlike the massive XTracPads Ripper XXL reviewed by my colleague Jonathan just last year, the Ladon measures to 'just' 360mm by 300mm, and is a mere 3mm in thickness. This is pretty much the standard size for gaming mousepads in the market these days. Besides, I can assure you you would not need very much mouse movement to get your mouse pointer from one side of the screen to the other. Regarding the mousepad itself, its brand, model, and logo are labeled all around the black-colored surface. Personally, I would have preferred if the aesthetic design was a bit cleaner. For example, I would simply like to have just the model and logo place at one of the corners. Of course, this is all a preference thing, and will differ from person to person, so I can't really complain here.
You may also notice that its surface is made of cloth, as opposed to a hard surface like the Mionix Propus 380 reviewed by Devin quite a while back. What I do like about cloth-based mousepads is that it is rather comfortable to use, easier for mouse control, generates little noise during use, and much more portable. However, it does tend to attract liquid, dust, and sweat from hands over time.
I have spent quite a bit of time taking a photo of the Ladon's surface, because my scanner seems to produce poor quality results instead of the APH-standard 600dpi high quality images. Nevertheless, here is a shot of the cloth side of the mousepad. From my close examinations, it occurs to me that the micro-fibers are interlaced together, making it seem shiny when taking a look at it from an angle. This seems to be quite consistent from edge to edge. For first impressions, it looks like Thermaltake has made a surface that would give a decent glide performance for your mouse while keeping the noise level down. It also looks like Thermaltake has spent time in producing a quality product here, as they have also sewn the edge of the Ladon to keep the fibers from fraying.
From my inspections, the Tt eSPORTS Ladon consists of two layers; one of which is the cloth layer, as aforementioned. The underside consists of a rubber finish with small alternating grooves, which reminds me of tire treads. For the sake of this review, as well as for comparison's sake, I've tested the grip on carpet, glass, wood, and marble. Surprisingly, it held up quite well, even with much force applied onto it. In other words, you don't have to worry about your mousepad slipping around. I have also tested its grip over water, and to my surprise, it held up quite well until a lot of force is applied to it at an angle. In essence, do not to worry if you happen to use it on a wet surface for some reason.
Unfortunately, testing of a mousepad is quite subjective in nature, since there are no truly objective benchmarks that spits out quantitative numbers to compare results when done. In order to make this subjective analysis a little more objective, I will be using a Tt eSPORTS Black Element mouse, and tests will be completed in both graphics and gaming scenarios. This is to ensure that the quality of the mousepad is not limited to the mouse itself, and these are areas where a good mouse in conjunction with a good mousepad makes a difference. With my familiarity in the performance characteristics of the mouse, it won't be too difficult to establish 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?
After I have completed my tests, I was quite impressed with the Thermaltake eSPORTS Ladon. Although it exhibits slight noise while in use, the glide performance is fairly good with reduced friction on your mouse. With that said, I found the glide and control of the mouse over the surface to be well-rounded and evenly matched. It showed many expected qualities of a cloth mousepad, in which it gave me much control of my mouse without having the mouse sliding too much in any given direction. Getting both control and smooth glides is what I like, especially when it creates minimal noise when in use. As a side note, if you ever do spill liquids or somehow got it dirty, it is also quite easy to clean, even though it may be cloth. Liquids seem to bead and not soak through the mousepad. While the liquids stay in that form, there is plenty of time for you to get all that junk cleaned off before it seeps into the cloth. I am not entirely sure how long it will stay this way, but these are results from a brand new unit.
Bringing some software into play, I found it quite accurate when editing photos in Adobe Photoshop CS5 using different precision tools without having to zoom in a fair bit. I had no complaints making large motions across the screen and stopping at specific spots. Microsoft's Visio requires clicking and dragging objects to make various diagrams, and I have had no problems controlling my mouse over the Ladon in dropping objects at specific locations. I was quite impressed at how much control and gliding performance I had, even when moving quickly. Pulling up World of Warcraft and StarCraft 2, I was also impressed at how I could control and move my mouse across the screen effortlessly and with accuracy.
With another accessory added to my collection, doing work on a computer is less of a drag -- literally speaking. Although I may have some appreciation for the work that movie producers do, the Thermaltake Tt eSPORTS Ladon is one of those little accessories that's worth adding to your latest shopping list. First off, the glide of my mouse over the Tt eSPORTS Ladon mousepad is a breeze. It takes little effort to move your mouse while still keeping it in control with pin point accuracy. Secondly, it surprisingly produces little noise when in use, even though I found that the cloth surface was just slightly stiffer than most cloth mousepads in the market. There is the satisfying comfort when your wrist rests upon it, unlike hard surfaces. As well, you can now break the computer lab rule of "No eating or drinking around computers". Whatever junk you may accidentally spill on to Tt eSPORTS Ladon can be easily cleaned off, and you will especially notice this with a brand new unit. Finally, on top of all that, grip is not an issue with many of the surfaces that you may be using it on. All in all, the Thermaltake Tt eSPORTS Ladon is a great mousepad that comes at an affordable $24.99 at press time. For its quality and price, you can't really go wrong with this!
Thermaltake provided this product to APH Networks for the purpose of evaluation.
APH Review Focus Summary:
8/10 means Definitely a very good product with drawbacks that aren't likely going to matter to the end user.
7/10 means Great product with many advantages and certain insignificant drawbacks; but should be considered before purchasing.
-- Final APH Numeric Rating is 7.7/10
Please note that the APH Numeric Rating system is based off our proprietary guidelines in the Review Focus, and should not be compared to other sites.
The Thermaltake Tt eSPORTS Ladon mousepad is an excellent mousepad at an affordable price that helps keep you work hard and play hard all day long.
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