XTracGear Carbonic XXL Review (Page 3 of 4)

Page 3 - Subjective Performance Tests

Unfortunately, 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 the previously reviewed Func MS-2, and 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?

Much like the original XTracGear Carbonic, the XXL version retains the same amazing glide. The Func MS-2 has some relatively good Teflon feet already, but the super-sized Carbonic only adds to the superb side-to-side movement. As the material between the large and regular Carbonic has not changed, I can only expect a similar glide performance between the two surfaces. Thus, I should still mention while horizontal movement produces very little surface resistance, moving vertically creates a different feel. It feels a tad more difficult to move up and down, and this can be attributed to the nylon-like material itself. I would wish for a consistent glide in all directions on the mat, rather than just one way or the other. However, considering most movements during gaming will tend towards the horizontal movement rather than the vertical movement, you might not notice this altogether. Either way, the glide on the Carbonic XXL is still just as great as the original, and I am quite glad XTracGear did not change anything when it came to the surface material.

The XTracGear Carbonic XXL is once again a success when it comes to control. Running though some lasso tests in Photoshop, the Func MS-2 was very easy to handle. The ease of glide also means I can get predictable and accurate movements, without any unexpected bumps or slower areas. In addition, having the extra space meant I did not have to worry about ensuring my mouse was in the middle of the mousepad. Rather, I was assured the mouse would be on the pad at all times. This carbon fiber patterned surface, despite its slight alteration in visible lines, offers similar excellent handling, without sacrificing any speed. Unfortunately, this is still a soft-fabric surface, so it still has the issues we have seen with other fabric mouse pads. It is most assuredly susceptible to liquids -- all blood, sweat, and tears. Thankfully, the dark surface means you probably will not see as much staining. I would wish the smooth coating would also translate into a water-resistant coat, where liquids would bead and roll off. As this kind of technology is seen in other places such as clothing, I think it is possible for XTracGear to create some sort of oleophobic solution. On the other hand, the smooth coating means dust and small debris can be easily brushed off, without sticking to the surface or getting caught anywhere.

As I have mentioned before, the bottom side does an excellent job in holding the entire Carbonic XXL to the table. Its grippy solution is very strong in the original Carbonic, and the extra size and weight of the larger version means this mousepad is even harder to move. In addition, the surface resistance between the mouse and the pad is much less compared to the friction experienced between the table and the Sure Grip backing. Therefore, any motion above the mousepad would not affect the actual placement of the pad on the table. Either way, XTracGear does not need to improve anything in this aspect, as this backing is already excellent.

Finally for the noise, the Carbonic XXL is another success. Cloth mousepads are generally quite good at reducing noise, as they can absorb sounds much better than hard surfaces. Therefore, the Carbonic XXL retains these similar positives. The added bonus of the smooth surface means even less noise is created from movement. Compared to my wood table or any other hard surface, the difference is quite noticeable, as there is a more audible scratching noise, even with new Teflon feet. However, the larger surface in the Carbonic XXL also means I will hear my arm movement on the surface. If any other surface was as large as this, I would probably notice the same issue, so it really is not a problem, but more so an observation. In the end, the small downsides are far outweighed by positives found with the additional room. I had high praises for the XTracGear Carbonic with the performance, and the extra-large version does not disappoint either.

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