By: Jonathan Kwan
October 3, 2014
It is important to understand not all correct answers are useful answers, if given in the wrong context. For example, last month, I was driving one of my friends home. On the way back, my radar detector signaled an alert. "What is that?" she asked. "Well," I explained. "This is a radar detector. Basically, a radar detector is a superheterodyne receiver, which receives radio signals at a high frequency, and uses a local oscillator to do frequency mixing in order for it to produce a fixed intermediate signal for easier digital signal processing." I then went on for about five more minutes, talking about how radar works, the difference between X band, K band, and Ka band, as well as their corresponding signal propagation characteristics. At the end of my explanation, she looked at me and asked, "So, what does it actually do?" to which I replied, "Basically, it detects police." As you can see here, while I gave a correct answer practically good enough for most upper year Electrical Engineering classes, the context of which I gave it in rendered it almost completely useless. Back in 2006, I reviewed the XTracPads Ripper XXL, a super large mousepad sized at 914mm by 457mm. At first, like my friend I was driving home, I thought it gave the correct answer to a question nobody really asked, making it more ridiculous than useful. Over the years, with new desks and new configurations, I have found its context, quickly propelling it to be one of my favorite mousepads of all time. In 2011, I reviewed the revised XTracPads Ripper XXL, which featured anti-fray edges and a new surface coating. Today, we will take a look at the 2014 version of the same product. According to XTracGear, their latest version is "100% refreshed". With the context nicely defined, will it continue to be both the correct answer and useful answer in the world of surfaces? With the third revision sitting in our labs for the last two months, it is now time to present our findings.
Our review unit of the XTracGear Ripper XXL came in fair sized brown corrugated cardboard box from the company's American headquarters at Salt Lake City, Utah. In case you are wondering why it needed a package with this kind of volume to accommodate a mousepad that can easily be rolled up and shipped, it actually came along with two other products; namely the Carbonic reviewed in August by my colleague Aaron Lai, and the Ripper by Brian Cheung. Using USPS and transferred to Canada Post as it crossed the border, everything arrived in excellent condition when I picked it up at the local post office. Without further ado, let us hit up the details.
The latest iteration of XTracGear's Ripper XXL arrived in a box this time, which is yet another departure from previous Ripper XXL mousepads I have in the past. The original XTracPads Ripper XXL came in a clear "OEM style" plastic bag; while the XTracPads Ripper XXL (2011) was rolled up in a plastic bag for delivery. This time, it came in a cardboard box, which -- as Brian Cheung pointed out in his Ripper review -- is made out of 100% recyclable material. Otherwise, it is the same box design comprised primarily of a black, white, and red color scheme; detailed with an extra large font to create a sense of excitement. Meanwhile, feature highlights are listed at the back, and the flaps are labeled with "Open here for awesome". But before we open up for any awesomeness, let us take a look at the specifications of the 2014 XTracGear Ripper XXL, as obtained from the manufacturer's website:
- 36″ x 18″ x 1/8″ (914mm x 457 mm)
- Sure Grip enhanced rubber backing
- Polished textile mousing surface
- Laser cut fray resistant edges
1. Introduction, Packaging, Specifications
2. A Closer Look
3. Subjective Performance Tests