Danish founded SteelSeries has been with us for a long time as far as gaming companies go. Along with Razer, it's one of the small companies fighting the good fight in the hardware gaming world, keeping neck and neck with heavyweights Logitech and Microsoft. In 2009 it officially entered Australia, and it looks like it's here to stay.
In all but the gaming world, the concept of a mouse mat disappeared when optical mice took over from their ball-laden brethren. Those who want ultimate precise control, however, have the likes of SteelSeries' 9HD mat.
Developed in tandem with its Xai Laser Mouse, the 9HD is a rigid mat with a textured polymer on top, and a rubber grip on the bottom to ensure things don't slip during heated online matches. Like all good mouse mats the 9HD is oversized at 320x270mm, and curiously comes with a cleaning cloth.
SteelSeries claims that the 9HD features tens of thousands of light-reflecting microscopic points to help "enhance" gaming mice, so we busted out the old second-generation Logitech G5 to give it a go.
Motion was slower on the 9HD than our ancient crusty Everglide Giganta 3, but it was incredibly smooth and notably more precise. Adjusting the DPI in Logitech's control panel was enough to overcome the speed shortfall, and we were soon carving it up in Serious Sam HD: The First Encounter. Accuracy was excellent, with the mouse gliding across the mat smoothly. Switching over to its development partner the Xai, the 9HD still performed well, with smooth and accurate motion being the order of the day.
The 9HD is an excellent product that deserves a place on any gamer's desk. Those who haven't used a mouse mat for years may shirk at the AU$50-$80 cost, but for the rest of us, this should help step up your game.