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XTrac Ripper XL / XTrac HAMMER mouse pads
(hx) 08:26 PM CET - Feb,28 2005

Tired of having your mouse drift off the mouse pad during game play? If so, you will want to consider the XTrac Ripper XL and XTrac HAMMER gaming pads. XTrac promotes their Ripper/HAMMER mouse pads as large (they're ~17 x 11 inches), precise, and smooth. Everything you need in a mouse pad, right?

XTrac Ripper XL

First off, I will take a look at XTrac Ripper XL which is 14 by 17 3/4 inches! This might not sound big, but it is about 3 times larger than the average mouse pad. So big, it doesn't fit on my desk without some rearranging! The Xtrac Ripper has a cloth surface and will work with an optical mouse. The rubber backing allows the mouse pad to stick to your desk like glue. Pushing on it will not slide it one inch.

XTrac Ripper XL  - Specifications
Size - 14" x 17.75"  (356mm by 451mm)
Thickness - 1/8" (3.2mm)
Surface - Silky smooth cloth - extremely flexible
Backing - Sure Grip rubber
Durability - Extremely durable if properly taken care of
Price - $17.99 ($15.99 here)

To put the pad through its paces I played various games such as Painkiller, Half-Life 2, Counter-Strike: Source, DOOM 3, Far Cry, Unreal Tournament 2004, etc over a period of a few weeks. I found the whole experience very smooth mouse movements without any lag or delays. However, it's lacking in the smoothness of the XTrac HAMMER (see bellow), which is unfortunate. What I really liked about it was the size of the Ripper XL. The sheer size of the mouse surface ensures that you do not run out of mouse room during gameplay. If you need to move your mouse all over the desk, than you will never run out of real estate with the Ripper XL. It's also very portable and durable which makes it perfect when going to LAN parties.

 

XTrac HAMMER

Also the XTrac HAMMER is absolutely massive. It measures 11x17 inches and is approximately the same size as a dinner placemat. Surprisingly, the HAMMER is very thin, indeed "credit card thin".  The HAMMER's surface is a black and blue hexagon honeycomb pattern providing enough randomness to make the mouse's optical laser more responsive in most games and applications.

XTrac HAMMER - Specifications

Size - 11" X 17"  (280mm by 430mm)
Thickness - Credit card thin (5mm)
Surface - Hard plastic, slightly textured to provide some feedback
Pattern - Hexagonal with random dot configuration to ensure precise control
Backing - Sure Grip II ultra thin rubber compound
Durability - Extremely durable if properly taken care of.
Price -  $19.95 ($17.99 here)

 

Make sure you have a desk big enough to support this monstrosity of a mousepad! If the size is an issue you can simply lift your keyboard up and slide part of the XTrac HAMMER underneath, minimizing the physical size of the pad and not causing your keyboard to rock from side to side. The detailed pattern is meant to help reduce pointer jittering which can sometimes plague optical mice (especially older models).

 

Once again, testing was done for a couple hours, and let me say this is one impressive mousepad. The response was virtually identical to the Ripper XL, however, what really set this mousepad apart was the smoothness of the mousepad. The teflon on the mousepad really comes in handy - the mouse just glides over the surface with hardly any power put into it whatsoever. Needless to say it's pretty cool. While its $17.99 price-tag may be steep for the casual gamer, XTracPad's smaller solutions (8.5"x11") such as the XTrac Pro HS (Hard-Surface) only cost $11.99 and deliver the same performance.
 

Conclusion

To be honest I thought that it was hype when XTrac contacted us and asked if we would like to try their large size mouse mats. Who ever heard of such orcs like large size computer mouse mats? But I was pleasantly surprised when I came to use it. I find myself using more of the mat's area than I would a normal mat as my hand gestures become more extravagant. I can't fault this mat on accuracy either and there was certainly no sign of any jittering, though I wouldn't expect any issues in this department from my MX 510 mouse. Now, I admit that these pads are fantastic mousepad (especially the HAMMER) for the extreme gamers and hardcore computing world. It would also be great if XTracPads could create custom designs with clan logos or just hardcore gamers looking to be different.

Note: I would like to thank Christopher Kahl of XTracPads for making this review possible. I encourage all readers to check out XTracPads for a wide range of mouse-pad solutions.



developer: XTracPads

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