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(This evaluation was published on AlienBabelTech by this author in Mid-September, 2014 and was subsequently lost from the database in a hard drive crash and it has been republished here)

Tt eSports announced the release of the DRACONEM mouse pad (MP-DCM-BLKHSS-01) in North America several months ago. The DRACONEM is perfect for high end or competitive gamers on a $40 budget that are seeking the perfect solid mouse pad with many features, including dual surfaces, and a mouse cord bungee.  The DRACONEM surfaces feature an optimized polymer for the highest precision tracking for both optical and laser gaming mice.

We have been using the DRACONEM for well over a month – as a daily mouse pad for regular work, and for playing games.  We finally played through and completed several games in our backlog, mostly twitch shooters.

The Wiki tells us “Draconem” is the accusative singular of “Draco” in Latin, or Dragon in English, and we can see a dragon symbol stylized on both sides of the DRACONEM aluminum mouse pad.  The graphics are a great compliment to this Dragon pad.

The DRACONEM is a premium aluminum mouse pad that stands out from most other mouse pads.  It’s one of the largest aluminum pads anywhere – it is about the size and weight of a small serving tray, 14.2 x 11.8 x 0.2 inches (360x300x5mm) – and it also comes with two very different surfaces to suit the basically two types of gamers – those who prefer a high DPI mouse and smoother tracking, and those who prefer a slightly rougher surface and greater traction.

mouse-wbungieThe 5mm thick aluminum plate is extremely flat and it features a brushed anodized finish coated with a matched polymer for great durability as well as style.  We personally preferred the rougher red side for color and style, but much preferred the smoother white embossed side for accurately tracking with our Razer Mamba mouse.

The DRACONEM offers gamers two surfaces to use – a low-friction (effortless glide), and a high-control (extreme precision) surface to allow gamers to play at their best.  We found the low-friction side was perfect for our style and we actually became a better gamer with this combination although the pad tended to scratch if dust was not kept to zero.   The other coarser side required too much effort for us and we tended to make larger, sweeping movements with our entire arm and shoulder that proved tiring.  Setting the DPI lower was somewhat helpful for gaming on the high-control side.  However, this rougher side was also perfect for daily use with a regular optical or low DPI laser mouse and it does not wear the mouse feet as the moves are very different than from gaming.

Four rubber stoppers in the corners insure the DRACONEM sits securely on the desk, but they are mostly unnecessary as either side grips most surfaces well and won’t scratch. The mouse bungee can be attached to any of the four sides, to match any setup a gamer may use during gaming. The mouse bungee can be further disassembled into two halves, for convenient carrying on the go, but then you have two very small pieces to keep track of.

The “Feel”

Everything said about a mouse or mouse pad relates to its “feel” and it is subjective.  That is what makes the DRACONEM so useful and unique in that it offers a choice to gamers.  One side is exceptionally smooth and the other, rougher.  A cloth pad experience suits many gamers until it starts to wear, and the smoother side of the DRACONEM gives that same “new cloth” feel from Day 1 for six weeks of heavy gaming despite micro-scratches.

systemWe have been using it for well over a month in gaming as well as for day-to-day use. Evaluating a mouse pad is subjective and much will be said about its “feel”. It is certainly not the ideal mouse pad for LAN parties because it is large and cannot be rolled up – unless you feel the need for a literal weapon to defend yourself.  Many PC users think of their mouse pad as cheap and disposable or don’t think of them at all unless there are issues. Gamers demand much more from their mouse pads than casual users and are willing to pay well over forty dollars for high quality.  Naturally, we want to determine if the DRACONEM mouse pad is a good value for $40 since generic cloth pads can be purchased for as little as three or four dollars.

We feel that we can give the reader a thorough evaluation as we have put the DRACONEM to good use in daily tasks, including playing and finally completing the Serious Sam 3 expansion, Jewel of the Nile, Battlefield 4’s single player campaign, and good chunks of The Bureau Declassified XCOM, the Incredible Adventures of Van Helsing,  and Sniper V3.

 

Does the type of mouse pad really matter? 

Mpads-compYes, a mouse pad really matters in gaming.  If the mouse is very precise, a gamer needs a precise surface with just the right amount of friction.  The best mouse pads feature a smooth surface that is completely uniform for a mouse that tracks in the thousands of DPI.  The very best mouse pads are usually priced about forty dollars, and the aluminum and hard plastic pads are much more durable than the cloth pads.  Cloth pads are great because they can be large and their surface is great, at first … then they break down and need almost continual replacement compared to the hard pads.

Looking at the pads in the photo, the cloth is starting to separate from its pad, forcing the gamer to use the center of the mouse pad, and soon it will be replaced.  This will never happen to the other pads.

The ASUS leather pad was a good idea, but it would never uncurl properly and it is rather small.  The Ratpadz is a decent hard plastic pad of sufficient size with a rougher surface, similar to the DRACONEM’s red side.  Unfortunately, it wears down the teflon feet of any mouse very quickly.  And using a brushed Aluminum pad without a plastic surface bonded to it, will feel very cold to the touch.

The DRACONEM is very large compared to these other pads and has all the advantages of each of these other pads, but with none of the disadvantages.  The only issue that we could find is that the softer polymer used on the white side of the DRACONEM won’t wear the mouse feet, but it will show tiny scratches when dust is dragged by the mouse across its surface.

Let head over to the unboxing and take a closer look at the Tt eSports DRACONEM.