Mousepads are a funny thing. Some are so useful, and some are worse than a garbage. But what most have in common, and the reason we buy them so readily, is low price.

And then there’s the Ironclad.

At $60, Razer views their latest mousepad as a top-of-the-line, you-best-be-ready-to-kick-ass-and-take-names kind of mousepad. It’s not for the faint hearted or weak minded. If you view PC gaming as the closest thing to a sport for you, then you’re the right target audience.

If you buy the Ironclad, you don’t just get it in a prissy little box or that annoying unbreakable plastic. It comes in a damn fine box, with a precision usually reserved for Apple products. Within that box is the finely placed pad. The presentation of the whole thing makes you wonder, is this really just a mousepad?

The Ironclad is one of two metal mousing surfaces I’ve tested, the first being a specially molded slab of steel (which, thanks to immature design, rusts). This, in comparison, is aluminum, sandblasted to flat-perfection. It’s as solid as mousepads come. You could protect your home from intruders with it instead of a baseball bat. The edges are sharp, so you wouldn’t have to worry about would-be thieves or attackers suing you either.

What at one point I considered a boon, and now am unsure of, is the coldness of the metal. When I tested the rusty Ravenholm saw, it felt good, at first, to have my wrist cool off on the metal. You may feel the same way about it. But more recently, I’ve found that the coldness is not as comfortable, and the Ironclad has no temperature settings. So even if you’re a pro gamer, the feel of this pad on your wrist should be the biggest influencer for your purchase decision. Some will undoubtedly like the cooling effect, while others will not.

Some mouse also don’t appreciate the metallic surface, smooth as it may be. In testing several mice, including the Logitech G700, Alienware TactX mouse and Razer’s own updated Lachesis, I found that there’s a regular friction inherent to all mice feet on this aluminum sheet. They all tracked equally well, though the Lachesis (and also Razer’s Orochi) glided smoother on the surface than other mice. This is to be expected in some ways, as the Ironclad, made of non-traditional metal, should work best with Razer’s own products. Thus, if you don’t use a Razer mouse, you should test your specific mouse on this surface first. I tested several others, each with varying degrees of gliding speed, though Razer’s mice were easily the best.

I think perhaps the biggest error with the Ironclad is that it’s intended for pro gamers, but the size somewhat limits that possibility. Big and heavy for a mousepad at 320x270mm and 14 grams, on-the-road gamers may quickly avoid the Ironclad over smaller or less-solid pads for travel purposes. Realistically, it’s not a big deal to drop in a bag and go, but it’s also not the type of equipment you leave in a go-bag. I’ve spoken to several pro gamers, and they all agree that practicing with the equipment you’ll play with, be it the monitor, computer, or even the mousepad, is essential to readiness for any tournament. In this case, while thin at just 2.5mm, it’s still a slab of metal, no matter how you slice it.

Then again, a few of these guys also lug around 17” gaming laptops, CRT monitors and other weighty goodies. So, it depends on what kind of a gamer you are.

Thus, we’re left with the Ironclad being an ‘it depends’ piece of computing equipment. Frankly, I hate that, because maybe is a crappy answer. But with mousepads, personal preference reigns supreme, and Razer’s first metal pad is no exception. That’s why I made this flowchart for interested parties:

Pros:

  • Large
  • Indestructible
  • Good glide for Razer mice

Cons:

  • Expensive
  • Especially reliant on personal preferences
  • Only OK glide from non-Razer mice.



James Pikover

 
Spawned in the horrendous heat of a Los Angeles winter, James was born with an incessant need to press buttons. Whether it was the car radio, doorbells on Halloween or lights, James pushed, pressed and prodded every button. No elevator was left unscathed, no building intercom was left un-rung, and no person he’s known has been left un-annoyed.