pcToys Mouse Maxx 100si

Date: May 18th, 2003

URL: http://www.pctoys.com/ProductDetails.aspx?productID=833

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Rating: Excellent!

Review:

A review for a mouse pad? Yes, you’ve read correctly. For some of you a mouse pad might simply be something that came with the PC, or that looks cute because it has a picture of your kitty on it. You probably never wonder whether there is a better mouse pad that can make your mousing experience smoother and faster and more precise. You live with mediocre mouse performance and don’t even realize it. You have no idea what you’re missing.

Others are very keenly aware of how important a good mouse pad is. Maybe you just switched to an optical mouse and realized that the old ratty mouse pad won’t cut it anymore. Maybe you’re a gamer and want smooth and fast movement. Maybe you are a graphic designer and want smooth precision. Whatever your reason is, you want only the best.

Enter the pcToys Mouse Maxx 100si. The first thing to notice is that the Mouse Maxx is not the typical limp rubber and felt construction you can buy for $1.99 at Fry’s. It made from hard plastic (polystyrene) and does not bend or flex, making for a solid and sturdy mousing platform.

As seen in the photo below, my desk has a seam between two work surfaces right where the mouse pad goes. Using the mouse on the work surface or with a soft floppy traditional mouse pad would result in serious mousing problems. The Mouse Maxx resolves the problem easily due to its sturdy design, allowing me to place the mouse wherever I want.

The second thing most likely to catch the eye is the flame design. While painted flames are always a matter of subjective taste, it certainly lends the mouse pad a unique character, distinguishes it from the boring uni-colored alternatives, and goes right along with the pcToys motto “Play Hard”.

The “100si” in the name stands for 100 square inches, the approximate overall size of the mouse pad. Subtracting the curved cutout at the front and the beveled and rounded corners results in a usable mousing surface of about 80 square inches, which is still a lot. Even a bigger mouse like the Logitech MX700 is very much at home on the Mouse Maxx.

Underneath the mouse pad are 5 rubber pads that reliably prevent the mouse pad from sliding all over the place even during intense frag fests. Even though there is no rubber pad in the middle, the mouse pad does not flex due to its sturdy design.

The picture below gives you a better idea of the textured surface of the pad. In contrast to a solid smooth surface, the sliders at the bottom of the mouse encounter less contact with the surface, resulting in less friction and therefore smoother movement and incredible precision.

This textured pattern is excellent for optical mice due to the technology that makes them work. An optical sensor takes thousands of pictures per second of the surface the mouse is moving over and calculates based on the changes how the mouse has been moved. A textured surface is therefore very beneficial to optical mice in contrast to smooth non-textured surfaces.

Even when using an old-fashioned mechanical mouse with a ball, the textured surface is of advantage because it offers more grip to the mouse ball than a smooth non-textured surface.

The only thing that could be improved is the color of the surface. Optical mice can operate more energy efficient on light colored surfaces because it requires less light energy, resulting in slightly longer battery time.

The downside of a textured surface is that over time, dust and sweat from your hands collects in the pits and starts caking up the surface, resulting in additional friction and reduced performance. To keep it performing optimally, I recommend cleaning the mouse pad every few weeks or months by scrubbing it thoroughly with a toothbrush or other bristle brush and soap.

Here’s a secret tip for “overclocking” your mouse pad to get even better performance out of it: After you have cleaned it, give it a spritz or two of Lemon Pledge and polish it with a soft cloth. Your mouse will move like greased lightning.

The Mouse Maxx is a quarter inch thick and has nicely rounded edges.

If you are familiar with other lines of mouse pads and the Mouse Maxx looks familiar to you, namely resembles the Everglide Giganta, you are on the right track. A closer look at the underside of the Mouse Maxx reveals that it is indeed an Everglide product re-branded as a pcToy product. Everglide has been manufacturing excellent mouse pad products, and knowing that they are the manufacturer of the Mouse Maxx is definitely a plus.

Conclusion

The Mouse Maxx is a solid performer with many benefits and good qualities. It is a worthy upgrade for casual mechanical mouse users, as well as optical mouse users for professional use or hardcore gaming. It can be ordered for $11.99 directly from the pcToys website at http://www.pctoys.com or obtained in computer retail stores such as CompUSA or MicroCenter.

Submitted by: Alex “crazygerman” Byron

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