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In general, people consider a mouse pad an unnecessary piece of equipment and often avoid buying it. But back in the days, no mouse could ever be used without one. In earlier times, The tiny trackball inserted at its bottom could sense the mouse movement. The mouse pad assisted in rolling that trackball which in turn allowed the cursor to move.
With the advancement of technology, the mice manufactured nowadays include a laser sensor. This lets you move it on any surface without a problem. The only condition is that the surface should be hard and smooth.
You might be thinking that due to this reason, mousepads would’ve stopped being produced. However, that is not the case. Instead, people have now realized the importance of it in different workplaces. The most common buyers of this computer accessory are gamers.
Having a mouse pad would always give you leverage when it comes to gaming, especially during competitive matches. It allows for a more smooth and highly accurate movement and provides you with complete control.
Understanding this need, many brands now have all sorts of mousepads, with features you wouldn’t have imagined some time ago. From including RGB lights that create more focus to recharging your mouse as you continue sliding it across the pad and so much more.
Mousepads now fall under two broad categories based on user experience, soft and hard. Even though people traditionally used soft mousepads, the introduction of the hard ones has convinced people to try out these as well. But first, you need to be aware of their main differences and know the many places where each performs better.
So let’s dive right in!
1. Hard Mouse Pads
As you can easily guess by the name, hard mouse pads are made of stiff materials. They usually have a rubber back with its top made using either plastic, glass, or metal. The solid surface allows you to glide the mouse across without any inconvenience effortlessly. It also lets the computer track the mouse movement accurately because of the lack of resistance.
The hard mousepads offer more control because of the easy sliding and fast-tracking. This eliminates the need to move the mouse around too much, making it easier for your wrists.
One good advantage is that these mousepads are extremely easy to clean. Their smooth and rigid surface has little or no tendency to absorb the spills, and a single wipe can clean off the dirt.
These mousepads are not very ideal for carrying around because of their extreme stiffness. Unless you have a portable gear kit, taking these with you wouldn’t be an intelligent decision.
2. Soft Mouse Pads
Soft mouse pads are either composed of rubber or foam and covered by a cloth or fabric. This makes it flexible and has a velvety feel to it. Due to lack of smoothness, this type of mouse pad offers excellent friction. It requires you to use more force to slide the mouse around.
The tracking done by the computer is also hindered, which results in less accuracy. Therefore, in activities that require precision, like gaming, soft mousepads are not the ideal option. But due to the produced friction the surface offers, it becomes easier for the users to control the movement.
It drains your energy because of the surface material’s natural friction; it has an advantage. The softness of the pad is highly comfortable for the wrist. They not only cushion the mouse but your hands as well, so you can work long hours without aching muscles.
The designers noticed that the sensitivity is slightly inhibited due to significant impedance. Hence the need for larger such pads arose. The varying sizes allow for a controlled mouse movement. Before buying a soft mouse pad, what must be kept in mind is to avoid the cheaper ones offering low quality. The material used in their fabrication has a harsh impact on the mouse sensor and can damage it.
Differences Between Soft and Hard Mouse Pad
There are many differences between the two kinds, but one cannot be proven to be better. The prime one is the texture of the surface. While a hard mousepad offers smoothness and allows the mouse to move fast, a soft mousepad does the opposite.
Because of the extreme sensitivity of a hard mouse pad, you need time to get the hang of it. Once you have complete control, your performance level in most FPS games can increase unimaginably. On the contrary, a soft mouse pad provides more resistance, giving you complete control and allowing for extra preciseness.
Comfort is the unavoidable factor when buying a mouse pad. It is a general concept that hard mouse pads don’t provide much comfort and ease because of the rigidity. However, this fact doesn’t give the soft ones leverage.
In winters, the hard mouse pads, especially those made of metal, get extremely cold for your liking. On the other hand, the soft mouse pads give off a sluggish feeling due to humidity in summers.
Portability is also a problem when it comes to hard mousepads since you can’t fold them. Whereas cleaning is an issue for the soft mouse pads due to their ability to absorb fluids and letting dirt stick to their surface.
Similarities Between Soft and Hard Mouse Pad
Even though the soft and hard mouse pads differ in their construction and features, their purpose of usage stays the same. They provide a surface on which your mouse can easily glide. Without it, your mouse sensor can lose its sensitivity, and the mouse can become useless over time.
Both the hard and soft mousepads are equally durable. What determines their lifetime is the material used in construction under each category. For soft mousepads, the ones made of rubber are stronger and also provide greater flexibility. For hard mousepads, the most durable material would be either metal or high-grade plastic. Glass requires extra caution in handling, and the surfaces are not always scratch-proof.
Another extra feature that multiple brands offer in both types of mousepads is the inclusion of wrist rest. Each type has a target audience that uses computers for long hours. They require comfort and ease, and wrist rests are, therefore, added in their designs.
The price doesn’t vary much as both are in-demand products. However, what does impact is the brand and the size of the pad you’re buying.
Just as the proper processing unit, mouse, and keyboard are essential, a mouse pad holds similar value to enhance your overall experience. The type of mouse you’re using should also influence your final decision. Using a roller-ball mouse on a soft mouse pad wouldn’t be an intelligent choice. While an optical mouse can perform optimally on a soft mouse pad, you can use the laser mouse on any without any difficulty.
If you’re a designer making the most out of a simple gadget such as a mouse, you should choose comfort over anything. A soft mouse pad will support your muscles and not be a risk factor for an injury in such a case. However, if you’re a gamer and wish to improve aiming accuracy and movement, then a hard mousepad is made for you.
Ultimately, it all comes down to your comfort and your type of work. You can even personalize it by adding RGB lights, a wrist rest, and an imprinted design of your choice. If you’ve made it this far, you are now capable of making an informed decision. Happy shopping!