When it comes to gaming mouse pads there are only a few out there that top the list for being the best. SteelSeries is one of those companies and they've been making some of the world's greatest professional gaming mouse pads for years. One of their latest installments is the SteelPad 5L that is a whopping 15" x 11" mouse pad. We'll put this pad to the test and see if it really is the best gaming surface for the best gaming performance.
Initial Impressions / Construction
The 5L arrived in typical plastic packaging with only a small cardboard piece covering one edge to specify the name and hold it all together. The remainder of it is all about showing off the unique design on the front and the trippy design on the back. The very first thing noticeable about this pad is its sheer size, the unique design on the front, and the minor concave curvature to the top and bottom. Overall it seems like it should be a great design for high performance gaming, it just depends on whether it actually is.
After taking the pad out of the packaging, the first thing I checked was what the surface actually felt like. The 5L pad is a cloth pad and therefore the surface isn't as perfectly smooth as one of the SteelSeries brothers: the SteelPad 4S made of aluminum. It was considerably smooth but still had the cloth feel to it that differentiates it from some other very smooth pads out there. This is in turn for better "grip" when it comes to gaming and you reach the edge and need to hold on to where you've pointed your sights, then fire, and move again. The other really interesting part of the pad was the back that not only was visually astounding (with its black and white splotch pattern) but that it has very minor rubber splotches on it to grip the surface and prevent from sliding.
The 5L is constructed in 5-layers (hence the 5L). It starts with the rubber elements on the very bottom to prevent sliding, then features a hard plastic base, followed by soft polyisoprene, then cloth, and finally a plastic coating over the top. This is a very unique construction for a mouse pad. The plastic base maintains its rigidity and prevents it from warping/bending, while the polyisoprene allows the surface to actually feel slightly soft during use. All of the specific details on the 5 layers can be found on the SteelSeries website here: http://www.steelseries.com/products/steelpad/steelpad_5l.