ROCCAT Hiro Gaming Mouse Pad Review

Author: Aaron Chen
Editor: Howard Ha
Publish Date: Monday, May 13th, 2013
Originally Published on Neoseeker (http://www.neoseeker.com)
Article Link: http://www.neoseeker.com/Articles/Hardware/s/roccat_hiro/
Copyright Neo Era Media, Inc. - please do not redistribute or use for commercial purposes.

Without doubt, quality mouse pads are one of the more underappreciated pieces of hardware that accompanies any gaming or computing setup. For some, a cheap off-brand $5 mouse pad does the job. But for those who want the most of their new gaming mouse, a quality mouse pad can mean the difference between a silky-smooth glide and a bumpy jitter.

Today on our Neoseeker testbeds is the ROCCAT Hiro. Touted as a "3D Supremacy Surface Gaming Mouse Pad", the Hiro sets some high expectations for it wants to bring to the table. Unlike the cloth-based ROCCAT Sense Mouse Pad, the ROCCAT Hiro features a "3D Vulcanized Silicone Surface", alongside what ROCCAT calls "Covert-Tech Silent-Glide treatment" and a smooth rubber base.

Do these features bring a substantial performance gain versus other gaming (or even standard) mouse pads? Let's take a look as we review the ROCCAT Hiro 3D Supremacy Surface Gaming Mouse Pad.

Specifications:

Product Code
ROC-13-410
Size
350 x 250mm
Height
2.5mm
Tested With
ROCCAT Kone/Kova/Pyra/Savu/Lua series
Razer Naga/Imperator/DeathAdder/Taipan series
SteelSeries Xai/Sensei/Kinzu/Kana
Logitech MX series
Microsoft Sidewinder series
 
…and many more

All information courtesy of ROCCAT @ http://www.roccat.org/Products/Gaming-Mousepads/ROCCAT-Hiro/

Following ROCCAT's blue and black color scheme, the Hiro comes packaged in a clear plastic clamshell and is partially wrapped by a graphic-intensive blue and black insert. Here, we find a large image of the ROCCAT Hiro itself, supplemented by some carefully-placed text that highlights its 350 x 250 x 2.5mm dimensions, and features such as Covert-Tech Silent Glide finish, 3D Vulcanized Silicone Surface, non-slip rubber base, and rounded edges.

To the left of the image, we find several familiar tabs describing these features yet again, plus some extra details such as the Hiro's shock-absorbing capabilities.

As we saw with the ROCCAT Sense Gaming Mouse Pad, ROCCAT has included two small openings on the Hiro's packaging with sample material of the pad surface and non-slip base. It's definitely a nice touch, though I can't say I'd get much of an impression as a customer at the store, given the small size of these samples.

Flipping the packaging over, we are treated to a densely-packed blurb of information. Like the front, there is a sizeable photo of the mouse pad, with much of the same features highlighted. Just below, blue text makes reference to details including the power-bonded construction (to prevent edge-splitting), vulcanized silicone surface, shock-absorbing base, and easy-to-clean water/grime-resistant coating. The former two are further visualized with close-up photos. These features are then translated into 9 other languages.

As expected, there are no additional accessories here. So let's get this mouse pad unboxed and see if features such as Covert-Tech treatment and 3D Vulcanized silicone really do their jobs.

At first, I was quite sceptical of the Hiro's touted selling points, namely the Covert-Tech finish and 3D Vulcanized silicone surface. Holding the ROCCAT Hiro in my hand however, I can say that I am thoroughly impressed. Unlike common cloth-based mouse pads, the Hiro maintains a fairly rigid shape thanks to its silicone properties and rubber base. In addition, the Covert-Tech finish blankets the top surface with a rough faux-leather-like texture.

There isn't much to be said about the aesthetic design of the Hiro – it has a plain black surface, with ROCCAT Hiro branding on the bottom right.

Contrasting from the black styling, the back of the Hiro is constructed of a light blue rubber. Unlike most "rubberized" backings, the base here is essentially a thick, smooth, solid sheet of rubber. Although this reduces the overall surface area versus patterned backings, the rubber here definitely feels high quality and should significantly make up for any lost friction. Other than that, we find a barely-visible engraving of ROCCAT branding on the top right corner. According to ROCCAT, this base should provide some shock-absorbing properties – a feature I could not notice at all.

As I've seen in the past, a common issue with layered mouse pads is how their edges begin splitting over time. To alleviate this, ROCCAT has gone the extra mile and integrated a 'Power-Bonded Construction' to the two layers here. In addition, the rubber base has slightly larger dimensions than the silicone layer on top. When lifting or moving the Hiro, most of the pressure diverts to the rubber layer itself, rather than the adhesive point between the two layers. I can see this going a long way to ensure long-term reliability. We will test this further in a bit.

The ROCCAT Hiro definitely leaves a good impression out of the box. Let's take a look at whether this holds up as we test the Hiro in day-to-day use.

During my time with the ROCCAT Hiro, I have been putting it through its paces with a variety of tasks such as web browsing, gaming, and day-to-day tasks. Testing a mouse pad is a pretty straightforward task, so I will distinguish my results into only two defining characteristics: Tracking and General Use/Gaming Experience.

Although I am testing with a variety of mice and sensor types, I cannot say that the results found here can be indicative of every mouse. The specific sensor used or quality of mouse feet can contribute to a significantly different experience. Be sure to keep this in mind as you read through the next page.

Testing Setup:

Tested Mice:

Comparison Mouse Pads:

 

Tracking:

 
ROCCAT Hiro
ROCCAT Sense Chrome Blue
SteelSeries QcK Medium
Generic Plastic Mousepad
ROCCAT Kone Pure
Pass
Pass
Pass
Pass
Logitech G5
Pass
Pass
Pass
Pass
AZiO Levetron GM2000
Pass
Pass
Pass
Pass

As expected, due to its standard black color, the ROCCAT Hiro worked wonderfully across all of our tested mice. There were no jittery movements and although the surface finish has a rough texture, mouse movements were smooth if not a little noisy.

General Usage/Gaming Experience:

Bar none, the ROCCAT Hiro was a joy to use. Every tested mouse glided effortlessly on the Silent-Glide surface. As advertised, the 'Power-Bonded Construction' worked quite well to prevent edges from splitting. Due to the rounded edges and slightly-larger rubber base, I can see this remaining the case in the long run. Speaking of the rubber base, I am actually highly impressed at the solid sheet of rubber employed here – it is more effective than almost every mouse pad I have experienced so far. After setting the Hiro on my table, I could not move the pad without a ridiculous amount of pushing force.

The ROCCAT Hiro is definitely one of the best mouse pads I have ever come across. The all-rubber base, rigid silicone surface, and textured Covert-Tech treatment merge together into an innovative package that exceeds my expectations.

A recommendation becomes more complicated at the Hiro's current price of $49.99. I have yet to see another mouse pad as expensive as this. When quality cloth-based mouse pads can be picked up for about a third of the price, it's hard to justify the premium for a peripheral so relatively insignificant. Buying the ROCCAT Hiro is like buying a premium car – feature-rich BMWs are nice to have, but most can probably get by with a Toyota or Honda for a fraction of the price.

For those who can afford it, the ROCCAT Hiro is durable and sure to impress with its wealth of features. For the rest of the market, it will simply be a luxury item that will hopefully have its features trickle down to mouse pads on a lower price spectrum.

»Neoseeker.com

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