Late last year, Inside Mac Games handed out its first "10 out of 10" score in the hardware category to the XTracPads Fat Mat for its superb performance, durability, and value. Today, we'll be divulging our impressions of the XtracPads Zoom v2, another mousing surface whose distinguishing feature is its thickness (or lack thereof).
Your Credit Card Will Be JealousAs the title suggests, the Zoom v2 is thin. Measuring 8.5 x 11" and thinner than a credit card, this semi-hard mouse pad is an attractive option for those who want to lose the damaging and inconsistent surface of their desk without feeling as if they've subjugated it with a thick layer of rubber. Such diminutive proportions might be especially useful to users that are constantly on the go, since the size of the Zoom v2 makes it possible to fit between the halves of a closed notebook during transit. However, beyond the obvious advantage inherent to being one of the flattest pads on the market, the Zoom v2 doesn't do a whole lot to visually differentiate itself in a sea overflowing with competitors of all shapes and sizes. That said, the pad fared well in our tests, providing a slick, consistent surface that worked nearly flawlessly with the half-dozen modern mice in Inside Mac Games' arsenal. As with the Fat Mat, we paid especially close attention to the XTracPads logo in the bottom right-hand corner of the pad, due to the fact that white, semi-glossy surfaces tend to wreak havoc with infrared mice. Thankfully, the Zoom v2's finely grained surface coating held up under fire, allowing for unimpeded movement over the lettered portion of the pad. Lefties, have no fear.
Unfortunately, the Zoom v2's "Sure Grip III" backing did not quite live up to its name. This thin and somewhat tacky backing material, similar in texture to the sticky portion of a dried-out Post-It-Note, simply doesn't provide enough grip to keep the featherweight Zoom v2 locked in position. Whilst all the hand movement in the world proved insufficient to dislodge the pad, moderately-sized wrist movements generally translated into unintentional rotation. Despite the fact that this movement was usually fairly minor (and could be obliterated by moistening the bottom of the pad before use), we were concerned, since the last thing that a gamer needs to worry about in the midst of battle is where his equipment is (or where it's headed). In all, we feel that so long as potential buyers heed our advice and are aware of the need to maintain a clean workspace, the Zoom v2's overall operation should be prove to be slightly above average.
Editor's Note: Our suggestion really works--once moistened, the Sure Grip III acquires a remarkable, suction-cup like grip that lasts until you remove the pad from your desk (an infinitely repeatable process).
Our TakeWhen you sum it all up, the XTracPads Zoom v2 can be accurately described as a no-frills, 8.5" x 11" mousing surface that attempts to differentiate itself by means of low cost and slender girth. With a street price of about $15 including shipping, this pad narrowly succeeds in these goals, providing industry-standard performance at a reasonable, but not spectacular price. Incidentally, the Zoom v2 is not the flashiest product around, but taking the its likely audience into consideration, that should matter little. As previously mentioned, the Zoom v2's "Sure Grip III" posed minor problems during testing (and the pad's negligible weight exacerbated matters), but we feel that the solution to this problem is simply too convenient to require more than a minor point deduction. As always, we encourage readers to consider their own requirements before making a purchase. In summary, therefore, we cautiously recommend the Zoom v2 to players (especially mobile users) who feel that they might prefer a razor-thin mousing surface to the more commonplace products of desktop domination on the market today. It might also be interesting to note that XTracPads offers the Zoom v2's thin profile in two other sizes: the large-format 11" x 17" "Hammer," and the aptly-named 8.75" x 9" "Micro."
• Solid performance
• Thin profile
• Sure Grip III needs another revision
• Ho-hum styling