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Over the past few years, we've seen the electronics industry maintain the assertion (with varying degrees of success) that a mousepad is still a legitimate computing accessory. A few years ago, that claim was considered highly debatable, but nowadays, the idea is generally accepted--especially among the hardcore PC gaming crowd. In short, the consensus is that although optical mice work well on just about every surface imaginable, finding a quality mouse pad is one of the best ways to coax the utmost possible accuracy and consistency from the hardware that you already own.
Svelte and Curvaceous: The Razer DestructorFor those of you who aren't looking to carpet your desks, but still want a catalyst for your mouse of choice, the Razer Destructor "precision gaming surface" is a great place to start your search. With a form-factor measuring 350 mm x 280 mm x 2.3 mm (roughly 14" x 11," and three credit cards thick), the Destructor covers just a tad more surface area than Apple's 15.4" MacBook Pro. While these dimensions place the Destructor on the smaller side of things when it comes to size, they do make the pad inherently portable--great for users that are constantly on the move.
Speaking of dimensions, it's hard to avoid noticing the Destructor's unusual shape. Although the flowing edges are mostly cosmetic in nature, the sharper cut-out along the bottom edge is intended to allow your sleeve to slide along your desk, rather than grating on the pad's surface. Other manufacturers, kindly take note: cotton does not glide well upon surfaces designed to work with Teflon. In any event, it should go without saying that I found the Destructor's shapely design to be rather pleasant, regardless of environment. The only problem with the design that I encountered was fairly inconsequential: if you're the kind of person that likes to get his or her mouse (and therefore, the pad) as close to your keyboard as possible, the bottom edges tend to get in the way.
Testing ResultsIn a word, performance is excellent. Not only is the Destructor the fastest pad that I've ever seen (that isn't constructed from glass), the fine-grained surface coating is wonderful from a control standpoint. If you think about it, you'll probably realize just how unusual it is to hear good things about speed and control in the same sentence. Generally speaking, the reason why hybrid pads are so rare is that the manufacturers who attempt to build them usually wind up with a product that's either slow and vibration-prone, or faster than a bullet and totally devoid of tactile feedback. Despite these technical hurdles, Razer did a great job--the Destructor offers oodles of speed while transmitting a fine, "sandpapery"-like vibration that should help make your subconscious measurements of speed and acceleration far more tangible.
Unexpected discoveries are common when testing new hardware. One of the more useful (and yet, odd) properties of the Destructor's surface is its propensity to improve the condition of damaged mice over time. Although I initially tested the Destructor in conjunction with a wide variety of modern mice from a number of vendors, I eventually fell back on a familiar face: my first-generation Razer DeathAdder. After years of hard usage, the bottom of this particular unit had accumulated a veritable smorgasbord of scratches, including several nasty gouges to the skid-pads that were starting to affect performance. I was considering replacing these individual pads until several weeks into testing, when I suddenly realized that the Destructor had nearly buffed them all out. Nice!
Diversions aside, testing (unfortunately) revealed that the Destructor isn't quite as durable as I had initially anticipated. In order to verify build quality, I was intentionally rough on the pad, jamming it into a padded Targus bag and carrying it with me on my daily trip to and from school for two entire college semesters. Six months (and approximately 300 miles) later, the backing around the edges of the pad peeled back 5-10 mm, with signs that the process was starting to accelerate. Given the current rate of decay, it seems probable that another six months of the same treatment would result in an unusable product. While this level of performance isn't unacceptable--hard surfaces are notoriously prone to peeling--it is a little disappointing, given the Destructor's price ($40 US) and Razer's solid reputation.
Summary: Another Year, Another Great ProductAll in all, this is one of the best mousing surfaces on the market, unless (as we previously mentioned), you're looking to cover every square inch of available desk space with plastic. As usual, Razer's obsession with design has paid off in spades: the Destructor is fast, precise, and good-looking. If the size is right for you, and you're not planning on hiking across the country, the only real downside to the Destructor is that it'll cost you a pretty penny. Nearly every other aspect of the product is highly commendable.
Pros:• Superb speed and control characteristics.
• Sexy design.
• Includes carrying case.
• Limited survivability in mobile environments.