The Roccat Alumic is a stylish, double-sided aluminium gamers' mouse pad with a luxury price tag. Here's our review.
Only a few weeks after the occasionally imperfect tracking of the Roccat Kova[+] gaming mouse made us long for a mouse mat, Roccat has sent us one of its mouse pads for review.
The Roccat Alumic is a gaming mouse pad with an 'anodised aluminium core' (hence the name) and flat rubber feet on each corner to hold it firmly in place on your desk.
Quite why Roccat insists on calling the Alumic a mouse pad rather than a mat, we couldn't say - it isn't padded. Perhaps the name mouse mat conjures up images of unnecessary, wackily decorated desk-fillers in late-1990s offices. Indeed, one of the questions you may be thinking is: 'Do I really need a mouse pad these days?' After all, modern mouse laser optics are far less reliant on a friendly surface than the roller-ball mechanisms of the last century.
But mouse pads still seem to be reasonably popular, even if it's just as a cheap device to stop the desk from getting scratched (we asked our readers if they use one, and at time of writing there was a roughly even split between yeses and nos).
And some hardcore gamers take mouse pads - or 'gaming surfaces' - very seriously indeed, seeking to gain every possible advantage of speed and responsiveness by ensuring they have exactly the right amount of friction under their mouse, whether at home or visiting a gaming tournament. (If that sort of thinking seems like obsession, this product probably isn't for you.)
The Roccat Alumic's smooth side
Roccat Alumic: Design and performance
The Alumic is double-sided, with one side smooth and the other bevelled. The idea is that one is optimised for speed, and the other for fine control, although swapping between the two for various games is probably for pro gamers only - amateurs like this reviewer will just settle on whichever feels nicer and seems to work best.
Using the same manufacturer's Roccat Kova [+] gaming mouse we actually saw significant improvements, but only because we'd had a little trouble getting that mouse to track movement accurately on our evidently-too-shiny work desk. The Alumic side sorted that out, and gave accurate, fast-response performance (the sort of performance we'd had on the rougher table in the PC Advisor Test Centre).
But under most circumstances you'll be looking at fractional improvements, if you see any at all: the average gamer won't be looking to the Alumic to correct disappointing mouse performance, but simply fine-tuning their gaming setup.
And here's the Alumic's rougher side, with the wrist rest at the bottom
The Alumic is comfortable to use, providing a broad, hard optics-friendly surface. It also looks really good, with the rougher side in black with a subtle silver outline of the firm's logo, and the smooth side a little more old-fashioned with the logo done in metallic blue, silver and black. At 540g it's actually reasonably light, and should be fairly practical as a portable accessory.
The Roccat Alumic also comes with a separate padded wrist rest - perhaps this is where the name comes from. It's rather higher that we'd like, and we preferred to do without - there's something to be said for keyboard wrist rests, since you naturally type with wrists raised, but the average mousing posture has the heel of the palm on the desk. Still, it doesn't hurt to have the option.
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