Posted: September 05, 2003
Author: Stephen Forbes
Alienware is a manufacturer of computer systems based in Miami, Florida that has developed a reputation for putting out high-end machines with a distinctive style all their own. One accessory available on their website intended to compliment their systems is the “Alienware Mousepad”, which is in fact a fUnc Industries sUrface1030 mousepad, private labeled for Alienware. Before taking a closer look at the mousepad itself, lets take a look at the two companies that have their name on this product...
fUnc Industries was founded in August 1999 to develop and manufacture specialized accessories for the professional computer user. The sUrface1030 is the first product to be released in the line of mousing sUrface products from the company.
Alienware Ltd manufactures high-end computer gaming machines, DV systems and high performance workstations. Alienware has earned numerous awards for excellence in the computer industry and is also a respected, globally recognized brand name. The Alienware company motto is “build it as if it were your own”. Alienware has built a great reputation in the computer industry and work hard each day to maintain it.
The sUrface1030 is the first complete mousing solution that provides users with the flexibility required in today’s diverse computing environment, offering features never before available in a mouse pad. The product is comprised of an ergonomically designed rubber base that houses the unique double-sided sUrface and keeps it in place on the desktop. The double-sided sUrface offers two unique options for the user depending on their individual mousing style and preference. A specially designed, integrated mouse cord clip with multiple placement locations allows the sUrface1030 to be used either wide or tall and provides the user with hassle free mouse movements.
• Double-sided large sUrface area: 10"x8.5"
• Two unique sUrface sides users can choose to mouse on, both providing a smooth feel with a high level of traction consistency and precision
• Easy to clean and is hand washable when necessary
• Clip connects to base at one of six locations accommodating left and right handed users, and allows for surface to be used "wide" or "long" depending on user preference
• Clip designed to be non-interfering with mouse or mouse cord movements
• Applies pressure at two locations on the cord ensuring a firm hold, stabilizing it in one position
4Strong metal construction
• Less than 1/8" high
• Houses the sUrface component and integrates the cord clip
• Textured bottom ensures the solution remains in place on your desk while mousing
• Rubber edging surrounds the sUrface component providing a soft feel to the wrist
• High quality, durable rubber construction
Inspection of Packaging:
Alienware uses DHL as their courier service. So the product arrived very quickly, less than 2 days in fact. As you can see in the below left image it came in a sealed and totally watertight DHL envelope. Inside this envelope was a further paper envelope containing the mouse mat and other contents. Also the Alienware Invoice as you can see in the below right image.
One disappointing fact is if you purchase fUnc Industries own version of the mouse mat, rather than Alienware’s modified version, you will receive it in a stainless steel case for traveling, very useful for the LAN Party gamer. You get this one in a plain paper envelope, not very impressive, as the specially designed mouse mat may get damaged (I have explained why this is further on).
• Rubber Base
• The special surface mat
• Wire Clip
• Instruction Guide
The base of the mouse mat is made from rubber so it grips the desktop, and you don’t have to reposition your mouse mat every so often. It is engraved with their nifty little fUnc Industries logo at the top and at the bottom with their website address, giving it a nice touch. The special surface mat is made from some sort of flexible reinforced textured vinyl, which if bent too much could permanently crease. That’s why I mentioned it getting damaged in the non-protective envelope. It has the very stylish Alienware logo on both sides of the mat that does not affect the texture, as it has been stenciled underneath the textured coating. That also means it will never wear away. The clip is made from very flexible thin aluminum so it cannot be easily broken.
I found the instructions very useful. They included 3 sections:
1. General Assembly – Basically how to place the surface into the base and how to attach the cable clip, very simple stuff.
2. Using the Cable Clip – This section is extremely detailed for such a simple task and kept repeating the fact that pulling the cable on the mouse can damage it. Basically you could figure it out even if you didn’t have the instructions anyway, I just copied the picture in the booklet, as I got bored of reading the unnecessary instructions.
3. Cleaning your mouse – This section is basically saying that to keep the effectiveness of the mouse mat you will have clean you mouse every so often.
Assembly and Testing:
From the images below you can see how the cable clip attaches to the rubber base and a close up of how the cable attaches. A very nice addition I think.
I am very impressed with the mouse clip, the idea and design are excellent. The clip makes sure you always have enough slack on the mouse cable, and it does not affect the performance of your mouse, either. If you have a cordless mouse, obviously you don’t need the clip, but that doesn’t mean the mouse mat is a waste of money, as the clip is not the main feature.
It’s the mouse mat surface that really makes the difference, the quality is outstanding and the engineering of it is fabulous. The smooth side of the mouse mat is ideal for surfing the net and basic computer functions, but the rough textured side of the mat is ideal for gaming and desktop publishing as it has a precise and solid feel to it.
For all you graphics enthusiasts, you wont be worrying about your mouse sticking any more, because the texture and the slightly increased size of the mat drastically improve performance in any desktop publishing program. As for gaming, I tried playing a few rounds in Counter-Strike and a game in C&C: Generals and must say this mouse mat really helps... the ball of the mouse grips solid to the rough surface, so it is much easier to aim in Counter-Strike. As for C&C: Generals, the slightly larger mat came in handy for selecting your massive army that takes up the whole 19” monitor.
For the price, this mouse mat is a great addition for any PC enthusiast, and earns 4 stars (out of a possible 5). Whether it is for gaming, designing, or general computer tasks, this mouse mat is ideal. The dual-sided textures are what does it for me. Most gaming mouse mats come with just the rough surface for improved game play, but the rough texture gets annoying when you’re just browsing the net, as it is very noticeable and unnecessary. This will suit any user, and could also be handy for the shared family computer, so the gamer of the family could just flip the mat over to the rough side and when his mum wants on the computer he flips it back to the smooth side.
A further development for Alienware would be to offer it in different colors, to give the user more variety. The quality of the mat was excellent, felt really sturdy, and the mat fit beautifully in the rubber base. And, because of the rubber base’s smooth edges you don’t slit your wrists like some other mouse mats.
• Low price (£15.00 / $15.00 US)
• Very good quality
• Good for family computers
• Good for both cabled and wireless mice
• Mouse cable clip
• Dual sided
• Stylish logo
• Poor and non-protective packaging
• Only 1 choice of color
• No stainless steel case
• Over the top instructions
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