gadg-et-oid [gaj-it-oid]


1. having the characteristics or form of a gadget;
resembling a mechanical contrivance or device.

Razer Sphex “Gaming Surface” Review

Just in case you’re wondering exactly what a “gaming surface” is, it’s a fancy term for gaming mouse-mat.

No mouse mat could be more deserving of such a fancy term than the Sphex, however. Named after a genus of wasp, “Sphex” implies that any gamer with it stuck firmly to their desk will dominate their opponents.

Obviously, out here in the real word there’s no “holy grail” of gaming paraphernalia that will immediately give you a significant advantage over your foes, or make up for a lack of skill (trust me, I’ve tried everything!), but rather a combination of tools that will certainly give you, at least, a slight competitive edge.

The Sphex is simply one such tool, but also represents a revolutionary and, in my opinion, quite ingenious step away from the traditional mouse-mat and indeed even the traditional “gaming surface.”

Traditional gaming surfaces such as the SteelSeries SL are thick, heavy duty affairs with more surface area than you can shake a pointy stick at.

The Sphex, by comparison, is a dainty, wafer thin mat that sticks firmly and completely immovably to your desk whilst still being easy to remove when the time comes to wipe away crumbs and cola spills.

It comes in a similarly wafer thin packaging that reveals the gaming surface through a window in the front. In a somewhat laughable move, the Sphex also comes with a certificate of authenticity. Perhaps Razer are aspiring to be the Georgio Armani of gaming peripherals.

I tested the Sphex on a glass desk where it’s not only effective, but absolutely essential. Sticking on the slightly ridged mat was a simple case of removing the protective backing sheet and carefully laying it across the desk. It’s easy to lift off and re-apply if you accidentally stick it on the skew and you’ll not encounter trapped air bubbles.

Unlike fabric mouse-mats, the Sphex is very hard wearing and the textured surface gives an excellent frame of reference for Laser and Optical mice alike. I found the combination of a SteelSeries Ikari Laser mouse, dialled right up to a high sensitivity, and the Sphex matt to be both absurdly sensitive, fast and precise. I have to dial things down.

Because the Sphex sticks to the surface of your desk and stands a fraction of a millimetre tall it doesn’t intrude upon the available desk surface or get in the way of your keyboard if you need to shuffle things about. Of course, it takes a little more effort to relocate the mousing surface than it would with an ordinary mat, but the rock-solid immovability of the Sphex is more than worth this minor, infrequent inconvinience.

If you take your gaming surfaces seriously, then there’s no reason why you shouldn’t go for the Sphex.

Monday, June 29th, 2009, Computer Gaming, PC, Personal Computing.