I really thought that the idea that paying money for a mouse mat, let alone the kind of money that you'll be looking at for the Razer Firefly mouse mat, was a colossal waste of money. I was using a simple Mario face as my mouse mat that I got free in a showbag or with a magazine purchase or something, and that old faithful had been treading me very well for a long time. So what on earth could a dedicated gaming mouse mat possibly achieve?
Related reading: All of our reviews of Razer products.
As it turns out, quite a lot. Poor old Mario has been retired, because I can't see myself going back now that I've used the Firefly. I don't actually have a point of reference here, as I've never used a premium mouse mat designed for gaming before, but I do know that my experience using this one has been pleasant indeed.
The first thing I noticed out the box is that the Firefly is hard, as promised, but just flexible enough that it's not rigid. The build is nice and thick too, and the overall size of the mat is comfortably large at 355 mm (length) x 255 mm (width) x 4 mm (height). At this size it won't force you to rearrange your tabletop to accommodate it, but you'll have more than enough space to glide your mouse around without risking losing it over the edge.
It's a stylish little unit too, with a slick black appearance and a reasonably subtle (by Razer's standards) logo in the top corner. A lengthy cord off the back will mean the map should be easy to connect up to a USB port on most PC or gaming laptop setups. Of course, in terms of the presentation the real magic happens when the device is connected to a powered-on computer, and the base of the mat and logo start to glow with Razer's millions of different colours. The mat makes uses of Razer's Synapse software to control how the colours change and fade in and out. This lighting is all superficial and, if we're being a honest, a bit too decadent for a mouse mat, but if you're buying a premium product it's a nice touch if it at least looks like a premium product, which the Firefly does.
The surface of the mouse mat is micro-textured, and here's the thing that makes the Firefly a worthwhile investment; that surface really does facilitate fine, precise control over the mouse. Even a standard mouse sees a marked increase in both speed and precision when it's sitting on top of the Firefly, and if you're involved in any kind of competitive online game, I can only assume how much this precision will help you in your game. Razer is claiming on its website that all this is laboratory tested and validated by eSports athletes. I have no idea how true that is, but again, on a very fundamental level I saw an improvement in performance on my standard off-the-shelf mouse. I can only assume that a gaming mouse would pair up even better.
The question is, of course, whether it's worth purchasing one of these. I didn't need a mouse mat like this for the kinds of games I tend to play on PC (be that retro old games, or more sedate paced modern strategy titles). I appreciated that I have a more smooth level of control over basic non-gaming applications like image resizing or working on my Hatsune Miku music, but I wouldn't say that's worth over $Aus100.
But, again, for people into their Call of Duties and League of Legends, where extreme precision counts for something, I can see the Firefly at least being worthy of competition. In that sense it's a bit like a tennis racquet: anyone can buy a basic tennis racquet for $80 and have a good time on the court. But if you're looking to take on Roger Federer, you'll probably want something more... serious. And that'll set you back.
In that context I don't think $100 is much to ask for to boost your competitive performance. I do feel like the lighting is superficial and unnecessary, but then people who are serious about their games tend to like glowing stuff, and so Razer's famous love of glowing stuff will probably help there, too.
- Matt S.
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