I find myself continually surprised by slight tweaks and innovations from established hardware products. A few years ago I would have simply said that a mouse pad was a mouse pad and most only different in either colour or shape. However, Kingston, while known for its memory more than their peripherals, has shown with the HyperX Skyn Mouse Pad that there are still a few new ideas to be had.
Over the last year or so I have seen incredibly wide mouse mats, firm gaming surfaces and a variety of different types of fibres used in cloth pads. The HyperX Skyn unique style shows up in how incredibly thin the surface is and in its use of adhesive over rubber on the bottom of the pad. They also come in a pair of flavours that do perform differently from one another.
Both styles look very similar at a glance. The rectangular pad with rounded corners is dark in colour with the HyperX logo in the lower left corner and the Skyn moniker in the lower right. There is also a different symbol next to the word Skyn that is dependant on the version being used. One has a winged boot for speed and the other a scope or crosshair for accuracy. Near the upper left corner of each is also a tab, used for pulling the pad up and off of the surface it is applied to.
The most visually striking thing about the Skyn surface is how thin it is. It is not exaggeration to state that these mouse pads are paper-thin. However, they are incredibly durable. These are a hard surface that does not get dirty or fray like a cloth one, and in one instance my son had a small spill with a glass of water onto the corner of one of the pads. It wiped right up and I was ready to go.
The bottom of the pad relies on an adhesive once you pull away the safety film (I suppose it is fair to think of these as giant stickers given how thin they are). The pad then adheres to whatever surface you are using, and it does hold on really well. There was absolutely no slippage after hours of use – whether I was simply moving the mouse lightly over the surface or dragging my forearm across the pad while making wider sweeping motions within my game. The low profile of the Skyn also helps to prevent friction should the mouse come off of the surface (though these are actually fairly large at 14 by 10 inches). These elements combine to keep the surface from wrinkling or bunching up like a cloth pad usually will with extended use.
There is at least one drawback to this approach, and perhaps one potential concern as well. First the primary drawback, which is the Skyn mouse pad is not what I would consider portable. The tab in the upper left makes it easy to pull the Skyn off of whatever surface you have it adhering to (I tested it on two different tables and a desk) so it can be moved, but this is not the sort of surface you can just toss in a laptop case and take with you to a friend’s house if you plan to mount it. Also, because this is adhesive and not a rubberised bottom, many removals and applications will make the adhesive less effective. Over time it will start to give, though if you’re not moving around too much this obviously won’t be an issue.
Now to talk about the two different types of surfaces. The one meant for speed is meant to be a smoother surface, and it definitely succeeds on that front. Use it with a high DPI laser mouse, and there is some pixel skip but for an action-based game there should be no concerns that the player cannot pivot quickly enough to respond. I preferred the control surface however, which had a slightly more notable texture to the surface and worked well when operating my mouse at mid to lower DPI settings for precision activities such as art software or a sniper game.
The lack of thickness might bother some people who prefer a more cushioned experience, but I actually liked the low profile as my other mouse pad was also a firmer, faster surface. The lack of portability might also be a point of concern for some. That being said, the design is unique and it helps that there are two different types of surfaces to choose from depending on your needs. The end result are reliable, durable mouse pads that allow you to choose between speed or precision.
– Nick H.