Models and packages
There is only one 2nd Edition Icemat, but it comes in 8 different colors. The only significant difference between the original Icemat and the 2nd Edition is the size -- this one is bigger than its predecessor.
The Icemat 2nd Edition measures 10 x 12 inches, and has six rubber feet on the bottom to both insulate the mousepad from slightly uneven or unclean surfaces, and to prevent it from sliding around the desktop. The most interesting quality of the Icemat is its composition -- it's made of glass. The mouse surface is frosted, which provides a bit of resistance for mice while preventing plastic mouse feet from sticking.
Included with the Icemat 2nd Edition are a padded travel case and a small length of textured plastic tape to cover your mouse's feet. You can go without the tape, but using it will prolong the life of the mouse feet and provide a more consistent tactile experience. There is enough tape to cover about two standard mice, or one mouse that has larger glide surfaces (such as the Microsoft Habu mouse or many of its Razer brethren). The manufacturer does not seem to offer an option to buy more tape (though you can buy equivalent tape from other vendors for a few dollars), so choose your preferred mouse wisely.
Putting it to the test
|Icemat 2nd Edition: best mousepad ever|
From the very first use, I was impressed with the Icemat 2nd Edition. It's smooth, consistent, and large enough to accommodate my gaming and desktop publishing needs. I tested it primarily with the Habu mouse, as mentioned above, and the only real problem I had was trying to get the limited amount of tape to fit over the large mouse feet. It took about two weeks for the tape to really "break in" -- it gave off small black particles that stuck to the Icemat. After all of the loose material was gone and the contact patches were worn smooth, the plastic tape didn't give me any trouble.
Every so-called gaming mousepad is great at first, and then problems show up later after you've already told your friends how wonderful it is. In anticipation of this, I tested the Icemat for more than two months, using it heavily all day, every day. As of this writing, after many weeks of daily use, there has been no detectable degradation of the surface at all -- the frosted coating has not worn down one bit, as far as I can tell. It's just as smooth now as it was when it was unboxed.
There are some unusual side effects to a glass mousepad. First of all, if you're warm or under stress, sweat will very easily transfer from your hand to the mousepad. If you are very warm and the mousepad is cold, you can also get some condensation on the Icemat. Any moisture at all will lead to an inconsistent user experience, so you will have to frequently wipe the Icemat off if you have sweaty palms. Secondly, the Icemat 2nd Edition attracts a lot of dust particles, which cause uncomfortable friction between the mouse and the surface. The Icemat needs to be cleaned with a non-corrosive glass cleaner (I suggest LCD screen cleaning solution and a microfiber towel) at least once per week if you want to avoid discomfort. If your computing environment is particularly dusty, you may have to wipe off the Icemat with a damp towel every day. Lastly, glass is a hard and unforgiving substance, especially when you're resting your wrist on it. If you're not sitting at the proper angle, the Icemat tends to cut sharply into your wrist. It's a similar effect to resting your wrist on the edge of a kitchen counter -- you won't bleed, but the hardness of the surface and the sharpness of the (rounded) corner becomes uncomfortable after a short while.
After blowing through a Ratpadz GS and an Xraypad Thunder 9, both of which were awesome at first and then started to get a smooth shine to them after a few weeks (the shine causes the mouse to slide inconsistently, and also causes the mouse to stick to the pad after short periods of rest), I feel like I've found the perfect mousepad in the Icemat 2nd Edition. It's big enough for intense gaming and desktop publishing, the surface doesn't lose integrity (that I can detect, anyway), and it comes in several attractive colors. I highly recommend the Icemat 2nd Edition for anyone who enjoys a smooth mouse experience -- not just gamers and artists.
|Device support||Desktop mice of all kinds|
|Market||Gamers, desktop publishers, anyone who wants a smooth mouse experience|
|Price (retail)||U.S. ~$35-39, depending on color Buy it now from Amazon.com|
|Previous version||Icemat Original|
|Product Web site||Click here|