Xtrac Hybrid
Written by Michael Larabel in Peripherals on 22 March 2005. Page 1 of 1. Add A Comment

A few years back we never would have expected the gaming mouse pad industry to grow as substantially as we are able to see today. There are numerous manufacturers all making their own gaming surfaces out of different shapes, materials, and sizes. One of the recent traits in these gaming pads is the addition of cloth/fabric. Up for examination today we have the Xtrac Hybrid. As the name implies, the mouse pad is a hybrid of plastic and cloth, for ultimate control of your mouse.

Features:

· 10" x 16" x 3/16" (254mm x 406mm x 4.77mm)
· Sure Grip rubber backing
· Hybrid mousing surface

Contents:

Opening the long rectangular cardboard box we found the Xtrac Mad Dotz, which were previously reviewed at Phoronix, instruction sheet, and XtracPads case badge/sticker. Also, the cardboard packaging is also designed to be a LAN carrying box for the pad once it's rolled up. The instruction sheet stresses the importance of keeping the pad rolled up when transporting, to prevent permanent damage to the surface. A new revision can be found to the Xtrac Mad Dotz since the last time we had looked at these Teflon pads. The new addition is the inclusion of an alcohol swab to clean any dirt and grime from the existing mouse feet.

Examination:

Unlike the previous Xtrac mouse pads we've reviewed in the past couple of months, Pro HS, Hammer, and Ripper, the Hybrid is surprisingly the most basic, appearance-wise, as Xtrac has ditched the pattern design. The entire front side instead is a black plastic. The material composing the middle of the mouse pad is thick foam used for padding while the bottom layer is SureGrip rubber backing to have a nice secure position on your table or desk. Towards the right hand side of the pad we see the Xtrac logo accompanied with a skinny strip of the Xtrac mousing pattern.

Overall, this mouse pad appears much more basic than previous Xtrac mousing surfaces, but its three layer design should lead to some interesting results and the added thickness should help with extra comfort for your wrist.

Performance:

Before even testing out the Xtrac Hybrid, we first cleaned the bottom of the mouse on one of our testbeds and then applied the Mad Dotz to each of the four feet, with eight of the Dotz left over. The mouse we used in testing today was a cheap DCT Factory 03M-OPT-BCLI, but it had proved to be a relatively accurate mouse in our experiments. The testbed was running FedoraCore3 (2.6.10-1.770).

As this mouse is designed for gaming, we played America's Army Special Forces v2.3, Doom 3, Unreal Tournament 2004, and Cube. In all four FPS games, whether were using a flak cannon or a M16, we enjoy a mousing surface with very little friction to assist in fast and precise mouse movements. Comparing this surface against the Steelpad QcK+ and the Xtrac Ripper, we found the Hybrid to be superior. What made us settle for the Hybrid was the three layer design for added smoothness, comfort for the wrist due to the added foam, and large size yet not too small where we would find the mouse running out of space. We also did some image editing in GIMP and had no trouble with the Xtrac Hybrid.

Conclusion:

The Hybrid is much different than what we've seen from Xtrac in the past. The Hybrid features a new three layer design for a slick surface while being fairly flexible. This flexibility does come at an expense though of having to properly transport the pad inside the cardboard LAN box to prevent permanently putting wrinkles into the surface. We did feel the Xtrac pattern column, above the logo in the bottom right hand corner, was a bit odd looking since the rest of the surface was black. At $25.00 USD the Xtrac Hybrid is more expensive then its ancestors but is still cheap compared to surfaces from other manufacturers such as Icemat.

Pros:

· Mad Dotz included
· Three layer design
· Sure Grip rubber backing
· Great surface
· Comfortable on the wrists/hands

Cons:

· Require special precautions when transporting
· Edges tend to fray on cloth surfaces

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Michael Larabel is the principal author of Phoronix.com and founded the site in 2004 with a focus on enriching the Linux hardware experience. Michael has written more than 20,000 articles covering the state of Linux hardware support, Linux performance, graphics drivers, and other topics. Michael is also the lead developer of the Phoronix Test Suite, Phoromatic, and OpenBenchmarking.org automated benchmarking software. He can be followed via Twitter or contacted via MichaelLarabel.com.

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