My desktop has been tamed, and all it took was one giant mouse pad.
For as long as PCs and Macs have been around, the question of what surface we put our mouse on has been a small but pervasive one. It mattered more in the past, when mouse movement was detected by a physical ball that would gather dust and all sorts of unpleasantness if not cared for properly — whereas now laser and optical sensors can work on pretty much anything. But a good mouse mat is still a pretty nice thing to have, just for the feel under your hands, if nothing else.
Logitech’s $50 G840 XL Gaming Mouse Pad seemed at first to be the absolute overkill of the genre. Who needs a 90cm x 40cm (35 x 16 inches) surface to do their gaming on? It’s practically a table cloth for your entire desk. And that’s the genius of it. Calling it a mouse pad is a misnomer, because really this is a work surface to accommodate your keyboard, headphones, and any other daily desktop items along with your mouse.
Why do I like it?
There’s no overwhelming reason for why I really like this jumbo mouse pad, just a selection of small ones that together build up into a substantial improvement over working on the bare surface of my cheapo IKEA desk.
- The surface texture. It’s nice. Never underestimate the simple tactile appeal of a well engineered piece of synthetic cloth. The finish here is somewhat similar to what you’d feel under your hand on a pool table: just the right amount of friction to feel nice and to provide a predictable motion and acceleration of the mouse.
- It doesn’t gather dust. I’ve no idea how, but this mouse pad seems almost immune to the dust accumulation that builds up everywhere else on my desk and in my home. Maybe I’m just not seeing it. But, in any case, keeping the Logitech pad looking clean is a much easier task than having to wipe the desk every few days.
- The keyboard and mouse are on the same level. Perhaps my biggest annoyance with most mouse mats is that they’re either not big enough or they’re so big that they force my keyboard to an uncomfortable position. With Logitech’s XL alternative, keyboard and mouse sit side by side in harmony, and I’ve got a good mousing surfacing right up to the very edge of my keyboard.
- It’s not wearing out. I have had this Logitech G840 pad on my regular working desk for a few weeks now, and it’s showing no signs of degradation at all. In less time, I’ve managed to develop a shiny spot on the space bar of the Razer keyboard, but the Logitech mat looks and feels just like it was when brand new.
- The base stays in place. All of this would be meaningless if the Logitech mat slipped around a bunch, but it doesn’t. The thing stays put exactly where I lay it down, as if it were glued into position. That’s what 3mm of rubber will do for you.
We live in an age where even our mouse pads have specs. Almost every company that sells a gaming mouse and keyboard now also sells a mat with RGB LED strips integrated into its sides, plus color-syncing software to light up your entire desktop in a harmonious wave of color. That’s the wave of technological change that I recoil from in horror.
What Logitech has achieved with the G840 mouse pad is the thoughtful application of modern technology to an age-old problem. Logitech isn’t alone in thinking of this, of course, and other PC peripherals companies like Razer and Roccat offer their own, cheaper jumbo mouse pad alternatives. This is just the first example of this kind of product I’ve fully tested myself; and I would argue that Logitech’s greater depth than the Razer and Roccat options makes for a more comfortable and spacious working space. In any case, after my time with G840, I’m going to need a lot of convincing to ever go back to mouse pads that aren’t large enough to cover my entire desk.