Razer Firefly

Razer FireflyWhere on Earth should we start with this? Let’s go with a little bit of a history into mousemats. That’s what we usually do, right? Mousemats have existed for as long as there have been trackball mice.

So, not for very long. And ever since optical sensors came into life in the mid noughties, they almost became null and void. In fact, it’s entirely possible to run a PC, and game quite effectively, without using one at all (as long as it’s not a glass surface). It’s likely that you’ll find people out there who are still using some bent and broken Harry Potter mousemats from over 10 years ago.However, that’s not why we’re here. And if you’re anything like us, you want to optimise every part of your gaming experience. So, what advancements have there been for us PC enthusiasts? Well, first came the multi-surfaced mousemats, designed to allow the user a variety (usually two) of different feels depending on how fast the user wanted their mouse to track. Then, beyond that, came the introduction of hard mats. Initially constructed from aluminium, these mousemats provided crisp, smooth traction and a solid feel that made it easy to clean. However, they were known to flake and damage over time.Eventually, R&D labs across the mousemat community came to a solid and plastic textured finish. These provided greater durability and often included the ability to interchange between two sides, depending on what texture you preferred.So, what is it that Razer has done to advance on this prestigious line of multitextured gaming-surface research and development? LEDs! And not only LEDs, but 16.8 million colours-worth of LEDs. And what does this inevitably mean? A cable! And a rather annoying bump at the front of the mousemat.We’ll admit that, from a distance or from the side, this mousemat does look quite good… but if you’re in a well-lit room and are sat actually using it, the only LED you’ll notice is the Razer logo in the top-right-hand corner of the device. Can we call it a device? Ultimately, it’s a little bit of a disappointment. The range of effects are impressive, if only you could see them. Unless you’re admiring your mousemat from a distance, or playing in absolute darkness, something which is not conducive for your eyesight, it’s going to have a minimal impact on how much your epeen holds up.But the biggest problem by far is the cable hub at the top. If you’ve ever used a mat for any prolonged period of time, you’ll notice you only really use around 20–30 per cent of the total surface area. This is most apparent on mousemats that wear away over time. And because of that one reason, we managed to hit the wired hub at least once every 10-15 minutes. That doesn’t sound like much, but it’s the most frustrating thing, not being able to glide elegantly across the screen due to this small raised barrier jarring your movement and blocking your path down the rock-strewn valley to gaming victory.We just can’t recommend dropping £55 on a mousemat with a few LEDs. It adds another cable to your desk, its tracking surface isn’t interchangeable and the LEDs are something you’ll forget or not see unless you’re not on your PC. You’re entirely better off getting a cheaper, LED free alternative and buying a crate of beer with the change. – ZAK STOREY

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