The mousepad. An often-overlooked accessory that has been cushioning the gliding feet and providing an accurate tracking surface for mice everywhere for decades. Ahh yes, an under-appreciated accessory, that is, unless you're a gamer. As e-sports and competitive gaming have rapidly picked up in the past few years, so too have the number of products advertising a competitive advantage. Hard surfaces, specialized cloths, and everything in-between have been tried, and ultimately everyone has their own preference. Tesoro's Aegis is a slick cloth mousepad aimed at making delicate improvements to a basic mousing surface to give you that extra edge in your game.
THE SHIELD OF ZEUS
*Courtesy of Tesoro
Tesoro offers the Aegis gaming mouse pad in four different sizes, differentiated as X1-X4. The Aegis X1, the smallest of the family, measures up at 10.6W x 8.6L inches while the X4 goes all the way up to 17.3 x 14.6 inches. The four sizes give you options to match your surface size needs and the X4 gives plenty of room for low-sensitivity gamers to flail their mouse around fragging their foes.
The Gamin' Pads
The mouse pads themselves have edgy contours which matches the styling of Tesoro's keyboards nicely and adds a little flare to the otherwise boring square mouse pad. All of the mousepads are 0.12 inches thick, and, interestingly, only the X2 and X3 versions have sewn edges while the X1 and X4 have straight-cut edges. All of the versions come with Tesoro's purple and black logo lightly emblazoned over it. Keep in mind the bright lighting of our photo studio makes the purple colors pop more than they look in normal lighting. One thing Tesoro could try in order to appeal to more gamers, who are often times very picky about matching other peripherals, or even their cases, would be to offer their mouse pads with different colors.
You'll also notice what I think to be the defining "feature" of the Aegis mousepads, which is the uniquely-smooth surface texture. It is actually a little bit shiny because of the smooth nature of the surface, achieved by what Tesoro calls its "3D Fabric" which may also involve some sort of a coating, given the way it shimmers. The rubber bottom has a zig-zag pattern which does a reasonably good job at providing traction, but will still slide around a bit on a smooth desk surface if you press your hand down on the surface and ttry to slide it around. Other gaming pads like SteelSeries' QcK series have more grip, but ultimately it doesn't matter much because it doesn't slide around when you are mousing around on it, which is all that really matters.
Putting the Aegis Pads to the Test
We've been using Tesoro's Aegis gaming mouse pads on several of our test rigs alongside a rather similar SteelSeries QcK mouse pad for quite some time. Both are cloth mousepads with very small threads which leads to a high-quality, smooth cloth mouse surface. In a blind "rub test," where we had a couple people take a mouse in their hand, close their eyes, then place random orders of mouse pads (a mix of our QcK and Aegis pads we have here), and every single time the Aegis felt notably smoother. You can also hear the difference, as the QcK pads make a bit more noise than the very faint noise heard when a mouse is gliding over the Aegis mousepads.
That's all well and good, but does it matter when the mouse meets the pad and you just want to put a crosshair on some dude's head? In short, not particularly. I've been switching between the QcK pad and the Aegis for months and I've never noticed a preference for one of the other in terms of how it felt or how well I did. In the grand scheme of things, however, they are both on the better end of the cloth gaming pads we've used. Cooler Master's Speed RX surface also has a smooth feel like either of these, but is much thicker than the QcK or Aegis pads. The Aegis pad is slightly thicker than the QcK, so if thickness is a primary consideration (as it is for me when I'm working on a keyboard tray and part of the mousepad will be underneath the keyboard), the QcK has an advantage for you.
All-in-all, Tesoro's Aegis mousepads are noticeably the smoothest cloth mousepads we've used yet. For me, and keep in mind I'm not a super-pwntastic-hardcore gamer, I didn't notice much difference when I got down to gaming between the Aegis, SteelSeries QcK, or Cooler Master Speed RX pads, but each has their own slight advantages / disadvantages. The Speed RX is very thick which allows it to bridge table gaps at LANs, the QcK gaming pads are very thin, and Tesoro's Aegis is in-between at a moderately-thin 0.12 inches thick.
The various sizes Tesoro offers means basically anyone should be able to find the size they're looking for, but the puple/black color scheme might be off-putting for some, and it would be awesome to see some more colors or designs that might appeal to the picky gamer / builder community. Some people put painstaking efforts into an entire setup's aesthetics and color matching, and it won't end at the mouse pad if it gets that far. Otherwise, the color scheme is fairly suppressed and even if purple isn't your thing, it doesn't dominate the color scheme like my brightly-lit pictures might suggest.
Assuming the Aegis can be found for around the same price as a similarly-sized QcK or Speed RX gaming pad, I wouldn't be disappointed with one of Tesoro's gaming pads over the better-known SteelSeries or Cooler Master alternatives.