• Kick Some Glass... Artisan is Back!

    When buying equipment for your ultimate gaming setup, there is probably one item that does not make it onto the list very often: a mouse pad. But why not? You're willing to throw down upwards of $150 on a mouse, do you not think the mouse pad makes a difference? Turns out it does.

    ​Last year during Quake-con 2010, TeamPlayer Gaming met Artisan, a company dedicated to making gaming mouse pads tailored for every kind of gamer. If you read our review from last year, you'll see that I didn't particularly care for mouse pads in the past; Artisan has changed that, honestly. You might have also noticed that Artisan is based out of Japan. That's a long way to travel for Quake-con! But don't let this deter you from buying one, because I can guarantee these are some amazing mouse pads.

    The Back-story
    Last year, TPG reviewed some mouse pad prototypes that Artisan was showing off at Quake-con 2010. The pads we reviewed were part of their KAI.g3 series, which are now on the market. We're here to bring you the low-down on the development that has occurred, and therefore improvements in quality, on the KAI.g3 series.

    The Review
    We were given a Shiden-Kai, Extra Soft, Large (SHIDEN-KAI, XSOFT, L) pad to play with, and as sure as time passes by, so did the pads improve.

    A brief overview.
    The Shiden-Kai brings a few interesting things to the table:
    • The top is coated with glass. Glass! Although, it's not a plate of glass or anything. It's more like a glass film.
    • The smoothness and accuracy of a solid mouse pad on a flexible base. The glass top is flexible as well.
    • An amazing anti-skid back-side that will not slide. No, anti-skid is too weak a term to describe the power of this anti-skid technology; it has an extraordinarily-amazing-anti-skid back-side.
    • The ease at which you're able to keep your mouse pad clean (the glass coating at least).
    • And last, but not least, it is freakin' huge (16.5 x 13 inches)! If that's too big, it does come in Medium and Small sizes.

    Glass eh? How does that work?
    Inferno-graph_gh-pngI know what you're thinking, "Nothing tracks on glass!" Well let me put your fears to rest, as I was able to test the pad with three difference mice, all of which tracked amazingly. But that's not the best part! This sucker is smooth. And to top it off, I was able to stop my mouse on a dime! "How?", you ask? By making the base more supple (hence "Extra Soft" in the name), the friction between the mouse and the pad is increased, allowing the mouse to stop easier.

    But, not everything is perfect about the glass top. Earlier when I said everything tracks fine, I think it's worth noting that I had better tracking on Artisan's cloth pads (Hien), which we also reviewed last year (named Hyper-Cloth/Tracking-Cloth pads back then). Although, the difference in the level of tracking was so minor that I still recommend the Shiden-Kai (personal opinion).

    The soft base really turns me off. I like as smooth a surface as possible.
    I assure you, the Shiden-Kai pad is extremely smooth, however, Artisan offers 6​ different levels of hardness for the base of their mouse pads over their entire collection. If you wish to obtain an even smoother experience, something man-kind once thought was impossible, try the "Mid" hardness level, the only other hardness level the Shiden-Kai is currently available in.

    No way! I hate it when my mouse is flying everywhere!
    No problem. If the glass top plus extra soft base is too smooth for you, try out one of their Hien-style pads. This is basically a micro-thread top so that you have even more friction. We reviewed these last year, and I can assure you that you'll like these just as well, especially considering the upgrades they've made to the base of their mouse pads.

    There has to be a trade off?

    Like I said earlier, when comparing the Hien style pad to the Shiden-Kai, I found that the Shiden-Kai actually lost some tracking. However, the loss is not great enough for me to deter anyone away from using the Shiden-Kai. In fact, you could say this is its only flaw.

    Strawberry & milk... what?
    Yes, I'm sorry. Currently, the only color the Shiden-Kai comes in is strawberry & milk. According to Artisan's site, they're planning on releasing a Light Blue version soon. Customization didn't seem to hit the shelves before Quake-con 2011.

    In Conclusion
    Artisan caters to a large variety of Gamers with their selection of mouse pads. From micro-threads to glass films, from hard foam to extra soft, Artisan will more than likely have the type of mouse pad you're looking for, with superior quality to boot!

    Game on.
    Comments 4 Comments
    1. DJ Ms. White's Avatar
      DJ Ms. White -
      Looks like there's going to be a sale soon.
    1. i8pptuakamonstercam's Avatar
      i8pptuakamonstercam -
      ya I'm def. looking into buying one
    1. ATEXANnHISGUN's Avatar
      as soon as I get a few other things handled; I will be getting one of these as well.
    1. kibner's Avatar
      kibner -
      I have bought a micro-fiber pad from the past two Quakecons from them. They own own own. One word of advice, though. If you have a high dpi mouse and play at high sensitivity, get their mid or hard pads. When you put pressure on your mouse, their softer pads will indent a bit at the point of pressure and throw your tracking off (even when just clicking!). The one I bought last year is still in great condition; just need to wash it.