Steelseries 5L Review
Total Rating:(4.5/ 5.0)
Recommendation: The 5L is highly recommended for almost anyone. Its unique combination of materials make it perfect for almost any gamer, artist, or computer enthusiast.
Standard retail: $39.99
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- Material: 5 layers of plastic coating, cloth, polyisoprene, hard plastic, rubber base.
- Size: 15 x 11 x .2 in. (381 x 279 x 5 mm)
- Works with: Optical and laser, optimized for laser
- Glide: Smooth
What we liked:
- Very large, definitely enough room for low-sensitivity users
- Solid grip on the bottom – will not slide
- A smooth glide, like a hard pad, but with a soft feel
- Great durability
- Awesome precision with laser mice
- Good value for serious users
What we disliked:
- May be too pricy for casual users
“Many gamers want a mouse pad with the softness and smoothness of a cloth mouse pad but also demand the durability and stability of a hard plastic mouse pad. The SteelSeries 5L combines both and is the ultimate hybrid mouse pad making no tradeoffs.” – Official SteelSeries 5L description
Sounds impressive, right? Well, we have some good news for you: the Steelseries 5L is actually quite impressive.
The 5L is a very unique pad composed of 5 different layers of material (thus the name 5L). The top layer is a hard plastic coating over a layer of cloth. When you mouse over the surface, it gives a nice, smooth motion like a hard pad, but it feels soft like a cloth pad. The next layer is a thin foam layer of a synthetic called polisoprene. This gives the pad some softness, allowing you to rest your wrist on its large surface comfortably. The hard plastic layer beneath that is much like a frame, holding the pad in shape. The bottom layer is composed of a very grippy (it’s a word now) rubber to hold the pad in place.
We were initially concerned about the durability of the 5L. Hard surfaces usually last about three times as long as soft surfaces before showing wear. We wondered how the 5L would fare with its hybrid hard/soft surface. According to long-term users, the 5L’s durability is fantastic! We spoke with many hardcore gamers who had been using the pad for three years, and there were no problems to speak of. Steelseries seems to have done a great job constructing the 5L. There are only a couple pads like the 5L, but the 5L offers the best performance and best durability of them all. Seriously, you might see some fraying on the pad, but the 5L just keeps going and performing.
Cleaning the 5L is not as easy as cleaning a hard surface, but you really wouldn’t expect it to be. It’s also not as hard as cleaning a cloth surface. The plastic-covered cloth seems to not absorb liquids like a cloth pad would, so you’re left with a surface that isn’t sticky. Just use a wet cloth to clean up spills, and you’re good to go. One user reported that the pad had no stains or spots after multiple soda spills every month. We’re not quite sure what’s wrong with this guy or why he can’t stop spilling soda by his computer, but apparently he has a friend in the 5L mouse pad / bib.
Let’s check out the marketing claims made by Steelseries in regards to the 5L. Does it feel soft like cloth? Check. Does it offer a smooth surface like a hard pad? Check. Does it hold up like a hard plastic pad? Check. Does it do all of this without any tradeoffs? Pretty much, check. The price might be the only tradeoff, but you get what you pay for here. Click through to get the Steelseries 5L or just look at the current price you can get it for. Head back to the mouse pad reviews main page for more mouse pad info. If you think you might want any other soft surface, I think you’re missing out. Our verdict is that the Steelseries 5L is the best “soft” pad out there.