Tt eSPORTS has injected new life to the boring standard mouse pad with the implementation of a feature they are well-known for lately: RGB LEDs. This colorful feature feels at home on a higher-end product so it is implemented on the new Draconem RGB mousepad series.
The original Draconem is made of tough aluminum and integrated a mouse bungee. The new Draconem RGB continues that legacy and diversifies the option to a cloth or hard edition with added LED effects. The best part is that like other upgraded peripherals from Tt eSPORTS (such as the previously reviewed Ventus X Plus mouse), the price remains the same at $39.99.
Tt eSPORTS does not skimp on their packaging since they are often found in stores all over Asia (they even have them readily available at a terminal magazine ship in the Taoyuan International Airport in Taiwan). The front of the packaging does not indicate whether it is a hard edition or a cloth edition model, but there is an indicator at the back. Maybe Tt eSPORTS needs to update the package with a simple sticker pointing that out in the front because that would help a lot.
There are visual cues separating the hard edition and the cloth edition design so for those looking to buy it in person, these could help. The hard edition model has the Tt eSPORTS logo located on the lower left side with the LED buttons at the top positioned far apart from each other. The cloth edition model has the Tt eSPORTS logo located at the upper left hand side and the two buttons are positioned right beside each other on the right. That is how I can tell that this sample from Thermaltake in particular is a hard edition model.
Inside, the product is packaged within a protective plastic enclosure which is then cradled within a form fitting plastic seat. The accessories are packed underneath in a recessed compartment, so is the USB cable.
Only a warranty policy guide and a quick installation guide is provided. The USB cable is hardwired into the mousepad. The software is not included in a disc but has to be downloaded on the product page.
The Tt eSPORTS Draconem RGB Hard Edition measures 355 x 255 mm with rounded corners. It is only 4mm thick with the edges having LED lighting. At the top center is the console containing the PCB. The USB cable has an anti-fraying protection in the terminal.
There are two buttons controlling the LED behaviour: one is for the brightness and one is for RGB mode cycling. Users can choose up to five levels of LED brightness plus the ability to turn it off completely.
While the onboard buttons are convenient, its placement at the top center can cause some conflict with the mouse cabling.
One possible solution is to position the Draconem RGB mousepad sideways so the cabling is on the left or right side (depending on the user’s handedness). However, this limits the width available to the user.
Software and Lighting
By default, the LED lighting is set to 100% brightness with a chromatic wave preset. Installing the software provides users with extra customizability beyond just cycling and dimness levels. First it must be downloaded off the product page.
On initial setup, the software will look for a firmware update and give users the option to install it.
This mousepad in particular ships with firmware version 0101. At the time of this review, the latest version is 0107.
The software itself is a single pager with three profile banks for users to choose from. There’s spectrum running, pulse, wave and static. On options with a non-cyclic palette, a color-wheel pops up on the right side. Users can either use the mouse to point and click the color they want or they can input the RGB combination value from 0 to 255.
The Tt eSPORTS Draconem RGB Hard Surface Edition mouse pad is a fine addition to any gaming gear whether you want to have a consistent surface to track or just want to have a festive looking mousepad. At $39, it crosses the threshold of necessity and is a luxury item. However, in comparison to other RGB LED mousepads on the market, this is actually on the competitive side.
Comparison with other RGB LED Mousepads
How does it compare to other RGB Mousepads in the market? Here is a simple table comparing them:
|Brand||Product||Dimensions (mm)||Thickness (mm)||Surface Texture||Grip Coverage||Extras||Price (USA)|
|Thermaltake||Draconem RGB (Hard Edition)||355 x 255||4||Medium Synthetic||Full Back||None||39.99|
|Thermaltake||Draconem RGB (Soft Edition)||355 x 255||4||Speed Cloth||Full Back||None||39.99|
|Corsair||MM800 Polaris||350 x 260||5||Smooth Synthetic||Full Back||USB Passthrough||59.99|
|Razer||Firefly||355 x 255||4||Medium Synthetic||Full Back||None||59.99|
|Razer||Firefly Cloth||355 x 255||4||Speed Cloth||Full Back||None||59.99|
|Steelseries||QcK Prism||292.4 x 356.71||8.68||Dual Sided Synthetic||Full Back||None||59.99|
As you can see, the Tt eSPORTS option is the most affordable out of all four brands. In terms of size, it is the largest, matching with Corsair’s option. It is slightly wider while giving up the same length advantage over the MM800 Polaris. It lacks the USB passthrough option of the Corsair, although the Polaris is unique in having that. The Tt eSPORTS option is also the thinnest at 4mm, matching with Razer’s Firefly. This however does not factor in the control box, which the Steelseries QcK Prism wins at considering it does not interfere with the mouse cabling unlike all other RGB mousepads in the list.
Another advantage of the Draconem RGB is the fact that users can choose between a cloth and a synthetic hard surface option. Only the Steelseries QcK Prism has both sides. And although Razer provides a cloth option, it also comes at a much higher price. In a straight up bang-for-buck value, Tt eSPORTS’ Draconem RGB wins hands down.
The software is easy to use and setup. Moreover, it has the basic button controls on-board available for those who does not want to install the software for control. The only issue that really holds back this mousepad from getting an Editor’s Choice award for me is the position and height of the control box. This appears to be a common thread among all of the RGB mousepads with the exception of the Steelseries QcK Prism, which has a very compact and non-obtrusive cabling panel. I would gladly trade not having on-board buttons on the control box of the mouse pad if it meant having a completely level surface on all points.