Patriot Viper Gaming LED Mouse Pad
The computer peripheral lighting craze hit full steam this past year, with countless manufacturers releasing RGB peripherals designed to give users more customization options for their workstations. For years, peripherals like mice and keyboards have had RGB lighting implemented, but this year we saw the RGB craze extend into products like speakers, headset stands and mouse pads. Yes, you read that right, this year has seen several major manufacturers release RGB mouse pads. Today, we are looking at the latest entry into the LED backlit mouse pad arena, from California-based computer memory and peripheral manufacturer Patriot, the simply-named Viper Gaming LED Mouse Pad.
If you think the prospect of an LED mouse pad is silly, I don't blame you, but there is a market for these products. Manufacturers have taken PC customization to insane levels and enthusiasts want to match their computer aesthetic as much as possible. There is an undeniable cool-factor that comes with coordinating the lighting on your PC peripherals and the ability to customize the aesthetic of your workstation has never been something to frown upon. I've said it countless times, as silly as products may seem to some, having abundant choices and competition in the PC arena is excellent for consumers.
While many of the LED mouse pads on the market connect to your PC and use software suites to control the lighting, the Viper Gaming LED Mouse Pad lighting control works independently of the PC, using a USB control box and connection that is only for power. You can even connect the Viper Gaming LED Mouse Pad to a wall adapter or other USB power source to help optimize cable routing. Unfortunately, due to not having control software, the Viper Gaming LED Mouse Pad is fairly limited in its lighting modes and doesn't have the zone customization functionality seen with Corsair and Razer RGB LED mouse pads. With the Viper Gaming LED Mouse Pad, you get a beautiful mix of rainbow effects and the ability to set individual colors, but there is no actual RGB to be controlled here, what you see is what you get.
An advertised feature of the Viper Gaming LED Mouse Pad is that unlike offerings from Razer and Corsair, the top portion of the mouse pad doesn't have a large control box attached to it, which will allow for more uninhibited mouse movement, since your mouse cable won't be running into a large piece of plastic constantly.
Patriot Viper Gaming LED Mouse Pad Features
- Continuous LED backlighting around entire pad
- 6 (Six) color LED illumination
- 6 (Six) LED lighting effects
- High performance rigid polymer surface
- High grip rubber backing for non-slip performance
- Low profile, large format, professional design
- Micro USB connector
- Braided cord (6' Long)
- Unit Dimensions: 35.35cm(L) x 24.27cm(W) x 4.6cm(H) / 13.9”(L) x 9.5”(W) x 1.1”(H)
- 2 Year Warranty
It is good to see that Patriot is covering the Viper Gaming LED Mouse Pad with a 2-Year warranty. The Viper Gaming LED Mouse Pad features a polymer surface and it has been my experience that hard surface mouse pads tend to lose the texture on their surface and develop shine over time. It would really give users a bad feeling to drop a lot of money for a mouse pad to have it wear out, so a solid warranty is reassuring. While LED technology is amazing, I've personally experienced enough issues with LED lights that died or decided to flicker on my peripherals to know that they aren't perfect, so its good to have a two year warranty to cover your lighting, which is the reason you'd get this mouse pad in the first place. We are talking about a $59.99 mouse pad
in the Viper Gaming LED, so warranty considerations aren't so crazy.
Patriot ships the Viper Gaming LED Mouse Pad (PN PV160UXK) in a black box with appropriate pictures and text across the front and rear of the box. The box is adequate, but it doesn't have the high end feel or materials I've been seeing from other manufacturers as of late, with a thin, easy to tear cardboard being used. Viper did a good enough job with the print, putting glossy images over a matte background, but the packaging doesn't evoke a premium feel. On the front of the box, Viper has placed their V570 Blackout RGB Gaming Mouse ($59.99 shipped
), which we will be reviewing very soon.
[gallery columns="2" size="medium" ids="199207,199215"]
There is an instruction manual included with the Viper Gaming LED Mouse Pad. Note that the product name has been misspelled on the front of the manual. The manual is pretty basic, but it does explain how to adjust lighting by using the two buttons on the USB cable control box that is included with the mouse pad.
While the Viper Gaming LED Mouse Pad ships in an adequate box with clear branding, if Viper wants to appeal to PC gamers who are going to see this product on the shelves at Fry's next to other brands who take care to package their products with excellent materials and branding, they are going to want to step up their packaging game.
Viper Gaming LED Mouse Pad - A Closer Look
The Viper Gaming LED Mouse Pad has a polymer surface that is very smooth and soft to the touch. This isn't the typical gritty feeling hard surface pad you are used to, this pad is very smooth and allows for easy gliding of any mouse. I am not generally a fan of hard surfaces, but the one on the Viper Gaming LED Mouse Pad is adequate. Unfortunately, it isn't quite wide (13.9" at the widest point, but tapered down) or tall (9.5", a bit more concerning than the 13.9" width) enough for my liking, as I found myself running off of the edges of the mouse pad on rare occasions.
The bottom being tapered inward from the top is a bit awkward, since it causes you to run out of room as you move the mouse down. It didn't take long to get used to the shape and feel of the Viper Gaming LED Mouse Pad and within fifteen to twenty minutes, it felt very natural to game on. I was very impressed with how nicely my Logitech G903 LightSpeed felt and tracked on the pad, especially given my typical reservations about hard surface mouse pads. While I am not going to get rid of my cloth mouse pad anytime soon, the Viper Gaming LED Mouse Pad did have me reconsidering my stance on hard surface mouse pads and I may be keen to try them out more in the future.
The Viper logo takes up the upper right hand corner of the mouse pad and is the most visible LED lighting portion of the mouse pad. The Viper logo has been integrated nicely on the Gaming LED Mouse Pad, with kind of a 80's arcade gaming throwback feel (in a good way).
The bottom area of the Viper Gaming LED Mouse Pad has a durable rubber base with a nice gripping texture that keeps it from slipping from whichever surface it has been placed on. The Viper Gaming LED Mouse Pad is very rigid and has a solid overall build quality and the rubber base meets the rest of the mouse pad well, with no loose areas or build quality issues apparent.
The LED lighting on the Viper Gaming LED Mouse Pad is provided by a ring that houses the LED lights. The LED lighting ring sits between the rubber base and outer edge of the mouse pad surface, which means that the ring is only visible from the bottom of the pad and provides an edge lit effect, which contrasts with the directly visible LED rings on the Corsair, Razer and SteelSeries RGB mousepad offerings. The LED ring is integrated very nicely with the mouse pad and everything sits and fits well together.
[gallery size="medium" ids="199224,199223"]
The Micro USB input for the Viper Gaming LED Mouse Pad was done right, with a very low profile that integrates very nicely with the mouse pad, in an unobtrusive fashion. I use a wireless mouse for testing, but the Viper Gaming LED Mouse Pad cable is low profile and it should be easy to keep your mouse cable managed with a bungee when using the Viper Gaming LED Mouse Pad.
The included USB cable includes a built-in control box that allows users to control the various lighting effects on the Viper Gaming LED Mouse Pad. SW1 (Mode1) sets the mode between multi-color, cyan, yellow, green, teal, blue or pink. SW2 (Mode2) sets one of the seven different lighting modes, which are breathe, gradient radar (clockwise), gradient, gradient radar (counter-clockwise), gradient breathe, static and off.
The static lighting put out by the Viper Gaming LED Mouse Pad is uniform and vibrant, though I do wish the effect were more pronounced. The under glow provided by the Viper does look good on reflective surfaces, though.
The different color modes provided by the Viper Gaming LED Mouse Pad are basic, but enough to let you coordinate with your peripherals to some degree. The red LED mode on the Viper Gaming LED Mouse Pad matched up pretty well with the red LED output on my Logitech G903 mouse and the pair looked decent together.
I really like how the LED effects look on the Viper Gaming LED Mouse Pad, but I just can't help but think a more visible lighting ring would look better. The animations aren't as smooth as I've seen in other LED products, but they are still pretty darn good. These pictures get a more optimal view of the lighting than you get in person from a top down view, since they capture the mouse pad from the side. The effects look good in person, they are just a bit understated and dependent on the surface the mouse pad is on.
The polymer surface of the Viper Gaming LED Mouse Pad worked better than I expected and actually had me enjoying a hard mouse surface, something I have never been able to do. For hours I was able to game on the Patriot Gaming LED Mouse Pad, when I swore I wouldn't be able to when I first got it. I kind of want Patriot to just offer a non-LED version of this mouse pad, because it's that good as a standalone surface. I do wish the LED lighting ring was top facing and that the usable mouse surface was just a bit bigger, but other than that, I don't have any complaints.
Overall, the Viper Gaming LED Mouse Pad is a solid, enjoyable to use mouse pad with some cool lighting effects that are simple to set. My Logitech G903 and G703 both worked very well on the Viper Gaming LED Mouse Pad and while I can't comment on cable-interference, the low profile of the USB connection does seem like it would lead to a lot less interference than the connections we see on the Razer and Corsair RGB mouse pads. For users who just want a simple mouse pad configuration with cool lighting effects, the Viper Gaming LED Mouse Pad fits the bill.
Let's wrap this review up and see where the Viper Gaming LED Mouse Pad stands against the competition.
Viper Gaming LED Mouse Pad - A Light Up Viper for Your Mouse
The Viper Gaming LED Mouse Pad works just fine as a mouse pad, with a polymer surface that is smooth and satisfying to mouse on, while providing a stable tracking surface that worked well during desktop use and gaming. I do wish a cloth version were available, or that Viper included a cloth overlay to work with this mouse pad, because as much as I try to get used to them, hard surface mouse pads just aren't ideal for me. Still, the Viper Gaming LED Mouse Pad has a great surface and felt durable and well-made, all qualities I look for in my gaming peripherals. I don't have any other experience with Viper as of late, but they did a solid job of manufacturing the Gaming LED Mouse Pad and the build quality exceeded my overall expectations.
The different lighting modes on the Viper Gaming LED Mouse Pad looked good, with solid, uniform lighting across the lower edge of the mouse pad. There aren't any dead spots and while the transition effects aren't as smooth as I'd like, they still look decent. I wish that Viper would have made the LED lighting ring visible from the top, as the under-glow effects are a bit understated, especially on certain types of desk surfaces. The control box that is used to control the lighting is well made and Viper did a good job of placing it in any easy to reach location.
With Viper not having software control for the Gaming LED Mouse Pad, it doesn't allow the customization that you can get with the ecosystem provided by Corsair or Razer, whose software allows coordination between the mouse pad and your other RGB peripherals. While simplicity is a good thing in many ways and the Gaming LED Mouse Pad is a solid product, it is facing tough competition from some mean players in the PC peripheral arena. The Viper Gaming LED Mouse Pad is a good mouse pad, with visually appealing lighting effects and solid overall build quality, but it's tough to recommend at its current $59.99 price point
. It should also be noted that you can purchase the Patriot Viper Gaming LED Mouse Pad and Viper 570 Full RGB Pro Gaming Mouse for $89.99 together in a combo package
. The mouse is normally $49.99 by itself
, so you save $20 by buying both together.
Once the Viper Gaming LED Mouse Pad is available at more retailers and the price settles down below the MSRP we see it doing well in this niche market. That said, we expect this pad to be priced below the competiting Corsair and Razer RGB mouse pads sooner rather than later. Until then, it's in a brutal arena with some tough contenders.
Legit Bottom Line: The Viper Gaming LED Mouse Pad has some good looking lighting modes and a great tracking surface, but it faces tough competition from industry mainstays.