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Razer Firefly review: What cardboard can teach us about a US$60 mousepad's pure luxury

Hayden Dingman | Aug. 13, 2015
The Razer Firefly has me thinking about the role of the mousepad in modern computing. Why do we use mousepads?

Razer Firefly split

The Razer Firefly has me thinking about the role of the mousepad in modern computing. Why do we use mousepads?

Sure, I know why we used to use mousepads. I still have nightmares about cleaning the fuzz out of a ball mouse, or trying to get a half-broken sensor to read correctly on a coffee table. And some people still use mousepads like coasters, to protect their desks, but I'm using IKEA furniture so...

By and large, the mousepad is an irrelevant affectation. It's a fashion statement. Its job could be outsourced to any decent-sized piece of cardboard. And so when Razer sent over a Firefly review unit--yes, even after reading my article on the announcement--I decided to test my theory. I took a piece of cardboard off the Razer Firefly box and compared it to the Firefly. Here's what I found:

Set-up time

The Razer Firefly: The Razer Firefly is easy enough to pull out of the box and slap on your desk. And if this were a normal mousepad, you'd be done.

But the Razer Firefly is no normal mousepad. It demands power, in the form of a six-foot USB cable sticking out the rear. This necessitated my routing the cable behind my desk, crawling underneath, and trying to find a free USB slot--a harder task than you might think, considering the number of peripherals I have plugged into my computer.

Piece of Cardboard: This was much easier. Even with muscles atrophied by years of video games I managed to rip a hunk of cardboard off the Firefly's box and put it on my desk. No wires necessary.

I did end up taping the edges down at some point because the cardboard kept moving around, but that also didn't take much time or effort.

Advantage--Piece of Cardboard: While taping the piece of cardboard to my desk was a bit of a hassle, at no point in the process did I need to bend over or crawl under a desk. Also, it doesn't take up one of my precious USB slots.


The Razer Firefly: The Firefly looks pretty much like a standard matte-black mousepad--a 14-inch by 10-inch rectangle of hard plastic, with the Razer logo in the top-right corner.

Oh yeah, and a big honking piece of plastic welded to the top where the USB cable exits.

Piece of Cardboard: "Hobo chic" is how I would describe this piece of cardboard, if I were desperate to explain to someone why I'd taped a piece of cardboard to my desk. I am not that desperate, so I feel comfortable saying it looks like trash. Which it is. I literally taped trash to my desk.


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