Advantage--Razer Firefly: The Firefly wins this one by default. It looks pretty good even unplugged, though its rigid structure means I can't roll it up when not in use (like a normal mousepad).
The Razer Firefly: As I mentioned, the Firefly has a cable fastened into the top. There is no way to detach the cable.
This is frustrating for a few reasons. 1) The cable on the mousepad occasionally tangles with the cable on the mouse and screws up your nice, fluid movements. 2) The mousepad is essentially immobile, because you're never going to bother unplugging this thing from your computer to move it to a new computer or take it on the road with you. 3) If the cable breaks, your gorgeous light-up mousepad is now just a normal mousepad. Joke's on you.
Piece of Cardboard: It doesn't have any cables.
Advantage--Piece of Cardboard: I already have a million cables attached to my desktop. The fewer, the better.
The Razer Firefly: Aside from the cable's occasional interference with your mouse cable, the Firefly is a damn good mousepad. And by that, I mean I'm 90 percent sure this is the same surface Razer uses in its $40 Razer Destructor 2 mat. I've never used the Destructor 2, but I eyeballed Razer's product photos and it seems the same. My Zowie AM mouse glides across this thing no problem.
But honestly my Zowie AM mouse also glides across Zowie's $30 G-TF mousepad, glides (with a bit more effort) across a cheap cloth mousepad I got from VistaPrint, and even glides across my wooden IKEA desk.
Piece of Cardboard: Oh, and my Zowie AM glides across the piece of cardboard too. If I let go of the mouse while moving, it definitely comes to a stop on the cardboard quicker than it does on the Firefly. This piece of cardboard is no precision-engineered low-friction surface. But it does its job.
Advantage--Razer Firefly (Barely): I'm not going to bother pretending the cardboard is as slick as the Firefly's surface. Moving a mouse over the Firefly is nigh effortless.
On the other hand, you're unlikely to notice the difference unless you're a low-DPI-and-large-hand-movements person. As a high-DPI user I'm not in the habit of making large sweeping motions across my mousepad, so any old surface works perfectly fine for inch-to-the-left-inch-to-the-right usage. Of course, if you are a low-DPI user you're also a prime candidate for snagging your mouse cable on the Firefly's cable or cable housing. Win some, lose some.
And to be honest, I noticed even less of a difference in glide performance once I switched to using Razer's own DeathAdder mouse. My Zowie AM is lightweight and built for quick movements. The heavier DeathAdder took some effort to move both on the Firefly and on the cardboard.
Sign up for MIS Asia eNewsletters.