ZOWIE G-SR-SE Rouge Review
ZOWIE's G-SR-SE mousepad has long been a favorite of professional gamers, but it can't be denied that the pad had some issues in the past. The durability, for example, wasn't all that, and the G-SR-SE also suffered from humidity issues, leading to an inconsistent feeling pad at times.
The fact that so many pro and casual gamers kept using it despite these flaws might be a testament to just how good it is, but of course it's always a good idea to improve on consistency and reliability, and ZOWIE did just that with this G-SR-SE Rouge. This isn't just a recolor of the G-SR-SE: this has an improved surface, and changes have also been made to the foam. You can read all about the results of this slight redesign in our full ZOWIE G-SR-SE Rouge review.
"ZOWIE made a number of promises when they first unveiled the G-SR-SE Rouge, and from what I can tell they've delivered on all of them. The surface is smoother, the humidity resistance is better, and the foam is a little bit softer."Our mousepad reviewer
ZOWIE G-SR-SE Rouge First Impressions
At first glance, the G-SR-SE Rouge looks just like any other recent G-SR-SE release, but once you place it down on your pad you almost immediately feel the first difference: the foam feels softer. It's still very uniform across the surface, but it's quite a lot easier to sink your fingers into the Rouge than into an earlier version. Aside from that, this feels just like your regular ZOWIE G-SR-SE at first glance: same size, same box design, no stitched edges.
What's curious is that ZOWIE, contrary to what they do with their mice, aren't really going for a subtle approach with their G-SR-SE line. All recent releases have had rather striking designs printed on the surface, and this one is no different. The ZOWIE logo is proudly displayed in a sort of 3D design, and in the corners you get a BenQ logo and a ZOWIE logo. As such, there's no room for error when identifying this mousepad. I suppose that's part of the reason why ZOWIE are going for these types of designs, but I do wish they'd also release some more subtle designs, or even a plain black version.
Speaking of versions: the G-SR-SE only comes in one size. People who want a desk-sized version are out of luck, and according to ZOWIE that's because the yield rate of their high density base material is low, and would be too low to produce bigger sizes based on their QC criteria. That's a bit of bummer for people who prefer extended mousepads (such as myself) but it's a reasonable explanation.
Glide characteristics (beta)Learn more about these tests
As mentioned, there have been a few changes to the surface of this new G-SR-SE. If you're wondering how this feels in comparison to earlier versions, I can be short: it's a touch faster. Not by a lot, but you do notice it.
To me, it feels like there's a bit less static friction, which could make sense given the fact that the surface is now smoother. You can definitely also feel this when you're just gliding your hand across the mousepad, but it's still not the smoothest material out there. I know that some people had complaints about the G-SR-SE's surface irritating their skin after some time, and while I of course can't speak for everyone I do believe that this change is going to make the pad feel a lot more tolerable to a lot of people out there.
The gliding experience that you get out of the G-SR-SE still seems somewhat tailored to tactical shooters: the dynamic friction is pretty 'middle of the pack' which means that, once your mouse gets going, you're going to experience a decently fast and smooth glide, but there's still some static friction there that will hold you back a bit at first. Not enough for the pad to be considered a control pad, but the initial static friction does place it more towards the controlling side of things. The x/y difference of around 10% (this difference is present on almost every cloth pad) also makes it easier to keep horizontal swipes on target. All in all, our testing classifies this as a pad with a medium glide, but it is more towards the controlling end of medium pads.
What's noticeable to me is the consistency of this mousepad. The foam feels the same all throughout the pad, and even though this new material is a little bit softer (which is something that I like) I never got the idea that some parts had more give to them than others. This, in combination with the top texture feeling very consistent as well, makes for a mouse surface that feels extremely well-designed and crafted.
When designing this new iteration, ZOWIE also made changes to the durability and humidity resistance. To test this, I made parts of the pad a bit moist with a cloth and found that the glide remained pretty similar. I also did this test with an older G-SR-SE and there I felt like the difference between the moist spots and the dry spots was a lot more pronounced. It's perhaps not the most scientific of tests, but it should give you an idea. It's still not perfect at handling humidity, but it does perform better than its predecessors.
The humidity resistance of a mousepad greatly depends on your personal circumstances, of course. If you live in a humid climate and you get sweaty palms you will be more susceptible to humidity issues, but ZOWIE's promises of handling this issue have been fulfilled if you ask me.
Conclusion & Recommendation
ZOWIE made a number of promises when they first unveiled the G-SR-SE Rouge, and from what I can tell they've delivered on all of them. The surface is smoother, the humidity resistance is better, and the foam is a little bit softer. The pad still feels every bit as consistent as it should be, though, and with its controlling medium glide (by this I mean that it's pretty much a 'medium' pad, but it's on the slower end of that spectrum) this Rouge offers an interesting glide experience for people who play tactical shooters or who just want a touch more control without losing out on gliding speed.
To me personally, the G-SR-SE Rouge felt just a little bit too fast (I prefer control-oriented pads) but that certainly didn't stop me from thoroughly enjoying my time with it, and by the time I was done testing it I got along with the gliding experience so nicely that I forgot all about my preference for slower, muddier mousepads. I only wish ZOWIE would come out with some subtler designs, and I still keep dreaming for an extended G-SR-SE size, but other than those subjective remarks I have no real complaints about the Rouge. Thoroughly recommended.