Zowie GTF-X Review
We all know that it's important to find a gaming mouse that fits your preferences and playing style, but mousepads are often (unfairly) treated as an afterthought. That's a shame, because there are many different styles out there, and finding the right one for your playing style and sensitivity can really make a difference performance-wise.
Today we're taking a look at the Zowie TF-X line. We've noticed that our readers often want more speed than what cloth pads can usually offer without having to go for the 'icy' sensation that hard pads deliver, so we let our reviewer take a look at a hybrid pad from one of the most renowned gaming companies in the competitive gaming scene. Read on to find out if it's the right one for you!
"In a world where hard pads are a rarity it's perhaps even harder to find an appropriate mousepad if you find cloth pads to be too restrictive and hard pads to be too slippery but the TF-X series is an ideal middle ground between both worlds."
Zowie GTF-X - First Impressions
Quick note: I received both the GTF-X and the PTF-X for review. These are the exact same pads but at different sizes, so what is said about the GTF-X also goes for the PTF-X, and throughout the review you might see photos of both pads.
The Zowie GTF-X comes flat in the box. That's good news since it's a hybrid pad and thus not as bendable as a cloth pad, and it also means that it (obviously) lays flat on your desk immediately. The surface of the GTF-X looks a bit gritty and sandpaper-like at first glance, but if you run your hand across the playing area you'll notice that it's actually surprisingly soft and smooth. The texture feels like it's your standard cloth pad that's been infused with some soft plastic (and that's probably exactly what it is, since it's a hybrid pad) but this definitely leans more towards the cloth end than the plastic end in my opinion.
The TF-X comes in two sizes, with the GTF-X being the large size and the PTF-X being the small one. I'd personally always recommend the GTF-X, since it's better to have too much room for your mouse than to hit the edge of your pad every other swipe, but aside from the size difference both pads are exactly the same.
The GTF-X is, as I've already established, a hybrid pad which means that the glide that it offers is a lot faster than what (most) cloth pads can give you. The TF-X line is, in my opinion, an ideal middle ground between the speed that a good old plastic pad offers and the control that cloth pads offer. Compared to pretty much every popular (cloth) pad out there the glide of this one is a lot faster, but due to the coarser texturing there's still a decent amount of stopping power and control involved.
For me personally the glide is just too fast; I have no issues making finer adjustments to my aim once I've put my crosshair where I want it to be, but I quite consistently overshoot my target when I'm flicking. That's not a negative; my muscle memory has gotten so used to slower cloth types of pads that it's hard to instantly adjust, but I thought I'd note it to sort of illustrate what you can expect from the GTF-X if you're coming from one of the more popular cloth pads.
The foam of the pad is 3.5 millimeters thick and due to the overall rigidity of the texture and thickness of the materials it does a stellar job of ironing out any kinks in your playing surface, but I did notice that the rubber base of the TF-X isn't as grippy as I expected it to be. For me it didn't move during gameplay or testing, but it is rather easy to move the pad just by pushing at the side with one finger, so depending on your playing style this could cause some issues for you. This isn't as apparent with the larger GTF-X, adding another reason why I'd recommend the large version over the small version for this pad.
Aside from the minor issue with the grip (that's, again, pretty much a non-issue on the large GTF-X) this pad is really nicely finished. The stitched edges feel quality and never annoyed my arm when I was playing, and the subtle Zowie logo at the edge of the pad gives the whole thing a sleek and professional look. All things considered this is definitely an impressive piece of kit.
Conclusion & Recommendation
In a world where hard pads are a rarity it's perhaps even harder to find an appropriate mousepad if you find cloth pads to be too restrictive and hard pads to be too slippery but the TF-X series is an ideal middle ground between both worlds.
The GTF-X offers a fast glide, but thanks to the hybrid nature you still get a decent amount of stopping power and, more importantly, fine control for those times when you need to adjust your aim by just a few pixels.
Thanks to the stitched edges and quality finishing it's also going to be a very durable pad, and while it's not as grippy as it perhaps could (or should) be I didn't really have any issues with grip while using the GTF-X for gaming and I'm a low sensitivity gamer who does large swipes all the time, so this is more of a note than a net negative.
All in all the GTF-X is an almost perfect compromise between hard and soft mousepads, and if you're looking for that kind of thing you should really put this pad on your list. I would recommend the GTF-X over the PTF-X though, even if you don't need the additional mouse space.
Finally, I'll sign off with a friendly word of warning: the pad comes flat in the box for a reason, so please don't leave it rolled it up somewhere for too long as that can cause it to almost permanently warp which is obviously something you want to avoid.