It used to be an oddity, but these days more and more gamers are opting to use an arm sleeve for their gaming endeavors. It might look a little bit silly, but the advantages of using an arm sleeve can’t be denied: you get a consistent surface for your arm to glide on, and it can help wick away moisture that might impede with the glide of your mousepad.
Whereas gamers used to gravitate to regular compression sleeves meant for physical sports, we’re now seeing gaming brands come out with their own versions of arm sleeves for gaming, and in this review we’re taking a look at Pulsar’s effort. Read our full Pulsar ES arm sleeve review to find out whether or not these are worth it for you.
At A Glance
Pulsar ES Arm Sleeve
The Pulsar ES arm sleeve is a great option for those who are using glass pads or for players who have trouble with consistency.
- Smooth materials with no bumps or annoying stitched areas
- Tons of different sizes and configurations available
- Snug fit
- Can feel a bit toasty in warmer environments
- Not very comfortable for extended periods of time (though this goes for all arm sleeves)
|Coverage||Arm Only, Arm + Wrist, Wrist Only, Arm + Wrist + Fingers, Wrist + Fingers Only|
I have to be honest here and say that I’ve never seriously considered arm sleeves. I play in a way that doesn’t really necessitates arm sleeves, and I like to play with minimal distractions, so this type of equipment has never been on my radar.
With that said, when Pulsar reached out and asked if I wanted to test their batch of arm sleeves, I immediately said ‘yes’. Trying out new stuff is always interesting, and so I spent the past couple of weeks gaming with an arm sleeve on.
All of Pulsar’s ES sleeves come in a neat little box with the sleeve itself sitting inside a plastic bag. Trying on the sleeve for the first time, I was pleasantly surprised. The material feels seamless and there are no unpleasant smells when you first open up the box.
There’s a regular arm sleeve, one that also covers your palm, and one that covers your arm, palm, and your pinky finger (partially). All of these versions come in a long and short edition, with the long edition reaching over your elbow and the short one stopping just before your armpit.
In addition to this, there’s also a finger glove, which removes the entire arm portion and just covers your palm and fingers.
All of these versions are available in a medium and large version, and you can see which one would suit you on the ES Arm Sleeve’s product page.
Considering arm sleeves for gaming
During my Pulsar ES Arm Sleeve review time, I used the sleeves with a variety of pads, mice, and games. Doing this, I found that the usefulness of these sleeves varied greatly. When using a glass pad (check out our Pulsar Superglide Mousepad review) I could certainly see the appeal, for example. In fact, I would say that an arm sleeve is almost a necessity if you use a glass pad and you have even the slightest tendency to sweat when gaming.
For me, the number one benefit of using an arm sleeve is the consistency that it brings along with it. If you’re gaming, you’re usually going to be sweating at least a little bit, and with certain playing styles and setups this can greatly interfere with your aim.
I’ve already mentioned glass pads (you can also read my review on the SkyPAD 3.0, which is another glass pad) as an obvious example: the hard glass surface offers no way for the liquid to escape, which means that your sweat will moisten the surface, causing inconsistencies. People who play on low sensitivities with their whole arm on the table may also experience these issues: forearm sweat can cause your arm to stick to the table, for example.
Given the fact that consistency is key when aiming (or doing any kind of gaming-related activity) I can easily see the appeal of arm sleeves. Using an arm sleeve simply eliminates a lot of unknowns from the equation: the sleeve will always be the same material and have the same glide, no matter how hard you’re sweating.
I am rather sensitive when it comes to skin-related stuff, so when something is ‘off’ (like a washing tag that’s rubbing against my skin or a section of stitching that’s come loose) or I’m wearing a type of fabric that doesn’t feel all that comfortable to me I immediately notice it, so I initially had some fears that I would absolutely hate wearing a gaming sleeve, but the Pulsar ES Arm Sleeves felt great to me. They’re thin, light, and finished flawlessly: I felt no annoying bumps or stitching when using the sleeves.
They also don’t feel overly restrictive. This will obviously depend on your body; if you have very big forearms, for example, you might have a different experience, but for me the Pulsar ES sleeves offered a pretty much perfect fit. The nylon-spandex blend (80%-20%) feels rather pleasant to the touch and is decently breathable, so all in all I can say that the Pulsar ES Arm Sleeve is a high quality product.
I of course can’t test for its durability over months of extended usage. Stretchy fabrics have a tendency to wear out over time, and seeing as this is pretty much unavoidable it will probably happen to the ES’ fabric at some point in time as well, but I didn’t have any problems with this during my testing period.
Using the Pulsar ES Arm Sleeve for gaming
Despite the fact that the Pulsar ES is definitely a high quality product that does what it sets out to do (which is offering its owner a more consistent gliding experience) it’s not for everyone if you ask me. If you’re someone who is mostly doing mouse and arm movements on your (cloth) mousepad, for example, I don’t really see a huge benefit to using a sleeve. In fact, on some of the rougher and more textured pads that I’ve tried I noticed that the sleeves could make them slower due to the fabrics rubbing together.
This is logical, and it’s something that’s noted on Pulsar’s website too (along with the fact that it’s best with glass mousepads) so it’s not like this was some unexpected flaw, but it just goes to show that not everyone should just put on a gaming sleeve. This is a purpose-made product meant for a specific audience, and it does a great job at that, but that doesn’t mean that it’s going to work in all scenarios.
During my testing, I found that I gravitated towards the glove the most. If I have moisture issues when gaming, it’s mostly near my palm and the side of my hand, and the glove does a fantastic job at masking those sweatier spots. Using the glove along with a glass mousepad made the experience a lot more enjoyable for me, and while I was pleased to go back to my sleeveless control pad existence after my testing period I have to say that I also really enjoyed my time with faster surfaces and the sleeves.
Pulsar ES Arm Sleeve Review – Conclusion
Arm sleeves are a niche product if you ask me, but that’s not a bad thing. I’ve said it before, but not every product needs to appeal to an audience that’s as wide as possible. The Pulsar ES Arm Sleeve is a great product for people who use a glass mousepad and for people who want to achieve the ultimate consistency when sliding their mouse arm around. Everyone else should probably pass on this one.
If you are in the market for a gaming sleeve, the Pulsar ES is a great choice. It’s smooth, glides nicely, and finished to a high standard. There’s a myriad of different options out there, so you’re also bound to get one that suits you. It’s not for me, but it’s an impressive product nonetheless.