Artisan pads have a reputation for being the cream of the crop in the mousepad space. These Japan produced pads show quality stitching, attention to detail, and great performance.
I’m reviewing of the Artisan Zero FX with the soft hardness, but we’ll go over the other Artisan variations as well.
Conversion rates may vary since Artisan’s site uses Japanese yen to price their pads but currently the Zero is $35 USD at the XL size.
Compared to other great pads like Lethal Gaming Gear, Vaxee, and the Esports Tiger lineup, Artisan pads are priced very competitively.
They’re affordable, perform amazingly, and have shown lasting power. Will this mousepad live up to the hype for us?
- Super consistent performance
- Good mixture of speed and control with lots of options
- Best stitching on any pad
- Underside of pad isn't ultra grippy
- Texture of the pad traps debris easily
Design & Dimensions
The Zero is a polyester cloth pad aimed at those who like a balance between speed and control. Being a good balance, many say that the Zero soft is the safest option to choose from the Artisan lineup. The surface of the Zero feels smooth and has very consistent stitching.
On the bottom, Artisan uses a unique rubber design that feels less texturized than other pads. On my walnut countertop, the Zero has some troubles staying in one spot and moves from side to side a little. This does lead to some readjustments mid-game but overall didn’t impact gameplay.
It may be due to the surface having a more matte finish as this has zero issues on a glossy or textured surface.
On the bright side, the stitched edges are below the surface of the mousepad so you won’t feel the edges as your arm is gliding across. This can also reduce future fraying of the edges and improve the lifespan on your Artisan pad.
The Zero comes in 4 different sizes: small, medium, large, and extra large. We decided to go with the large with it being 42cm x 33cm giving us plenty of room to swipe and flick.
There are also 3 hardness levels to the sponge: extra soft, soft, and mid. The hardness of the sponge can change the speed and stopping power of each with mid being the fastest and extra soft having the best control.
Each hardless level comes in a different thickness. Extra soft being 4mm, soft being 3.5mm and mid being 3mm.
Some Artisan pads come in different colorways. Currently, the Zero is accessible in black and orange. Other pads in the lineup such as the Hien and Otsu come in red wine.
It’s been reported that the colors of the pad can create differences in the speed and control. These inconsistencies rub buyers the wrong way as this is supposed to be a premium pad and that something like color shouldn’t show such changes.
For example, the Orange Zero is said to be a little faster on both x and y axis (side to side and up and down).
The good thing is that these changes in texture aren’t very noticeable in game so not too much to worry about here.
Tracking and Aiming
A quick message to the tactical shooter enthusiasts, you will love this mousepad. The stopping power and control are just right where it doesn’t feel like the pad is dragging you down. Aiming on this pad has felt sharper and more accurate in general.
Tracking is amazing on the Zero too. Having some speed built into this pad really helps with tracking games and the overall glide. Really no complaints here.
The Zero has low static friction making it easy to do small adjustments when aiming. Stopping power is the Zero’s forte making it perfect for tactical shooters like Valorant and CS:GO.
This doesn’t mean it’s a poor choice for more tracking heavy games since this is a mix between speed and control. With the soft iteration, the control is there with a bit of a speed boost.
One downside of the surface is that hair and dust can easily be caught on or within the stitching. Luckily there were no noticeable differences to the feel of the pad it’s just an annoying thing to deal with.
The Zero is constructed with quality and durable materials. Over the duration of the testing period we put it through hours and hours of gameplay. It has shown no signs of wear and the only thing we can see is slight dust buildup which is fixed with a quick rinse.
The bottom of the pad seems very well built too. It has a unique build to it being a smoother bottom compared to other pads.
Overall, the Zero is made to last.
Zero Vs. Other Artisan Pads
Another very popular Artisan pad is the Hien. It’s slightly faster than the Zero but also has a rougher surface. There are large disputes between which is better but both of these are amazing pads. If you’re torn between the two, get the Zero if you want more control and the Hien for more speed.
Hayate Otsu and Kou are good balance pads, both being faster than the Zero. The Otsu Kou has different speeds for the x and y axis. The X is more controlled while the Y is very quick.
For the speed demons, the Raiden and the Shidenkai will be your picks.
Classic vs FX
Classic Artisan pads don’t have a stitched edge while FX Artisan’s do. In all cases, I’d recommend spending the extra money for the FX version to prevent any potential fraying on the mouse pad. The stitching on Artisan pads is excellent and I never really feel them anyway.
Are Artisan pads worth the hype? Yes. It has excellent build quality, performs flawlessly in game, and is relatively inexpensive. This is a top tier mouse pad as far as control pads go.
My only complaint is the bottom not sticking too well on matte surfaces and the pad picking up hairs easily.
Other than that, this is a great pad that we would highly recommend to any FPS player. It shows strengths in both control and speed making it flexible for various types of shooters.