Artisan is a little known Japanese manufacturer of mouse accessories. While they have a growing fanbase the brand is still relatively obscure due to their lack of online presence outside of their native Japan. However those who have tried their mousepads can vouch for their build quality and performance. Today I’ll be reviewing the Artisan FX Hayate Kou which is one of the more premium options in their entire stable. I ordered the XL size and mid hardness which is the thinnest and most firm iteration that they offer.
49 x 42 x 0.3 cm
Presentation and Build Quality
First off I will say that many tech enthusiasts have stated the difficulty of ordering an Artisan pad. They are only available through their official website (which they’ve translated to English for an international audience) or through third party resellers on Amazon. I ordered the Hayate Kou in the largest size, which is XL. I had some doubts about whether I needed a mousepad this big but I have no regrets after trying it out as a lower sens player. After ordering from the official Artisan website it took about a week for the order to be prepared and another week for me to receive it. In total it took almost three weeks for me to receive it using the regular shipping option (not EMS). The mousepad was shipped in a large rectangular box and the mousepad was rolled up inside.
Luckily after placing the pad down on my desk it was almost perfectly flat right from the get-go. I got a custom logo screen printed which is only an option if you order direct from the brand, above is the screen printed Samurai graphic I selected on the upper left corner. There’s also a tasteful small Artisan logo on the lower right corner of the pad. The FX series is known for it’s stitched edges which keep the sides of the mousepad from fraying. You can also see some of that stitching detail above, it’s certainly stitched very evenly and cleanly and I haven’t seen any real wear on the edges of the pad since using it.
Build Quality and Performance
My first impression of the pad was certainly positive as it just screamed quality. That being said there was a bit of an adjustment period with the pad. One of the first things I noticed was there was a slight roughness to the surface of the pad which made the pad a bit scratchy at first. Fortunately most of that scratchiness goes away with use and the mousepad has since become smoother. The mid hardness is only 3mm thick and feels similar to a hybrid pad. There is a bit of give if you press down on the pad and you shouldn’t have any issues quickly stopping your mouse on the pad. The rubber base of the pad stuck easily to my desk and I had no issues with the mousepad sliding around on my desk.
With additional use of the pad, I was able to get used to the idiosyncrasies of the mouse pad itself. It has a very smooth glide which makes it excellent for both flicks and tracking aim. The texture feels quite smooth from afar but when you press down on your mouse you’ll be able to feel the rougher fibers which help with stopping power. One quirk about the mousepad which you may not like is the difference of feeling between the X and Y axis. The mousepad glides quicker vertically than it does horizontally which gives it almost a feeling of slight acceleration if you quickly move your mouse upwards or downwards. It can even effect diagonal flicks to a lesser degree. Having used mousepads in the past that were almost identical on the X/Y axis this certainly took a bit of getting used to but I was able to adjust after a few days of gameplay.
After using the pad for some time , I felt it performed very well with both stock feet and PTFE feet. The smooth glide felt even better after this mousepad was broken in as some of the initial discomfort from the rough fibers went away. I would say this is a certainly a quick pad but it’s not overly hard to control. You can certainly flick really quick and stop on a dime once you get used to it. So I’d rate it faster than most cloth pads but it’s definitely not as fast as a hard pad or certain hybrid pads. This makes it an easier adjustment if you don’t want something that’s among the speediest on the market.
While I had trouble choosing from the pads that Artisan has to offer, I am very happy with my choice of the Hayate Kou. It’s performed very well in-game as well as for daily desktop use. It looks and feels quality and it has gotten even better with a bit of wear. One caveat is that it does pick up dust and dirt really easily which can lead to some discoloration on the pad itself. I’d recommend cleaning or wiping the pad with a Swiffer cloth regular if you are OCD about cleanliness. The Hayate Kou FX comes highly recommended by me as long as you feel you can adjust to the faster Y axis glide.
- Excellent build quality and stitching
- Tasteful branding and aesthetics
- Surface of the mousepad feels really comfortable to the touch
- Solid performer with combination of fast glide and stopping power
- Premium price if you include international shipping
- Faster Y axis glide can take some getting used to
Where to buy