Artisan FX Hien Mid XL Mousepad (Red) Review

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. I’ll be reviewing the Artisan Hien FX Mid which is one of the most popular items from the brand. I selected the XL size and mid hardness which is the thinnest and fasted glide iteration that they offer. If you’re new to Artisan as a brand, you might want to revisit my review of the Artisan Hayate Kou from a few months back.

Dimensions

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 Hien FX 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 and I now think the size is quite perfect.  After ordering from the 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 flat-packed cardboard sleeve that kept the mousepad secure without much movement in transit.

I opted out of selecting a custom screenprinted artwork this time around but there’s 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. This was even more pronounced than my experience with the Hayate Kou which has less of a bumpy texture than the Hien. 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 but it definitely doesn’t offer the most support if you’re looking for a softer more pillow feel. The rubber base of the pad stuck easily to my desk and I had no issues with the mouse pad 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. There is very little initial friction and the mousepad is quite fast for a cloth pad and you can definitely throw your hyperglided mouse across the surface if you’re so inclined.

Unlike the Hayate Kou, there isn’t much of a difference in feeling between moving across the X/Y axis, it feels about even for both directions. One thing that is noticable about this mousepad is that it feels so quick at first that it is a bit hard to stop on a dime. As it gets worn in a bit, the stopping power of the mouse does feel better so I’d recommend the mid hardness if you prioritize speed and the soft hardness if you prioritize stopping power.

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’d rate the Hien 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. At the end of the day I have to say the best things about this board are how great the quality and aesthetics are combined with the performance. I’ve actually felt like this pad has helped my gameplay and gave me a lot more control with my aim both in terms of flick but particularly when it comes to tracking aim. Whether it’s one taps or controlling sprays, the Artisan Hien performed wonderfully.

Conclusions

While I had trouble choosing from the pads that Artisan has to offer, I am very happy with my choice of the Hien. While the Hayate Kou had more of a premium feeling and nicer texture to the touch, it’s the in-game performance that matters and with the Hien I feel incredibly consistent and accurate.  It’s performed very well in-game as well as for daily desktop use. One caveat is that it does pick up dust and dirt quite easily which can lead to some discoloration on the pad itself. I’d recommend cleaning or wiping the pad with a Swiffer cloth or a lint roller if you are OCD about cleanliness. I’ve heard nothing but good things about the durability of the Artisan Hien so I’m excited to keep this as my main for months to come.

Pros

  • Excellent build quality and stitching
  • Tasteful branding and aesthetics
  • Looks sick in Red
  • Solid performer with combination of fast glide and stopping power

Cons

  • Premium price if you include international shipping
  • Not the fast stopping power

Where to Buy

Artisan JP

Amazon

 

Where to buy

Amazon

Artisan JP

eBay