Artisan has gone from a niche obscure Japanese brand to the favorite for countless gamers around the world including top pros like TenZ in the span of just a couple years. The two most popular pads from the company are the Zero and the Hien. After spending more time with both pads I’ve had the chance to really get to know their quirks.
The Zero is much closer to a traditional cloth pad feeling compared to the Hien. While it often gets compared to the Steelseries QCK I don’t think think that’s the best description. The Zero has a fuzzier feel and texture than the smooth thinner feel of the QCK. The Zero also has more stopping power in my opinion especially on the soft or x-soft hardness. The Zero shines because it provides a bit of speed (especially right out of the box) without sacrificing very good stopping power and control. Some control pads just feel too slow out the box especially if you play on lower sensitivities. The Zero has a nice smooth feeling with a tight weave.
The Hien on the other hand is a rough textured surface that’s very unique. It’s more of an adjustments if you’ve only ever used cloth pads as the initial speed feels almost as fast as some hard pads. It has much more of that gliding on ice sensation thanks to the rough texture of the surface. This lets you feel more of the mouse movements due to the very low static friction. The downside of this treatment is that it will make you overshoot some shots if you are not used to the surface. The Hien is designed to fill the gap between a faster cloth pad and a hard pad and you should buy it with that in mind. That being said the stopping power is decent if you press down hard enough but unlike the Zero it will be tougher to stop on a dime
The durability of the Hien definitely surpasses that of the Zero in my opinion. While both pads have the ability to be tanks, I’ve washed and abused the Hien for months and it still feels relatively close to the initial new pad. It’s a far cry from other pads I have used that have worn down quickly.
The Zero on the other hand does catch more dust and hair than the Hien. The softer surface is a bit of a magnet for dirt and dust. Luckily it is not hard to clean off and it doesn’t impact the smoothness or feeling of the glide too much. The Zero however does feel slower over time and did slow down more than the Hien with use. But after a few weeks with it it breaks in and feels pretty constituent and stops slowing down as much as over the first few days of use.
The rubber bases of both pads are premium and feel excellent. I had no issues with either pad sticking to my desk.
Performance and Aim Style
I think the Zero is more of a balanced choice. It’s great for tactical shooters that rely on a ton of pre-aiming where you only flick to relatively predictable angles. Subjectively I felt the Zero was much better for claw and palm grip while the Hien caters to fingertip or claw. The Hien can be good for players that play more movement and tracking heavy games especially if it’s combined with a fingertip. I do like the consistency the Zero offers me but the speed of the Hien and rough feeling is something I grew to love. If you want to try something more drastic the Hien is the way to go whereas the Zero is more just like a premium cloth pad that’s a step above most other brands. I felt my aim hit higher highs with the Hien but I am maining the Zero currently because it offers more consistency and familiarity for my playstyle.
At the end of the day mousepad preference is really personal and it comes down to what games you play the most. If you like a smoother more traditional glide with stopping power being an important consideration the Zero is the way to go. If you want to be wowed by something different and you don’t mind your fingers and art touching a rougher textured surface then go with the Hien. The Hien sacrifices some control but you gain a lot of speed that can feel great combined with lower sens.
Where to buy Artisan Mousepads