A PC Advisor poll of 602 visitors to the site found that more than half (57.1 percent) continue to use mouse pads or mats with their PC.

"I use a mouse pad for two reasons," explained PCA forum member Pineman100. "Without a mousepad, I've found that my strongly wood-grained desk surface can sometimes confuse my laser mouse - the cursor develops a mind of its own. And the edge of my desk is quite sharp. So I use a foam-backed mousepad which I overlap across the desk edge."

"I only use a mouse pad because the movement of the mouse was damaging the top of my desk," said alan14.

A further 3.8 percent said they sometimes use a mat.

"I only use a mouse pad at work and find the mouse works better," reported ella33. "At home, I have a laptop with built-in touchpad."

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A little over a third of respondents to the poll (36.9 percent) do not use a mouse pad.

"I've not used a mouse mat for several years now, ever since I switched to the optical mouse," said Devil Fish.

"I use an optical mouse that can find cheese without the aid of a sweaty mat," joked Quickbeam.

The remaining 2.2 percent don't use a mouse at all, instead using a trackpad, stylus and graphics tablet, touchscreen or other input method.

Mouse reviews

Gamers: fans of the mouse pad?

Mouse mats have become less essential since the widespread uptake of laser mice, which are less dependent on a favourable surface than older ball mice. We therefore theorised that most of these mouse-pad hold-outs must be gamers, who don't just need their mouse to work - they need it to be as accurate as possible.

As wolfie3000 explained, "The ability to click on a target that's far away and only five or six pixels high on your monitor is the difference between life and death in any MMORPG game, so I have to have pixel-perfect accuracy 100 percent of the time. Often gamers discuss the best surface for gaming and the consensus is a high-grade mouse mat - one that offers speed comfort and most importantly accuracy."

To test our theory, we asked voters to tell us if they were gamers in the comments section. But our quick and unscientific straw poll didn't suggest a strong correlation. Just looking at the commenters who told us about their gaming habits, six of the nine gamers said they use a mouse pad, whereas 11 out of 13 non-gamers said the same thing.

Based on 602 votes, April 2011. Add your vote to the poll (and see the results presented as a pie chart) or have your say in PC Advisor's forums.

See more PC Advisor polls

Read the review this poll was commissioned for - the Roccat Alumic gaming surface/mouse pad