Mouse pad has mic, speakers and USB hub

Essential or unnecessary? You decide.
Essential or unnecessary? You decide.

If you're worried that your old-school mouse pad should be working a little harder for the space that it uses on your desk, check out the Zonet ZUP8020.

This is the mouse pad that does more, offering a four-port USB 2.0 hub, stereo speakers, audio I/O and a detachable microphone.

In theory, this means that you could use the pad to record and monitor your music, but given that the mic is said to be designed for voice conferencing and online chatting, we can't imagine the quality being up to much. Those speakers are unlikely to be studio-standard, either.

Still, it should be remembered that this is a $20 product, and those extra desktop USB ports could certainly come in handy.

One question, though - do you still use a mouse pad? A quick survey in the MusicRadar office suggests that only one in five people bother any more (and then only for a bit of wrist support) so the ZUP8020 might not be the space saver its creators designed it as.

Ben Rogerson

I’m the Deputy Editor of MusicRadar, having worked on the site since its launch in 2007. I previously spent eight years working on our sister magazine, Computer Music. I’ve been playing the piano, gigging in bands and failing to finish tracks at home for more than 30 years, 24 of which I’ve also spent writing about music and the ever-changing technology used to make it.