I bought this Artisan HIEN mousepad when they had their clearance sale a couple weeks ago. It cost me $26 including shipping which is not bad I guess. It came in a thin cardboard box instead of being rolled up which artisan doesn't recommend you doing. I paid 20 something for my QcK and it was rolled up. It took months for it to completely flatten out.
The surface texture is described as cloth-like but feels very rough to my fingers. It feels like an old jansports backpack that's been under the sun for too long. This may annoy those with sensitive skin but it felt comfortable to me.
There's three layers that make up this pad. The cloth-like material on top, foam in the middle, and rubber on the bottom. The middle layer looks like a rubbery foam and feels a bit softer than a generic mouse pad.
There's nothing really special about the bottoms layers but it does hold onto my wood desk OK. I still perfer the bottom texture from my steelseries 4HD. I don't have it anymore so I can't compare.
I have been using my QcK for over a year now, which you can probably tell from the picture. The QcK has more resistance and more friction than the HIEN S but the HIEN S just gives you a bit more freedom in movement. It's slipperier yes but you can still have control. The Hien feels very accurate in large motions and transitioning from fast to slow movements feels great too. Making very very small movements with the Hien took some time getting used to and the QcK does a better job with that. The surface on the HIEN has directional resistance. So if you had the logo at the bottom facing you your up and down movements would have a more resistance. Rotate the pad 90 degreess and your left and right movements will have more resistance. It's not much but it's there.
I remember the first moment I put my deathadder on my HIEN I felt like returning it. I said to myself oh man this is way too slippery I made a mistake! but the more I played with this pad the more I enjoyed it. It's definitely something different from the traditional cloth pads. So is it better? Yes in terms of quality it's better than the average cloth pad but performance wise I think it's all personal preference. If you're a cloth user that wants to try something different and not go into all the plastics/glass pads this is it.