I've heard people call the Hien, "rough", and I wouldn't say that at all. I have very delicate skin and it's not an issue for me... However, when Artisan says the surface resembles peach skin, I can definitely understand why they said that, it really does.
Here I tried to illustrate a bit of how the surface feels or seems... it's certainly a textured feel, but each texture has a bit of a soft give to it.
Something to note is audibility. There's a noticeable brushing sound when I swipe my mouse back and forth and around. This could eventually be something to consider if you use open back headphones, however I use closed back headphones so I can't hear anything. It's not super loud, but it's there.
One thing to note, is that this pad is much faster than I think they give it credit for (at least for me). I started with a QCK Heavy, then moved on to a Puretrak Talent which was at least 2x faster, and now the Hien VE, seems noticeably faster than the Talent.
It's not smooth, however it's no where near sluggish or cumbersome and in no way posts any extra effort to move my mouse - yet I don't think that's a bad thing, it's more of a textured feather lite experience for me. As in my illustration it seems that the gaps between the textures adds a sort of air cushon that gently nudges your mouse along to follow your movements...
I haven't had any problems stopping my mouse. It doesn't grind to a halt, but quickly glides to a stop.
The colour's pleasant, not too dull or too flashy, but a really nice sort of poppy flower or coke red.
It's perfect - from the bottom up, the grip on the bottom is also textured in a way that it's really not going to move anywhere, especially on a flat smooth desk or table. The foam they use seems a lot more dense, but also much lighter, and most importantly more consistent than the foam in other pads, like for example my QCK or Talent. The surface is the same all over the pad, no variations anywhere, and the edges seem to be lightly treated with some sort of heat to help prevent fraying. The artisan logo seems like it's painted or inked into the material rather than on it, and when I mouse over it I don't notice any difference in feeling.
Packaging & Shipping
Although I ordered through USER SIDE on Amazon, I actually got a personal email from someone at Artisan thanking me for my order and letting me know they'd ship it directly from Tokyo. I ordered on the 7th, and received it the 9th. This was without any special shipping, just standard, and I'm half way around the world from Japan.
The packaging was simple, but it's a huge plus that Artisan ships their pads flat in an envelope, rather than rolled up - this saves time in having to flatten pads that are rolled up.