Any gamer knows the importance of a good gaming mouse and even more so if his favorite genre is first person shooters. Such is its relevance that there are specialized brands that specifically target the market for this type of products. And no, they don’t just sport a colorful design and RGB lights.
In general, gaming mice include several additional buttons. In addition, they offer much higher levels of sensitivity and precision. And, of course, they are highly configurable. Not surprisingly, the specialization of gaming mice is such that some are developed for a particular type of game.
Everything you need to know about gaming mice
Not all gaming mice are the same. Therefore, when buying such a device, you need to ask yourself a number of questions. To facilitate the task, in this section we address the most frequently asked questions from buyers. This way, you will be much more likely to be satisfied with your new gaming accessory.
What exactly is a gaming mouse?
Gaming mice are specially designed to get the most out of video games. In general, compared to the classic mouse, they feature a distinctive, visually appealing ergonomic design. In some cases, the dimensions may differ. In addition, they offer excellent performance in terms of precision and sensitivity.
Some even have an onboard memory that allows you to store different configurations and some even come with an adjustable weight system. Another common feature of gaming mice is the extra programmable buttons. Of course, their price is much higher than that of traditional mice.
What types of gaming mice are there?
Gaming mice can be classified according to different criteria. However, the feature that defines them most is the type of sensor they use (or to be more correct the type of light). Thanks to this factor, we can distinguish between optical gaming mice and laser ones:
Laser: it provides greater accuracy and worse performance on rough surfaces or cloth mats.
Optical: they do not have very good performance on transparent surfaces and infrared light technology is cheaper.
In which type of games can I use a gaming mouse?
If your passion is real time strategy games (RTS), first-person shooters (FPS), role-playing games (RPG) or Massive Multiplayer Online games (MMO), you will benefit from a gaming mouse.
A different case is represented by sports simulators like NBA, for which a game pad is required. The same goes for flight simulators or racing games. In this type of games you usually use a specific device, a joystick or a steering wheel.
Advantages and disadvantages of a gaming mouse?
Whether you play video games or not, gaming mice may interest you for their attractive ergonomic design. In addition, they offer much higher levels of precision and sensitivity. To this we have to add the fact that they are highly configurable. However, they do also cost more.
Wired or wireless?
The answer is clear: cabled FTW (For the Win)! Modern wireless gaming mice offer the same level of precision and sensitivity but you run the risk of a failed or scrambled connection at the most inopportune moment. The battery can also run out.
Do I need many buttons?
The answer is no, but not always. It depends on the type of games you want to play. If you play a lot of World of Warcraft or other MMO games, having a lot of buttons for abilities and macros is fairly useful (there are gamers that will only use the keyboard for key programming).
Must i buy a gaming mouse?
If you play video games on a regular basis and you are rather competitive then yes. Often, having a good gaming mouse can be what makes the difference between winning or losing a game.
Similarly, they are also a solid workhorse and they can be useful in certain fields such as graphic design, where an ergonomic shape, very accurate and precise movements, and some extra buttons for quick shortcuts can make the difference in productivity.
4 Decisive factors when choosing the gaming mouse
1. Accuracy and sensitivity
The main concern with any gaming mouse is its accuracy, the way the pointer moves on the screen must correspond to your hand movement in a precise way. The second concern is that it must offer different degrees of sensitivity that can be changed on the fly. In fact, depending on the type of game, it may be necessary to perform fast movements (run and jump around) or slower but more precise ones (sniper aim).
In total, there are four features that must be considered: the DPI (dots per inch) of the sensor, the sensitivity settings, the pointer’s acceleration and the type of sensor:
Dots per inch, or Counts Per Inch (CPI), are a measure that has to do with the cursor’s speed and accuracy. The more “dots” a sensor reads when moving, the more pixels the cursor will cover on the screen. Let’s make a practical example:
400 DPI: when you move your mouse an inch that corresponds to a move of 400 pixel of the on screen pointer
It is evident that depending on the type of game and the speed of action, a different number of DPI will be better, sometimes higher, sometimes slower.
Similarly, when we need to “aim” accurately, as is the case of an FPS game a lower DPI number is better.
A good gaming mouse must always offer you the ability to change the sensor’s sensitivity, so it can adapt to your style of play and to any type of game. Ideally, a gaming mouse should always allow the user to change its sensitivity “on the fly”.
Speaking of cursor speed, it is a unanimous opinion among gamers that a good gaming mouse mustn’t have any type of acceleration, as opposed to regular office mice. But what is this acceleration we talk about?
“Office” mice, have and always on acceleration. If you slowly move the mouse 2 inches, the cursor on the screen will move more or less an equivalent number of pixels (times the DPI setting). However, if you move the mouse quickly 2 inches, the cursor will move a much greater number of pixels. This is very handy in a productivity environment where precise movement isn’t paramount
On the other hand fine control is crucial throughout a game, so the overwhelming majority of gamers prefers mice that have no acceleration, or at least that can be disabled.
Sensor (light types)
A separate speech, which has a lot to do with the accuracy of the sensor, is the kind of technology is uses. As we stated earlier these can be optical or laser:
- Laser has higher DPI than optical
- Laser works well even on glossy, reflective and transparent surfaces
- Optical performs better on matt surfaces, such as the classic mouse pad
- Laser often has acceleration
- Some of the most popular laser sensors continue to function even when raised from the surface: this is a problem for those who have a habit of slightly lifting the mouse to stop the movement of the pointer in order to reposition it.
- Optical mice use interpolation technologies to achieve higher DPI, which can create problems with accuracy.
It is therefore not easy to determine which of the two types is the best to have. The general consensus is however that modern optical mice are more reliable and accurate.
The second big thing to evaluate in a mouse is its comfort: the most assiduous gamers can play for many hours in a row, and it is of paramount importance that the mouse used is comfortable and that it doesn’t put any unnecessary constraints on your hand and wrist.
In broad terms, let’s see what features should a good gaming mouse have in order to allow you to achieve optimal comfort.
At a minimum, a gaming mouse should have a good ergonomic design. On the market there are several models, some symmetrical and ambidextrous, others with an asymmetrical shape that can increase the amount of comfort of your hand. The only way to find out which one is best for you is to try them on.
The overwhelming majority of mice are made of plastic. Some models may have an aluminum shell, which is much more lightweight and durable than plastic.
The plastic texture and the presence or absence of anti-slip, soft and anti-sweat inserts is also important.
Also in terms of weight everyone has a different preference, and a gaming mouse can have a weight of between 80 and 120g. Some mice allow you to adjust their weight and balance by simple adding or removing small weights, usually placed under the base. This way everyone can find their perfect combination of weight and handling and maximize comfort during gaming.
A good gaming mouse must offer the player enough keys to allow him to perform all the most important actions. “Normal” mice only have the two main clicks (left and right), and sometimes a center click in the wheel, whereas a gaming mouse can have more than 15 programmable buttons.
Finally, an often overlooked detail are the feet. These play a key role in the smooth mouse movement and it is a mistake to assume that all feet are just plastic. The most sophisticated gaming mice, in fact, can have Teflon feet, that create much less friction on any surface. It is also important to note that you must keep the mouse’s feet and desk surface (or mouse pad) clean. This is the only way to avoid the accumulation of dust and dirt, which can, in the long run, create friction and destroy the original smoothness.
3. Extra features
Many “experienced” gamers make use of the so-called “macros”: key combinations needed to perform a given action, stored and usually binned to a single button.
The ability to create customized “profiles” for each game can be very useful: if you play different games and need different mouse settings for each one, you can save these profiles and use them each time you need them.
Finally, gaming mice are often equipped with a surface recognition and mapping function: using it, the sensor will calibrate itself to perform best on this king of surface.
4. Connection type
Although most gaming mouse models are often available both in wired and wireless versions, as we explained before the advantage of a cabled connection is recognized more or less unanimously. So given the opportunity always prefer a wired gaming mouse.
Other factors to keep in mind when choosing a gaming mouse
Is the brand important?
Yes, the brand can make a big difference, not so much in terms of functions, but in terms of quality and assembly. Therefore, it is better to rely on brands known for their quality products, such as Logitech, Razer, Corsair SteelSeries.
For a gamer, a mouse’s accuracy and sensitivity are key factors. The same applies to the possibility of having enough extra buttons to perform certain actions. Gaming mice are specially designed to meet these and other needs.
We hope this guide helped you choose the best gaming mouse for you!