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You need to buy a new mouse for your PC but you don’t which one to choose? Would you like some advice about the things to consider before buying a mouse? No problem, I’m here to help you out.
If you give me a few minutes of your time, I will explain how to choose a mouse, I will list the main features that you need to consider before choosing one that best suits your need and finally, I will propose you a selection of the best mice currently on the market.
Whether you need a “simple” mouse to use for everyday tasks (online browsing, documents, office work, etc.), a gaming mouse (i.e. gaming) or a portable mouse to use on the go, follow my suggestions and you will definitely find the product that best suits your needs.
How to choose a mouse
Let’s summarize the things that you must consider before buying a mouse.
What do you want to do with the mouse you are about to buy? By answering this question you will have made a nice leap forward in finding the right mouse to buy. Not all mice are in fact the same. Depending on their intended use, they have different characteristics and peculiarities.
For example, there are mice for everyday work that are optimized for web browsing, working with documents and spreadsheets and other office tasks; gaming mice that are optimized for games, they are very precise and have a large number of programmable keys and then there are travel mice that are very compact, or that can be “folded” and are almost always wireless.
Wired or Wireless
Once you chose the type of mouse you want (standard, gaming or travel), you need to figure out whether it’s better a wired or wireless mouse. Generally, wired mice are more precise and responsive than wireless mice, but the gap between these two is really thin in recent years. Wired mice are probably more suited for gaming purposes (but you can always invest for a costly albeit high-precision wireless gaming mouse), while for everyday work wireless ones are more convenient. Travel mice must be, by definition, wireless.
Another important thing to know is that wireless mice can use Bluetooth technology or 2.4GHz wireless technology, or both. The main difference between these two types of mice is that Bluetooth mice do not require external receivers and work with all devices that support Bluetooth, while 2.4GHz wireless devices require a USB receiver (that will occupy a USB port).
For power, the wired mice connect directly to the devices’ USB port and therefore do not need to be charged. Wireless mice can be powered by AA or AAA batteries, or rechargeable batteries. Their autonomy varies greatly, although mice based on the 2.4GHz wireless technology generally have longer autonomy than Bluetooth ones. The range of action also varies, but it is generally about 3 feet.
Shape, size, and weight
Mice can have different shapes and sizes. Shapes and sizes affect the usability of the mouse, the ability to use it with the left hand, and the type of grip supported. The mice, in fact, can be used with various types of grips: there is the one called palm grip where the palm of the hand rests completely on the surface of the mouse (and it is the most common one); the claw grip in which the mouse is used by placing only the fingers on it and the fingertip grip in which the mouse is moved with the fingertips while the rest of the hand “hovers” above it.
There are, then, ergonomic mice that are designed to prevent carpal tunnel syndrome and can have a horizontal or vertical grip. Ergonomic mice can also be equipped with a trackball, that is, a “ball” that serves to move the mouse pointer around the screen without physically moving the mouse over the desk.
Another feature that needs to be taken into account is the weight of the mouse, which can affect the level of accuracy of the device. Lightweight mice are very fast, do not tire your hand after prolonged use but are a little less accurate than heavier ones, that are a little slower and can tire your hand after prolonged use. Some mice (especially gaming mice) can be supplied with optional weights to be added to them according to your needs.
If you are left-handed, please control, before purchasing a mouse, if it has a shape suitable for use with the left hand: some mice are designed to be used exclusively with the right hand and therefore are not suitable for left-handed use.
Number of keys
Mice also differ in the number of keys with which they are equipped. The standard keys are: right-click, left-click and scroll wheel, but often you can also find two side keys with variable functions.
Mice with more than three keys can have programmable keys, i.e. keys to which the user can assign specific functions using special software. Many mice allow you to associate macros, that is, a whole series of functions to be performed sequentially.
In principle, we can say that for everyday use, 5 keys are more than enough.
Another feature to consider is the scrolling wheel: all mice are equipped with a scroll wheel that allows you to scroll the contents on the screen.
A separate chapter is dedicated to mice that support gestures, that is, mice that have a touch surface (similar to that of trackpads) that can be used to interact with the PC via gestures (pinch to zoom).
The resolution of a mouse is a value that indicates the number of pixels the pointer moves on the PC screen for each inch the mouse moves on the desk. A mouse that has a resolution of 1600 DPI, therefore, moves 1600 pixels on the PC screen for every inch it moves on the desk.
Mouse resolution is expressed in DPI (dots per inch). Manufacturers bet a lot on this value, but, be careful, because this is not a parameter that directly indicates the level of accuracy of the mouse. In addition, many mice allow you to adjust the number of DPI on the fly or via software.
In short: Unless you have an overly high-resolution display, don’t focus too much on the DPI number. Rather, check its true degree of accuracy by reading online reviews and finding out about the quality of the sensor.
Optical or laser
A mouse’s sensor is the component that most affects the accuracy and efficiency of the mouse. It can be optical (LED) or laser type.
Optical mice are very fast and accurate but can have problems on too smooth and glass surfaces. Laser mice do not have problems on too smooth surfaces and some can also work on glass (depending on the type of laser used) and are generally more accurate than optical ones, but they are also more susceptible to dust. Make your choice based on your preferences and the reviews you read online.
Are materials important?
The materials are relatively important because what matters most is the spec sheet of the model you are going to buy.
Is the brand important?
The brand is undoubtedly an important element to consider when buying, especially in relation to the intended use. In some particular areas, such as gaming or graphics, there are mouse brands specialized in designing and manufacturing increasingly complex devices. In general, we recommend choosing a well-known and established a brand in the industry (such as Logitech), especially if you have high demands on performance and reliability. If you just need a basic model, you can safely save some money and opt for some less known brand, which can still guarantee you the same minimum performance.
Is the price important?
The price is of relative importance. The price range for a wired mouse can start from just under $10 and go up to $100, although most models do not exceed $50. The price depends on several factors, but it is mainly related to the spec sheet. However, this doesn’t mean that the cheapest products are of poor quality: they can still be perfect for the needs of the average user who does not need additional functionality. If you do not have any special requirements you can be absolutely satisfied even with a model that costs less than $20.
Other parameters to be taken into account
Other values you might find in a mouse’s datasheet are polling rate and tracking speed. The polling rate is the frequency with which the mouse communicates its position to the operating system and is expressed in Hz (the higher the better), while the tracking speed indicates the speed at which a sensor stops recording an accurate movement and is measured in IPS (inches per second).
Logitech MX Master 3: the best
The Logitech MX Master 3 (Check on Amazon.com) model is similar to the previous MX Master 2S. It has improved ergonomics, with a more generous thumb rest, the mouse wheel uses the MagSpeed technology that features electromagnets for maximum scroll speed and precision, and also sports a Darkfield laser sensor that can go up to 4000 DPI.
It can connect to up to three PCs (Windows or Mac) via Bluetooth 4.0 or the included USB dongle, and the 500mAh battery can last up to seventy days. It also features fast charging that can give you three hours of use with just one minute of charging.
Comfortable, precise and feature-rich it approaches perfection in terms of productivity. It is highly recommended!
Logitech MX Anywhere 2S: the most portable mouse
The MX Anywhere 2S (Check on Amazon.com) is smaller than the MX Master 3 (Check on Amazon.com), Logitech’s flagship mouse, making it more portable. However, we find that it is also more comfortable for those with smaller hands.
It connects via Bluetooth or a 2.4GHz wireless connection, can be paired with up to three different devices and boasts the excellent low-latency tracking technology supported by Logitech’s Darkfield system, which makes the mouse usable even on glossy surfaces.
Like the MX Master 3, the scroll wheel can rotate freely so you can scroll through long pages with a single spin of the wheel, and the rechargeable battery will last you for 70 days on a single charge.
In conclusion, this mouse is practical, portable and one of the best currently on the market.
Logitech MX Master 2S: a great choice
The successor of the award-winning MX Master (Check on Amazon.com), the MX Master 2S (Check on Amazon.com) is the natural evolution of one of the best-selling mice ever. The shape hasn’t been changed, because of the excellent ergonomics it offers, but the autonomy has been doubled, the new and improved sensor has increased the DPI from 1000 to 4000, and Flow functionality has been added, which allows for the simultaneous use with 3 devices.
It is a touch bigger than standard productivity mice, but it inserts itself very well in your hand.
The rechargeable battery lasts up to 70 days and takes 3 minutes to recharge from zero to a percentage that can last you for a full working day; also the mouse can be used while recharging.
The scroll wheel has two modes of operation: a step mode and a free-scrolling mode. In addition, there is a thumbwheel for side-scrolling, and you can reprogram the keys to your liking. All buttons are, in fact, customizable via the Logitech Options software.
The Darkfield laser sensor can even work on glass, unlike ordinary laser sensors. The resolution of the sensor itself can be set from 400 to 4000 DPI, in increments of 50 DPI.
This is the ideal mouse for those who work multiple hours a day and need maximum precision. The only drawback is that it is made for right-handed users only and that it is not particularly suitable for gaming.
Read more: Logitech MX Master 2S review: simply perfect
Logitech MX Vertical: the most comfortable mouse
The Logitech MX Vertical (Check on Amazon.com) is designed to be comfortable, and therefore vertical (57° angle), positioning the hand and wrist in a more natural position to avoid injuries. This design reduces muscle fatigue by 10% compared to standard mice, without any loss in day to day performance.
It also sports a 4,000 DPI sensor and three connectivity options: Bluetooth and a 2.4GHz adapter that can work with three devices simultaneously; and wired via the removable cable and USB Type-C port.
In addition to the left and right-click buttons and the wheel on the right, there are two more buttons on the left and a button on top.
It costs a bit, but it is one of the best solutions for an office mouse.
Anker Vertical: budget alternative
Developed as an evolution of trackballs, vertical mice solve some problems, such as wrist and forearm pain. The Anker model combines the vertical design with wireless technology, allowing not only for a more natural and more comfortable grip but also freedom of movement.
It has been very successful in sales and is highly appreciated by users. In addition to solid ergonomics, this model stands out for its good performance aided by the presence of five keys and the classic scroll wheel. It also lets you adjust the responsiveness and therefore the DPI according to your preference.
Looking at the price (Check on Amazon.com) it is clear that some compromises have been made: this Anker mouse has, in fact, sharp edges and corners that aren’t perfectly finished. However, it is a solid budget option for those suffering from Repetitive Strain Injury (RSI) and those who would like to prevent it.
Apple Magic Mouse 2: best looks
If you’re looking for an Apple mouse you should take a look at this model. Like all Cupertino devices, it stands out for its futuristic, elegant design and ultra-smooth surface, a small gem to keep on your desk.
Despite the numerous criticisms – including ours for most uncomfortable mouse ever made – the Magic Mouse 2 (Check on Amazon.com) has a lot of fans and the second version is a remarkable improvement over to the first generation. This is a Bluetooth mouse and this new version, compared to the previous one, features a USB rechargeable lithium battery, so no more bulky wires and no more batteries to buy. In just two minutes of charging can give you nine hours of use (a full charge equals one month of autonomy).
Its base has also been redesigned and the Magic Mouse 2 is now more stable, lighter and glides better and smoother since it has less friction.
Another advantage of this mouse is its multi-touch surface. The Magic Mouse was indeed the first multi-touch mouse and this second version has an improved functionality: with fewer finger movements you can do more operations such as browsing web pages, scrolling documents, zoom, etc. and it is ready for use directly out of the box.
the charging port is located below the device, so it is not possible to charge the device while using it; in addition, the glass construction is fragile and easily affected by scratches and accidental damage.
It is certainly not the cheapest mouse on the market but if you want a product that will marry well with the design of other Apple devices on your desk this is the one created specifically for that.
Logitech MX Ergo: the most ergonomic mouse
Heir to the glorious Logitech M570 (Check on Amazon.com), the Logitech MX Ergo (Check on Amazon.com) is a trackball mouse, which means you don’t move the mouse but the ball that sits on top of it with your thumb. Its inclination can be adjusted up to 20° to further adapt it to your needs. It also uses an advanced optical sensor to track motion, and its sensitivity can be adjusted using the DPI button.
It has two additional buttons next to the left click, and the wheel also has lateral clicks. It can connect via Bluetooth or via the Unifying wireless 2.4GHz adapter. It is equipped with an internal battery whose autonomy is estimated at about four months and can be recharged via a micro-USB port.
It can also be used with the Logitech FLOW technology, which lets you control several PCs with the same mouse by simply moving the cursor from one monitor to another.
Microsoft Bluetooth Mobile Mouse 3600: best cheap mouse
We have a penchant for the good old Microsoft mouse, and the 3600 (Check on Amazon.com) works wirelessly and without the need for a USB dongle thanks to Bluetooth.
It sports three buttons: left and right click and a scroll wheel with 4-way support. It uses a high-precision Bluetrack optical sensor that allows you to use it on all surfaces except glass and mirror. It also features an autonomy of up to one year with a single AA battery (which is a rare thing) and is designed for both right and left-handed users.
It doesn’t have extra buttons, it doesn’t have an ultra-fast tracking sensor and it won’t make your coffee, but if you’re looking for a reliable mouse that’s also comfortable and portable enough to take it anywhere you want, the 3600 is a clear winner.
Razer DeathAdder Chroma: the best all-around mouse
Razer products are not suitable for everyone. They are mostly aimed at gamers that also love industrial design. This, however, also means that they are fairly good at other uses, such as office productivity.
The thing that differentiates the Razer DeathAdder Chroma (Check on Amazon.com) from other office mice is its 16.8 million colors and the excellent 10,000 DPI optical sensor.
If you want a mouse that is good for both gaming and productivity, then this is your best bet.
Also read: Mice Buying Guide