Gaming Mouse Buying Guide
Below we focus on what you need to know when buying the best gaming mouse gaming in 2019, covering all important factors from grip type to sensors and DPI, wireless vs wired mice. We focus on what matters when it comes to improving your gaming accuracy and experience.
Before we get started a common question is what mouse settings do the pros use for gaming mice? Obviously this differs significantly depending on the type of game you’re playing a mouse for RPG, MOBA or MMO’s with a large number of buttons is likely not a great fit for FPS games. Below we have listed some links to resources that do an excellent job of documenting the mice used by pro gamers.
Even the best gaming mice have improved significantly since Razer’s first DeathAdder with insane DPI’s and other stats and metrics being spammed around by manufactures, it’s hard for gamers to make a choice. Below we explain what they are and if they are important.
- DPI – DPI stands for dots per inch, higher the DPI the less you need to move. A lot manufactures went nuts trying to obtain the highest DPI possible as a way of selling more mice. Higher DPI does not always mean a higher accuracy, this will depend on the type and the accuracy of the sensor. As a side note DPI, is actually an incorrect term the correct metric measurement is CPI (Counts Per Inch) – not they we are elitist around here 🙂
- Sensors – There are two types of sensor optical and laser. Traditionally optical performs better on more surfaces, including rough surfaces and laser performs better on reflective surfaces. So, what’s best optical vs laser? While we can’t speak for every sensor on the market, generally speaking optical sensors track smaller precise movements better during our testing process and we if had to pick one over the other we would go with optical.
- Mouse Acceleration – This is your worst enemy it makes movements inconsistent and unpredictable, the good news is you can turn it off. Check out our settings guide for more information on how to setup your DPI, sensitivity and more importantly how to disable evil mouse acceleration in windows 10.
- Polling Rate – When you move your mouse the data is sent from the device to your computer for processing. Polling rate is the amount of updates sent from the device to your computer, the higher the polling rate the more updates are sent. Typically speaking there is no draw back from higher polling rates, but like most metrics there becomes a point where it makes little difference and it becomes something else for the marketing teams to boast about on the box. Polling rate is typically measured in Hz and gaming mice should all be 200hz+
- Lift-Off-Distance – The distance you can lift the mouse off the pad while still registering movement. Typically Lift-Off-Distance can be adjusted withing the software.
- Weight – Usually an overlooked concept but a heavy mouse can appear laggy to some players. Adjustable weighted mice exist such as the Logitech G502. Weight difference is most noticeable when the device is new, and your coming from a heavier older mice – especially if it was wireless with batteries.
Different people grip in a different ways, below are the most common grips types:
- Palm Grip – The most natural feeling and the most commonly used grip type. When using the palm grip your entire hand will be on top of the mouse, resting on the mouse creating 7 points of contact. This grip type is the most comfortable (for most players) and is the least fatiguing as most movement will come from your arm, allowing you to make fast powerful movements. However, this grip type has the caveat of not being as precise as some other grip types. The best mice for palm grip types are those with a high arch, such as the Razer DeathAdder, ROG Spartha, or the Logitech G502.
- Claw Grip – The claw grip only uses 6 points of contact and is midway between Palm and Finger Tip grip types providing the best of both worlds for gamers. The Claw grip uses your arm for movement and your finger tips arched over like a claw for more precise clicking accuracy. Most mice work well with the claw grip.
- Finger Tip – The finger tip method uses 5 points of contact, the movement is performed only by the finger tips allowing precise movements of the mouse and for it to freely move around on the pad by moving finger tips only makes it fast and accurate for smaller movements. However, the finger tip grip does not work well with large swipes or big movements.
There is no right way, and no wrong way to grip. Try them all out and figure out which one will give you the most precision, speed and comfort to give you an edge in your game.
Do Gaming Mouse Pads Matter?
Yes, they matter. A gaming mouse pad is important your mouse needs to track perfectly on it’s surface, that’s why we recommend matching the pad to the manufacture. In certain software such as Razer Synapse you can configure the sensor for the surface you’re using. And it does have a noticeable non-placebo improvement in our opinion.
What About a Mouse Bungee?
Another product you should consider is a mouse bungee, a device that holds your cable up in the air. This removes cable drag and prevents your cable getting caught on other objects on the desk, we have an in depth buyers guide for mouse bungees that will help you save some time doing your own research.
Will a Gaming Mouse Improve My Aim?
Yes and no, a good quality mouse will enable you to perform at your best by not holding you back. I am sure we all have that friend with worn out old microsoft intelipointer, who owns everyone against all odds. But who knows if he had a DeathAdder – perhaps he would be even better.
The take away here is that yes, it will help, but nothing can or will replace practice, determination, skill and a bit of luck.