Best Gaming Mouse – Buyer’s Guide

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Choosing a mouse is a very personal decision. What may suit one person won’t necessarily suit another. There are a range of factors to consider from the various features to comfort and style. This isn’t made any easier thanks to the huge market that currently exists for gaming mice. While gaming mice can be subjective topic, one thing is generally understood to be true among gamers: prediction and acceleration are bad news for competitive play, and DPI numbers are far more emphasized by the big name manufacturers than they need to be.

Our list takes a look at the best gaming mice available, with an emphasis on mice with no prediction or acceleration, or that have the ability to turn these functions off. Our key focus is on mice that most gamers will find highly useful across the various competitive computer gaming genres.

All weights displayed in the table below reflect the mouse without cord or any extra adjustable weight.

Device NameWeightButtonsSensorLift-off Distance 
Mionix Castor94 g6Pixart PMW3310H~1mm, adjustable (low-mid) Check Price
Razer DeathAdder Chroma105 g5Avago ADNS-S3989~1 mm, adjustable (low-mid) Check Price
Logitech G900 Chaos Spectrum107 g11Pixart PMW3366<1.2 mm Check Price
Roccat Kone Pure Military93 g7Avago 3310~1.2 mm, adjustable (low-mid) Check Price
Logitech G502
(Editor's Choice)
121 g11Pixart PMW3366~1.2 mm (low) Check Price
Logitech G30387 g6Pixart PMW3366~1.2 mm (low) Check Price
Zowie FK190 g5Avago 3310~1.5 mm (low) Check Price
SteelSeries Rival 300130 g6Pixart PMW3310~2.5 mm (mid) Check Price
Cooler Master Xornet II80 g7Avago 3320 Optical<3 mm (high) Check Price
Corsair M65164g
(with cord)
8Pixart ADNS-9800adjustable (low to high) Check Price

Gaming Mouse Reviews

Mionix Castor

mionix-castor2

Pros
  • Wide functionality
  • Designed for multiple grips
  • Good button layout
  • Adjustable Lift off distance
Cons
  • No adjustable weight option

The Mionix Castor has consistently received positive reviews from both gamers and the tech industry alike for the quality design they put into this gaming mouse, some reviewers even consider it the best gaming mouse ever made. We’ll avoid taking sides on the issue and just deliver an honest review of specs and consumer feedback, but it is worth noting that the favorability ratings on this mouse are very high.

Hidden inside of the somewhat simple shell is a wide range of software and hardware that make the Mionix Castor somewhat of a go-to for those seeking more variability in their device. In particular, the Mionix Castor tends to be favored strongly because of its core features and overall hand comfort. Working our way from the outside in, the Castor features a fairly solid ergonomic design that works well for a right-handed grip. Mionix fashioned the shape to be well-suited for all grip styles. The weight, as well as the button layout, design and placement, were all purposefully crafted to make a mouse that could suit all grip styles. It may feel a bit too light for claw and fingertip grippers at first (it’s only 93.8 grams, without the cord), but this is something that can be accommodated for with time as you grow more comfortable using the device. There are 6 programmable buttons, all within easy access without strain. An adjustable DPI switch sits right behind the scroll wheel, and each of the buttons were adjusted to require different amounts of pressure for the best response. The matte finish on the outside provides a nice feel on the hand, and the LED colors offer a satisfying look.

The inside mechanics are part of the real appeal of this device. The DPI is adjustable up to 10,000. There is no positive or negative acceleration on this device, making it ideal for most hardcore gamers. Accuracy and tracking are smooth. One of the interesting features on the Mionix Castor is the use of the company’s trademarked Surface Quality Analyzer Tool (S.Q.A.T) software. This software analyzes the mouse pad (or other surface) quality for ridges and imperfections, and will automatically adjust the lift-off distance for the best possible height. Thankfully, this feature can be turned on or off, and the base lift-off distance can be adjusted in order to suit your own personal preferences. The inclusion of the highly prized PMW 3310 sensor makes the Castor more on the high-end than some of its competitors. Finally, a 32bit processor handles the incoming and outgoing data without compromises.

In addition to everything that makes the Castor a fan-favorite, you’ll find it can store 5 separate button profiles, can record macros in real-time and is crafted with 4 layers of rubber coating. The comfort and elasticity of its functions keep the Castor among the most well-liked mice on the market. That said, some users do wish that the weight could be adjusted, and a consistent number of users explained that their specific product either came broken or stopped working fairly quickly. Mionix does have very responsive customer service for certified buyers, so there is a bit of a safety in purchasing a product from a certified dealer.

Razer DeathAdder Chroma

razer-deathadder-chroma

Pros
  • Good ergonomic design
  • Adjustable lift-off distance
  • Additional fine-tuning software
Cons
  • Weight not adjustable

The Razer DeathAdder Chroma is one of the most popular gaming mice currently available. This mouse does not skimp on some of the most important functions for highly competitive gaming. Razer even nixed the prediction that used to be on this device with a firmware updating in the not-so-distance past, making this mouse a much more desirable option. While we’re focusing on the core Razer DeathAdder Chroma model, it should be noted that there are several versions of the DeathAdder currently available. Razer has a left-handed version of the mouse as well as standard mode a few specialty models, as well as their first model, the DeathAdder Classic.

The DeathAdder Chroma comes with a 10,000 DPI 4G optical sensor. This DPI is completely native. The mouse utilizes ultraslick mouse feet that allow for a smooth glide over most surfaces. The 5 buttons on this mouse are hyper-responsive and optimized for very fast button presses (particularly the left and right click), but not so sensitive that they can easily be hit accidentally. The rather large and very softly ridged scroll wheel is smooth and responsive though perhaps not the most durable.

This is a mouse that is well known for its comfortable, ergonomic design. Shaped to fit the palm of your hand, the matte surface together with the rubber side grips create a mouse that is perfectly suited to long hours of gaming. However, some may find that the mouse can cause sweaty hands after particularly lengthy sessions. Overall, the mouse feels solid yet surprisingly light despite having a bit of an above-average weight at 105g. This is not too heavy, nor is it too light. The weight is not adjustable, so it’s best to know whether this is a weight you’re comfortable with before diving in. However, seeing as left-handed mice are few and far between, for many lefties this may be one of your best options anyway.

One of the more interesting features of this mouse is the included heat mapping software. Razer includes their Razer Synapse 2.0 software with this mouse. The software tracks your mouse movements and provides you with visual feedback on where your mouse spends the most and least amount of time. Although optional, this visual data should help some highly competitive gamers better analyze their own movements for potential improvements in performance.

While the design isn’t exactly unique, the scroll wheel and the Razer logo can be illuminated and glow a bright neon green color which does look cool. Though only a small thing, the cable is high-quality and braided and thus doesn’t stick to surfaces when you have to move your mouse around. Its these small things that make the DeathAdder Chroma a mouse to be appreciated.

Generally speaking, this mouse has some of the best overall ratings. The adjustable lift-off height is a plus, and a feature many mice manufacturers are starting to come around on. The device is highlighted by the highly customizable lighting effects, which give it the name “Chroma”.

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Logitech G900 Chaos Spectrum

Logitech G900 Chaos Spectrum

Pros
  • Excellent sensor
  • Light weight
Cons
  • Pricey
  • Some report high lift-off distance

In their continued effort to wholly own the gaming mouse market, Logitech has found yet another way to mix things up a bit. The Logitech G900 Chaos Spectrum is far from “chaotic”, however it does offer a new spectrum for gamers.

The mouse is ambidextrous in the truest sense of the word, without making sacrifices. It does this by making the industry-standard thumb buttons on the side changeable. You can place them either on the left or the right side of the mouse, covering the other side with a comfortable rubber pad. Alternatively, you can place buttons on both sides, which may not be entirely comfortable to the hand, but certainly opens up a few gaming options.

We’re not going to take the risk of calling this an industry first, but in researching, we could not locate any other gaming mouse that has had a similar feature. The Microsoft Habu might come somewhat close to this, but the side buttons on that mouse were only adjustable in their positioning on one side. In effect, Logitech has thrown a very significant bone to left handed players, or players who simply like to use either hand.

The specs on the Logitech G900 are similar to that of the G502. Where they differ is the ambidexterity feature, the weight and possibly in the lift-off distance. The G502 is a much heavier wired mouse, while the G900 can be operated wirelessly. While the lift-off distance for the G502 has been recorded at around 1.2mm, no solid numbers exist for the G900. Its liftoff distance could be anywhere from low to unacceptably high. Your experience could be different, as the mouse seems to be particularly sensitive to the surface type it’s used on.

Gamers are greeted with 11 solidly programmable buttons, on-the-fly DPI adjustment up to 12,000, and a rather impressive 32 hours of battery life to a charge. The onboard storage supports 5 unique profiles, and for those who enjoy customization, yes, there is RGB color adjustment with 16.8 million options.

As stated, if you liked the G502, you’ll love the G900. The primary differences between the two are the ambidexterity and the wireless capability. In effect, the G900 is a wireless upgrade to the G502, capitalizing on everything Logitech did well with the G502 while shedding a bit of weight through the use of lighter materials.

Roccat Kone Pure Military

roccat-kone-pure-military1

Pros
  • Good weight and feel
  • Large memory
  • Speedy response times
Cons
  • No adjustable weights

The Roccat Kone Pure Military has wide range of features that many competitive gamers might find highly valuable. This 7 button mouse has an ergonomic, right-handed design that has the shape and feel that primarily fits claw grip gaming styles. Users will find that this mouse is fast for twitch gaming and possess some fairly solid mechanics on the inside. Roccat devices in general have been highly praised for shunning acceleration and angle-snapping. The Roccat Kone Pure Military keeps that same benefit in its design. If you were a fan of the Roccat Kone Pure Optical, the Military is a great addition to your gaming arsenal. A fair warning to palm-grippers, however: because the device is somewhat small, it may not be the best option for that grip style.

On the inside, users will find that the Roccat Kone Pure Military utilizes an Avago 3310 optical sensor. This is an upgrade from the Pure Optical, and increases the DPI on the device. Roccat includes fine-tuning software for this mouse that includes lift-off adjustment and a whole suite of usage stats. Roccat calls this their “R.A.D.” feature (don’t laugh), which stands for Roccat Achievements Display. Terribly cheesy acronym aside, you’ll also get data on your button clicks, which may or may not be useful to you. Who knows? Sometimes it’s better to have data than none at all.

The Roccat Kone Pure Military has a fairly standard native DPI that goes up to 5000. It can be adjusted down to as low as 100. Also internally, the mouse has 576KB of onboard memory for storing macros and profiles. The device comes with a managing software for the different macros as well, which should help make it a bit easier to remember what macro settings you have in the case that you forget. At only 93g with the cord, the device is one of the lightest gaming mice you’ll find. It does not have adjustable weighting, so if you’re looking for something a little bit heavier than this one, you’ll probably need to look elsewhere. The Roccat Kone Pure Military has a wealth of lighting options as well as software for monitoring in-game achievements, which are tertiary features, but something that may be the selling point for the occasional gamer. Given the name, that the Military comes in rather obvious and common military colors should come as no real surprise here. Overall, most gamers who have this mouse love the design, but dislike the lack of adjustable features.

Logitech G502 Proteus Core – Editor’s Choice

Logitech G502

Pros
  • Customization options
  • Unique design
  • Improved scroll wheel
Cons
  • A little heavy
  • Rather long and heavy cord

The Logitech G502 is advertised as being ‘as unique as you. On close examination of this product, that’s a fair claim. All gamers are different and will have their preferred setup and this mouse allows for a very significant amount of customization.

The optical sensor on this mouse is tunable so it can adapt to different surfaces. Furthermore, five 3.6g weights in the base of the mouse help gamers find that perfect balance to suit their gaming style. Such tuning may not be necessary as it’s already on the heavier side with a weight of 121g. The weights are small but don’t worry about losing them–they come in a handy little case. The 11 programmable buttons are just another feature that puts the power in the hands of the gamer. One particularly interesting feature of the Logitech G502 is the dual-mode scroll wheel that allows for precise navigation when gaming and the ability to simply fly through pages when browsing the internet or reading documents. However, as the scroll wheel is made of metal and not rubberized, it can cause the finger to slip when sweaty.

The build quality of the Logitech G502 feels solid and the mouse has a wonderful ergonomic shape and a well-designed layout with great button placement. Regarding aesthetics, the angular design of the mouse is very interesting and for that reason, it really does look like a gaming mouse. The rubbery side-grips are simply excellent. The buttons meanwhile are very satisfying to click. While the braided cable is strong and unlikely to wear and tear, it could be argued that it’s unnecessarily heavy. Customization options and a generally excellent build make this one of the very best all-round gaming mice on the market.

On a final note, the Logitech G502 has an advertised DPI that goes up to 12,000. This may scare away some gamers, as DPI settings that high are often achieved through software interpolation and are not native. Many reports place the G502’s high DPI settings as achieved natively and not through interpolation, which if true would make it one of the highest native DPIs on the market.

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Logitech G303

Logitech G303

Pros
  • Light weight
  • Good button layout
  • Designed for claw grip
Cons
  • No adjustable weights

The Logitech G303 is as much a gaming mouse as it gets. While tt shares little relation to the beefed up Logitech G502 Proteus Core, the G303 has a significant number of features that may make it a go-to device for some gamers. The G303, or “Daedalus Apex” as Logitech has dubbed it, has adjustable DPI settings from 200 up to 12,000, which can be adjusted fairly easily using mouse clicks. Thankfully, Logitech delivers the DPI adjustment without sensor smoothing or filtering. Yes, this includes even on the high end of the DPI range.

The device works very well with FPS gaming styles, and is best suited for a claw grip style. That said, those who favor other grip style will likely still find it to be a very comfortable mouse to use. The firmware for the G303 has been updated for Windows 10. This is a plus for Logitech, as many other device makers have yet to update their firmware for the upgraded Windows operating system. Unfortunately, Mac users are going to have to look elsewhere. Then again, if you’re gaming on a Mac, you’ve got other problems beyond the mouse you’re using.

The G300 has a solid set of features. Alongside shunning acceleration and prediction, it has been fined tuned for fairly good accuracy. This makes it a good bet for FPS gaming. The physical design is attractive.There are 6 programmable buttons for making the gaming experience just a bit easier. The included software allows for a lot of adjustments to the mouse’s settings with a fairly easy to use drag and drop user interface. Thankfully, this device was built for long-term play and long-term durability. It’s rated to be good for 20 million clicks, and uses spring-loaded right/left buttons for a good resistive feel. There are 16.8 million possibilities with the RGB lighting, which itself is extremely well located.

The Logitech G300 is very light: only 87 grams without the cord. Logitech tends toward heavier mice, so this should be a bit of a reprieve for those that do a lot of lifting. Unfortunately, there is no weight tuning on the G300, so if you find it to be too light you don’t have any options for changing it. It’s better to know what weight you’re comfortable with before diving in and making the purchase on this one. Interesting to note is the overall design. While the button layout on the side makes this a right-handed mouse, physically speaking, there’s no real reason a lefty could not use it somewhat comfortably. The design is very even on both sides, making it somewhat ideal for switching between hands.

Zowie FK1

Zowie FK1

Pros
  • DPI adjustment
  • Fantastic sensor
  • Ambidextrous
Cons
  • Scroll wheel isn’t great
  • Huano switches aren’t for everyone
  • Lack of customization options

The Zowie FK1 is an ambidextrous mouse specifically designed for claw-grip use. It is a plug and play style mouse with no complicated driver installations required. This unfortunately does mean that there are limited tweaks that can be made to the device, as it does not include some of the fine-tuning software found on other gaming mice. Nevertheless, the Zowie ZK1 features quick and easy DPI adjustment, allowing the player to toggle between 400, 800, 1600 and 3200 DPI according to their play style. Meanwhile the Avago 3310 optical sensor tracks well on any surface.

Simplicity is the key to the FK1’s design. The slightly curved, elongated shape of the mouse allows for very precise control and fits the hand nicely. The surface of the mouse can best be described as a slightly rough, textured plastic that allows for a good grip without causing hands to sweat too much. What’s more, this is a very light mouse at just 90g – perfect for the quick reactions needed in so many FPS games. That light weight includes the added weight of the cord. If you’re looking for something a little bit heavier, you may want to look elsewhere, as the weight on this mouse cannot be adjusted.

Some users describe the button feel as fairly robust. They provide a decent amount of physical feedback while not being too hard to push or too easy to push. The Zowie ZK1 comes is on the lower-end for button features, with a simple 5-button layout. The buttons are, however, high quality. In fact, they are Huano switches which do require a little more effort to press, helping to avoid accidental presses here or there. As for the 24-notch scroll wheel, it can be somewhat stiff at times but is otherwise reliable enough.

This mouse may not be winning any beauty contests. It’s a fairly basic mouse that doesn’t have all the bells and whistles of many other modern-day gaming mice. Yet it does what it does very well. One of the key selling points to this mouse is the very low lift-off distance. At around 1.5mm, you’re unlikely to experience any issues with continued tracking while lifting the mouse. The overall lack of extra features may be a turnoff to some gamers. However, for those looking for something a bit simpler, this may be your go-to mouse.

SteelSeries Rival 300

Steelseries Rival 300

Pros
  • Good build quality
  • Customizable response time
Cons
  • Limited button options and layout
  • A little heavy

The SteelSeries Rival has many features that most competitive PC gamers use on a regular basis. While it’s lacking in the number of buttons that many gamers may be looking for some games, particularly MOBA and RTS, it has a lot of core features that make it a desirable contender for other types of competitive play. Likewise, it’s simplicity may be a draw for many players who feel a bit intimidated by the options of the Logitech G502. The Steelseries Rival is a fairly functional alternative, albeit with much fewer available features.

The Rival has six programmable buttons, perfect for limited quick command actions, although certainly a far cry from what you will want if you’re playing many competitive MMO games. However, the button features may be just the right thing to perform actions fast enough to help supplement your keyboard. This mouse also utilizes an optical sensor good for tracking on a wider variety of surfaces. The DPI rating notches from 1 to 6500. The polling rate sits at a speedy 1 ms, which is fairly standard for most mice, and optical mice in particular. It should be speedy enough to give a good, fast response and you’ll never notice any lag time. Finally, at a relatively high 130 grams, it provides a decent heft, while not being too light or too heavy in the hand. Unfortunately, the weight is not adjustable as is possible on some of the other sought after gaming mice.

For those interested, the SteelSeries Rival 700 will be coming out sometime this year. It was showcased at the 2016 Consumer Electronics Show in January, receiving some generally rave reviews. The mouse offers a large improvement over the current SteelSeries models and adds in a whole host of new features that may or may not be desirable, depending on your preferences. Interestingly, the new model will include an OLED display on the side of the mouse that provides in-game data and vibrating feedback similar to what has been included on console gaming controllers since the late 90s. These additions are definitely something to watch, as success with these features may mark a new trend in gaming mice.

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Cooler Master Xornet II

cm-xornet-ii

Pros
  • Adjustable lift-off distance
  • Ergonomic design
  • Customizable settings
Cons
  • Weight not adjustable
  • May be too lightweight for some gamers

Cooler Master does not typically get as much name recognition as other companies. However, the Xornet II can easily come in as one of the best new mice on the market. With a lightweight design, ergonomic feel in the hand and an excellent array of buttons, the Cooler Master Xornet II is easily a contender for those who like a light, versatile gaming mouse that can fit into a nice niche over several gaming genres..

Cooler Master emphasizes several key features on this mouse. First is the internal sensor, and Avago 3320. This is known as one of the best sensors available for gaming mice. The Avago 3320 allows the Cooler Master Xornet II to adjust DPI quickly and seamlessly. Jitter is practically unknown here, and the Cooler Master Xornet II features an “on-the-fly” DPI adjustment between 3 different presets, from 500 to 3500 dpi. Notably, the mouse includes a RGB indicator on the scroll wheel to show which setting you’re on.

The 7 programmable  buttons on this mouse will cover most competitive gaming genres. The mouse is build for twitch gaming, and even includes adjustable lift off distance. The Xornet II actually includes an LOD tuning button, which allows you to tune the LOD from all the up to around 3mm. For most players, a low LOD is preferable, and most gaming mice do not include the ability to adjust the LOD, or only allow LOD adjustment in the mouse software.

Overall, the Xornet II is designed for claw-style gaming. Cooler Master has fined-tuned this mouse to take away a lot of the guess work, but also to maximize customization. Gamers who like to make the most out of their gaming mouse, or who like to adjust mouse settings for just the right feel, will find that this mouse is perhaps the perfect fit. The only drawback to this mouse is that it is extremely light, and the weight cannot be adjusted. Those who prefer heavier mice may want to consider the Logitech G502 or the Corsair M65.

Corsair M65

corsair-m65

Pros
  • Great look and textured feel
  • Adjustable lift off distance
  • Programmable buttons
  • Adjustable weight
Cons
  • Right-handed only

Truly, Vengeance shall be mine! Or.. yours. That is, if you decide to spend a few big ones on the Corsair Vengeance M65. With the weights and the cord, the Corsair M65 is a fairly heavy mouse (164 grams). However, this weight makes it a good analogue for the Logitech G502 and the Cooler Master Storm Spawn. Like those devices, the Corsair M65 is relatively large in physical size. The included tuning metal weights make up about 20.5 grams in total and are screwed into the bottom. But you won’t really care about any of that. What you care about most is that handy, dandy sniper button places right at thumb level. It even has a crosshair design on the front. Well played, Corsair. Well played.

As far as dimensions go, it’s obvious that the Corsair was made solely for right handed players. Its weight and size make it good for most grip styles, including palm grip. The device has 8 programmable buttons that can be saved directly into the mouse’s onboard memory. These saved macros will stay with the mouse and will not be reset when transferring the mouse to another computer. Aside from the adjustable weighting and the programmable buttons, the DPI settings on this mouse go up to 8200, and did we mention a dedicated sniper button with a cross-hair design? Ok, so we did. But that same button is also used to adjust sensor resolution, making it a bit of a dual-purpose button.

The lift off distance on the Corsair M65 can be adjusted as well. There are several lift off distance settings available in the device software. Unfortunately, many users have negatively identified the software as perhaps the worst part about this mouse. It is known to be very confusing to navigate, and Corsair, for some odd reason, does not include good instructions on how to use it. Despite the difficulties with the software, many users have found the overall experience with the mouse to be above average. The scroll wheel in particular is well designed. Gamers who use this mouse tend to prefer it for FPS gaming, and overall enjoy the weight and feel. And if you’re not too keen on the white: it also comes in black.

What the Pros use

To say that a mouse is important to a professional gamer is an understatement. It’s essentially their weapon and as such they want something that is an extension of their hand. After all, long gaming sessions with a high-intensity level of movement and clicks requires a mouse of exceptional build quality.

Click here for a list that covers the mice used by professional CS:GO players. (scroll right)

Click here for a list that covers the mice used by professional League of Legends players.

Gaming Mouse Buyer’s Guide

Modern mice are a combination of technology in a relatively small package. Most of the technology behind these peripherals come with a host of numbers, some meaningful and some vastly misunderstood. Here, we break down some of the basic and most important concepts about mice with the overall goal of helping new buyers best determine which mouse best suits their needs.

Sensitivity

Sensitivity in mice is more commonly referred to as the “DPI” or “CPI” number. “DPI” stands for “dots per inch” and “CPI” stands for “characters per inch”. These two acronyms are used interchangeably within the industry to represent the same thing: how many pixels the mouse moves across the screen per inch of mouse movement. Generally speaking, a higher sensitivity or DPI means the mouse will move across the screen with faster, depending on the screen resolution size. Lower sensitivity or DPI has the opposite result. Sensitivity is usually measured in steps of 100, with numbers often ranging from as low as 100 to extreme highs of around 8,000.

Ultimately, mouse speed is important. Some gamers will find that a speed that is too slow will result in a mouse that simply does not move across the screen fast enough. While some games require a slower speed for more precision, others require a faster speed that emphasizes quick movements across the screen. Realistically, however, ultra-high sensitivity numbers are not only unimportant for fast-paced gaming, but detrimental. Many companies advertise their high DPI settings, which can only be achieved through firmware and software changes. These firmware and software changes create a false effect to increase DPI rate, while also resulting in some compatibility problems with some computers. High DPI settings can also negatively impact sensor performance.

For DPI settings, it’s best to avoid companies that attempt to advertise their mice purely on DPI numbers. Instead, check for what DPI settings are typically best for the games you are trying to play, and locate gaming mice that post reasonable DPI settings that cover the settings more common for the games you’re playing.

On a similar note, the sensitivity for a mouse is partially realized based on the operating system’s own sensitivity settings, the sensitivity settings located using the mouse software and occasionally DPI settings that can be set within the actual game. Most users will find that the in-game sensitivity settings are the best, particularly when paired with a mouse setting of 6/11 when using Microsoft Windows. A 6/11 sensitivity settings in Windows will help provide a 1:1 ratio between the physical mouse movement and the movement of the cursor. This relationship makes it easier to predict where the mouse will actually be after moving one’s hand.

Acceleration

Acceleration on a mouse is how fast or slow the mouse will move on the screen in relation to how fast the user’s hand moves. Mouse speed is measured in G forces, with one G equivalent to 9.8 meters per second. Higher sensitivity players will not notice acceleration as much, as the smaller hand strokes will not require much motion. However, low sensitivity users will notice the acceleration changes as low sensitivity requires more hand motions.

There are three types of acceleration common on mice. No acceleration means that a standard hand movement will move the mouse at an expected speed. Positive acceleration means that a normal hand motion will result in the mouse cursor moving faster than the hand motion. Increasing the movement speed increases the speed of the cursor on the screen. Negative acceleration means a normal hand motion will result in a slower realized speed of the cursor. Increasing the hand motion speed will decrease the speed of the cursor on the screen.

Gaming mice are designed to move faster on the screen than a user can actually move the mouse. As such, buying mice with an excessively high acceleration is not just unnecessary, but detrimental. For gaming, a consistency in acceleration speed as it relates to how fast you move physically move the mouse is important. High acceleration on mice hurts the precision required for competitive gaming.

Prediction

Many modern mice are built with prediction software that helps compensate for the sometimes erratic hand motions that prevent the mouse from moving in an exact, straight line. While this is positive in some cases, it can be a negative for gaming. Particularly, mouse correcting may inevitably result in a loss of precision. Other common terms for this include “angle snapping” and “mouse correction”.

Polling Rate

The polling rate refers to the data transfer rate between the mouse and the computer. As a mouse is a peripheral, it sends data to the computer which has to be processed before the computer can determine what action to take on the screen as a result. Polling rates in mice are measured in hertz, and typically range between 250Hz to 1000Hz for gaming mice. The higher the polling rate, the more responsive a mouse will be.

Sensor

Most modern mice use either an optical sensor or a laser sensor. There are differences between the two types of sensors. Optical sensors are better at tracking on rough surfaces as the optical LED does not scatter across the ridges. Meanwhile, laser tracking sensors are much better on glass or other smooth reflective surfaces. Laser sensor also provide higher natural DPI due to having faster response times

Programmable Buttons and Profiles

Gaming mice distinguish themselves from regular mice through the use of programmable buttons. Most gaming mice will have several buttons that can be programmed as hot keys to make performing in-game actions much faster. Different games require different amounts of hot keys. Some mice have buttons designed for very specific purposes, such as sniper buttons for FPS gaming. Other mice have different layouts for the programmable buttons to make the mouse more applicable to different gaming genres.

On a similar note, many mice allow for different profile settings for the programmable buttons. This allows for changing characters within one game that require different button specifications, or moving across genres and games with the same mouse.

Weight

Many gamers point to the weight of the mouse as a key factor in precise, competitive gaming. Some mice come with adjustable weights. Fine tuning the mouse weight can aid in making more comfortable, predictable motions with the mouse.

lift-off Distance

The lift-off distance is how high a mouse can go before the sensor begins to lose its ability to track the mouse’s movements. Fast paced, competitive gaming often involves quick lift-offs and landings with the mouse. Lower lift-off distances are generally preferred in competitive gaming, as having the mouse stop tracking during that lift-off period prevents the cursor from continuing its motion during the small adjustment periods of the wrist. In some cases, mice with high lift-off distance will keep tracking, resulting in unwanted movement of the cursor away from locations where the player wants it to be. lift-off distance is generally determined by the quality of the sensor and the sensor software. Some mice do come with adjustable lift-off distance in the mouse software.

Generally speaking, a lift-off distance under 2 millimeters is going to be considered a good, low distance. A distance between 2 to 2.5 mm would be considered medium. Anything above 2.5mm is considered a bit high, and at that range might start negatively impacting gameplay, especially for those who have a tendency to lift the mouse frequently during competitive PC gaming.

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