Just like other peripherals, you have a wide spectrum of options to pick ranging from the low to high-end segment. Naturally, there are several things you need to keep in mind before you buy a mouse. There are many subjective factors at play here, so it’s essential you spend some time analysing how you actually prefer using a mouse. Rather than buying the one with the most high-end features, you can actually have the best experience even on a basic mouse. It all comes down to what you plan to do with your mouse. If you’re a competitive gamer, you will need a mouse with better sensor accuracy. Otherwise, you can play games casually with just any other mouse. Also, you should focus on the other aspects such as comfort, weight and design. When buying a mouse, you will be bombarded with gimmicky features and this buying guide should help you clear the confusion.
What to consider
- Comfort: Even if your mouse has the most accurate sensor in the world, it still won’t guarantee you the best experience. The comfort with the mouse’s design is an important point to consider because if you aren’t comfortable holding the mouse, you won’t be able to use it for extended periods of time. This is personal preference territory and to have a better idea, you’ll need to decide what suits you best. In terms of mouse design, you will come across ambidextrous and ergonomic mice. Ambidextrous mice have a symmetric design, so they can be used by left-handed or right-handed users. Ergonomic mice are mostly built for right-handed users and it’s rare to find one for left-handed users. Another aspect of comfort is your preferred grip or the way you hold the mouse. Broadly, there are three types including palm, claw and fingertip grip. The palm grip is probably the most common where your palm completely rests on the mouse. Fingertip grip is where you’re holding the mouse only with your fingers without any contact between your palm and the mouse. Claw grip is something in between the two grips where you hold the mouse like you’re clawing it. After you’re done picking the right kind of design for yourself, you should check out forward and backward buttons on the sides. If you tend to play MOBA games, you would want more buttons on the mouse for macros or binds. There are several gaming mice out there that include an insane number of buttons, all programmable using software. Extra buttons are not only useful in games, but they can boost your productivity if shortcuts are assigned to them. However, they aren’t necessary.
- Sensor: Sensor accuracy is something gamers will vouch for but you wouldn’t really need it if you’re only going to use for office work. Mice selling in the lower price segment tend to include low-end sensors that don’t perform well. A good sensor is what differentiates a regular mouse from a gaming mouse. Hence, only gamers or people who require high precision should worry about accuracy. There’s always a debate going around on whether you should buy a mouse with an optical or laser sensor. Both the sensors have their own advantages and it only matters if you plan on playing FPS games competitively. Optical sensors are able to achieve better tracking precision even at lower CPI levels. This means that optical sensor mice are able to pull off 1:1 tracking better. Hence, if you require high accuracy then you should definitely go for an optical sensor. One disadvantage is that they don’t function on every surface and require an opaque one. Some sensors might not even work on glossy or white surfaces. We would recommend competitive gamers to only consider optical sensors and a black mousepad for optimal performance. Coming to laser sensors, they work on a wide variety of surfaces, even glass.However, if your surface is a little damaged or rough, tracking accuracy is affected. This is why laser sensors work great on smooth surfaces. Laser sensors also tend to display acceleration which can be a nightmare for competitive and professional gamers. Unless you have enough experience with both the type of sensors, you won’t be able to tell them apart. The need for higher sensor accuracy is also dependent on the type of games you play. So, if you’re going to play a lot of FPS games, and competitively, then you need a good sensor. If you’re a casual gamer, you don’t really need to worry about the type of sensor in the mouse. The rest of the genres such as MOBA, RPG, RTS, etc., don’t require high sensor accuracy.
- Tracking speed: Another gamer-centric feature, you should look for in mice is high tracking speed. Typically, in the lower-end segment, sensors have low tracking speed which means that if you move the mouse faster, it stops tracking. One way to find this out is by flicking the mouse really hard and checking whether the pointer spins out or not. After crossing its limit, the mouse pointer will simply stop moving on the screen and start moving again once it falls below the threshold. This can be a massive disadvantage for gamers who are used to flicking their mice while sniping in FPS games. A high tracking speed will ensure that your mouse continues tracking even when you flick your mouse quickly.
- Connectivity: We are slowly moving towards a time where wireless mice can be actually used for competitive gaming but are yet to be worthy of professional gaming. Wired mice will still offer better performance because of low latency. This doesn’t mean that wireless mice can’t perform better than wired mice. Currently, good wireless mice are only present in the premium segment from a few select manufacturers. The ones present on the lower end have low-end sensors which aren’t good for gaming in the first place. You can still game with them if you aren’t concerned about accuracy.
- Polling rate: Gaming mice will always ship with a polling rate of 1,000 Hz or 1 ms. The polling rate is essentially the number of times your mouse reports itself to the machine. So, higher is better in this case. However, you can comfortably play games at 500 Hz as well and even 250 Hz. When you drop down to 125 Hz, things become noticeably troublesome. If you’re clicking your mouse rapidly or swiping it hard, there could be times where the click or movement doesn’t get sent to your system. This will result in these actions getting skipped. For office use, you’ll be fine with 125 Hz but for gaming, you should consider 1,000 Hz.
- Switch: Most of the gaming mice will use Omron switches for the primary buttons such as the left and right click. Some high-end mice will go the extra mile to use good quality switches on every button including the forward and backward, mouse wheel and DPI buttons. Other switches used are Kailh and Huano, but Omron switches have stood the test of time and that’s why they are more reliable. Few gaming mice include removable switches and also include an extra pair in the package. This makes it easier to replace them in the future without having to desolder them.
- Weight: The weight of your mouse can be a consideration based on your usage style. If you prefer lifting your mouse a lot while navigating on the screen or while playing games, you should go for a lightweight mouse. Or if you don’t do much lifting, and prefer some weight to your mouse, go for a heavy one. If you keep switching between the two based on the use-case then you could go for mice that have interchangeable weights.
- Backlighting: Aesthetics is important for some gamers but it doesn’t affect performance. Functionally, different coloured backlighting makes sense on a mouse when it’s used to indicate the DPI levels. Apart from that, it’s completely based on matching the colour scheme of your setup or keyboard. If you don’t want to beat your head with mice that have different DPI levels and are comfortable with just one or two, then you can skip this.
What not to consider
- High DPI: Counts per inch (CPI) or dots per inch (DPI) have been used interchangeably since they try to display the same thing. However, they aren’t fundamentally the same and there can be times when they could be different. CPI is the number of pixels the mouse tracks after it’s moved an inch. However, DPI translates to the number of pixels the mouse will move on the screen. This is why DPI is used more popularly. Your mouse sensor has limited CPI level and if it needs to be increased, the pixels are divided so that a higher CPI is achieved. This ultimately goes on to affect the sensor performance. Many mice manufacturers promote their insane 16,000 DPI gaming mouse to be the best performing mouse out there. However, this isn’t the case and after 3,000 DPI, you won’t be able to use the mouse on a regular 1080p screen. Our hands don’t have the dexterity to handle such a high DPI count unless you’re using a massive screen with a high resolution. You’ll find most of the professional gamers using either 400 or 800 DPI on their mouse and rarely a few of them might increase it to 1,600. Don’t get fooled by the maximum DPI the mouse is capable of pulling off since you’re never going to use it.
- Software support: When it comes to gaming, the good old plug and play approach is the best. You don’t have to fiddle around with the DPI or polling rate and can simply start gaming in its default state. Manufacturers offload a lot of functions that can be controlled right from the mouse such as DPI and polling rate switching. Other than that, if you want complete control over the lighting and maybe want to define macros on the mouse buttons, then you will definitely need software support.
The best place to get it
- Amazon India
- MD Computers
- The IT Depot