Perhaps the most important piece of kit in any PC gamers’ arsenal, mice allow us to interface with games, react quickly and execute huge plays with pinpoint precision.
While many of us will have started out our gaming journey with mediocre office-oriented mice, there comes a time when every gamer needs to level up their kit. And a good gaming mouse can bring a tonne of further tools and precision to up your game.
When you’re in the market for a gaming mouse, you might initially be drawn in by high numbers, strong aesthetics and flagship features but not every type of mouse will suit every gamer (or every type of game), so here are 7 things to consider when you’re in the market for a gaming mouse.
1. Your Use Case
You are a unique gamer. That means that your optimal gaming mouse may not be what it first seems. Here we can ask two probing questions to give your search a head start.
- Are you looking to use your mouse for gaming alone, or productivity too?
While this may sound inconsequential, mice have a bunch of productivity-focused features which can sometimes be stripped back on gaming mice. This can include certain types of ergonomics, mouse wheels, the type of sensor and more. Furthermore, if you have a specific type of productivity, you’re looking to use the mouse for (i.e., graphic design) you may well want to ensure your features cover the needs of that task just as well.
- What type of games do you play?
If you’re a fan of Shooter games your parameters are already clear: fast response times, comfy grips and fitting ergonomics. But if you play MOBA, MMOs or Strategy titles you may want to stock up on onboard buttons to give you lots of hotkey customisability.
Most mice have a left and right click, a clickable wheel and perhaps two extra buttons on the side. This is often plenty for FPS gamers who rely on fewer inputs, but for fans of MOBA or MMO titles more buttons mean instant accessibility to abilities and hotkey commands which can lead to some insane clutch plays.
While it may seem like a good idea to just stock up on the most buttons possible, MMO-targeted mice are often bulkier and heavier meaning they can in fact hinder performance in FPS titles.
3. Sensor and Sensitivity
Contemporary mice have two types of sensors: Optical and Laser.
Optical sensors are the most common and are the best choice in the majority of cases. Chances are, you’re probably using one right now.
Laser mice are often considered superior due to their increased sensitivity while also being able to be used on any surface. However, don’t let this fool you. Laser mice are more likely to display noticeable jitter on slow mouse movements due to them being way more accurate than they actually need to be.
Both types of mice will be available at varying sensitivities which are measured in Dots Per Inch (DPI). With one dot equating to one pixel on a display. While it is indeed crazy to have up to 16,000 DPI even on a 4K screen for productivity tasks, in gaming it can come in handy.
Thus, it’s worth considering a mouse with a good, and adjustable DPI range.
4. Response Time
Input lag is not fun as, well, it’s lag caused directly by your input device which you can’t do much about.
Thus, it’s paramount to get a gaming mouse with a good response time.
Most gamers agree that any response time between 1-4ms is optimum.
The age-old debate between wired and wireless mice still rages.
Wired mice are still more popular thanks to their reliability in terms of both connection and battery life—given they don’t have a battery! They are also cheaper.
Wireless mice, however, have become a force to be reckoned with in the past 10 years. Especially considering high-speed adaptors to ensure strong, constant and lightning-fast connectivity with the mouse. Not to mention that wireless mice do away with the need for cable management and desk clutter all together!
If you’re going with a portable or minimalist setup, we’d recommend wireless. Otherwise, you can save a pretty penny, while getting the same power (or more), by going wired.
6. Ergonomics and Grip Style
Mice ergonomics comes down to three things: grip style, size and weight.
The optimum grip style will depend on your style of choice. There are three key styles: Palm, claw and fingertip grip. We recommend researching which grip you use and choosing a mouse accordingly. Generally speaking, Palm and Claw grips work better on medium-large mice while fingertip can work better on smaller and lighter mice.
Regarding weight, this is again up to personal preference. However, some mice offer removable weights, which allow full customisation. This can be invaluable if you’re not sure which weight best suits you, or if you play multiple different types of games.
Eye candy cannot be overlooked in our devices. If you’re a fan of RGB, chic minimalism or a specific colour profile, make sure to get a mouse which you’re drawn to aesthetically. This will not only ensure that you’re happy keeping the mouse around but can even help you bond with your device resulting in a strong connection between you and your device.
Mice are perhaps the most important tool for PC gamers. So, if you’re in the market, be sure to do some thinking to get a mouse that’s not only perfect for your use case, but also one which will last you well into the future!