When it comes to games on the PC, the mouse is the number one input device. Because a good model can make the difference between victory and defeat. That doesn’t mean that a good gaming mouse automatically increases your skill level. Rather, it is about finding the ideal device for you that fits your personal grip and playing style, you also like it visually and fits into your budget.
In the following we reveal which criteria are particularly important when buying gaming mice and how much money should be invested at least.
Gaming mice use either laser sensors or optical techniques to scan the ground. In the meantime, the two types of sensors don’t give each other too much, whereby optical models usually work a little more precisely, whereas mice with laser sensors usually work on more surfaces. Since, in our opinion, the first point predominates in gaming, we recommend optical sensors.
Sample rates, query rates, and acceleration
The manufacturers specify the sampling rate of the sensors either in DPI (dots per inch) or CPI (counts per inch) to indicate how many dots per inch can be processed – the higher the value, the faster the mouse pointer moves across the screen . Both names are correct and do not differ, but the latter abbreviation is technically more appropriate. Professional players from the FPS area usually use between 800 and 1,600 CPI to precisely align the virtual crosshairs even in hectic situations. But here it comes down to personal preference.
So be careful: a high CPI value does not mean that it is automatically a good sensor. Because in addition to the CPI, the IPS value (inches per second) is also important. This value indicates the maximum speed with which the sensor can scan the surface. The higher the IPS in combination with the CPI, the better the sensor acts in practice.
The next significant value is the polling rate, which manufacturers specify in Hertz. This indicates how often the mouse reports its position back to the PC. The absolute minimum here should be 1,000 Hertz. This means that the rodent reports its current position a proud 1,000 times per second, which in turn corresponds to a response time of just one millisecond.
Another important value is the maximum acceleration (G) that the sensor can support. G-forces occur during rapid changes of direction, which are inevitable in gaming. In the case of models with low G values, it can happen that the sensor fails briefly during rapid and violent direction corrections and cannot record the distance covered. The best devices can handle an impressive 50 G, but it shouldn’t be less than ten. For comparison: jet jets reach up to 10 G.
Grip style – does the mouse feel good?
Every gamer uses his gaming mouse with a certain grip style, also known as the “grip style”. A distinction is made between three different ones, although some gamers also mix these unconsciously. The first style is the “Palm Grip”, in which the ball of the hand rests almost completely on the mouse. Broad and tall rodents are mainly suitable for this. The second grip style is the “Claw Grip”, in which the fingers are angled on the main mouse button and only the lower palm rests on the back of the mouse. Mice that are rather narrow and not too high are ideal for this.
The last grip style is the “Finger Tip Grip”, in which the palm of the hand does not come into contact with the gaming mouse, or only slightly, as the fingertips that give it its name are played almost exclusively. If you play like this, you should rather use narrow, flat models. Additional tip on our part: Rubberized or textured outer surfaces help you to use the mouse safely even after long gaming sessions.
With cable or wireless?
Until some time ago, wireless gaming mice had to be accused of having a delayed reaction and thus being unsuitable for fast-reacting shooter games in particular. But now wired and wireless mice hardly give each other in terms of latency, precision and reliability. Manufacturer technologies such as Slipstream (Corsair), Hyperspeed (Razer), Lightspeed (Logitech) or Quantum Wireless (Steelseries) now also have a polling rate of 1,000 Hertz and thus a latency of just one millisecond. As a rule, the technologies work in the 2.4 GHz network and with the help of clever, integrated algorithms that recognize occupied or disturbed radio channels at lightning speed and change them automatically.
Alternatively, communication can also take place via the widespread Bluetooth protocol, which, however, cannot compete with the radio standards mentioned above in terms of speed. The advantage, however, is that the gaming mouse can be used on many other devices, such as game consoles, smart TVs or tablets. A USB receiver that has been specially adapted to the gaming mice is always required for the 2.4 GHz wireless connection. Another advantage of wireless mice is their flexibility, since a connection cable can no longer restrict movements. Although there are now ultra-light USB cables, they are not yet standard.
If you choose a wireless gaming mouse, you should also pay attention to the battery life, which should be at least 30 hours or more. In an emergency, pretty much all models can still be used during the charging process. We recommend a model with a charging dock, especially for lazy gamers who keep forgetting to plug in the USB charging cable – but these are usually significantly more expensive than other wireless gaming mice. More on this in the guide: Wireless gaming mice with induction charging.
(Programmable) extra keys for gaming
In addition to the left and right mouse buttons, two thumb buttons on the outside of the mouse are almost standard. In addition, we recommend a dedicated DPI switch to quickly and easily switch between different DPI levels. The more extra keys the mouse has, the more key programming and macros can be set up on it. Like the DPI, they can be set in the associated manufacturer software. MOBA or MMO players tend to have more buttons, unlike shooter players. Many mice offer PC software and programmable buttons that can be used to save frequently used functions or entire macros.
What can a gaming mouse cost?
If you look at specialist retailers, the Internet or the supermarket, there is a price range from a few to well over 100 euros. As always, the truth lies somewhere in between. From our own experience, we would recommend a mouse from around 30 euros. You have to be very lucky to find a good mouse underneath. The cheap devices in particular creak and often have a bad pressure point. In addition, many of these mice can be downright annoyingly loud. Of course you can play with it, but really fun is something else. Those who want more functions have to dig a little deeper into their pockets.
There is little that can heat the minds in discussion forums as much as the question of the “perfect” mouse. Because there is no such thing as “it depends”. Do you want cables or none, as many buttons as possible or a few well placed, and what is your budget? Do you play shooters, MMORPGs or MOBAs? And how quickly should the mouse react, how little do you like to move your hand? Ideally, you should try out a lot of mice, for example with friends. However, there can be exceptions here. The decisive factor, however, is that you can test the mouse extensively in your favorite genres in order to make a final decision.