You know if you need a gaming mouse. You’re not pushing virtual paper around on your desktop; you’re fragging bots and shooting zombies.
Seeing how they run
It was brutal work, but we’ve put a small herd of gaming mice through their paces. Everything from ultra-budget to ultra-customizable to ultra-small to ultra-packed-with-buttons is in the running here, and then some.
What paces, you ask? First. we assess its skills in general use and gaming—from browsing Reddit to video editing to perusing Spotify to playing through Fallout 4 and Star Wars Battlefront.
We also consider the preferred grip. How do you grip your mouse? It’s probably not something you think about consciously—like which sock you put on first or whether you hang your toilet paper over or under. But it’s important.
People largely fall into three different grip types: Palm, Claw, and Fingertip.
Palm Grip: This is probably the most common grip, and it’s what most mouses are designed for. Your entire hand makes contact with the mouse at the same time, with your arm driving most of the movement. This is the most ergonomically comfortable grip, with the mouse shaped specifically to fill and complement your palm.
Claw Grip: Claw grippers arch their fingers more, creating separation between the hand and mouse but keeping the fingertips and rear of the palm in contact. This allows for quicker button pressing and slightly quicker movement, but puts more strain on your wrists.
Fingertip Grip: The most agile grip also puts the most strain on your wrists. Fingertip grip, as the name implies, involves guiding the mouse with only your fingertips—no palm contact at all.
We’ve essentially merged the Claw/Fingertip Grips, because generally a mouse that works for one will work for the other. The main distinction is between Palm and Claw grips.
Other things to look out for
Button count: You’ll pretty much never find a three-button gaming mouse. Even the budget-friendly devices we’ve tested have five to ten buttons. The award for “Most Buttons” goes to the Roccat Tyon this time around, with 14.
Sensor: Dots Per Inch, or DPI, is a measure of how many pixels the mouse moves on-screen per each inch of desk you move it across. Some people prefer to make large, sweeping motions with a lot of precision, necessitating a low DPI. Others want fast, jerky motions that start and stop on a dime—high DPI. The latter group will want to pay particular attention to each mouse’s limit.
At this point, the DPI arms race has become largely meaningless. Manufacturers push numbers that are so high as to be impractical for most people’s day-to-day use. Is that 16,000 DPI mouse actually more useful to you than the 12,000 DPI mouse? Probably not.
Shape: There are three main categories here, too: right-handed, left-handed, and ambidextrous.
We’ve looked at right-handed and ambidextrous mice because I am—you guessed it—right-handed. Some right-handed mice (such as the DeathAdder) have left-handed variants, but these are a rarity. Most southpaws will probably end up with an ambidextrous mouse, like the G-Skill Ripjaw MX780 or the Razer Diamondback.
Let’s get to it. We’ll keep updating this story with new products, too, so let us know if we’ve missed a personal favorite—we’ll try to get it in for testing.