The Best Desktop Mice

Picking the best mouse is a personal decision, but there are some stand-out models that are more likely than others to be recommended. This week we're taking a look at five of the best desktop mice.

Photo by Erik Charlton.

Logitech Performance Mouse MX/MX Revolution

The Performance Mouse MX ($129.995 RRP in Australia) is Logitech's flagship non-gaming mouse. The MX Revolution, its immediate predecessor, and the MX1000 before that all share the same basic features and design, but the Performance Mouse MX was the first to roll them all into a neat and tidy package. The MX sports a Darkfield sensor on the bottom that can track on reflective and glass surfaces, a thumb-switch that activates Expose in Mac OS X and an Expose-like app in Windows that Logitech ships with the mouse, a charging system that lets you use the mouse while it's charging, a long-lived battery, and a tiny Unifying Receiver that's designed to just be left in a USB port. It's pricey, but it's the mouse of choice for most of us at Lifehacker HQ because it's so comfortable and has the right number of buttons.

Logitech MX 518

The MX 518 ($79.95 RRP in Australia) is a model that stands out on its own. Many gamers consider the MX 518 the peak of Logitech's gaming mice, and while Logitech has been trying to push it aside in favour of the Logitech G400, the MX 518's incredible popularity keeps it on store shelves in a number of places. Its 1800dpi sensor has been outmoded by newer models, but its on-the-fly resolution switching and completely smooth design have earned it a cult following. It's not going to win on features, but I can't count the number of gamers -- especially FPS fans -- who just prefer the feel of the MX 518 over the newer G series. Grab it while you can.

Logitech G-Series (G5/G500/G700)

The G500 ($149.95 RRP in Australia) descended from the G5 (which descended from the MX 518, mind you) and the G700 ($159.95 RRP in Australia) descended from the G7 (itself a wireless version of the G5). Still, the G500 and G700 feature Darkfield-enabled laser sensors with switchable resolution up to 5700dpi. The G500 is wired, and the G700 can be used wired while charging or completely wirelessly. Both models feature programmable buttons and on-the-fly dpi switching. The G700 sports a few extra programmable buttons on the surface, as well as large and smooth feet that glide across your desk.

Razer Naga

The Razer Naga ($109.95 RRP in Australia) turned heads at first because it seemed to have a ridiculous number of buttons on the side. But it caught on quickly with MMO fans and productivity nuts alike. Both groups adore the dozen-plus programmable buttons on the side of the mouse that can be programmed to in-game macros or complex actions in almost any application. The Naga also features interchangeable side panels for a comfortable grip and a 5600dpi laser sensor with switchable resolutions. If the Naga isn't enough for you, you can always pick up the Naga Epic ($179.95 RRP in Australia), a wireless version with a slightly altered grip, or the Naga Hex ($109.95 RRP in Australia), which is a version of the Naga with its side buttons arranged in a hexagonal pattern designed for multiplayer online battle arenas.

Saitek Cyborg R.A.T. Series

If you're looking for a mouse that you can completely customise and tweak to fit your specific hand, the Cyborg R.A.T. line (prices vary) is for you. Each model gives you some control over how the mouse is shaped, with a number of dials and toggles that let you extend a thumb-rest and change the overall length of the mouse. It sports a set of weights that you can use to change the heft of the mouse, and a precision laser (variable dpi based on the model you buy) sensor with switchable dpi settings built in. The mouse ships with interchangeable palm rests and grips, programmable buttons and programmable mouse-wide settings that you can switch with the touch of a button. It may look scary at first glance, but it's an incredibly powerful and customisable mouse.

Honourable mentions this week go out to the Logitech MX1000, which is no longer widely available. If you want an experience like the MX1000, pick up the Performance MX or MX Revolution -- the two mice that came out directly after the MX1000. Also worth noting is the Razer DeathAdder, which many of you praised for its affordability, comfort and availability in both left-handed and right-handed models. Trackball fans weighed in with support for the Logitech Wireless Trackball M570, perhaps the best -- if not one of the few -- richly featured trackballs still widely available.

Have something to say about one of the contenders? Want to make the case for your personal favourite? Have your say in the comments below.

Originally published on Lifehacker Australia



    I just ditched Logitech for Razer, I had a G5 stop registering left clicks properly so I purchased a G500, the G500 stopped registering left clicks properly after just 10 months use.

    Currently loving my Razer Naga Epic in wired mode (the wireless mode is buggy as).

      Agreed. Wireless mode on the Naga Epic is pretty crap, especially battery life. And it messes with the PC being able to go to sleep as well. Blegh.

    I have a R.A.T. 9 and it is $150 worth of disappointment. It has lots of bells and whistles but fails the basics. It regularly stops tracking in both planes, so it will only move up/down OR left/right, usually the latter. Weirdly, blowing into the laser aperture usually fixes the problem. It also requires you to manually load your custom profile each time you start your PC if you want to use your customisations, it randomly changes DPI for no reason sometimes. You have to swap the rechargeable batteries over at least once a day - the oversize receiver is also a charger - and it is really hard to get the battery out of the mouse. I finally gave up on it a month ago, in favour of one of my Arc mice, and I doubt I'll ever use it again.
    The original Arc Mouse is a brilliant desktop mouse, which is why I have two of them (one for home, one for work).

      i had that same tracking problem. i shipped it off to the manufacturer because it was still under warranty and they sent me a brand new one back. it's been going strong for over a year now.

      battery change doesn't bother me. i only have to change it every second day and it only takes 5 seconds of my time to switch them over.

      I also own the R.A.T. 9 and it has been a good mouse for me. The tracking issue you mentioned is fixed with mine by moving it around, or blowing on the laser. Battery changes last between 1 - 2 days in which don't bother me anyway, as it takes on a few seconds.
      On the plus side, I have been computing for over a year now with zero pinkie and thumb drag, which is something I am quiet fond of. Also the high dpi is handy for me as I am currently running an eyefinity set-up and the high dpi stops you having to pick up the mouse and move it, so you can move the mouse across all 3 screens.
      In short, I personally like it, if it were to break I would purchase another one tomorrow.

    Any for left handed people??

      Check out the lachesis from razer, i use it as a left handed mouse. Very Impressed with is and i have had it for over 2 years now.

    While I don't game. I use cad all day and murder the scroll middle click. Very few mice have good middle button click. Game mice do though.

    Have owned 2x MX Revolutions over the years, since they were first released. Only reason it was replaced once is it had an unfortunate run in with a Canadian Club at a LAN party................. I now have a R.A.T 9 Wireless mouse and it's the best frigging mouse I have ever owned. I still keep the Revolution on standby as even with the 2 batteries for the RAT, I still burn through them from time to time ;)

    I've got a Logitech MX 518 that is now 6 years old and sill kicking. It's so used that the logitech logo is gone and much of the flowy plastic surface is raw from wear. Been looking at trading in for a newer model but nothing has come close. Will most likely be going for a straight switch to a new 518 when eventually this one fails - though by the sounds of it I may need to grab it sooner rather than later.

    I really should buy a few backup MX518s for when mine dies.
    Also, I should get one for work.

    Death adder > everything

    The G5 did not descend from the MX-518, it was the other way around thankyou very much! The G5 is the original, the G500 and the MX-518 both descended from it! Geez get yuor facts straight gizmodo, back when I bought my G5 the MX-518 didn't even exist as a product!

    I have my old MX510 at work which I've had for 6ish years. It's the most comfortable mouse I've owned. At home I use the MX Revolution, while it's comfortable, the middle mouse button annoys me. I like the good old rubber clicky one.

    I've been using my MX500 (grandfather of the MX518) for about 9 years. I've hardly ever been a gamer, but it's just such a comfortable mouse to use. It's still my daily driver at work (clickpad on my laptop is my primary pointing device at home); and I've found that productivity has skyrocketed since I programmed the extra buttons into shortcuts for our billing system. I'll lament the day when she finally dies.

    I've been using a Logitech MX Revolution for a few years now. Excellent performance! It's very solidly a right handed mouse of course though, but after a couple of weeks I was 100% using it with my left hand.
    The battery doesn't stay charged for as long now and I'm not sure how to replace it... Apart from that it's fine.
    If I were to replace the whole mouse I'd probably go for the MX Performance. I'd really prefer the new Arc mouse for the sheer style, but I'm used to the number of buttons on the logitech and love having them all assigned to different media functions.

    MX1100 or die!

    The only problem is the size of the USB dongle, and unfortunately it doesn't work with the universal nano dongle :(

    I currently own a MX Revolution and must say that the firmware and software for it is complete garbage, it frequently freezes in games and even on the desktop.

    Razer mamba here. Seemly sparse on features for the high price. But everything it does, it does extremely well. Mixed with a Vespula pad and I'm set.

    I have a MX Revolution on my desk at work. I don't like it.
    I have a Razer Deathadder at home. I love it.

      Yep, this mouse is garbage, I have the same mouse at work and think it is rubbish (though better than the generic lenovo mouse provided), I have a G500 mouse at home and love it.

      The fact that the revolution is the first mouse listed...or even that it is listed speaks volumes about this article.

      Not to mention that the revolution has a curve that is far too steep to be ergonomic...or at all good for you if you need to use your mouse over long periods.

    Loved the G5, had mine for over 5 years before the cord broke inside nearest to the mouse. So I replaced it with a new cheap cord from china, works perfectly still. G500, it's great, but I'm not a fan of the mouse wheel. G500 has been going for 2.

    Zowie EC1

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