When putting together a gaming PC, every choice you make is important. While it’s easy to get caught up with optimising your internal specs, your choice of peripherals deserves time and consideration. Just like your keyboard, picking the right gaming mouse can be a massive game-changer for your performance.
Here’s what you need to consider when buying a gaming mouse, along with a few suggestions of what you should pick up.
What you need to know before buying a gaming mouse
The DPI (Dots Per Inch) determines how many on-screen pixels your cursor will travel for each inch you move your mouse. The higher your DPI is, the quicker your cursor will travel. Most modern gaming mice (especially the higher-end brands) will let you adjust your mouse’s DPI, so you can settle into something that you’re more comfortable with.
The CPI (Counts Per Inch) represents the amount of movement your mouse’s sensor will pick up as it glides across your desk. The higher the CPI, the more sensitive your mouse will be. A lower CPI will mean you’ll need to physically move your mouse more to get the same result as one with a higher CPI.
The sensor helps your mouse track movements and works by shining a light down onto the surface you’re using it on – be it your desktop or mousepad – and then capturing how the light reflects off of it. By recording this reflection, the sensor is able to determine which way you’re moving your mouse.
You need to pay attention to two types of mouse sensors – laser and optical, both of which come with their own strengths and weaknesses.
Optical sensors use a more reflective infrared LED light, although they’ll struggle to work on shinier surfaces (but that shouldn’t be a probably if you’re using a standard cloth mousepad).
A laser mouse uses a laser beam, which allows them to work on more surfaces and is more accurate in its readings. But this attention to detail also makes them more prone to acceleration issues, which is when the sensor can’t keep up with your physical movements and goes haywire while trying to compensate.
Optical sensors can suffer from acceleration, but it’s a rarer occurrence, which makes them much more preferable while gaming.
While your standard mouse comes with three buttons – left, right and a scroll wheel in-between – gaming mice usually include a few extras. Most of these buttons are also programmable, so you can customise your mouse’s set-up by assigning additional functions and macros to better cater to whatever game you’re playing.
Standard gaming mice usually include one or two extra buttons located within reach of your thumb. There are even mice designed for RTS and MMO gamers that feature an entire number pad on its side.
The weight of your mouse determines how smoothly you can move it around your desk. Personal preferences also play a major part when deciding your mouse’s weight. Some people are into the trend of ultralight mice that they can whip around with a flick of their wrist, while some prefer a bit more resistance to their movements.
This might be something you’ve never even thought about before, but how do you grip your mouse when gaming? Because your preferred style can play a major part in which mice are or aren’t suitable for you.
In terms of grips, these are the three most common styles:
- Palm: You rest your entire palm and the length of your fingers on your mouse.
- Claw: You grip the mouse with the bottom of your palm and your fingertips, making your hand form a claw-like shape.
- Fingertip: You only make contact with your mouse with the tips of your fingers.
Again, personal preference plays a major factor here. The way you hold your mouse might not be the same way your friend does.
What gaming mice do we recommend?
Razer DeathAdder V2 Mouse
It wouldn’t be a list of peripherals without including something from Razer, and it definitely wouldn’t be a list of gaming mice without including the DeathAdder. This mouse is a perennial favourite, thanks to its comfortable ergonomic design, smooth glide, adjustable 20,000 DPI and easy to customise buttons (there are eight all up). If you’ve never owned a gaming mouse before, the DeathAdder is a straightforward and reliable option – especially if you favour a palm grip.
Corsair Scimitar RGB Elite Mouse
If you’re not much of an MMO or MOBA gamer, you can skip the Corsair Scimitar Elite. But if you’re gaming diet leans towards titles like World of Warcraft or League of Legends, the Scimitar Elite could be the special ingredient that your setup is missing. Its biggest feature is the inclusion of 12 side buttons, which you can customise for macro inputs or remaps.
While the additional number pad gives the impression of an uncomfortable design, you’ll be surprised how nicely this mouse fits into your hand. It also uses a PixArt PMW3391 optical sensor, which has an adjustable 18,000 DPI, which gives it precise movements.
SteelSeries Rival 3 Mouse
The SteelSeries Rival 3 is a solid no-frills mouse, with a TrueMove Core optical sensor and six fully customisable buttons, which include two side-mounted and an extra one just behind the scroll wheel. It’s also quite affordable, making it a great option if you’re buying on a budget.
Configuring the mouse with the SteelSeries Engine app is also pretty straightforward. It even comes with onboard memory, so those settings will remain when you plug it into a different PC. You can check out Gizmodo’s review of the SteelSeries Rival 3 here.
Cooler Master MM710 Mouse
Do you prefer your mice to be as light as feather? Then it might be time to jump on the ultralight honeycomb trend. The Swiss cheese design of Cooler Master’s MM710 brings its weight down to a light 53grams, making it a great option if you play a lot of fast-paced twitch shooters.
Despite its holey design, the MM710 still feels plenty sturdy in your hands and its PTFE feet give it enough friction so there’ll be some resistance in your movements. It may just take some getting used to if you’re not used to such an ultralight mouse.
Razer Viper Ultimate Wireless Mouse
If you’ve mostly been a wired mouse person in the past, but have felt a bit too restricted at times, then you might want to consider the greater degree of freedom afforded by a wireless one.
The Razer Viper Ultimate is a lightweight (74g), wireless mouse and one smooth ride. If you mostly play shooters, you’ll enjoy the sharp click latency of the Viper Ultimate’s optical switches, along with its Focus+ optical sensor which has a massive 20,000 DPI and a 99.6% resolution accuracy.
With a battery life of up to 70 hours, it also comes with an RGB charging dock that’ll give you five hours of playtime off a 10-minute charge. It also features an ambidextrous design, making it a great option for any southpaws.