A gaming mouse is essentially a desktop mouse with additional functions to make it suited to computer gaming and high intensity programming. These functions often include programmable buttons, higher sensitivity, adjustable weight and faster response times.
These features allow the mouse to perform better when used with more taxing programs, allowing the user quicker reactions and more comfortable movements.
But with such a huge range of products out there, what should you be looking for?
As you can imagine a gaming mouse is a better than the standard mouse you get bundled in with your home PC. Although they technically do the same things, a gaming mouse will do everything to a higher level or accuracy, and is usually more ergonomically designed.
Generally speaking, a gaming mouse will be more precise- Offering better tracking and control to standard optical mice.
So what should you look out for in a gaming mouse? Here’s a list of some terms that you might come across:
Dots per inch -This relates to the sensitivity of your mouse. When you move your mouse, it detects how much you’ve moved it, and matches the cursor accordingly.
Basically, the higher the DPI, the more the mouse shifts with less movement from your hand.
Low DPI settings are good for fine control, like close up shooting or working at super-fine pixel-level in a photo editing suites.
Higher DPI settings are more useful for fast movements, like shoot-em-up’s or command screens. They can also be great if you have a large or multiple monitors at high resolutions. With a high DPI you don’t wear your wrists outs simply moving from one side of the screen to the other.
A standard optical mouse usually works at 800DPI. Gaming mice will tend to offer a range of DPI settings, from way down at 100DPI right up to as high as 8000.
Gaming mice will usually allow the user to change DPI settings on the go with the press of a button- meaning you can flick from one mode to the other quickly.
High-end mice are often equipped with programmable buttons, which allow quick access to specific function or actions, known as a macro.
Pressing one of these buttons effectively replaces a series of complex keystrokes allowing for easier game play.
Just to note, most manufacturers count the left and right click and scroll-wheel as programmable buttons, so these buttons should be discounted from the total number-Similarly, ambidextrous mice have thumb buttons on either side, which also need to be subtracted.
Acceleration affects a mouse’s ability to move more quickly based on how quickly you move.
For example, moving one inch in one second, the cursor will go 500 pixels. With acceleration, moving one inch in half a second, the cursor could move 1000 pixels.
Acceleration is expressed in G forces. One G is equal to 9.8 meters per second.
Like your desktop mouse, gaming variants also come with the Wired/Wireless option.
One upon a time the wireless option was useless, gamers wouldn’t have been seen dead using one. However, with newer technologies and improvement of wireless, the differences are now more down to preference.
Polling Rate/Response time
Polling rate refers to how often the mouse is looking for and reporting input, the higher this rate the more responsive your mouse is.
This reduced gap between each transmission gives the cursor a smoother and more precise feel on screen. Polling rate is measured in Hertz (Hz). Standard desktop mice are usually 125Hz. Gamers usually need a higher rate of: 250Hz, 500Hz or 1000Hz.
This is down to Laser vs Optic and for now Laser is winning.
Optic sensors are becoming more uncommon as their Laser counterparts are more accurate and have faster response times. Its more likely you will find Laser sensors in the majority of mice, however, there will be Optic fans out there.
The weight of a mouse can be very important to gamers, some like a traditional heavy device where other prefer something light and nippy.
For those caught in-between, a few gaming mice include a small selection of weights that can be inserted into the mouse to customize its weight.
Design and Comfort
How comfortable your mouse is can hugely affect the way you play games and mice can vary quite radically on shape and size
Most mice are ‘Ergonomically Designed’ however comfort level varies hugely for different people, so try out a few styles before you commit to one brand or shape. If you’re using something for hours on end, it’s worth getting the best fit.