5 things to consider when buying a gaming mouse

PC gamers don’t need a gaming mouse to be able to play games, as any mouse with a sensor and two buttons will allow you to play all modern titles.

However, gaming mouses offer tailored features that can enhance your experience and maybe even give you a competitive edge.

There are several gaming mouses on the market that are designed for specific game genres, and this is what separates them from a regular mouse.

Generally, for a mouse to be considered a good gaming mouse, it will have the two following characteristics:

  • An advanced optical or laser sensor for fast and precise movements
  • Some form of user customisation.

While most gaming mouses are recognised by their RGB lighting aesthetics, they also have extra thumb buttons and come either wired or wireless.

More expensive mouses usually come with more bells and whistles than cheaper models, but this doesn’t mean your gaming experience is wholly dependent on the price tag.

These are the 5 things you should consider before buying a gaming mouse.

Preferred genre

To get the best experience out of your mouse, you need to make sure you’ve selected a model that is tailored to your specific needs – including the type of games you play the most.

These needs include what type of games you intend on playing.

For example, if you’re into FPS games then you’ll benefit from a conventional left button-mouse wheel-right button setup, which includes two or three thumb buttons — such as the Logitech G305.

In first-person shooters, these buttons generally correspond to primary fire, weapon selection, zoom, secondary fire, or iron sights.

However, if you enjoy MOBA games such as League of Legends, then you’ll likely benefit from a mouse that offers as many as 12 customisable thumb buttons — like the Razer Naga.

While this kind of mouse might take some time to get used to, they offer quick access to a bunch of specific skills that need to be activated quickly to stay competitive.

These are two mouses among several other types on the market, and it’s important to pick a model that caters to your playstyle and the game you play.

Dots per Inch (DPI)

DPI is a measurement of how sensitive a mouse is, and a mouse with a higher DPI setting detects and reacts to smaller movements.

However, a very high DPI isn’t always necessary – while many gaming mouses come with settings that can go up to 25,000 DPI, you’ll seldom use such high settings.

Many games such as CS:GO have adjustable mouse sensitivity settings which allow players to customise the sensitivity of their cursor with their preferred DPI setting.

For example, a mouse with a very high DPI might be fine for rifling, but when it comes to snipers, the mouse’s sensitivity to slight hand movements may result in a missed shot.

This is why the majority of CS:GO pro-players tend to prefer a DPI of only 400, with an in-game sensitivity of between 1.5 and 2.5.

This shows that you don’t necessarily need a gaming mouse that offers extremely high DPI settings for it to be considered a good gaming mouse – but if you’re playing games that require high mouse sensitivity, it will often be a useful option.

Polling rate

A mouse’s polling rate is how often it reports its position to a computer. The polling rate is measured in Hz.

For example, if a mouse has a 125 Hz polling rate, it reports its position to the computer 125 times every second—or every 8 milliseconds.

The polling rate is important for games that require speed, precision, and accuracy.

When looking for a gaming mouse, look for a polling rate of 1000Hz, which has a reporting speed of one millisecond.

If all other things are equal, having a higher polling rate than your opponent means your inputs will be first, giving you an edge in speed and performance.

Customization software

Make sure the mouse you choose has easy-to-use software that allows you to customise the mouse’s buttons and DPI settings to fit your preferences.

Most gaming mouses have a DPI button below the scroll wheel which allows you to switch to different DPI settings so that you can optimize your experience in and out of gameplay.

For example, you might prefer different DPI settings for different games, or you might play in-game with a low DPI but prefer a higher setting to be able to move the cursor comfortably during non-gaming tasks.

Switching between settings with a click of a button is much easier than having to change it manually every time.

Grip Style

Your grip style and the mouse’s build are both important if you value comfort – particularly if you play for long periods.

You can generally separate the grips into three broad styles.

  • Palm grip — most of your palm rests on the mouse and your fingers rest relatively flat on the mouse.
  • Claw grip — your palm rests on the back edge of the mouse and the tips of your fingers rest on the buttons.
  •  Fingertip grip — your palm doesn’t touch the mouse at all, and the mouse is held only by the tips of your fingers.

It is important to make sure you pick a mouse that fits comfortably with your grip style so that you don’t experience any discomfort after an extended period of playing.

Larger, wider mice are good for a more general palm grip, while a short mouse with a lighter overall body is suited for a fingertip grip.

Read: The ultimate guide to eSports in South Africa


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5 things to consider when buying a gaming mouse

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