If you are a PC gamer, you likely know your mouse is an important tool. No, you do not need a gaming mouse to play well, but it certainly never hurts to up the ante with a mouse that is precisely geared towards those who love to game. While using a gaming mouse will not launch you right into pro status, it will definitely give you competitive benefits that will increase your ability to dominate.
What Really Sets a Gaming Mouse Apart from a Regular One?
If you have never used a gaming mouse, you may be wondering what is the big deal about this gaming gear. As we said before, any mouse will do for PC gaming so why are there gaming mice? With many gaming mice, there is not a huge difference between them and regular ones, but there are a couple of things that set gaming mice apart.
While there are gaming mice with tons of features, having the ability to customize them is one thing that sets them apart from ordinary ones. Most gamers have a specific way they use a mouse and being able to customize the buttons helps improve performance.
Another thing that makes a gaming mouse different from the standard two-button one is an optical laser. These lasers are much faster in response time and allow for more meticulous and accurate moves while PC gaming.
The above are two things that are necessary for gaming mice. In this guide, we will break down some of the specifics of gaming mice and help you better understand why they could become an essential element in upping your playing skills in computer games.
What Is DPI?
DPI stands for Dots Per Inch and it is an arguably important component to consider when purchasing a gaming mouse. In simplest forms, DPI determines how sensitive a mouse is during use. For PC gaming, you need a highly sensitive mouse for better response times and precision.
Because DPI settings can sometimes be overly sensitive, most gaming mice come with the option to easily toggle between settings. With a sensitive DPI, you will be able to zoom in and precisely target your opponents.
The sensitivity of DPI is all about the hardware. If you have a regular mouse, the DPI hardware is not going to be as sensitive. Even if you can customize the sensitivity, this will likely mean your cursor jumps and is inaccurate during gameplay.
To get the most out of a gaming mouse, you need one that offers a high level of sensitivity, but can be tweaked so the cursor does not fly completely across the screen with each minute movement. It takes getting used to a sensitive DPI, but many gamers swear by the ability to customize and toggle when they need more or less sensitivity.
What Is Polling Rate?
Another thing to consider when choosing a gaming mouse is the polling rate. The polling rate, in its basic definition, is simply how many times the mouse reports its position to the computer. The polling rate of gaming mice is measured in hertz (Hz).
If you have a 125Hz gaming mouse, this means the mouse is reporting its position 125 times a minute. When you have a higher polling rate, there will be much less lag between your mouse movements and how they respond onscreen. This is especially important during competitive gaming.
While they offer better response times, a higher Hz means more of a strain on your CPU. This burden is increased because the computer must constantly query the mouse’s position while you are playing. Some gaming mice have switches that allow you to toggle back and forth on polling rates.
You will get mixed information when considering polling and DPI importance among gamers. Some swear by them, while others say they offer no major benefits. We believe they do have importance but are sometimes over-hyped by manufacturers.
What are Weighted Mice?
Chances are, as a PC gamer, you have at least heard of weighted mice. If you talk to some gamers, they will say a weighted mouse is not important at all, while some believe it makes a huge difference. No matter what school of thought you are in, knowing the reasons for having a weighted mouse is important.
Basically, a heavier mouse makes it more difficult to move. You might think this is counterproductive, but it actually makes sense, especially in PC gaming. If your mouse is too light, you could easily tap it and cause your cursor to move across the screen. This can be stressful when you are in a competitive match and want to be able to get the win.
A heavier mouse will help you avoid careless movements that could cause you to miss a target. For some games, a heavier mouse is beneficial. Other games may benefit more from a lighter mouse. If you are going to choose a weighted gaming mouse, it would be wise to choose one with adjustable weights so you can change the weight as needed.
The following are different weight amounts for gaming mice.
- Heavy = Above 130g
- Middle-Heavy = 111-130g
- Light-Middle = 91 – 110g
- Lightweight = Less than 90g
The most common weight gamers choose is the Light-Middle category, but it really boils down to personal preference. Try out different gaming mice weights to see which one feels most natural to you. When in doubt, purchase an adjustable weight mouse.
Should You Go with a Wired or Wireless Gaming Mouse?
Another thing to consider when choosing a gaming mouse is if you want a wired one or wireless. When it comes to choosing between the two, gamers often have different opinions. Some will only use wireless mice, while others say there are more benefits to using a wired model. We agree with the latter.
There are a few different benefits of choosing a wired gaming mouse over a wireless and we will discuss these below.
Less Input Lag
One of the biggest reasons for choosing a wired gaming mouse over wireless is less gaming lag. Wireless mice can be a bit slower because they must transmit the signal to the computer through wireless transmission. This bit of lag can mean the difference between the perfect headshot and getting taken out by your opponent.
As with any wireless gaming gear, a wireless mouse can experience interference from other devices. When there are other devices close to the wireless mouse, this can make the response overly choppy. You do not want a choppy response when playing fast-paced games like Fortnite and Call of Duty. Of course, you could always just make sure no devices are in the way, but that does not always stop interference from occurring, especially if you live in an apartment.
When comparing wireless and wired gaming mice, you will quickly find wired models are less expensive. From a budgeting standpoint, this makes them preferred among most gamers. You can get a much better-wired gaming mouse for the price compared to wireless.
Gaming Mouse: Grip Style Is Important
While you might not even realize it, you likely have your own unique grip style, and this can determine the type of gaming mouse you should use. There are three main grip styles, and you likely fall into one of the following categories.
Palm Grip – This is the most common type of grip for mouse users. With this grip, your entire palm is stretched out over the top of the mouse, and all the weight of your hand is being supported by the mouse. Your thumb should comfortably rest on the side of the mouse, against your desk or mousepad.
Claw Grip – With this grip, your palm only rests on the back portion of the mouse, while your fingers are slightly arched in a claw-like grip. Your fingers should be angled inward towards the buttons, including your thumb.
Tip Grip – With this type of grip, your palm does not rest on the mouse at all. Only the tips of the three fingers and the thumb rest against the surface of the mouse for gaming. This type of grip can sometimes cause tension in the wrist area.
- If you are a palm type of gripper, a larger and wider mouse is likely going to be best for you.
- If you tip grip, choose a short mouse that has a larger palm area for better comfort.
- If you prefer a claw grip, choose an elongated mouse with longer buttons for ease of use.
What About Customization?
We have briefly mentioned many gaming mice come with customization options. When it comes to customization options, it is all in the software. Most dedicated gaming mice offer software packages that allow gamers to go into the settings and make them work according to their needs.
With most gaming mice, you can change the button function to your liking. The way you set up your mouse buttons will depend on your grip style and the type of gaming you do. The configuration is easy and offers gamers a more intuitive response.
With some gaming mice, you can also customize the DPI which, as we discussed before, is important for controlling the level of sensitivity of the mouse. The more customizable the mouse, the more it will fit your needs and give you a competitive edge in gaming.
Some gaming mice take customization one step further and allow you to set up different button and setting profiles for the different games you play. This can be really helpful if you switch games often because you are not constantly being forced to go into the settings and make changes.
Types of Gaming Mice
There are a few different types of gaming mice and they are used depending on grip type and the type of games you mostly play. The following are some of the most common types.
Shooter Gaming Mice
This type of mouse is basic and incredibly fast. These types of mice feature much the same design as traditional computer mice, but there are more thumb buttons and the laser precision allows for faster and more accurate shots.
Ambidextrous Gaming Mice
These mice are often simple in design and are typically used by left-handed gamers who find it difficult to use a traditional mouse. You will find these designs are most like shooter gaming mice.
A MOBA or MMO mouse is ideal for those who play this genre more often than others. Games like World of Warcraft need quick actions. These mice have more side buttons that can be programmed, allowing for quick decision-making during play.
A mobile mouse, as the name suggests, is used for laptop devices when you are on the go or even while at your desk. They are compact and portable and some gamers with tip grip styles prefer these because they are much more compact in the palm, reducing hand and wrist strain.
A hybrid mouse is for those gamers who like different types of mice and want to be able to customize their experience without purchasing more than one. Some gamers find the flexibility of these types of gaming mice attractive because they are perfect for all types of gamers and gaming genres.
While not entirely necessary for casual PC gamers, those who are highly competitive will likely find it beneficial to use a dedicated gaming mouse. With the many different types, it is not always easy to decide.
Follow the information above to ensure you can purchase the right gaming mouse to meet your playing style and grip. With the right gaming mouse, you will find your game is more on point and you are able to overcome the odds and get in better shots.
Once you have chosen the right mouse style, go with a mouse that has good reviews and a solid reputation in the gaming community. As we always say, gamers are quick to inform others when a product is subpar and not worth the money.