As gamers ourselves, we understand the importance of the right hardware. Some may argue that esports cannot be compared to sports – not that we agree, but we’d place the need for quality equipment right up there with Formula 1.
As we put this feature together, PC Gaming is more significant than ever. As you read this in the future, it is probably bigger still. That is the kind of market that can sustain many different manufacturers. There are plenty of gaming mice to choose from, and it is difficult to say which is the best. There’s a personal preference, the games you play and even the colours you like to differentiate them, among many other factors. Therefore, rather than outright recommend a mouse, we’ll stick with tradition and go into 10 tips to get your choice of gaming mouse right first time.
1. Start the Search with the Games You Play
Even at the professional level, a Counter-Strike player, Starcraft player and Hearthstone player could conceivably suggest three different mice as the best. The driving decision behind your purchase should begin with real-world use cases. Consider what buttons you need, where they need to be for comfort, how ergonomic the mouse must be for extended sessions and any other guidance you can glean from the games alone.
2. Decide Whether a Laser or Optical Mouse is Best
The debate over which type of sensor is best for gaming mice will rage on, and we don’t need to take a side to provide a tip. Instead, we’ll stick to the facts. The price difference is minimal, and technology is at a point where there is no lag on either setup. Optical mice tend to perform better in terms of tracking variation, but they won’t work on glossy surfaces. Laser mice, on the other hand, work well with or without a mousemat.
3. Choose Wired or Wireless
Again, this is a debate on which we don’t need to take a side, and the facts are enough to make a decision. As any serious gamer will have heard on many occasions, wired mice are better for pure performance. Wireless signals are not as fast as their wired counterparts, even using the latest hardware. A wire can, however, be somewhat limiting and if reactions are not a priority, you may prefer the flexibility.
There’s a third option too, that being the hybrid. These mice work wirelessly via Bluetooth but will switch to a wired connection over USB when plugged in accordingly. You can often expect to pay slightly more for the privilege, but these mice take one decision out of the equation.
4. Have a Budget in Mind
There’s no hard and fast rule as to the price point at which a mouse can be classified as a gaming mouse. If you need something to point and click with, you won’t even break double figures. However, it’s all but impossible to operate at peak performance. If you’re limited in what you can spend, you can focus more on the features you really need – it might be worth dropping the RGB lighting for more comfort.
Unlike some products, you don’t necessarily get what you pay for. The best mouse is not necessarily the most expensive one, especially with ‘best’ being so difficult to define.
5. Factor In Your Grip
A straightforward way to divide PC gamers into two categories is through the claw and palm grips. The former is better for those that require precise, intricate movements, while the latter provides easier button access. A mouse that is comfortable for one might not be the same for someone else, so check out reviews or, better still, try before you buy.
6. Looks Matter
The colour and animations of your RGB lights have no direct impact on performance. However, nobody wants an ugly rig and you may have to push the budget for more colour options. If your keyboard is lit up in yellow, and your mouse only lights up in blue, it might not be the correct choice – as strange as that might sound to non-gamers.
7. Spend Time on the Tech Specs
This isn’t the time or place to go into what every single number on a spec sheet means concerning gaming mice. Fortunately, the measurements haven’t changed in years, so unless you’re after your very first gaming mouse, you’ll at least have something to compare to. From battery life to refresh rates, these numbers can have a material impact on a mouse’s usefulness, so it is worth doing your research.
8. Don’t Overlook the Warranty
You could end up spending big money on your gaming mouse, and you don’t want to be on the hook if something goes wrong. Gaming mice are small, plastic and potentially delicate, especially with the pressure some players put them under. Excellent warranties aren’t exclusively available from big names, but you should take this into account as part of any comparison you make.
9. Look Into Reliability
While a warranty may protect you if the worst should happen, that doesn’t help in the moment. A gamer without a mouse is like a driver without a steering wheel, and you don’t want to land yourself with a mouse that has a habit of dropping out. Do your research and avoid any mice with known issues or that require regular software updates. Regular updates can be useful, but they can also indicate repeated attempts by a manufacturer to fix a lingering fault.
10. Don’t Be Afraid to Switch Brands
Few companies remain top dogs in any area of PC gaming forever. You may have a favourite mouse that you’ve used for years. When it breaks, you buy another exactly the same. While you know what you’ll get, you might miss out on advancements and new features. That’s not to say a like for like replacement won’t be the right choice, but we’d advise against assuming that this is the case without exploring what else is out there.