A good mouse can make a big difference when you play your favorite games. Here’s what you need to know about posture styles, game mouse types, technical specifications and more, before you buy a new gaming mouse.
How is a gaming mouse different from a regular mouse?
Game mice are not much different from ordinary mice. Almost any design can be labeled as “for playing games”, and it doesn’t necessarily have a dozen extra buttons and flashing LED lights worth an acid trip. But generally speaking, every gaming mouse worth considering for purchase will have at least two of the following features: an advanced optical or laser sensor that allows for faster or more precise movement, and a certain degree of user customization.
Gaming mice often have extra buttons for the player’s thumb, sensitivity and speed adjustments, extra long cables or even exotic features such as adjustable weights or button tension springs.
In addition, most gaming mice come with a wired connection. They usually offer faster response times than their wireless counterparts, although it is more common today than ever to find wireless variants of your favorite wired mouse. Speeds vary depending on the product, but if you’re looking for the fastest possible connection, it’s best to stick to something wired. They will also be more affordable than their wireless counterparts.
More expensive gaming mice generally have more ringtones and whistles than cheaper models, but that doesn’t mean you’ll simply get a better experience by spending more. Here’s what you should consider before investing in a new design.
Get to know your posture style
The type of posture you use is important, especially when playing a PC game compared to using a mouse for everyday tasks. Although each player is different, you can generally separate the handles into three broad styles:
A handshake: The standard grip used by most players. Your fingers are placed on the mouse buttons, and the whole palm rests on the body of the mouse.
Flu type: Only the tips of your index, middle and middle fingers rest on the left, middle (wheel) and mouse buttons, with your palm not touching the mouse body at all. Your thumb catches the side of the mouse.
Claw flu: A combination of palm and tip holding styles. Your palm rests only on the back edge of the mouse, with the tips of your fingers and thumb facing the buttons.
Different interventions can be more or less effective for different types of games, but it is not a good idea to try to intentionally change the type of posture. Simply use any grip that suits you and allows you to play well.
However, different mice may prefer different types of capture. Larger, wider mice are good for a more general palm grip – they usually assume that at least part of your arm will be resting on the mouse pad at all times. Short mice, without a large palm area and ideally with a lighter overall body, make it easier to maneuver by grabbing the tip. Claw holder users appreciate relatively narrow mice with lean, elongated primary buttons.
Customization is in the software
Most dedicated gaming mice come with their own PC software, either as a standalone package or in an “suite” with compatibility for other gaming equipment such as keyboards and headphones. This software allows you to set a lighting profile (not so important), adjust the button assignment (useful, but usually also available in individual games), and set DPI options. The latter is especially important because it allows you to change mouse sensitivity for faster or more accurate tracking — and some more advanced mice will even allow you to adjust it on the go with mouse buttons.
Mouse software can also allow you to customize macros for different keys, make settings for specific mouse pads, and set custom button profiles for individual games. All gaming software mice will manage all of these functions to a greater or lesser extent. A particularly useful tool is the ability to store the profile directly in memory on the mouse itself, which allows it to be moved from PC to PC with intact settings, without the need for additional settings. Note that Razer software does not offer local device memory profiles, unlike most modern game software packages.
Different types of game mice
As PC gaming has become more complex, so have PC gaming add-ons. There are several different subdivisions of game mice that we can look at, most of which have button designs and positions designed to help with very specific types of games. Keep in mind that these divisions are independent of the above body styles and postures – the mouse shooter can be wide and low for a palm grip or skinny and shallow for a grip tip. So, after deciding which type of gaming mouse to buy, be sure to check out our recommendations keeping in mind the type of handrails and software.
Shooter Mice: fast and basic
This is the most common type of game mouse. Shooter mice use the conventional setting of the left button, mouse wheel, and right button for primary input, reflecting most common desktop gaming mice, plus two to three thumb buttons. In most first- and third-person shooting games, they correspond to primary fire, weapon selection or zoom, secondary fire or iron sights, and grenade or melee actions, respectively.
Shooter mice are relatively simple, allowing players to quickly adapt to all types of action games using just three fingers. In addition to the up and down DPI buttons on more expensive models, some shooting mice have a precision button or “sniper”, which when pressed temporarily reduces the DPI for super sensitive shots.
A great gaming mouse for shooter fans is the Logitech G502. Not only has it won our “Best Mouse for Games in 2022” award, but it is also affordable and very customizable. You can also look at the Logitech G203 or Razer Viper, which are incredibly versatile and suitable for jerky FPS matches.
The Logitech G502 is a great combination of power and price, with a lightning-fast sensor that makes it perfect for FPS games.
“MOBA” or “MMO” mice: big buttons
Massive online multiplayer games like World of Warcraft, strategy games like Age of Empires and MOBA games like Noun of another noun All League of Legends have some common design elements: a bunch of very specific, very contextual skills that don’t necessarily have to be used all the time, but need to be activated quickly to stay competitive. That’s how the “MMO” mouse was born, with a crazy network of 12 buttons just for the thumb.
MMO mice are great for games that benefit from many custom skills or groups of units. New players need a little getting used to, not to mention a lot of settings for ideal skills or units for each button. Smaller thumb buttons that are harder to distinguish make them less ideal for faster actions and shooting games.
Our favorite gaming mouse for MMO games is the Logitech G600. The sleek device somehow manages to maintain an eye-catching profile while having 20 programmable buttons, and its wired connection and sensor result in stunning response times. Other options include the Razer Naga Trinity and the Corsair Scimitar RGB Elite.
The Logitech G600 is made for MMO gamers with its 20 programmable buttons, low latency inputs and solid build quality.
Ambidextrous Mice: Southpaw’s Special
Most left-handed gamers — like you really are — simply grin and bear when it comes to mice, using our right hands just as much as our cruel anti-sinister oppressors. But for those who refuse to compromise, gaming hardware companies do it they offer several options for the left side — or, more often, ambidextral options, with perfectly symmetrical bodies and buttons instead of bodies curved for the right hand. Most of them use a relatively simple arrangement of shooter-style buttons with thumb buttons on both sides, assuming that players will disable the buttons for their hand. Some even come with replaceable blank parts for unused buttons.
One of the best left-handed products that money can buy is the Razer Viper. Its ambidextral design allows both left-handers and right-handers to enjoy its lightweight profile, while also having one of the best sensors on the market – giving you superior in-game performance. Other options include the Corsair M55 RGB Pro and the Razer Naga Left-Handed Edition.
Lightweight, ambidextrous and with a handful of programmable buttons, the Razer Viper is a solid, easy choice for left-handed gamers. It also has a 16,000 DPI 5G optical sensor, which means you won’t have a problem keeping up with the competition.
Mobile mice: good companions for gaming laptops
For gamers on the move, some manufacturers offer smaller, more portable versions of their mouse designs. Although these are often wireless and much lighter than standard gaming mice, they also offer a special advantage to players who prefer a top-holding style, as the smaller body can be maneuvered more easily while physically less touching the mouse.
This category of game mice is underrepresented, because inserting top components into the small form factor is not easy. The Razer Orochi V2 is one of the few great recommendations in this category, although you would be well served if you carefully pack your favorite standard size product and give up a few inches of bag space.
Razer Orochi V2
Razer Orochi offers two different types of wireless connection, which facilitates the transition from performing everyday tasks to participating in competitive ranked matches. It’s a bit expensive, but the high-quality components and up to 950 hours of battery life make it a solid choice for every player on the go.
With all this in mind, you should be able to narrow down your search considerably. What kind of mouse are you looking for? What grip are you using? Do you care about additional features such as RGB lighting and profiles on the device, or will any software do the trick? The market for gaming mice may seem huge, but once you reduce the things that really matter, it should be easy for you to find the perfect one for you.