While looking at gaming mice, there are some major differences from the boring, old mouse that has been sitting on your desk for what may seem like decades. Gaming mice can provide many benefits compared to a regular mouse making them potentially a good buy for you.
A gaming mouse may be a great investment for those who want a device that is more comfortable, durable, and has improved functionality. Gaming mice provide numerous benefits and are especially important for gamers as they provide some key improvements that could actually help you in games. Gaming mice have different more buttons, support more grip styles, and have less latency for quicker response times.
Let’s find out all the differences between gaming mice and regular ones and decide if gaming mice are worth it for you.
One area where gaming mice excel over regular mice is in ergonomics. Gaming mice are often more comfortable in comparison to regular mice especially because they are designed for long gaming sessions.
Different gaming mice will have different frame styles, support specific grip styles, and some even have support for adjustable weight. No matter what design of mouse you are looking for you will be able to find one that suits your preference and gives you the most comfort.
There are three main grip styles for mice.
|Palm Grip||Claw Grip||Fingertip Grip|
|Most Common Grip||Popular among gamers||Least popular of the three|
|Maximum comfort||Allows faster, more accurate clicking||Greatest control|
|Most comfortable||Medium comfort||Quickly fatiguing|
|Uses palm to control the mouse||Hybrid of the two||Uses fingers to control the mouse|
Unlike regular mice that are generic and are not suited to any grip style, different gaming mice are sold to suit different preferences. This gives consumers many options. Finding a mouse that suits your grip style can improve your comfort and improve your confidence in your mouse.
Ergonomic vs Ambidextrous
In addition to the type of grips that mice support there are also two shapes to consider, ergonomic and ambidextrous.
|Usually only for right hands||For both right and left hands|
|More comfortable||Less comfortable|
|Sometimes heavier in weight||Usually lighter in weight|
These different attributes for each kind of mouse are often related to your preferences. Typically ergonomic mice are more comfortable for most people, especially for extended periods, as their design is supposed to be more comfortable.
Often people prioritize weight over shape. You can find lightweight mice that have an ergonomic design but all super lightweight mice under 70g have an ambidextrous design.
The shape of the mouse and the grip styles that they are best for often go hand in hand. Ergonomic mice often go best with the palm grip and sometimes the claw grip as ambidextrous mice can work with all grip styles but are usually most comfortable with the claw and fingertip grips.
Gaming mice are designed to be used for long durations while gaming so companies often decide to use materials to maximize long-term comfort. Rubber and high-quality plastic are the most used material used. The high-quality plastic will make sure fewer bodily oils stick which is a common issue for lower quality mice.
Rubber is then often used on the sides and scroll wheel for additional grip. Rubber makes the mouse easier to grip. Using a mouse for multiple hours on end can cause discomfort but rubber makes that less of an issue.
A gaming mouse will usually feel nicer in every way over a regular mouse and elements like a metal scroll wheel or rubber sides further add to that rather than putting your hands on a completely plastic shell that may even flex a bit under pressure.
Adjustable weight is not supported in all gaming mice but for the ones that it is supported in, it is nice to customize your mouse to your preference so you can be as comfortable as possible with your device. Regular mice don’t have this at all and the weight that you are given is what you are stuck with.
You can add a few grams in weight, usually 10g max, and these weights can often be added to different parts around the bottom of the mouse. This can allow you to put more weight on the sides, the rear, or front to change the balance of the mouse to further suit your preference.
This feature may be supported on many mice but more budget-oriented gaming mice or ultra-lightweight mice typically won’t support an adjustable weight.
Gaming mice usually cost more than regular mice but with that comes much better quality. The overall durability from paint to warranty length is much better than those of regular mice.
Often the mice that you find with prebuilt computers will have paint that can fade very quickly even with regular use. This is not as much of an issue gaming mice. Logos and color often fade first but most gaming mice will typically maintain a consistent paint job far after the warranty.
The lesser quality of paint with regular mice can make them look dated quite quickly.
Gaming mice often use high-quality components so the mice perform better for gaming but this also makes them more durable. Gaming mice tend to use some of the most accurate and durable switches and sensors.
One of the biggest uses that plagues regular mice is buttons or scroll wheels breaking or running into issues that make them hard to use. Since gaming mice use better switches this is less of an issue so instead of breaking in a few months to a couple of years, they can often last much longer.
The quality of materials used for gaming mice can greatly improve the user experience. Typically regular mice use thin, cheap plastic but gaming mice use a variety of stronger and more premium materials. You can find gaming mice made with metal, rubber, and more premium plastic.
This allows gaming mice to not only be more comfortable but also helps your mouse to last longer. Your mouse would withstand drops much better than a regular mouse and will show a lot less wear over time. Regular mice use cheap plastics which accumulate body oils very easily. This can feel and look worse but the build of a gaming mouse with multiple materials or just better plastic will often look better.
Regular mice can easily be externally or internally damaged after being dropped or hit but your chances are a lot better with a gaming alternative. Gaming mice typically last for many years, past the point when many upgrade, but the same is not always guaranteed for regular mice.
Overall better materials help the user have more confidence in the product. When you have confidence in that product you don’t have to think about the issues but instead, you can enjoy it.
Normal mice often have minimal warranty periods if one at all. With gaming mice, especially from reliable and popular brands like Logitech, Razer, or Glorious, this is not an issue. They have confidence in their products with warranty’s that last typically anywhere from one to three years which is quite good for peripherals.
Aside from the warranties gaming mice often stay in good condition long after the warranty. You could use your mouse for hours every day and your gaming peripheral may last five to ten years.
Normal mice often run into issues far sooner. Cosmetically they will run into issues with paint or plastic quite quickly and internally although they may last a decent amount of time, they usually will not last as long as gaming mice.
Polling Rate and Sensors
The polling rate is how fast a mouse will report its inputs to the computer. The polling rate is measured in Hz and that will determine the number of reports per second.
The industry standard for gaming mice is a polling rate of 1000Hz which means the mouse will send a signal once every millisecond. On the flip side, regular mice may have a polling rate of 125Hz or worse meaning they may send a signal every 8 milliseconds or more.
With gaming mice, the polling rate can often be changed. Although is typically not recommended it can make for an interesting experiment and it also will use less battery if you have a wireless mouse. This means you could lower the polling rate by half to something like 500Hz maybe when you aren’t gaming just to save a bit of battery although the difference will be negligible.
For regular use, this may not be much of an issue but when you are gaming any latency can put you at a disadvantage. If you are playing a shooter, even a few milliseconds could potentially mean the difference between winning or losing the round.
A mouse sensor is a part of your mouse that tracks your mouse’s movement. There are multiple different kinds of sensors that track movement using different methods.
The most popular modern sensor technologies are:
- Optical: Optical sensors function by using infrared light and a camera. Optical sensors are more popular in gaming mice, especially recently.
- Laser: Laser sensors use usually use a laser light to track movement and a camera. These are more common for regular mice.
Sensors will first use the source of light, visible or not, to track the movement. This information will then be sent to the camera to actually understand what this movement means.
Laser sensors are often popular because they can work on most surfaces, even glass. This can also be an issue though on more textured surfaces light more rough wood as the sensor may measure more information than needed causing inconsistencies.
During regular use, this may not be an issue but at higher speeds, which often occur while gaming, a laser sensor can become inaccurate. In contrast, an optical sensor will be accurate even at high speeds. Gamers will often be moving their mice quickly and will benefit by having a more reliable sensor that will tailor to their situation.
Gamers often use mousepads and will not benefit from having a sensor that works on surfaces like glass so having the most reliable and accurate technology for what they are doing is ideal.
Apart from the sensor technology that is used, gaming mice usually have more accurate sensors. They will have higher ranges of DPI support just showing how they can be accurate to track very fine movements.
Lighting Options and Software
One thing that draws people to gaming mice is the lighting that many of them have. This lighting is often controlled by software. The software can do more than just controlling lighting and can provide a lot of functionality. Lighting and software can make gaming mice look better and have more functionality.
How Software is Useful
More budget gaming mice may not have software but generally, most mice, especially from bigger brands, will have pretty in-depth software. Without software changing lighting will limit you to few options but the many mice that do have software have many lighting effects and tons of color options to choose from.
Software also allows you to change essential things like DPI or polling rate to your liking. You can also reprogram buttons to have different functions. If you have a wireless mouse you can control when it will go to sleep, check battery, and more.
Mouse software can enable you to receive firmware updates that can improve things like sensor performance, battery life, and more.
Overall software opens you up to a world of deep functionality that you can explore while giving you preset options as well.
Most Popular Software
There are many companies that make mice but many have software that gives you more functionality than others. The biggest gaming brands like Logitech, Razer, Corsair, and Glorious will all have good software. Smaller brands may have software but it may not be as in-depth or easy to use.
Logitech G Hub, Corsair iCUE, and Razer Synapse are some of the best software that you can use. They provide a lot of functionality while still being relatively easy to use. At the same time, they are constantly improving.
Gaming mouse software is great and if you want the most functionality and ease of use going with bigger brands is your best bet.
Depending on the mouse that you have and if they have software or not you will have a different amount of lighting customizability. Your mouse will probably have a stock RGB color wave effect but you can easily change the effects and colors.
Gaming mice will typically have RGB lighting meaning you can make your mouse be any color. RGB allows you a lot of possibilities for customization. You can set your mouse to colors that match your setup or just leave it to the stock color cycle effect. If you don’t like lighting for any reason you can also turn it off.
Lighting is one of the initial things that people notice between regular and gaming mice. Lighting allows you to add to a theme of a setup or can generally just improve the looks of the device. Overall lighting gives you a lot of flexibility and can improve looks.
One of the biggest utilities that gaming software provides for mice is the option to reprogram buttons. Mice often have preset functions like buttons for forward or previous, one to instantly decrease the DPI while being held down, and other functions depending on the mouse.
Gaming mice have more buttons than regular mice with anywhere from 5 to 20. With these buttons you can create macros for functions in editing programs, copying and pasting with a single click, and making dedicated media keys to play, skip, and more.
With programmable buttons you have tons of options and utilizing them could potentially improve the speed of your workflow. In many cases, a mouse with many buttons could be better for someone as the main alternative would be getting something like a macro pad or stream deck. That could result in you spending upwards of $100 when you could have a mouse with a few extra buttons.
If you only need ten macros instead of getting a macro pad you can buy a gaming mouse with many buttons and remap those. Programmable buttons are a great way to improve the efficiency and speed of your workflow especially when you have many functions setup.
DPI or dots per inch is a measure of how much your cursor will move when the mouse is moved an inch. The higher the value the faster your cursor will move across the screen and the lower the value the slower the cursor will move.
Gaming mice often have a much greater range of DPI than a regular mouse with ranges anywhere from 100 to 25K DPI. Although you have such a wide range you probably will not utilize it as most people use DPIs from about 200-2000.
The range of possible DPIs goes high on mice not because people will use those higher DPIs but instead it shows how accurate the sensor is. Mice with DPIs above 10K are what you should shoot and all you really need if you are gaming.
All gaming mice will have an adjustable DPI, with most doing so via software. If a mouse doesn’t use software it will use buttons which is usually far worse than software. Software can give you more options and greater customization.
With software, you can change the DPI in increments of anywhere from 1 to 100. Even increments of 100 are quite precise as smaller measures are more for marketing. What matters is that with software you can change the DPI to what suits you best. You may want to lower DPI because you play shooters and want as much accuracy as possible or increase it to account for minimal mouse space.
If you a very quick DPI adjustment that lasts for a few seconds some mice have a button that support this out of the box and when you hold this button the DPI will go down to a specified number. This can give you more pinpoint accuracy if you are sniping someone in a game or are drawing the edges of a picture with your mouse.
Overall the option to change your DPI especially with great accuracy can improve your confidence and comfort with that part of your setup. This is especially useful for those who game often as it can improve how you play.
Gaming mice are better than regular mice in basically every way but whether you should spend the extra money to get one is a consideration. Overall getting one is probably worth it if you use your computer a lot, game, or just want more functionality.
All in all, if you game often or find that you want the added features of a gaming mouse then it may be worth it for you to invest in a gaming mouse. Gaming mice can give you a competitive edge over other people in gaming and it could help improve your consistency and ultimately your overall gaming performance.
The additional comfort that gaming mice provide could be the sole reason for you purchasing one as they can be very beneficial for those who are on their computer for extended periods. By getting a gaming mouse you will get better reliability, feel, and performance.
Gaming mice often have software that goes alongside them. This software can enable a lot of functionality at your fingertips like dedicated media keys or macros for specific programs. Overall gaming mice can not only improve gaming performance but can improve work efficiency and comfort.
If you enjoyed this article consider checking out some of our other content, like our Logitech G203 review, a mouse with great value.