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While some gaming enthusiasts insist on the most cutting-edge peripherals, many other gamers don’t There are many in the PC gaming world using basic mice bundled with their computers, competing against those across the spectrum. However, both online marketplaces and brick-and-mortar retail stores are offering gaming mice at increased price points. With all these products labeled “Gaming,” do they make a noticeable difference in-game? And are they worth the extra spend? Let’s take a look!
The “Standard” Gaming Mouse
If you have used a modern computer, you’re most likely familiar with the most popular peripheral: a mouse. It’s here where the customization and choice begin to take shape and really define the differences between a standard mouse and a gaming mouse.
This small device is designed and engineered to fit comfortably in a user’s hand and allows the user to manipulate a cursor and interact with what’s displayed on a monitor. So, what could a “Gaming” mouse do that a regular home office mouse can’t? The following are features offered in many gaming mice that a plethora of hardware manufacturers claim to improve the gaming experience and not only that but provide an edge against your competitors.
Enhanced DPI Sensors in Gaming Mice
A common feature that’s advertised on gaming mice is enhanced DPI or dots per inch. A mouse with a higher DPI can cover a greater distance across the screen in less time than a lower DPI mouse. Like sensitivity level, a high DPI-rated mouse is much more responsive to small adjustments to the cursor position. For clarity, turning up the sensitivity on a basic mouse isn’t the same as increasing the dots per inch. A mouse will only perform up to its capability; beyond that, higher settings won’t offer improvements.
Gaming mice often tout high DPI levels and their advantages in-game. But is a gaming mouse with a high DPI helpful in computer gaming? Yes and no. The answer is that it depends on what type of game is being played.
Specific gaming genres can take advantage of a higher DPI mouse, while others don’t necessarily require it. For fast-paced first-person shooters, a higher DPI gaming mouse is a clear improvement over a basic mouse with a low DPI. Aiming your virtual weapon becomes much more fluid and responsive with a gaming mouse versus a basic one. You may notice that your reaction time in multiplayer games seems faster than some of your competitors. Mice with these higher DPI sensors will allow gamers to build up twitch reflexes.
However, other genres don’t necessarily benefit from the higher DPI mice outside of first-person shooters. If you primarily play puzzle games or strategy games, an increase in DPI doesn’t provide an obvious advantage. Whether DPI is useful or not depends on the game. A regular mouse will perform adequately if a quick reaction time isn’t required.
Customizable Options in Gaming Mice
Another feature expressed by gaming manufacturers is the amount of customization built into their products. Many gaming mice offer more buttons and customized key bindings or macros. Macros are a set of repeatable actions, and you can program them into one button press.
Want to switch the melee button from the F key to a button on the mouse near your thumb? Or perhaps you’ve become tired of pushing one button to pick up an item and another to place it in your inventory? Combine these actions into one convenient button press on your gaming mouse.
These additional buttons and macros can be very convenient and provide a more streamlined gaming experience. This feature won’t benefit those who don’t want to customize their keys or set up macros and, in some cases, can get in the way and add bloat to the mouse.
Amongst customizable buttons, gaming mice also tend to have software that also allows you to control the visuals of the mouse, for instance, RGB lighting that you may want to synchronize with the rest of your gaming setup. Some mice, such as SteelSeries Rival 710, can display information panels on the mouse itself.
Having a clear brand and projecting it is important for an eSports player. These cutting-edge customizations can help cast you out as a differentiator amongst a sea of other eSports gamers, and this small bit can help build your fanbase.
Ergonomic Features in Gaming Mice
PC gamers who play for extended periods can get uncomfortable gripping a mouse and manipulating it around the mouse pad. Hands can cramp or fall asleep as the body begins to feel fatigued. Some gaming mice offer increased ergonomic shapes for more comfortable gameplay.
These products can be larger, and offer thumb rests and even rubberized grips. Features like this are entirely dependent on each player. Where one gamer might find a particular gaming mouse extra comfortable, another may not. If you can, try out or at least hold the mouse in your hand before purchasing it. Just because it claims to be ergonomic for gaming doesn’t mean you’ll find it comfortable.
Mouse weights, another customizable option tied closely to ergonomics, are commonly found in advanced gaming mice. They are built into the mouse body and can be removed (or added) to adjust the overall weight and feel. Typically you can access them on the bottom of the mouse. For some gamers, the mouse’s weight is an important feature, as it’s yet another area to gain a competitive advantage and increase the overall comfort level for long gaming sessions.
The Bottom Line When it Comes to Gaming Mice
Depending upon what type of games you enjoy, using a gaming mouse over a standard mouse could have significant performance improvements and make your experience better overall. For first-person shooters and competitive online multiplayer games, a gaming mouse is something to strongly consider adding to your arsenal.
If you like the idea of having more buttons on your mouse and may utilize custom-built macros that help save you additional movements and clicks, you will benefit from purchasing a gaming mouse. Lastly, if you find your hand falling asleep during gaming sessions, consider ergonomic features built into gaming mice and other supporting peripherals, such as keyboards and keyboard pads.