what to look for in a gaming mouse for computer in 2023
As a society, we are becoming more tech-literate and more aware of how our workstations are affecting our daily and working lives. From the position of our chairs to the ergonomic fit of the keyboard and mouse, people are starting to keep an eye on how to make their working, gaming, and leisure time more comfortable.
As such, it can be a bit of a difficult situation for those aware of the importance of the right mouse but not so tech-literate as others to know exactly what we should be looking for in a mouse now. So here is a basic guide to finding the right mouse to suit your needs in 2023.
In many cases, wireless mice have now caught up with the times and have reduced lag to almost nothing. This is fantastic news for those of us who constantly get that long cable tangled around the items on our desks.
If you're going to be doing presentations using TVs, this is a complete godsend as it allows you to use your laptop from a distance. This may not seem so important to those working from home still, but when you're in an office, it can make all the difference.
There are two types of wireless mice that you can choose from. The first is based on RF (Radio Frequency) technology and tends to include adapters to allow you to connect directly to your laptop, computer, or TV. This can be a pain as it requires you to use a USB dongle which takes up one of those ever so scarce USB ports and is a nightmare to replace if it gets lost.
Henry Garner, a business writer at Britstudent and Nextcoursework, does say, however, "If you don't mind the use of the USB slot just make sure to check the nano-receiver for the mouse sits flush with the USB port and doesn't jut out making it harder to easily pack away your laptop."
The better option is to go for a Bluetooth wireless mouse. We see this at work in the Apple Magic Mouse, for example. It requires a few extra steps but is more convenient in the long run, with battery lives of up to a year. The batteries are also incredibly easy and affordable to replace with one or two AAA batteries being the norm.
If you are willing to fork out a bit extra, however, it's worth considering a mouse with built-in rechargeable batteries. These tend to come bundled with charging cables but you may also find one with a charging dock that is a perfect place to store the mouse at the end of the day. Do check that your computer does have Bluetooth before you buy, though. This is less of a concern for more modern machines but for older models, you may not have the functionality inbuilt.
Laser or Optical
Mouse design has moved a long way. In 2022, you are unlikely to find roller-ball mice which are now incredibly outdated. Instead, you need to think about whether you want a laser or optical mouse. Optical sensors tend to be more common and have become almost indistinguishable in technology from their more premium laser counterparts.
Optical mice use a LED on the bottom of the mouse to reflect off the surface and track movement. This can be an issue if you are working on a variety of surfaces, as you can only use them on flat, opaque surfaces. This is less of an issue if you carry a mousemat, but for those unable to do so a laser mouse offers a wider range of surfaces to use, including glass as it uses a laser to track the mouse movement.
While most users will not need to concern themselves with Dots Per Inch (DPI), this is a concern for gamers and graphic designers, for example, who welcome a bit more sensitivity. For everyday users, the 400-800 dpi of a regular mouse is fine. You may even find the extra preciseness of a laser mouse annoying as you can experience "acceleration" where the mouse pointer moves too quickly. This can be the trade-off for gamers who would prefer greater control over fast reactions.
It's the most boring sounding topic but a crucial one, the ergonomic design of your mouse, is critical to help reduce the risk of repetitive strain injury and for your overall comfort. This is not a check-box item either, and each user has different needs, so you need to do your research beforehand and consider how much you will be using the mouse.
The best way to find an ergonomic mouse is to try some out yourself. Check that the size is comfortable for your hand and relieves pressure on your fingers and wrists. Can you access all the buttons? If not, then this may not be right for you. Check as well that you're using a mouse set up for your hands.
Most off-the-shelf mice tend to be right-handed, so check for a left-handed variant if appropriate.
Don't underestimate the feedback from the mouse both physically and audibly. If you are at home or work in a solo office without others, getting a satisfying click can help reassure you that the mouse is doing its job. However, for those in office spaces with others around you, it can be highly irritating to hear mouse-clicks throughout the day. As such, you want a mouse that you can silence but gives more haptic feedback through how it responds to button presses and wheel scrolling.
A benefit to ergonomically designed mice and more high-tech devices is that they come with additional buttons within easy reach of the fingers that you can program for specific functions. This is incredibly handy for those a bit more tech-savvy who use specific functions a lot and want to be able to easily map them to a button, for example, the back button for your internet browser.
"They're pretty easy to set up and can be extremely useful to help you save time when you do work on the same programs consistently," lauds technical writer Janis Usher of 1day2write and Write My X.
I've mentioned it briefly before, but gaming is a whole different kettle of fish when it comes to picking a mouse to use. As such, it's worth investing in a high-quality gaming mouse if you will be doing it frequently or even semi-professionally.
For gamers, you still need a good ergonomic fit to reduce potential strain, especially for lengthy sessions of play. This is also where those programmable buttons come in handy as they allow you to map common tasks to them like aim or using a medkit in a shooter, for example.
Many gaming mice actually come with the ability to toggle DPI so you can have higher DPI when you need to react fast and lower DPI for more control when aiming.
Gamers tend to prefer wired, optical mice to ensure they get the best overall performance. In the end, it's all about finding a mouse that is comfortable while providing you extra support and sustainability when playing.
This is again where haptic feedback comes into play, and most gamers will be streaming or on voice chat while playing and don't want to have the sound of the keyboard and mouse picked up by the microphone.
There's nothing more irritating than just hearing clicking sounds while you're trying to do a stealth mission. Check you can mute your mouse, as mentioned before, and that you are still getting adequate feedback when you press a button, so you don't need to look down while playing.
If you have to travel a lot then finding a good travel mouse would be the best plan.
They are made to fit comfortably in your bag and affordable enough that if you lose them, you can easily replace them.
If you have small hands, these can actually be preferable to a full-size mouse as they feel more comfortable in hand. As most travel mice come in shrunken two or three-button units, you won't get some of the nicer features available with a full-size mouse.
For those of us traveling but also using a mouse frequently, a full-size ergonomic mouse is probably the best option and provides you with the comfort you need when working. Just make sure you make room for it when packing.
Overall, just make sure to do some research before buying a new mouse and keep in mind what you are using it for. If you are in need of a specialist mouse, make sure to take the time to look at the options that are right for you. Look for ergonomic designs that promote your comfort and reduce the strain on your wrists and fingers. Invest in better equipment to increase the likelihood it is still useable a few years down the line and get the functionality that is right for you.