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Choosing a Gaming Mouse

April 7, 2009

in computer hardware

by David Hakala

A mouse can make the difference between “life and death” in a computer game, between winning and losing, enjoying the game or screaming in frustration. Fortunately, there are plenty of good gaming mice from which to choose, and they are not very expensive. Here are some key features to look for in a gaming mouse:

High Sensitivity (DPI/CPI): “Sensitivity” refers to how far on the screen the cursor moves for a given distance of mouse movement. The higher the DPI (dots per inch) or CPI (counts per inch) the better – up to a point. You need a very stead hand to properly control a 3200 dpi mouse.

Adjustable Sensitivity: The mouse should come with software that lets you adjust its sensitivity to fit your needs and fine motor control. This feature is also handy for switching between gaming and normal work on the same mouse. Some mice feature buttons or keyboard shortcut that let you instantly switch from one pre-set sensitivity level to another.

Programmable Buttons: The mouse should let you program a button or combination of buttons to perform specific sequences of actions; for instance, three virtually simultaneous actions that kick your opponent’s head into the next ZIP code, grab his wallet, and summon your flying carpet.

Adjustable Weight: Weight directly affects the inertia of a mouse – how easy or hard it is to change the mouse’s direction of motion or move it faster or slow it down. Discriminating gamers get that finicky about mice.

Claw Versus Palm Grip: If you hold a mouse with your fingertips, you want a smaller mouse. If you rest your palm on the mouse, you want bigger, more comfortable platform.

Lighting: It’s a coolness thing. Some mice light up, blink, change colors, etc. You may need a little herbal supplement to appreciate such features fully.

Wired Versus Wireless: If you’re a couch potato when gaming, a wireless mouse and a laptop mouse board are for you. If you sit at a table and game “seriously”, then it doesn’t really matter if your mouse is wired or wireless.

David Hakala has perpetrated technology tutorials since 1988 in addition to committing tech journalism, documentation, Web sites, marketing collateral, and profitable prose in general. His complete rap sheet can be seen at