What a Gaming Mouse Is and Tips to Optimize Gameplay


A gaming mouse is a mouse with a few added characteristics that make it suitable for gaming. It is not limited to three buttons like a standard mouse and can have a large number of programmable buttons, each with a unique function that the user can assign. This is a huge benefit for gamers because they perform quick maneuvers with minimal commands. It is even possible for weight to be adjusted to ensure optimal comfort and control of a gaming mouse. In this article we discuss what a gaming mouse is and how to optimize game play.

Gaming mice are intended to improve overall gaming performance by providing extra buttons, variable DPI and sensitivity, laser sensors, optional weight variations, and a unique design.

This article will go through numerous gaming mouse functions, such as DPI and polling rate, to help you understand how they work to help you decide which mouse suits your needs. 

A gaming mouse is a different kind of mouse which allows better control and accuracy which is not possible with a regular mouse.
A gaming mouse has more functionality than a regular computer mouse. Image Source: Amazon.

What Are the Differences Between a Normal Mouse and a Gaming Mouse?

Although they serve the same purpose, there are numerous distinctions between a standard computer mouse and a gaming mouse. While beginner gamers may be fine with a conventional mouse, individuals who play on a competitive level prefer to invest in a gaming mouse. And there's a good explanation for that.

The differences between a normal mouse and a gaming mouse are the sensitivity, amount of buttons, shape, adjustable weight, customizability, durability, overall performance, and price range.

The differences between a normal mouse and a gaming mouse are as follows:

Difference 1. Higher Sensitivity or DPI

A gaming mouse like this has unique characteristics, such as a higher dpi setting. DPI (dots per inch) is the number of pixels your pointer moves each time you flick or move your mouse. With a low dpi, the mouse would have to travel further to move the cursor the same distance as with a high dpi. A gaming mouse uses a laser sensor, which increases its sensitivity. Turning, pointing, and shooting will become smoother and more accurate with increased sensitivity. 

It is important to note, however, that not all games necessitate high DPIs. Some games require a low DPI to achieve accurate aiming and turning. High DPI is especially useful in gaming sessions where response time is more important than aiming time. Some office mice have adjustable DPIs, but they are still nowhere near what you'll get with a gaming mouse. The highest DPI range on a standard mouse is between 400-1200 DPI, however, the average DPI for gaming mice may reach approximately 16,000 DPI and can be adjusted to go as low as 200 DPI. Our article about choosing the right DPI to optimize gameplay explains what DPI settings suit particular games. 

The laser sensor of a gaming mouse is the feature that allows for a much higher DPI than a regular mouse.
Gaming mice feature a laser sensor and offer higher sensitivity, up to about 25,600 DPI. Image Source: Amazon.

Difference 2. Extra Buttons

Additional buttons on gaming mice are another feature that distinguishes them from normal mice. A regular desktop mouse has a scroll wheel as well as left and right-click buttons. Gaming mice, on the other hand, are created with those three and can have two or more extra buttons, with up to 14 different buttons located on the side. 

The buttons on gaming mice like this one, especially the left and right-click buttons, are more responsive and longer-lasting. Your gaming experience will improve because you will no longer have to press many keys on your keyboard.

A gaming mouse normally has multiple programmable buttons that can be used for specific commands when playing certain games.
Most gaming mice have 5 to 11 programmable buttons that can be assigned instructions and in-game functions. Image Source: Amazon.

Difference 3. A Unique Shape 

Another aspect that distinguishes gaming mice from regular mice is their form. Most gaming mice like this one, are ergonomically designed to fit comfortably in your palm. The ergonomic design also allows you to use your mouse for hours without feeling any strain. 

Different grip styles, such as palm, fingertip, and claw, are used for griping gaming mice. The grip you select can have a significant impact on your gaming experience. Regular mice, on the other hand, have a fairly conventional design that does not provide much comfort for specific grip styles, such as fingertip or claw grip. Our tips on how to choose the ideal gaming mouse grip type explain these popular hand positions as well as what mouse suits each grip. 

A gaming mouse is designed to provide a suitable shape and surface area for a specific grip style.
Gaming mice come in a variety of forms and sizes to accommodate different grip styles and make gamers more comfortable while playing. Image Source: Unsplash.

Be sure to also read our related article explaining how to choose an ergonomic gaming mouse that fits your needs.

Difference 4. Adjustable Weights

While both standard and gaming mice are available in various weights, certain gaming mice like this one, include additional module pieces that allow you to modify the weight. While some gamers are unconcerned about mouse weight, others prefer to modify weight based on the type of games they play. Our article about the 5 best heavy gaming mice lists popular mice that are a little heftier. 

A gaming mouse could even have a feature that allows you to add or remove weight to suit various games and gaming styles.
Some gaming mice have tunable weights as modular parts, allowing you to tailor and alter the mouse weight based on the games you play. Image Source: Amazon.

You may also be interested in knowing how to choose a left-handed gaming mouse. If so, be sure to read our related article to find out more.

Difference 5. Better Durability

A gaming mouse is generally more robust and long-lasting than a standard mouse. It is built with high-quality materials, giving you more durability and game time. Some of them have glossy coatings like this one, which is unusual in the world of PC mice. 

Difference 6. Better Performance

Unlike conventional mice, which come with no software, each gaming mouse is assigned software. This software is used to configure the mouse's RGB lights, sensitivity, buttons, and so on. Once you've downloaded the appropriate software, you'll be able to configure your mouse. Most manufacturers like Corsair have a designated downloads page where the latest software updates can be accessed for free by users. 

Considering the differences in features mentioned above, gaming mice offer improved in-game performance compared to regular mice. Being able to customize their gaming mice allows gamers to achieve optimal mouse parameters for different types of games. The lack of customizability of normal mice restricts players from enhancing their overall performance and advancing their gaming skills. 

Using a gaming mouse will help to enhance your performance as they have features and designs especially for gaming.
Gaming mice offer customization and plenty of features that boost your overall in-game performance. Image Source: Unsplash.

Difference 7. Price Range

A standard mouse costs between $6 and $10. As gaming mice offer more features and are almost fully customizable, they are typically more expensive than normal mice. While there are some inexpensive gaming mice available, a good gaming mouse will cost you between $40 and $100. If you want a high-end mouse like this, you'll have to spend more than a hundred dollars.  However, investing in a gaming mouse is totally worth it, especially if you consider playing on a competitive level. Our article that looks at how much a gaming mouse costs explains what you can expect to pay for various categories of gaming mice.

Summary of the Differences Between Gaming Mice and Regular Mice

Mouse Features Gaming Mouse Normal Mouse
Sensitivity / DPI More sensitive, the average DPI for gaming mice may reach approximately 16,000 DPI The highest DPI range on a standard mouse is between 400-1200 DPI
Buttons Multiple programmable buttons that can be assigned to various commands and in-game functions. Three basic buttons that you cannot program (a scroll wheel as well as left and right click buttons).
Weight Comes in multiple weight options and offers weight customization.  Comes in multiple weight options but no customization. 
Shape Different shape variations are available to guarantee that gamers are comfortable with their preferred grip style. Have a fairly conventional design for palm grip.
Durability  More sturdy and durable, able to endure rapid clicking and movement. Less durable when used for gaming purposes. 
Performance Offer improved in-game performance compared to regular mice. Perform well for beginners but are not suitable for competitive gameplay.
Price range Cost between $40 and $100. Cost between $6 and $10
Example from Amazon Logitech G502 SE Hero High-Performance RGB Gaming Mouse with 11 Programmable Buttons  Inphic Rechargeable Wireless Mouse

What To Look For in a Gaming Mouse

If you are considering switching to a gaming mouse, you should take into account a couple of factors to improve your overall performance and take your gaming skills to the next level. 

When considering what to look for in a gaming mouse, FPS gamers should look for a lightweight wired mouse with 400-1000 DPI for improved stability and comfort. MOBA gamers should choose a wired or wireless mouse with low DPI settings and medium weight. MMO and RPG gamers should opt for gaming mice with higher DPI (1000-1600) that weigh around 110-120g. 

Our article about gaming mice quality tests explains what simple tests you can do yourself to determine if the mouse is a good fit for your gaming needs. Similarly, you may be interested in our tricks for choosing the best mouse for FPS games. If so, be sure to check out our related article.

Below are our suggested tips for choosing the best gaming mouse for you. 

Tip 1. Choose an Optical Sensor For Lower DPI

While standard mice simply have an optical sensor, gaming mice generally have both optical and laser sensors for increased sensitivity. However, if you prefer playing with lower DPI, then choosing a mouse with an optical sensor like this one would be fine.

Tip 2. Choose a Laser Sensor For Higher DPI

If you want to play with a higher DPI, a gaming mouse with a laser sensor like this one is a must. This is because laser sensor technology increases the sensitivity of gaming mice, allowing you to achieve higher DPI.

Tip 3. A Wired Mouse Is More Stable, but a Wireless Mouse Can Reduce Resistance When Moving.

Choosing between a wired and wireless mouse might be difficult because there are no hard and fast rules on which is better for gaming. A wired mouse is recommended if you prefer a reliable connection. 

However, if having messy wires surrounding your computer causes frustration or cable management is not your strong suit, then a wireless gaming mouse is a better option. Our article comparing wireless gaming mice vs. wired discuss their pros and cons in greater depth. 

Tip 5. Get a Mouse With Modular Parts To Customize Its Weight

While some gamers are unconcerned about how light or heavy their mouse is, others prefer changing the mouse weight based on the type of games they play. Buying a mouse like this that comes with module components allows you to instantly change the weight of your mouse, making gaming more enjoyable. 

Tip 6. Consider Which Grip Type Would Be Best For a Specific Game.

Another thing to think about when selecting a gaming mouse is your preferred grip type, or how you hold your mouse when playing. Palm grip, fingertip grip, and claw grip are the three most prevalent grips.

While palm grip is often utilized when playing RPG, strategy, and FPS games, claw grip is more common among MOBA and FPS Esports players. Additionally, tip grip can be used when playing FPS Esports games on a professional or competitive level.

You should also select a gaming mouse based on how you prefer to hold it. A higher profile mouse is ideal for palm grip. Medium to high-profile mice are suitable for claw grip. Smaller and lighter mice are easier to grab with the fingertips.

Tip 7. Use Your Gaming Mouse Software

Most gaming mice include software features that make it even easier to modify or operate your mouse. To get the most out of your gaming mouse, utilize the program to assign multi-key commands, customize in-game functions, and even to back up your mouse settings.

Tip 8. Use Gaming Mouse Macros for Making Repetitive Activities Easier 

Macros are key sequence shortcuts or a succession of automatic clicks and keystrokes that make performing repetitive in-game tasks and movements easier. Always add macros or functions to individual mouse buttons. By doing so, a single click on a button can finish a series of events that might normally take a few seconds. For example, our article about setting a fire key explains how to assign the rapid-fire command to a specific button on the mouse. 

Summary of Gaming Mice Features To Look For

What Type of Gaming Do You Do? Features To Look For  Example Gaming Mouse
FPS A wired mouse for improved stability.A mouse with an optical sensor and lower DPI (400-1000).A lightweight mouse weighing around 85-90g.  Razer Viper 8KHz Ultralight Ambidextrous Wired Gaming Mouse
MOBAs Wired or wireless mouse. A mouse with an optical sensor and low DPI (400-800).A mouse weighing around 100g.  Logitech G602 Lag-Free Wireless Gaming Mouse with 11 Programmable Buttons 
MMOs Wired or wireless mouse. A mouse with a laser sensor and higher DPI (1000-1600). A heavier mouse weighing around 110-120g.  Razer Naga Pro Wireless Gaming Mouse
Action RPGs Wired or wireless mouse. A mouse with a laser sensor and higher DPI (1000-1600). A mouse weighing around 110-120g.  Acer Predator Cestus 330 Gaming Mouse
Mixed Wired or wireless mouse. A mouse with 400-1200 DPI. A customizable mouse to adjust its weight based on what you play. Any mouse weight that feels comfortable for you (90-140g).  Logitech G502 HERO High-Performance Wired Gaming Mouse with Adjustable Weights

What Is DPI on a Gaming Mouse?

Some gaming mice are more sensitive than others, as you may have noticed and this sensitivity is measured by DPI. 

DPI on a gaming mouse refers to dots per inch or pixels per inch in gaming terms. DPI is important to consider when purchasing a mouse because it impacts sensitivity, which is an important aspect of gaming.

Our article about gaming mouse specs is a quick guide on all the important gaming mouse information you need.

DPI determines how far the cursor moves per inch of mouse movement. The lower the DPI, the less sensitive the mouse. This implies that if you're using a higher DPI mouse, even a small movement of your mouse will move the cursor further across your screen. 

While you want your mouse to move rapidly and correctly, you don't want it to fly across the screen or out of sight. That is why purchasing a high-quality gaming mouse is a better option and the buttons allow you to quickly adjust and switch between DPI levels.

A gaming mouse is a better option for gaming as they usually have a higher DPI and allow you to adjust DPI.
Gaming mice have various DPI levels that can be adjusted, allowing you to customize the sensitivity of your mouse. Image Source: Amazon.

How Do I Know What DPI Is Best for My Gaming?

Although a higher DPI is advantageous in some situations, it is not always better. The optimal DPI level will depend on the type of game you're playing, and your gaming style. This video from Logitech explains what DPI level suits a particular type of game. 

In a first-person shooter game, zooming in and aiming with a sniper rifle would be considerably easier with a higher DPI because it would allow you to make little movements with your mouse while correctly aiming at your target. When pointing a weapon for maximum precision isn't the goal, a high DPI may be excessively sensitive.

In other words, most professional first-person shooter gamers set their mouse DPI to between 800 and 1200 since a lower DPI allows for more precision.

What Is the Polling Rate of a Gaming Mouse?

Mouse polling rates indicate how many times per second your computer receives information from your mouse concerning motions and button clicks. It is measured in Hertz. While the polling rate of regular mice is typically 125Hz, the polling rate on a gaming mouse can range from 500Hz to 1000Hz depending on the types of games you play and the type of mouse you use.

The polling rate of a mouse is how frequently it communicates its position to the computer. The polling rate affects the accuracy and precision of in-game movements and actions as well as overall performance. 

As explained in this article by ProSettings.net, a mouse with a 125 Hz polling rate sends its position to the computer 125 times per second, or every 8 milliseconds. A 250 Hz polling rate indicates that the mouse sends its position to the computer every 4 milliseconds. As a result, a high polling rate might reduce the time between moving your mouse and seeing the pointer react on your screen.

The rate at which a mouse communicates its position to the computer is referred to as the mouse’s polling rate.
The polling rate indicates how frequently your mouse sensor updates its position per second. Image Source: ProSettings.net.

What Is a Gaming Mouse Bungee?

While wireless mice are becoming increasingly popular, some professional gamers prefer using wired mice as they are more stable. However, cable management is usually an issue. A gaming mouse bungee is a useful device that gives you full freedom of movement as you play. By using the bungee, you will no longer have to worry about the messy wires on your desk. 

A gaming mouse bungee is a tool for wired mice to prevent the cable from getting tangled or dragging across the desk. 

Our article about gaming mouse accessories discusses the most popular mouse accessories to help you improve your gameplay. 

Do I Really Need a Gaming Mouse Bungee?

As mentioned above, a gaming mouse bungee is a gadget that holds your mouse's cable in position, elevated slightly above the mouse, to keep it from dragging or snagging on the surface or mousepad. Although using a gaming mouse bungee can be advantageous, it is not required. As an alternative, you can use a wireless gaming mouse.

Use a gaming mouse bungee to stop the cable from getting tangled on your desk.
A gaming mouse bungee is a gadget with a weighted and non-slip base that keeps the mouse cable from tangling or dragging across the desk. Image Source: Amazon.

What Is a Gaming Mouse Pad and Do I Need One?

For some reason, people do not pay much attention to mouse pad characteristics when shopping for one. Some individuals even use notebooks or other items with a flat surface as an alternative. 

A gaming mouse pad is different from a regular mouse pad because it can assist with maintaining pointer precision and improving tracking, while also preventing rapid damage to mouse feet and permanent scratches on the gaming table or desk.

When it comes to gaming, having a decent gaming mouse pad is important. As this article from the Advanced Engineering Forum Journal explains, using a high-quality mouse pad can affect hand temperature and comfort while gaming.

Here are tthe hree main reasons why you should consider investing in a gaming mouse pad as a gamer. 

Reason 1. Better Precision and Control

The main distinction between a gaming mouse pad and a regular mouse pad is the material used. Gaming mouse pads like this are often comprised of a firmer and smoother material that allows you to glide your mouse over it with ease. This not only provides more control over the cursor but also improves the precision of your movements.

A gaming mousepad provides an optimal surface for your mouse which promotes more control and more precise movements.
Most gaming mouse pads are made of high-quality nanomaterials, creating a smoother surface for the mouse to glide easily. Image Source: Amazon.

Reason 2. More Comfort While Gaming

Another reason to consider purchasing a gaming mouse pad is its size. Gaming mouse pads like this are typically larger than ordinary mouse pads, providing greater comfort when gaming. The greater surface area of the pad allows you to move your mouse around as needed.

Furthermore, most gaming mouse pads have an anti-slip rubber base that keeps the mouse pad firmly in place, reducing unnecessary mouse pad movement.

The larger size of a gaming mousepad provides a more comfortable gaming setup.
Gaming mouse pads have a non-slip rubber base that stops them from sliding across the desk. Image Source: Amazon.

Reason 3. Reduce Wear and Tear on the Mouse

Finally, gaming mouse pads lessen wear and tear on the mouse, allowing it to last even longer. Pads are constructed of rubber, and the texture creates resistance for the mouse to track against, resulting in a smoother and more responsive experience than using a mouse on a plain desk or a rough surface. Besides that, it is far less expensive to replace a mouse pad than it is to buy a new gaming mouse. 

Another way to prolong the lifespan of your mouse and its skates is to clean all of its components as we explain in our step-by-step instructions on how to clean a gaming mouse

Gaming mouse pads lessen the wear and tear on a gaming mouse.
The high-quality materials used in the production of gaming mouse pads reduce wear and tear on the mouse, making them last longer. Image Source: Amazon.

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