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Tech Explained: Gaming Mice

The mouse is to the gamer what the Katana is to the ninja. You live and die by it. It's what separates you from the in-game pack and makes you reign supreme on that score board. So, be wise and know your mouse well.

We've explained the key gaming mouse technologies and features below, with the goal of helping you understand them better and allowing you to make a well-informed buying decision.

Important Factors

Shape

Different designs fit different hands and play styles. Left handed? Try an ambidextrous mouse.

Size

Depending on hand size or grip style, each gamer will have a unique way they hold their mouse. Check out grip styles and sizing guide to find what suits you.

Sensors

Used to track the motion of the mouse. Most sensors these days are of such high quality, it's become less of a focus when choosing a mouse.

Design

Ambidextrous Shape

Designed to suit both left and right-handed gamers. The shape will usually be symmetrical in order to feel the same in both hands.

Ergonomic Shape

Typically designed with right-handed gamers in mind and is formed to suit the natural curvatures of your hand as closely as possible.

Honeycomb Shell

A design pattern used on the shell of mice. Holes are removed from the shell which represent a honeycomb pattern as a way to reduce the amount of material used, lowering the overall weight. 

Mouse Skates

Often referred to as Mouse Feet, skates are the pads on the bottom of your mouse which are used to glide on the mousepad.

PTFE

Material used for Mouse Skates, Polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE) provides minimal friction for your mouse to smoothly glide across your mousepad.

Grip Style

The way you grip the mouse. There are three categories, Claw, Palm and Fingertip as described below.

Claw Grip

Your hand forms a claw shape, with your fingertips on the main buttons and your palm touching the back of the mouse.

Palm Grip

Your palm lays on the mouse along with your fingers down to the buttons.

Fingertip Grip

Only your fingertips are in contact with the mouse, with your palm raised up away from the mouse.

Switches

The mouse switch is the part underneath. When the user makes a mouse click the switch is the part that sends the signal that an action has occurred.

Sensor

Optical Sensors

Optical Sensors use a camera with the aid of an infrared or LED light to track the surface and report what speed the mouse is being moved at. 

Laser Sensors

Also uses a camera and light to track the surface but with a laser, instead of an LED light.

Acceleration

The velocity (not speed) which your cursor will move when moving your mouse.  For example, moving your mouse slowly will not result in a high velocity and not travel a great distance. However, moving your mouse quickly will increase the velocity, allowing it to travel further.

Angle Snapping

This helps a sensor predict movement in order to make small adjustments to smooth the course of travel.

Mouse Sensitivity

When describing a mouse sensitivity, both CPI and DPI are referring to the same thing: How far the mouse cursor moves when the gamer moves the mouse.

CPI (Counts Per Inch)

Counts Per Inch or CPI is used to refer to the number of steps the mouse will report when it moves one inch. It basically refers to the sensitivity of the mouse, used to determine how much distance the mouse covers on the screen related to the physical movement of the mouse.

DPI (Dots Per Inch)

Dots Per Inch or DPI, is a measure of spatial printing or video dot density. It signifies the number of individual dots that can be placed in a line within the span of one inch. It is a term originally used when relating to printing, however has since been adopted when describing mouse sensitivity.

Lift Off Distance (LOD)

The distance at which your Mouse Sensor stops tracking when being lifting away from the surface. Typically, this will only be a few millimetres on high quality sensors found in gaming mice.

Polling Rate

The speed your mouse communicates data to your PC, measured in Hertz.  Many gamers set their mice to at least 500Hz to avoid input lag at a lower rate but also to avoid demanding more CPU power at a higher rate.

Connectivity

Cable Type

can range between paracords, braided and rubber cables.

Paracord

is a type of cable used for increased flexibility, removing stiffness normally found in rubber/braided cables. With greater flexibility, the cable offers less resistance to mouse movements.

Braided

A heavier, more durable cable material. Will last longer and withstand extreme forms of use.