If you're not sure what your version of the best gaming mouse would be don't worry, we'll show you the ropes. In past, the typical gaming mouse would have a couple extra buttons on the left side and not much more. But the incredible rise of MOBA and MMO games has influenced players’ choice of gaming peripherals, shaping how they look, feel, and function.
As we take a closer look at the best gaming mouse of 2016, notice that the modern gaming mouse has been essentially split into two categories: multi-button mice for MOBA gaming and simpler, sleeker, and more precise mice for twitch shooters and old-school gamers. The good news for you, the customer, is that you can choose a model that exactly fits your needs and preferences.
Stands for “Dots Per Inch” and it measures the sensitivity of your gaming mouse. Theoretically, a gaming mouse with double the DPI of another gaming mouse will move twice as far, essentially making it twice as fast (though speed can be adjusted on most high-DPI mice). This is important for games and tasks that require quick, precise movements. Contrary to popular belief, however, there are massive diminishing returns on DPI past a certain point. Low DPI (normally below 400) will cause your mouse to skip pixels as it moves around the screen. However, because your computer screen only has a limited number of pixels and because there is no smaller visible unit than a pixel, you only need a mouse whose sensitivity ratio is 1.0 (meaning that for each signal your computer gets from the mouse, the mouse will move over 1 pixel in the appropriate direction). There are complicated formulas for figuring your screen’s exact DPI sweet-spot but for most, barring those with high-resolution 4k monitors, 400 DPI is perfect. All of our choices for the best gaming mouse have more than suitable adjustable DPI so you don't have to worry.
The best gaming mouse will typically have higher polling rates. This number basically signifies how often the gaming mouse is communicating with your computer. The higher the polling rate, the more information your computer is receiving from your mouse every second in terms of its position. A mouse with a polling rate of 100 Hz will send updates on its location 100 times per second…and so on. So if you’re noticing lag between when you physically move your gaming mouse and when the cursor moves on screen then you probably need something with a higher polling rate.
We recommend a mouse with 500 Hz for most day-to-day precision tasks but we recommend polling rates of 1000 Hz for serious gamers who want to take their gaming to the next level. As with most things, there are diminishing returns past a certain threshold when it becomes harder and harder to notice any meaningful differences between polling rates (though more is still better).
In short: the best gaming mouse will have 1000 hz polling rates.
Laser vs Optical
In general, laser mice can track movement much more accurately than optical mice and can therefore reach DPI well over 2,000, making them more suitable for users who need to be exact to the very pixel (and are using 4k ultrawide monitors). A laser gaming mouse also has the advantage of being able to work on a lot more surfaces since, unlike optical mice, they have no problem on glossy surfaces. Even so, optical technology has gotten so advanced that the differences are negligible, especially for the ones featured on our quest to find the best gaming mouse.
Best Gaming Mouse #1 - UtechSmart Venus MMO Gaming Mouse
Unlike Mionix or Zowie, UtechSmart goes after the budget-minded gamer. This is certainly the best gaming mouse on a budget that you'll find. Their Venus MMO gaming mouse costs less than $40 but easily rivals the more expensive models in terms of its functionality.
The budget price tag is certainly not reflected in how well the mouse is constructed.
- The USB connector is gold-plated
- The cable is braided for extra protection as well as smoother glide across the surface of your desk
- The Avago sensor has a 1000 Hz polling rate
- Can withstand 30G acceleration
- Up to 16400 DPI.
Of course, nobody actually needs (or uses) such a high DPI, so the Venus gaming mouse has two dedicated DPI adjustment buttons, which change the value in 5 steps: from 50 DPI all the way to 16400 DPI. But you wouldn’t buy this mouse just for the precise DPI adjustment, would you? You would buy the Venus MMO gaming mouse to take advantage of its 12 programmable buttons, located in 4 rows on the left side. Each row is positioned at a different angle, helping you quickly locate the right button without any hesitation.
A nice addition is the extra programmable button near the left fire button. We can see using it as a function key in action or adventure games, but you can make it do whatever you want. Almost all buttons are pleasantly responsive and provide a good tactile response. The only exception is the scroll wheel, which has a tendency to slightly wobble from side to side. Not a big deal for MOBA and MMO games, but it could certainly irritate extremely picky CS:GO players.
UtechSmart’s focus on customization extends even to the design and build of the mouse. Using the provided UtechSmart Venus Laser Gaming Mouse configuration software, players can adjust 4 independent LED lighting zones, change their brightness level, and even turn them off completely. With over 16 million LED color options, you should have no problem finding one that matches your rig or taste. Pair it with a top notch LED mechanical keyboard (our list of the best here) and you have an awesome looking set-up. The best gaming mouse and the best mechanical keyboard.
However, the real surprise happens when you flip the mouse and take a look at the bottom side. There, you’ll find a button that changes the user profile, two large replaceable pads for a smooth glide on all surfaces, and, above all, a rotating door that hides a room for the included metal weights. Each weight is 2.4g, and there’s 8 of them in the box. We often don’t see such a fine degree of weight customization even in gaming mice that cost several times as much as the UtechSmart Venus. For those reasons we include the Venus in our list of the best gaming mouse in 2016.
Best Gaming Mouse #2: Logitech G403 Prodigy Wired Optical Gaming Mouse
With monstrosities like the G502 Proteus Spectrum RGB tunable gaming mouse, Logitech realized they were losing their core customers—those who grew up playing with the famous MX518. To rectify this problem, the company came up with a new product line called Prodigy. Peripherals belonging to the Prodigy line have all the bells and whistles of the more flamboyant G serious but feature more old-school design and much simpler construction.
Could the new G403 really be the mouse that owners of the M518 have been waiting for? Does it have what it takes to replace the M518 as the best gaming mouse? We think so, especially given its slightly tapered grip, smooth matte finish, and familiar button layout. The side buttons are large, sport a glossy finish, and are highly responsive.
The two primary buttons feature similar design and action. Both feel sharp and return to their original position in no time. The mouse features a total of 6 programmable buttons, but once configured, their commands can be saved on the onboard memory.
Inside the mouse is a Pixart 3366 sensor, which is regarded by many as the best sensor on the market today. Its input is raw but not jittery, making it fantastic for fast-paced games where absolute precision is a must. You control its sensitivity using a button located conveniently right above the scroll wheel, and you can toggle between three presents, which can be configured using the compatible Logitech PC software.
The same software is also used to control the RGB LEDs located under the G logo and the scroll wheel. You can choose any color you want, or make the LEDs shift smoothly between 16.8 million colors. Like UtechSmart's Venus, this mouse looks phenomenal with an equally bright LED mechanical keyboard (our list of the best here).
Located on the bottom side of the mouse is a round cover that hides a space for the 10-gram weight that comes in the box with the mouse. Unfortunately, that’s all the weight customization you get for now, but chances are that Logitech will come up with additional weight adjustment options in the future. For now, the G403 from Logitech is a great choice for FPS gamers and the absolute best gaming mouse for fans of the new old-school MX series.
Best Gaming Mouse #3: SteelSeries Rival 500 MMO/MOBA Gaming Mouse
“We created a MOBA/MMO mouse that fits your hand and not the other way around,” explains Ehtisham Rabbani, SteelSeries CEO. “The Rival 500 is the first true multi-button gaming mouse engineered to maximize gaming efficiency, while keeping the gamers movement and comfort in mind.”
SteelSeries built all 15 programmable buttons on the Rival 500 to conform to the natural contours of your hand, allowing you to use the buttons by simply rotating your thumb or flicking down to access the two lower buttons. What you get as a result are exceptionally fast response times and functionality that extends way beyond MOBA gaming.
There’s also a dedicated switch on the bottom side of the mouse which turns off the lower buttons, creating a resting spot for your thumb when you don't want to trigger all sorts of macros and button combinations.
And it’s not just the extra buttons that deserve special attention. Both main buttons come with reinforced switches with a 30 million click lifespan. Inside the mouse is the beloved Pixart 3360 sensor, offering adjustable DPI (100 to 16,000), 50g acceleration, 1ms polling rate (1,000Hz), and 1:1 tracking accuracy.
If this wasn’t enough, a vibration motor located in the center of the mouse delivers tactile alerts that correspond to in-game events, such as headshots, ammo pickups, and more. This feature can be fully customized from the SteelSeries software. The wide range of vibration patterns includes Short and Long Buzz, Fast and Slow Heartbeats, Double-Click, Triple-Click, and many others.
Mionix Naos QG Streaming Mouse
The Naos QG was developed in collaboration with Kickstarter and the Twitch community, launching on Kickstarter on December 4, 2014. By January 2015, the company had successfully raised $107,125 with 840 backers. The mouse is currently available for pre-order from Mionix’s official website.
Although the mouse uses the familiar NAOS shape, in reality its unlike any other product from the company’s line of gaming mice. That’s because it comes with built-in heart rate and GSR (Galvanic Skin Response Sensor) sensors to measure the user’s biometric information and movement data. The measured data can then be visualized through an in-game overlay. How cool is that?! It's way ahead of its time and that's why it's on our Best Gaming Mouse list.
If you're wondering why people would want their biometric data, consider that it can help you pick up on patterns and other useful information that will benefit your gameplay. Additionally, if you happen to be a Twitch streamer, it can make online gameplay streaming much more engaging for your viewers.
But even if you don’t stream on Twitch, the mouse still has a lot of features. Its shell is coated with four layers of dark gray rubber, which provide a solid grip and natural feel. There’s a total of 7 fully programmable buttons and 5-step in-game DPI adjustment. Mionix has released open APIs for developers, allowing them to tap into the sensors and use the information for all sorts of programs.
At the heart of the NAOS QG is the beloved Pixart 3360 sensor with its glorious 12000 native DPI, 1ms response time, and 1000Hz polling rate. To process all the information captured by the sensor, Mionix went with a 32bit ARM Cortex M3 processor operating at 32Mhz. To top it all off, the NAOS QG features a customizable LED lighting system with up to 16.8 million color options.
That wraps up our list of the greatest gaming mice out on the market right now. Each of our candidates are a little different from each other but they are all tried and tested. You can't go wrong with any of them. So pick the one that speaks to you and enjoy having the best gaming mouse around.