Is A Gaming Mouse Worth It? Even For The Casual Gamer?
Gaming mice nowadays are not so expensive. Their price is almost the same as normal mice.
If you are a casual gamer it might not worth it. If you are low on budget you better off without one. The features that you might need the most is the increased DPI (4000 DPI or more is good enough for an 1080p (FHD) monitor) and the ergonomics.
The RGB lightning is an extra feature that is visual and not helpful in getting better on a game.
The Polling Rate is not so important for a casual gamer that needs to play 1-2 hours per day to relax a bit.
The extra buttons won’t be of any use unless you are playing an MMO game.
But today there are cheap gaming mice that are at almost the same price at the normal ones.
For example Havit, Pictek, VersionTech has cheap gaming mice.
If you want a bit more expensive than that there is Logitech, Roccat, SteelSeries, UtechSmart, Redragon etc.
Razer gaming mice prices have a little higher starting point.
So the price between a normal mouse and a gaming mouse isn’t so far away.
Maybe in you mind when you thought about gaming mice you thought about Razer Naga, Logitech G502 Proteus or Hero, SteelSeries Rival 600, Corsair Scimitar Pro RGB etc.
Well there is no blame if you think like this because those are the most common gaming mice you read or hear about.
So it’s possible to find a good gaming mouse with 10$ that has good reviews. No need to give a fortune for a gaming mouse. Even expensive gaming mice can break quite fast.
I had my Razer Naga not working (the tracking) after about 18 months. It costed me then about 90$. During that time I had no problems playing with it (well coudn’t press the lower six lower side buttons without moving my thumb but that didn’t bother me much).
Below I will mention in detail what a gaming mouse is, what it differs from a normal mouse and as much information possible about each feature.
What A Gaming Mouse Is
A gaming mouse is a mouse which basically has features specifically designed for gaming needs. Those needs are :
- Higher Sensitivity
- More Buttons with customizable functions
- Design for long hour usage
- Flashy design to set it apart from normal mice
Of course you can use the gaming mouse for regular PC use. For gaming you might just tweak some settings that are more optimal for your game.
But to understand better what is a gaming mouse you need first to understand about mice in general.
Gaming Mouse VS Regular Mouse Video
If you understand the principles of mice in general, we can then build on what is better in gaming mice.
Sensor Movement Acquisition
The basic way a sensor operates is largely the same over all mice, though there are some rather large differences in how each sensor goes about acquiring movement data.
In traditional methods such as sensors manufactured by Avago Technologies, the image acquisition system (IAS) first captures the movement of the mouse, usually in many thousands of frames per second , which are then processed by the digital signal processor (DSP) of the sensor in order to determine the (delta) Δx/Δy values (through direction and magnitude of movement).
From here a microcontroller unit (MCU) translates this data into USB or PS/2 signals, which are then sent to the host controller (PC).
Well frames per second here means the sensor’s frames per second.
It’s the same type of metric but to a different device.
Philips Twin-Eye Laser Sensor
The Philips Twin-Eye laser sensors register movement quite differently than traditional image capture sensors using a “Doppler shift” method.
In PTE sensors, a photo diode detects fluctuations in the laser power and is output to a application-specific integrated circuit (ASIC) which conditions and digitizes the signals.
The dual laser system is needed in this method in order to detect directional movement, and is done by analyzing changes in laser temperature and consequent modulation of the laser frequency.
PTE Laser Sensor Doppler Technology
As a result of the Doppler technology in PTE sensors they do not gather information in frames but are able to detect these laser fluctuations up to a certain speed, rated in m/s.
Next are some things you need to be careful about sensors.
More Sensor Details
Just because a specific sensor is used in a number of mice doesn’t mean that the performance for each of these mice will be the same (build quality, lenses, sensor implementation, and firmware can all influence performance), but it should mean that the general performance traits will be relatively similar. Unfortunately this also means that if there are tracking or hardware related errors that they may also carry over.
Another important consideration in looking at sensor performance is what surfaces work well with which mice and which ones will not, and finally whether a sensor is optical or laser, and how each of these types of sensors perform (laser sensors can detect surface imperfections at 20x the rate of optical sensors, this does not necessarily make them more accurate however).
But enough with the theory for now let’s see some relative YouTube videos.
YouTube Videos About Sensors
Acceleration is a function, sometimes referred to as pointer ballistics, that increases the mouse cursor speed based on the movement velocity of the mouse (the faster you move your mouse the more your cursor speed will increase).
This function can be either an operating system, driver, or in-game setting, where the OS function is the most common instance of the three.
Due to the number of places that these acceleration options can be found there can be as many as three different functions present at the same time, depending on the environment and if these features are enabled.
So the main question that is usually asked is, Is mouse acceleration bad? In a strictly theoretical sense I might say yes, though in a practical sense this becomes much more preferential, and not necessarily so.
It should be noted however that Quake 3 and Quake Live are in a slightly different category than most games as players have a much more immediate and finer control over how acceleration functions in this game when it is enabled (not OS based, see below).
Acceleration makes the mouse move very fast so it is more useful in situations where you need to move the mouse 360 degrees or more with a relatively small mouse movement.
Quake can use acceleration since it is a fast paced game and is required that you aim and shoot while jumping.
Practical Advice About Acceleration
For most scenarios, Acceleration should be disabled because the cursor will move differently if you move the mouse at different speeds.
YouTube Videos About Acceleration
That’s enough of mouse accel. Let’s see about Angle Snapping.
Angle snapping (the term used by Avago), drift control, prediction, or any other name that has been coined in the last decade or so are all terms used to describe a type of path correction algorithm that can be found in the SROM of the mouse sensor (in most cases).
The original purpose for including set amounts of moderate correction by many early sensor manufacturers such as Agilent (now Avago Technologies) was that by giving the sensor the ability to follow a path that the end-user could essentially be assisted in drawing straight lines.
It should be noted that when this algorithm was first introduced in the late 90’s (as an unlisted feature), that it was not included from a need to correct performance or stability issues.
Well this feature can be useful to drawing applications too.
Well below there is a good video that shows angle snapping (disabled and enabled).
YouTube Videos About Angle Snapping
Next is DPI(CPI).
Often confused with the term DPI (a measure of spatial dot density used in printing), CPI or counts per inch is an expression of the number of units (known as counts) that will be reported by the mouse when it is moved one inch (also formerly known as PPI, or pulses per inch).
The higher the CPI, the higher the number of counts that will be reported in one inch and therefore the more movement of the mouse cursor that will take place. Additionally, the higher the maximum CPI of the sensor, the higher the maximum velocity that the sensor can report.
A good Youtube video is linked below.
YouTube Video About CPI(DPI)
CPI resolutions can be either native or interpolated, where interpolated settings are resolutions not native to the mouse sensor.
Practical Advice About DPI
For an FHD Monitor (1080p), 4000 DPI will be sufficient for everything, from playing games to content creation.
Don’t worry if you mouse supports more. Usually they do.
Is A Gaming Mouse Worth It? Music Break!
Don’t know if you like KPop, but I sure do!. Check the following song (if you want).
I’m sure you see in every mouse description the Polling Rate. These days the maximum polling rate a gaming mouse offers is 1ms (millisecond) or 1000Hz (The same thing).
1000Hz means 1000 cycles per second (in this case 1000 reports per second).
1ms equals 1 report with each millisecond.
One second (1 sec) has 1000 milliseconds.
That means in 1 sec (1000ms) there will be 1000 reports.
So the higher you raise the Hz (or decrease the ms), the more reports the mouse will send about its movement.
But the high Polling Rate doesn’t give you always a better gameplay. Check out the following video.
Polling Rate Video on YouTube
So as you can see, higher polling rate might mess up you aim.
These feature is pretty standard about mice so it’s not something groundbreaking.
If you can check what Polling Rates in between a mouse can give you, that will give you flexibility should the 1ms fail for you.
Many Programmable Buttons
A gaming mouse can have from 5 to maybe 20 or more buttons which are programmable through software.
Some gaming mice like the Logitech G600 have a Shift button that raises the functions of the buttons (by 2).
These kind of mice can not only be used for gaming but also to increase productivity (since you can register a function on each button).
Interpolation or frame skipping, occurs when the MCU (MicroController Unit) is forced to guess at the Δx/Δy values of the sensor instead of having the “real” Δx/Δy values. This can occur in one of two ways.
If the sensor tracks values that are greater than its default range (neutral range) the MCU will be forced to guess what the actual Δx/Δy values are.
Secondly, if the receiver clocks of the sensor and MCU are not in sync, or the service interval (known as frames in USB 2.0) returns an error, reset, or null data (through ESD events, invalid addresses, MCU firmware flaws, etc…), the MCU may again be forced to guess the Δx/Δy values.
The key word here is guess (or estimate or calculate).
CPI resolutions that are not native to the mouse sensor are commonly referred to as interpolated. Native resolutions are technically more precise, while interpolated resolutions could be nearly as precise, or very bad, depending on the implementation.
As an example, in Avago’s original 3080 sensor, the native CPI resolutions were 400 and 1600; often times 800 CPI (1600 halved) would be an interpolated resolution that the mouse manufacturer would additionally provide.
Laser sensors have a distinct advantage in having many more native settings over their optical counterparts. The ADNS-9500 for instance can reach up to 5700 CPI (depending on firmware and lens, default is 5670) but is scalable in steps of 90 CPI, all of which are native (90, 180, 270, etc…).
You can check the sensor manufacturers website (or datasheets) to ascertain if your CPI resolutions are native or interpolated.
Consider this example:
Let’s say we have a the given function:
x= 0 , f(0) = 0
x= 1, f(1) = 0.8415.
x= 2, f(2) = 0.9093.
x= 3, f(3) = 0.1411.
x= 4, f(4) = −0.7568.
x= 5, f(5) = −0.9589.
x= 6, f(6) = −0.2794.
Interpolation is the method that we use to calculate values that are not existent based on the values that we have available (for example 1.5, 2.5 etc).
Of course there are different methods of interpolation and there is no need to cover them.
The crucial thing is that interpolation might not be very accurate and that might cause unstable perfomance (well don’t think too unstable but for the player that plays on the detail it might have an effect).
YouTube Videos About Interpolation
Materials – Durability
Well as you might be able to guess, for a cheap mouse the materials are cheap as well so how well they will be able to “hold on their own” is a mystery.
You can always get a mouse with some kind of warranty so you can send it back if something occurs.
The materials for an expensive mouse are expensive as well, but unfortunately that doesn’t guarantee their durability.
If you did some research about gaming mice in general, you should know that expensive mice can break as easy as cheap ones.
Ergonomics means that the mouse is designed for long hour usage without causing any harm or discomfort to your hand or fingers.
But beware that there are many types of hands and some mice might not be a fit for you. What’s the point of taking a gaming mouse if it can’t handle many hours of gaming (in your hand).
From cheap to expensive mice there should be some kind of warranty. It’s always safer to go for a mouse with at least 1 year of warranty.
Well you can get a mouse with no warranty as long as it is very popular and won’t break.
Conclusion – Is A Gaming Mouse Worth It?
Hopefully the above information was good enough(in quality) and enough(in quantity) to help you “clear the clouds” about what a gaming mouse and how it differs from a regular mouse.
So is a gaming mouse worth it after all? The answer is yes. But you don’t need to go overboard. Buy the cheapest and best for that price range and you would be fine for a long time.
And if you get better in your game and feel the mouse won’t cut it anymore for you then you can get a more expensive one.
You walk the stairs one by one no need to rush. Unless you want to geek out and get the best just for the sake of it.
The YESes And The No
Yes because the price is not so different from a normal one.
Yes because your old one might not work and need the cheapest available.
Yes because you are a geek and you want one even if you are a casual gamer (casual gamer or not it doesn’t really matter. For everyone comes the time for better gear!).
Yes because you are not a casual gamer and need to get some ranks up!.
Yes because what is a gamer without a gaming mouse!. (That reminds me I need to get one too!).
Yes because your girlfriend or boyfriend has one and you need to get your pair too haha.
No if you have serious money problems.
My Gaming Mice Reviews
Now if you want lots of buttons, good quality and durability you can check out my Logitech G600 MMO Gaming Mouse Review.