One of the most personal choices for any desktop setup is the mouse. When you’re looking for a great quality gaming mouse, you’re more than likely going to be looking at it’s sensitivity – but you also want to grab something that looks great, is weighted correctly for your use and is designed with ergonomics in mind.
Over the past few months, I’ve been roadtesting some of the best gaming mice you can find and here are my recommendations.
I’ve stayed away from MMO-focused mice in this roundup and focused on ergonomic, sleek mice focused more around twitch reflexes and FPS. That’s purely because I have far less experience with mice designed for MMOs, so if you’re favourite gaming mouse isn’t on this list and it’s served you well over the years, let me know in the comments!
These aren't in any particular order - they're just mice that I've put through their paces and found something about them I liked.
HyperX Pulsefire FPS Gaming Mouse
The Pulsefire is a mouse that does not bother with extensive functionality or excessive customisability and, as a result, it’s the cheapest mouse on this list at around $79.
Unlike the other mice on this list – the Pulsefire comes loaded with four DPI presets that cannot be changed: 400, 800, 1600 and 3200. A small light on the top of the mouse indicates the preset currently in use.
Beyond that? Well, there’s not much else to say – braided USB cable, comfortable hold in claw or palm grip, light as a feather and rubber sides that provide solid grip.
Gizmodo's Campbell Simpson uses the Pulsefire every day and for the longest time, I just thought he was using the company-issued mice we get with our laptops. That is to say: The Pulsefire is unassuming. It doesn’t make a point to clearly stand out from the rest of the competition but that’s okay. It doesn’t need to. It’s inexpensive and the DPI settings cater pretty specifically for the FPS crowd but it gets the job done in that department with little issue.
Razer Lancehead Tournament Edition
The Lancehead TE is simple, stylish and so nearly perfect that it’s always high on my list of recommended mice.
Its specifications are top of the game – Razer say it has the fastest sensor in the world at 16,000 DPI and tracking at 450 inches per second. It is obviously designed for gaming but it’s also just a comfortable mouse that sits excellent underhand. The rubber side grips toward the base of the unit are ergonomically sound and provide a great non-slip feel, especially when you’re moving the mouse with speed.
The design is unassuming and tidy. I love the way the thumb buttons don’t get in your face and seem almost hidden but still easy to rest on.
It’s definitely more for those that roll with a claw grip, but it’s also fully ambidextrous, something that Razer hasn’t necessarily focused on in the past but hasn’t skimped out on here. Because of the tidy, simple design, it’s very easy to switch it from right to left hand, if that’s your thing.
The bottom line? The Lancehead TE is just a solidly built, easy-to-use mouse that doesn’t require any of Razer’s software to start using, but can take advantage of Razer’s Synapse 3 software if and when that becomes available – allowing you to save settings directly to the mouse and thus, switch to your favourite profiles wherever you are.
The newest addition to Razer’s family of gaming mice, the Basilisk is like an elite version of the Lancehead built for FPS. It has Razer’s 5G optical sensor and true 16,000 DPI, along with the tracking at 450 inches per second, like the Lancehead.
The chief differences you’ll find in design are the it’s bulkier frame and thumb rest, which juts out from the left hand side of the device, meaning unlike the Lancehead TE, this is a mouse that isn’t built for lefties.
It’s two standout features are the DPI clutch and customisable scroll wheel resistance. The former is a removable button on the left-hand side of the mouse, just above the thumb rest, which allows you to rapidly change the sensitivity of the mouse – perfect for FPS scenarios where you need to switch between precision aiming and quick movement.
It comes with two DPI clutch sizes, helpful for those using a claw grip and leaving their fingers further down the mouse. If you couple it with the Synapse 3 software, you can customise the clutch to work however you like.
Scroll wheel resistance is a neat addition. It’s easy to manipulate – with a wheel on the bottom increasing or decreasing resistance – but I found that I didn’t really use it all that much in standard FPS play.
It’s nice to have the option though, it’s just that it’s a set and forget thing and once you’ve found a setting that works for you, you probably won’t think about it again.
Right handed and predominantly playing FPS? It’s worth grabbing the Basilisk over the Lancehead TE. Unfortunately for lefties, you don’t have the same choice.
Corsair Glaive RGB
Certainly one of the bigger gaming mice on the list, the Corsair’s wired Glaive RGB is their best mouse, by far.
It comes with five sensitivity profiles and you can program these and the three-zone RGB lighting in Corsair’s CUE software, if that’s your thing. The thumb buttons that stick out from the left-hand side of the mouse are slightly too big for my liking but I am fond of the negative space between them which helps produce a clear difference that your subconscious immediately recognises.
There are three size options for the thumb grip on the left-hand side and the two largest of them have tactile rubber pads that aren’t taxing to rest on for extended periods of time.
But that scroll wheel? It’s probably my favourite scroll wheel of any mice I tested. Plus, the Glaive also has a great weight to it in comparison to some of the other devices on this list, even though it seems like it should be far heavier.
Unfortunately, it is not ambidextrous and because of its overall size it feels far more natural to be using it with a palm grip which may put some buyers off.
Alienware AW958 Gaming Mouse
Alienware are renowned for their hulking range of PCs but the recently released AW958 mouse, their first foray back into the peripherals space, is a little different. While it has the ability to transform into a beast, this wired offering from Alienware is a well-built gaming mouse with high customisability.
The most noticeable thing, before you’ve even opened the box, is how much bigger it is compared to most other mice we tested. It has all the specs you’d be looking for in this kind of mouse – 12,000 dpi, 50g acceleration but a lower tracking number of only 250 inches per second.
It’s really the customisation where the Alienware shines. There are four removable modules. On the left-hand side, you have two specific designs of equal thickness, one with 6 buttons and one with 2 buttons. The right hand side, for resting your pinky, has two sizes.
These interchangeable rests are easy to manipulate and pull on and off with 3 magnets on either side holding them in. Fortunately, the build quality is good and this simple system doesn’t make the mouse feel flimsy at all.
I'm not a fan of the way the scroll wheel feels, personally, its concave instead of convex and it just doesn’t feel right under my finger but the button underneath, to change the DPI on the fly, is highly tactile.
I didn’t enjoy using this as much during everyday use because of its weight, but you can lighten the load by removing magnets at the base of the device. In addition, the Alienware Control Centre, which you use to program the mouse, shows that Alienware have a little ways to go before they can take on the big names - it's just so cumbersome.
Logitech G903 Spectrum
Straight out of the box, the wireless G903 is striking, like a vehicle from Nolan’s Batman series shrunken down to palm size.
You may be cautious to give a fully wireless mouse a go, especially if you’re after high precision and low latency, but the G903 performed incredibly well during (mostly short) sessions of Playerunknown’s Battlegrounds and exceptionally well during routine day to day use. Logitech have really put a lot of time into their Lightspeed Wireless technology and the stability that results from that is pleasing.
From a tactile point of view, I love the feel under hand of the scroll wheel and generally found it easy to rest my hand on for extended periods of time. There are up to 11 programmable buttons and customisable RGB lighting plus the mouse is fully ambidextrous – you can move the G4 and G5 buttons from the left-hand side to the right hand-side by simply pulling them off.
The major drawcard though is the ability for the G903 to pair with Logitech’s Powerplay pad, something that I have absolutely adored using. The pad is able to wirelessly charge the mouse via a magnetic Powercore that attaches to the mouse’s underside, which has allowed me to use it and charge it during the day at the office, without even thinking about it, and then take it home for wireless use in the evening.
It’s a convenience that you can’t really put into words unless you’re actually using it.
Though it’s become one of my favourite mice to use day-to-day, the major negative with G903 is the price, racking up a bill of about $249. If you’re going to grab the Powerplay pad as well, you’re looking at another $199 – so spending $450 to kit out your desktop setup may seem a bridge too far for many.
For me, the convenience makes it a bridge I’ve been all too happy to cross.
Like many competitive Counter-Strike players from the 1.6 era, I have a history with Logitech mice. And I still remember the exact time and place when I swore I stopped using them. it was in the middle of a tournament, during a crucial round. The mouse decided to fail on me, doing 360 degree spins in the air instead of shooting the one guy that would have won the match for my team.
Have you fallen in love with a particular mouse? Let us know what it is in the comments!