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Best gaming mouse 2018: Digital Foundry's picks


Finding the best gaming mouse is a challenge, as dozens of new models are released each year by the biggest brands – but I’ve been keeping track of the various innovations over the years, and I’m pretty confident in these gaming mouse recommendations. That said, there’s such variety in the market that I’ll also be including a general guide in choosing the right gaming mouse based on your favourite games, hand size and additional factors.

It’s also worth mentioning that unlike choosing the best graphics card, picking a proper peripheral is a subjective experience that depends on many different variables, large and small. While we have taken critic and user reviews into account when making our selections, these are still just starting points to guide your own experimentation, rather than a definitive ranking. Don’t worry if your favourite mouse didn’t make the list – we probably considered it, but ultimately went with a different option. Without further ado, let’s get into the best mouse recommendations.

Best gaming mouse

SteelSeries Rival 600£58 UK/$72 USA

rival600

The Rival 600 is an excellent mouse that should suit many people, thanks to its balanced right-handed design and medium to large dimensions (131mm/5.2″ long, 62mm/2.4″ wide). It uses a unique dual sensor design, combining an excellent no-acceleration optical sensor and a dedicated lift-off sensor that should eliminate accidental movement when you’re lifting and setting down your mouse. Combined with a reasonably low weight of 96 grams (and the option to add up to 32 grams of additional weight if you prefer), we found the Rival 600 both comfortable and accurate in games like Counter-Strike. The buttons are tactile and responsive, while the scroll wheel is perfectly balanced between smooth scrolling and distinct steps. The mouse is also equipped with pleasant RGB lighting and intuitive software, making it easy to set up macros or rebind the mouse’s seven buttons. The Rival 600 is moderately priced for a flagship-grade wired mouse too. If you have medium to large hands and prefer a wired mouse, the Rival 600 is well worth trying.

Best wireless gaming mouse

Logitech G Pro Wireless – £130 UK/$150 USA

gprowireless

The G Pro Wireless is arguably the best gaming mouse on the market, save for its sky-high cost. Wireless gaming mice may put some people off, but from weeks of first-hand use and from looking at input latency tests, the G Pro Wireless is just as responsive and reliable as a wired mouse. It’s also very light, tipping the scales at just 80 grams, yet it lasts for about 48 hours with the RGB lights on, and nearly double that with the lighting disabled. Its long battery life is thanks to a highly power-efficient optical sensor, which also performs extremely well in games. This accuracy – combined with the mouse’s streamlined shape, low weight and lack of cable drag – make the G Pro Wireless an absolute pleasure to use, even in the most demanding titles like Rainbow Six: Siege, PUBG or Fortnite. We recommend it to most gamers, given its medium size (125mm/4.9″ long, 63.5mm/2.5″ wide). Even if you have never considered wireless mice before, the G Pro Wireless is good enough to make an exception.

Best gaming mouse for small hands

BenQ Zowie FK2 – £57 UK/$60 USA

fk2

The Zowie FK2 is an ideal mouse to choose if you have hands on the smaller side of the spectrum, thanks to its low profile design, diminutive dimensions of 124mm by 58mm and low weight of 84 grams. The side buttons appear on the both sides, making this mouse truly ambidextrous. The PixArt 3310 optical sensor has been superceded by newer options, but remains a favourite thanks to its accurate 1:1 tracking. In games like StarCraft 2 and Call of Duty: Black Ops 4, we found it responsive and comfortable regardless of the circumstances. If you prefer a simple design, without lighting, software or extra features, the FK2 is a strong choice.

Best gaming mouse for large hands

SteelSeries Rival 310 – £49 UK/$55 USA

rival310

The Rival 310 is a slightly wider (62mm/2.4″) and longer (128mm/5″) version of the Rival 600, making it better suited for those with larger hands. Its ergonomic design will suit right-handers, with plenty of textured rubber on both sides to aid grip. The optical sensor is the same as that used in the Rival 600, but it lacks the dedicated lift-off sensor. Regardless, performance in-game was excellent, particularly in Counter-Strike where it was easy to land fast flicks onto a target thanks to the low weight. As before, the Rival 310 comes with RGB lighting and SteelSeries’ intuitive software, which are nice extras. If you have a medium to large hand, this ergonomic right-handed mouse comes well recommended.

Best MMO mouse

Razer Naga Trinity – £93 UK/$99 USA

nagatrinity

If you like to play games that require lots of different keys for your spells and abilities, choosing a mouse with plenty of side buttons can a nice way to keep up. The Razer Naga Trinity is our pick for the best MMO mouse, thanks to its unique design which lets you choose between three different side button layouts. There’s a circular dial provides seven buttons with a grip in the centre, a number-pad design with twelve buttons arranged in a grid plus a more usual two-button design for shooters and daily use. The mouse is about the same length (119mm) but wider (74mm/2.9″) and heavier (120g) than the other mice on this list, which aids comfort but doesn’t allow for as precise mouse movements. Still, a top-notch PixArt 3389 optical sensor and nice clicky buttons make this well-suited for most game genres. Razer’s software is also among the most comprehensive in the business, which is nice for setting up your macros or setting up the RGB lighting. Overall, we think the Naga Trinity is the best option for MMO gamers.

How to find the perfect gaming mouse

The first step is normally to identify what games you’re going to be playing most often. Most genres will be perfectly playable with any kind of mouse, but competitive titles such as PUBG, Counter-Strike, DotA 2, StarCraft 2 or Fortnite place higher demands on mouse precision, making mice with accurate optical sensors and light weight designs more desirable. Similarly, MMOs like World of WarCraft will benefit from having a higher number of buttons than normal for binding your most-used spells and abilities. The first four mice we recommended above are all suitable for FPS and MOBA games, while the last is designed expressly for MMOs or other games that require a large number of hotkeys. If you’re playing games outside of these genres, choosing any of the mice on the list will be just fine.

Secondly, your hand size will determine how comfortable a given mouse is to use. Most people will be happy with a medium-sized mouse, including the first two recommendations, while those on the outer edges of the bell curve should start with our ‘for small hands’ and ‘for large hands’ recommendations. To find your hand size, keep your fingers together and measure from the tip of your longest finger to your wrist.

  • Small hands: Less than 170mm (6.7″)
  • Medium hands: Between 170 and 195mm (6.7″ – 7.7″)
  • Large hands: More than 195mm (7.7″)

You can also measure your hand’s width from the bottom of your hand, across your knuckles and past your thumb. You can compare these two hand measurements, length and width, with a mouse that you’re considering. A mouse that is about 60 per cent in both dimensions should be suitable for your hand size.

For reference, my hand size is 200mm x 100mm, so I personally look for mice that are around 120mm x 60mm. Different grip styles can also influence your ideal mouse size; claw and fingertip grips will hover around the 60 per cent mark, while palm grips are flatter and therefore mice that are closer to 70 per cent of your hand size will feel more comfortable.

Setting a game type and a hand size should narrow the field of potential options substantially. From here, we would recommend mice that include optical sensors (eg the PixArt 3310 and above), low weight (~95g or less), a smooth shape and at least two side buttons. In terms of manufacturers, some of the best-trusted brands are BenQ Zowie, Logitech and SteelSeries, but mice from Corsair, Finalmouse and Razer are also popular and could be worth considering.

Of course, there are also specs and features that are relatively unimportant and should be considered last when choosing a mouse. I would place high maximum DPI settings, RGB lighting and good software into this category for most people, although of course all three features are nice to have. Extremely high (>3200) DPI options aren’t evidence of a good sensor, RGB lighting is normally covered by your hand and most mice software include similar functionality with varying degrees of usability.

Finding the best gaming mouse for you can be a lengthy process, but it is also a rewarding one. We hope this guide has given you at least a place to start; good luck!



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About Ryan

I'm a true gamer. I'm not a pro gamer but ill never stop playing games. My choice of console is PlayStation, but each to their own. I unfortunately do not get as much time as i would like to still play games, but when i do, i love it!

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