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If you are trying to up your gameplay, have a look at this hands-on review of the 12 best gaming mice available today. We know that there are a lot of mice on the market and that the manufacturers' claims are hard to verify. That's where we can help. We delved deep into the weeds analyzing everything from sensor performance to customization options as well as software, weight, switches, cords, and lights. The results of our testing are provided to you in the following report and they are organized in such a way as to make apples-to-apples comparisons straightforward and easy.
The world of gaming is titanic and making the proper choice for your rig can be exacting. We're here to share our expert advice with you so that you can find the perfect gaming device to match your needs. We also have complete testing and reviews for gaming mouse pads, gaming keyboards, and a suite of other gaming products.
Editor's Note: This review was updated on June 21, 2022, to add three new products to our lineup, including the Razer Basilisk V3, the HyperX Pulsefire Haste, and the Corsair Sabre RGB Pro.
The Razer Basilisk V3 offers performance and adjustability in a slick, lethal-looking shell design. This mouse has an adjustable polling rate (125, 500, and 1,000 Hz) and DPI/CPI (100 - 26,000), allowing you to find the perfect balance for your gaming needs. Razer's software allows the user to adjust these elements quickly and easily, as well as program the 11 buttons spread over the unit. In this iteration of the Basilisk, Razer ditched the adjustable scroll wheel resistance, opting for a mechanical switch that toggles between fixed-resistance and infinite scroll, and we found real benefits to in change. Finally, the lighting in the logo, scroll wheel, and underglow bar is almost without limits in its customization options and cool factor.
The Basilisk V3 is a well-designed mouse but it isn't without its shortcomings. One of the most notable is the asymmetrical shape which will not accommodate left-handed gamers. Also, the unit lacks weight adjustments that some may want for a fine-tuned feel. Finally, the sheer amount of customization possible with this unit's buttons, lights, and settings could be akin to drinking from a firehose for new users. Yet, the V3 remains a well-rounded, high-quality gaming mouse that excels in all gaming genres.
The wireless Razer Viper Ultimate offers extended striking distance and a whole lot of customization across its eight programmable buttons. Adjustments to the DPI/CPI (100 - 20,000 in steps of 50) are made through the user-friendly proprietary software while tracking speed (650 IPS) and polling rate (1,000 Hz) are fixed at hyper-competitive levels. The unit's lighting is customizable though it is limited to the logo on the palm rest. Conveniently, the shell is symmetrical, which makes it equally functional for both lefties and righties. Additionally, we found this unit to have prolonged battery life but, just in case, the charging cradle included with the purchase ensures that it'll always be ready for a gaming bender.
Given all the benefits offered by the Viper Ultimate, it's not surprising that the unit costs a pretty penny. However, you can save yourself some money by forgoing the charging dock as the mouse is sold with and without it. Aside from that, our main concern focuses on customization. The stiffness — and lack of adjustability — of the scroll wheel was not to our liking. Despite this issue, we found this mouse to be a pleasure to game with because, in addition to the features already mentioned, its shape matches a variety of hand sizes and grip preferences.
The Logitech G203 Prodigy is a sleek-looking corded gaming mouse that packs a heck of a punch given its price point. Both polling rate and DPI/CPI are adjustable — the latter from 200 - 8,000 in steps of 50 and the prior at presets of 125, 250, 500, and 1,000 Hz. One might think that lighting options would be omitted to save money, but not so with this economic unit. Customization is easy on the fly or, if preferred, with the intuitive software that comes with the mouse. All told, we think you'll be as impressed as we were with this unit.
Unfortunately, the Prodigy isn't without its limitations. Foremost is the issue with the side buttons. While we like that all six of the unit's buttons can be reassigned, we do not like that the side buttons are almost flush with the shell. This design may look good, but it makes it hard to find the buttons you're looking for in the heat of battle. We also felt that the mouse cable was a bit stiff, though this is a minor complaint. Despite these criticisms, the Mercury optical sensor proved to be among the best performers in the class, and the unit's shape fits a wide variety of hand sizes and grip types.
The HyperX Pulsefire Haste stands out in the class due to its lightweight frame (59 grams), its super supple cord, and its low price point. If cat-like responses are needed, this is the go-to mouse because its low mass and zero-resistance cable make noticeable differences in reaction times. However, the HyperX Pulsefire Haste's physical features are accompanied by a host of adjustments such as a customizable polling rate (125, 250, 500, and 1000 Hz), a programmable DPI/CPI button (200 to 16000 in steps of 100), four remappable buttons, as well as programmable scroll wheel lighting. With these kinds of specs, it should be no wonder why we took a liking to his mouse.
There are some downsides though. For one, the HyperX Pulsefire Haste has just six buttons at the user's disposal and, except for the DPI button, you can't make on-the-fly adjustments. As it is, remapping is accomplished with the software and the mouse will only store one button profile at a time. Also, the lightweight nature of the mouse takes some getting used to — we never did get comfortable using it to play MMOs. But that's to be expected. After all, it is a speed mouse that best fits the needs of FPS gamings where quick flicks are the ticket to success. That said, the HyperX Pulsefire Haste will work with a variety of applications and the high-quality hardware won't leave you wanting.
If you want lots of keybind options at the tip of your thumb and index finger, look no further than the Corsair Scimitar RGB Elite. The machine packs in no less than 17 buttons, all of which can be reassigned to the user's specifications. Given the demand this abundance of buttons put on one's digits, it's a definite bonus that the thumb keypad adjusts fore and aft to better match the user's anatomy. Additionally, the proprietary iCUE software allows for adjustments of DPI/CPI (100 - 18,000), polling rate (125, 250, 500, and 1,000 Hz), and lighting (front, side, scroll wheel, and logo).
Given all the options that this unit is endowed with, it's unfortunate that its asymmetrical shell is geared to righties who favor palm gripping. Additionally, our testing showed that this model is best suited to MMO and MOBA-type games as we experienced some trouble aiming in FPS games. This aiming issue is likely due to the relatively heavy weight of the unit, which comes in at a whopping 119 grams, and, to a lesser degree, its stiff cable. Despite these shortcomings, we think this model is deserving of accolades for the sheer number of customizations it is capable of incorporating into one's gameplay.
Senior research analyst Austin Palmer is a dedicated — and skilled — gamer. He gets a lot of practice, too, testing gaming keyboards, gaming headsets, monitors, and the like at work and gaming with friends at home. Senior Review Editor Nick Miley has been testing and analyzing consumer products ranging from outdoor equipment to computer peripheries for nearly a decade. He has worked hand in glove with Austin on several computer game-related reviews over the past few years.
Together these two researched and selected the most promising gaming mice available. Having purchased and received the mice of interest, the two set about testing them in actual gameplay. Their analysis also included an assessment of customization and supporting software, the action of the button switches and scroll wheels, the cable (both the material used and the flexibility), and of course, the weight. Additionally, they looked at the units' button configuration, size, and shape.
Analysis and Test Results
The following discussion is the product of a hands-on, practical evaluation of gaming mice. This work is divided into metrics that capture specific aspects of gaming mouse use and that collectively cover all aspects of the devices in question. Namely, these are performance, customization, ease of use, and buttons. Read on for the specifics of each metric, as well as the details of which models achieved high marks and why.
Value is often in the eye of the beholder, however, we have a more rigid appraisal of a product's value. If a product is comparable in quality and performance to other models in its class but costs less, it's more valuable. Similarly, if a product is comparably priced to products in the class but outperforms its peers, it too has greater value. The Logitech G203 Prodigy stands out in the class for its low price point and high-end performance. Also worthy to note is the Razer DeathAdder V2, which meets this standard but to a lesser degree.
With the exception of mouse weight, the performance evaluation is essentially a collation of the mouse components. As such, we note the sensor and switch type but also include the specifications of these components. Specifically, we are interested in the sensors' dots/counts per inch (DPI/CPI) rating, tracking speed, and polling rate. Additionally, we want to know if the sensor is optical or laser and whether it is flawless — meaning that it does not have "corrective" firmware. Finally, we look at the button switch type (optical or mechanical) and weight sans cord if the unit has one. When the tally was complete, this group of gaming mice came across the finish line neck and neck, with the biggest differences showing in switch type, weight, and tracking speed.
All of the models reviewed here have flawless optical sensors with latency that is almost nonexistent — certainly below the threshold of the eye's perception. All models offer adjustable DPI/CPI and polling rates with the latter maxing out at 1,000 Hz across the board. As stated above, one of the main differences in these products is the button switch type, with the Razer Viper Ultimate, the Razer DeathAdder V2, and the Razer Basilisk V3 sporting the cutting edge optical switches that eliminate bouncing issues and make latency concerns irrelevant. The Razer Viper Ultimate stood out, albeit just a bit, in a class that uniformly received top marks in the performance evaluation.
Weight, too, varied a good deal across our lineup. We favored mice with lower measured weight as this facilitates quicker reactions and movements. The featherweight HyperX Pulsefire Haste and Glorious Model O- lead the pack at just 59 grams (2.1 ounces) each. The Corsair Sabre RGB Pro comes in next at a bit of a distance, tipping the scale at 74 grams.
Finally, there are big differences in the tracking speed specifications of each mouse, ranging from 200 inches per second (IPS) up to 650 IPS. However, these disparities are largely irrelevant as the minimum tracking speed in the group is faster than anyone will move their mouse in actual gameplay.
The ability to adjust the aesthetics and performance behavior of a gaming mouse allows the user to meet their personal preferences and the demands of the games being played. The two main categories of customization our assessment focuses on are buttons and lights. However, we also account for less common features like the ability to use the mouse with either hand, as well as weight and scroll wheel adjustments. Lighting adjustments are aesthetic and, thus, less important, but button customization is paramount. The ability to assign macros or keybinds to buttons is critical to high-level gameplay. Moreover, the ability to set and save profiles as you experiment with different strategies and tactics is a huge advantage.
The Corsair Scimitar RGB Elite and the Logitech G502 HERO are the most highly customizable units with 17 and 11 programmable buttons, respectively. The Corsair has a unique 12-button side panel that slides forward and backward to match the position of the user's thumb. The HERO has the most expansive RGB lighting array of the class, with five zones in total, all fully adjustable. The HERO's scroll wheel can switch between infinite scroll (no resistance at all) and fixed resistance. Additionally, this is the only unit in the class with adjustable weighting that ranges between 119 and 137 grams.
The Razer Basilisk V3 and Razer Viper Ultimate have 11 and eight programmable buttons, respectively. These units also have Razer's proprietary Hypershift function that allows one to switch between five unique profiles with the push of a button. Additionally, the Basilisk V3 has a toggled resistance/infinite scroll wheel setting, while the Viper Ultimate is one of the few ambidextrous mice in the class. Both of these models have customizable RGB lighting illuminating their logos and, in the case of the Basilisk V3, the scroll wheel, and underglow bar as well.
It should be noted that there are several specs discussed in the performance portion of this article that are adjustable. Specifically, these are DPI/CPI, tracking speed, and poll rate. All the mice here reviewed either accommodate the adjustability of these features or are fixed at a level that makes the lack of adjustment irrelevant.
Ease of Use
No one wants to open the box of their new combat periphery and then spend the next couple of hours setting it up. The ease of use evaluation looks to address this issue by evaluating the effort required to set up and operate the mouse. In this series of assessments, we compare the software that facilitates the customization and adjustments of the parameters discussed in the performances and customization sections, as well as on-the-fly adjustments. Additionally, we assessed how the cable on wired mice affects the unit's movement. Despite wireless mice having a clear advantage in this metric, the class-leading Logitech G Pro and the Razer Viper Ultimate earn the top spot for their intuitive software and straightforward programming.
Wireless mice aside, many gamers prefer the wired variety due to their presumed lack of latency, relatively low cost, and lack of a charging requirement. Given the sustaining popularity of the wired mice, we looked at the cables tethering these units and how they affect gameplay. Specifically, we looked at cord construction and stiffness as well as the position of the attachment point.
Surprisingly, there are not huge differences in performance between the supple braided cables like that found on the Razer Basilisk V3 and the stiff rubber variety used on models like the Logitech G203 Prodigy. However, we did find that the raised attachment point on the BenQ Zowie S2 reduced cable contact with the mouse pad and thus the drag with a positive effect. Also, the ultra-flexible cable of the HyperX Pulsefire Haste made it seem like there was no cable at all. If you think we're grasping at straws with this analysis, consider that many of the top players using wired mice employ a bungee system to suspend the cable and avoid drag altogether.
This evaluation looks at the action of buttons and the scroll wheel as well as the sound produced by these components when they are actuated. The HyperX Pulsefire Haste, the Logitech G Pro, and the Razer Basilisk V3 lead the group in this assessment because their scroll wheels stood out for their smooth and even movement and the near-silent action of their buttons.
The mice we tested clustered fairly high in this assessment, which wasn't that surprising given their performances up to this point. However, we were not expecting that the action of the left and right buttons would be essentially uniform across the group. Many of the mice use mechanical switches made by either Omron, Huano, or Logitech. The Razer models use Razer optical switches. Despite these differences in manufacturing and technology, the tactile experience was virtually identical.
Sizing and Measurements
We did not rate these mice on their dimensions as sizing and grip type are preferential, and in the latter's case, prone to change. However, we encourage readers to measure their mouse hand and look for models matching their grip style and hand size. For more information on this process, see our Buying Advice article. In an effort to help you select the best mouse for your hand and grip, we have taken detailed measurements of the mice and made them available in the comparison chart at the head of the article. The following details each measurement as well as the general sizing to match.
There are two necessary measurements to make a general sizing assessment before purchasing a gaming mouse. These are hand length and hand width. Of course, preference and grip type play a role as well. Yet, in general, a hand length of less than 6-3/4 inches and a width of less than 3-1/4 inches is small. A hand length of 6-3/4 inches to 8 inches and a width of 3-1/4 to 4 inches is medium. And, a hand length greater than 8 inches and a width greater than 4 inches is large. General mouse sizing can be found in the comparison chart at the top of the article.
The mice themselves have several dimensions one can size to dial in the perfect fit. These measurements are finger width, waist, palm width, length, shell length, height, and hump inset. While this may seem like a lot of info, as one becomes more familiar with their grip and gaming preference, details like shell length will be more important. As with mouse sizing, these measurements can be found in the comparison chart above.
This review of gaming mice takes a comprehensive look at all the aspects that contribute to a competitive gaming mouse for every genre ranging from FPSs to MMOs. Specifically, we plunged into the deep end of the pool, evaluating everything from sensor and button switch performance to customization options, from ease of use to unit weight and connection type. With the information derived from our side-by-side product analysis, you'll be set up to select the right tool for your gaming the first time around.
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