Fragtastic: The 9 Best Gaming Mice

A good gamer is a well-equipped gamer. You wouldn’t go into battle without proper body armor and weaponry, nor should you head out into the dog frag dog world of PC gaming without a high resolution monitor, a bombproof processor, and one of the best gaming mice on the market. To do so would be to show up at the battle completely unarmed. You’ll survive only long enough for your adversaries to point and laugh before you’re forever wiped from existence, a sad little memory drifting to the absolute bottom of the leaderboards.

Choosing the right mouse for gaming is about finding one that has low latency for quicker data transmission from device to computer. It’s also about finding one that suits your grip style whether you are a palm gripper, a claw man, or one of the ninja-grade fingertippers. They’ll usually have customizable software that you can change to suit your needs, and more sensors for a higher DPI (Dots Per Inch aka CPI) than the average mouse to better translate your movements without error. If you’re ready to take your game to the next level, whether playing RTS, MMO, FPS, or any other acronym, then you’re ready for one of the 9 best gaming mice around.

Corsair Vengeance M65

Corsair Vengeance M65

Pro: Two words: Sniper Button
Con: No left-handed option

Killing Time: Here’s all you really need to know to decide if the Vengeance is right for you: Have you ever complained that none of your gaming mice have a button dedicated to sniping? If you have, then you not only need an M65, you require it. It’s built with the first person shooter fan in mind from top to bottom. The DPI runs as high as 8,200 for more than enough sensitivity to sight up your target and paint the town red without any lag. It has five glide pads on the bottom that reduce friction and allow for a sleeker slide. Rather than being adorned with LED lights, this has an aluminum core with plastic panels on top that makes it look like a stripped down field weapon. The trouble is that the laser tracking system doesn’t have the option of dropping acceleration meaning you’ll always be contending with it and can’t get exact movement. Anyone in the optical fan base should be aware. There aren’t many programmable buttons which might turn off RTS players and will certainly disgust the MMO fanatic, but the simplified chassis can still bring plenty to the table no matter what you prefer. Southpaws will need to look elsewhere since there’s no lefty version of the M65. [Purchase: $52]

Mionix NAOS 7000

Mionix NAOS 7000

Pro: Large
Con: Wheel can be imprecise

A Handful: Those who grab their mice with their whole hand like they’re trying to palm a basketball will love the NAOS 7000 because it has a big, bulky chassis. Those who claw their hand or use only their fingertips will hate it for the exact same reason. The entire NAOS line is great, but we liked the 7000 because it uses an optical sensor which doesn’t suffer from the acceleration issues that you’ll find in laser mice due to their corrective internal technology. That said, you might enjoy the older NAOS 8200 more than the 7000, but that’s mostly about preference and gaming style. The tracking speed runs up to 5.45m/sec which is very respectable, while the DPI can be adjusted on the fly up to 7,000. Your lift off distance can also be changed if you tend to raise your hand during sudden movements. The scroll wheel is probably one of the mushier ones and due to the broad nature of the mouse, its placement can require some stretching. If you’ve got smaller hands this will probably frustrate you to no end. The software can be tweaked, but is overly simplistic and has a tendency to crash so more advanced gamers will find it a little spartan for their needs. [Purchase: $58]

Razer DeathAdder Chroma

Razer DeathAdder Chroma

Pro: Very large DPI
Con: No built-in memory

The Optician: Gaming mice that use an optical sensor typically keep their DPI low since they don’t need quite as much torque to accomplish the same tasks thanks to their simpler tit-for-tat movement ratio. The DeathAdder breaks that mold by offering a full 10,000 DPI, which is more than any gamer really needs, but better to err on the side of overkill. The ergonomics are above reproach with a slender midsection that flares into the upper buttons and fits into your hand better than any glove. Rubber grips on the sides prevent it from slipping however you choose to grip it. The equipment is impressive, but is sadly coupled with software that doesn’t quite clear the bar. Rather than using built-in storage for your macros they have a cloud-based system. It should work well, but you have to install the Razer Synapse software wherever you go so be sure you have it loaded on a flash drive before you head out. Inconvenient if you’re just using your buddy’s box for a night. With plenty of models this is a bare bones optical mouse with minimal flash that is comfortable, easy to use, and gives you a boatload of DPI on an optical. [Purchase: $60]

Zowie Gear EC1 Evo CL

Zowie Gear EC1 Evo CL

Pro: Rubberized back for better finger grip
Con: LED lights can’t be turned off

Zero Frills: Though it is one of the simplest mice in the world, this appeals to a very esoteric audience, namely those who prefer to use a finger mouse position, like a very basic rig, and/or exclusively play MOBA games. The body is fairly long but boasts a rubberized backing that is better for those who need to keep a handle on the mouse without grabbing it. It also slopes down nicely to prevent a high finger arch that can cause cramping. The 5 buttons are very minimal, though they can be programmed easily to handle a few rudimentary commands. Too few for your average MMO player, but are just right for fast access to skills in most battle arenas. The Evo CL is one of the few options that can actually be used in a Plug-and-Play capacity allowing it to work even on a Chromebook. It does have driver software associated with it that improves the performance, but you can hook it into a strange box on the fly and it will still perform admirably. The DPI only has three settings: 450, 1150, and 2300. It uses an optical sensor, so higher DPI’s aren’t as important, but you won’t get bigger numbers even if you desperately need it. The LED lights are mighty purdy, but can’t be turned off, so just get used to them. [Purchase: $60]

Razer Naga

Razer Naga

Pro: Huge number of buttons
Con: Seriously, it’s an overwhelming number of buttons

MMO Master: When you’ve hunted through the entire collection of gaming mice to find one with 19 programmable buttons, then you damn sure need every last one of them, which means you must have a Naga. It is geared for the MMO player who needs to have the widest array of spells and skills at their fingertips. Each button can be programmed and personalized with macros and can even be programmed from within most games to execute specific commands based on what software is being run. You can even get a grid overlay to display on the screen until you memorize where everything is so that during a 72 hour, caffeine fueled raiding bender your exhausted mind can still find the right combination. It will take time to get the hang of, certainly, and most people will find it to be the most preposterous kind of overkill, but as the MMORPG market wanes and fewer manufacturers make mice with the role-player in mind, this is going to be your most modern option. The laser sensor complete with 8,200 DPI makes it good for quicker response games if you need to switch to that and even business users who require a lot of intuitive macros have found use for one version of the Naga or another. [Purchase: $60+]

Cougar 700M

Cougar 700M

Pro: Sturdy aluminum body
Con: Low palm rest even at maximum height

The Metamorphosis: This is the Swiss Army knife of gaming mice since it is totally customizable inside and out. Palmers and claw users can extend the base until their hand lays properly while fingerers can compact it down to a light and tight minimalist killing machine. A triple set of weights allows you to change how much heft it has, though they’re a hassle to add or subtract, so you’ll probably want to pick a weight that works for everything. The 8 programmable buttons offer a nice mid-range option with one of the simplest and most comprehensive customization interfaces of any mouse on the market, making it as easy to change the software as it is the body. The DPI runs from 50 to 8,200, enough to keep anyone happy. Under the hood is a 32 Bit ARM processor that handles data like a champ while a 512 KB on-board storage system lets you take your macros with you wherever you go. This has a dedicated sniper button that is very easy to reach whatever your grip style and allows you to drop in and out of scope quickly. Cougar ordinarily makes cases, fans, and other hard-core hardware, but are branching out into peripherals like gaming mice and gaming headsets, meaning this bears their stamp of quality and can survive a few million clicks. [Purchase: $69+]

Logitech G502 Proteus Core

Logitech G502 Proteus Core

Pro: Highly sensitive
Con: Very angular design

Mr. Sensitive: Ordinarily a high DPI is a good thing. You can get more on-screen motion for less movement which makes the nanosecond difference between getting the shot off and taking one between the eyes, but mice like the G502 can take it to the extreme. At the upper end this can be jacked up to run at 12,000 DPI meaning it moves if you glance at it the right way. The intent here is for 360 degree shooters who like being able to spin or large map strategists who want to cover miles of battleground with a snap. Naturally this can be adjusted all the way down to 100 DPI so anyone can find their sweet spot without much trouble. The massive DPI range customization puts many other mice to shame, but Proteus also gives you the choice of adding or subtracting weight whether you like light and fast or heavy and solid. The long, slim body is best for claw grip gamers. It puts all of the buttons in easy reach of arched fingers while palmers will have a more difficult time getting their digits up and over. Logitech’s gaming software is great and includes the ability to use the mouse to scan new surfaces for calibration so if you go from glass to wood, you’ll still get deadly accuracy every time. [Purchase: $72]

Roccat Kone XTD Optical

Roccat Kone XTD Optical

Pro: Optical sensor
Con: Long

Special Edition: Roccat put out a limited run of XTD’s that used an optical sensor rather than the traditional laser variety, and they are destined to become a classic. They’re still easy to find without paying exorbitant amounts, so if you’re an optical fan, these are certainly worth your time. They’ve got a 32 bit V2 ARM MCU processor that can handle the quickest speeds along with a 576 KB of internal storage which can be used like a tiny external hard drive for all of your macros  The 6,400 DPI speed might be a little lower than most common laser models, but it isn’t burdened with acceleration issues at all. The lift control can be altered to suit your needs. As with other Roccat gaming mice this has their Shift + technology so the number of programmable buttons is doubled when you hit the Shift. At 1000Hz the polling rate screams along with the best of them. The body lacks the ability to alter the weight, and the lighting effects are a little garish, so be prepared for a distracting show whenever you use it. The size and tilt make it ideal for palmers and claw mousers, but fingerers will almost surely dislike the length of the chassis. [Purchase: $77]

Steel Series Sensei Wireless

Steel Series Sensei Wireless

Pro: Outstanding customization software
Con: Recharging is annoying

Unchained: There’s a lot to make hard-core gamers recoil in horror from the Sensei Wireless gaming mouse. First off, it is wireless. Second it is a laser rather than optical mouse so there is the issue of internal acceleration. While those facts coupled with the price tag are enough to warrant passing this one by, it is worth a second look. The wireless issues are barely there since the transmission time is clocked at 1 millisecond with a 1,000Hz polling rate which is barely noticeable and certainly puts every other wireless model to shame. If you prefer wired, it has that option as well which will eliminate even the tiniest lag whatsoever. The acceleration that comes from using a laser interface gives it a 30 Gs rating that many gamers swear by, but if you want to turn it off for true 1:1 ratio movement, it bears that option as well. The sensor is easy to adjust and maxes out at 8,200 DPI. It is made in an ambidextrous style with 8 total programmable buttons for loading up all your macros. The software includes the SteelSeries Engine which is easy to use for changing the settings as much as you want. The only issues are the slight lag in wireless mode, the cost, and the need to remember the portable charger whenever you go on the road. [Purchase: $123]

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