Gaming Mice, Explained
Hey guys, this is Twix, with yet another informational post that nobody asked for but I hope will widen your horizons in the context of gaming knowledge. My goal when posting such content is always to pass on my knowledge as a competitively oriented player and coach to as many people as possible. For those of you that want to stay updated on my content, or want to get in contact with me for inquiries related to the coaching services I offer, you can DM me at: twitter.com/Twix_v2 or join my training oriented Discord server linked at the end of this post where you can find tons of like-minded individuals to discuss the game and general aspects of game / aim related training with.
Initially, I was just going to upload a post acting as an update to the mouse tier list I provided in my Valorant guides, however, upon further contemplation I decided that in order for people to fully comprehend my mouse recommendations and be able to decide for themselves if they agree with my reasoning, it is important that they understand what makes a good gaming mouse “good”.
Before elaborating further, I want to emphasize upon the fact that mouse preference is partially subjective; However, there are some aspects which set mice apart, e.g. shape, build quality, weight, switches, sensor accuracy, etc. that mostly objective.
Personal Tier List
Discord & Twitter Links
The most important factor that you should individually prioritize while searching for the optimal mouse, is shape. Mouse shape is subjective for the most part as everyone has a different hand size and preferred grip style, although even on this topic, there are certain things in relation to optimal shape which are more reliant on objective factors than one may think.
First off, let’s briefly discuss the three different main grip styles in gaming, and what they look like. The three grip styles are:
Pictured above : The three main mouse “grip styles”
The grip style that you choose to use is entirely subjective. Wait, I lied, if you are a palm gripper, it’s time to stop. No, seriously. The reason palm grip is sub-optimal as a grip style is due to the fact that it limits your hand movement the most out of the three aforementioned grips. Palm grip might be viable for very one-dimensional (mechanically) games, where aiming is limited to horizontal click-timing, but try to play any scenario in an aim trainer that introduces verticality, TS (target switching) or tracking, and you’ll quickly realize why the grip style is sub-optimal. Playing on palm grip doesn’t allow you to make fine adjustments using your fingers, and also restricts the arc your wrist can make. Claw and Fingertip grip are both viable for gaming, allowing for a wider range of movement using your wrist and fingers, with claw grip providing some added stability but sacrificing range of movement slightly.
So, why is grip style relevant in this post? Well, your preffered grip has a direct influence upon your mouse preference, e.g. If you’re a palm gripper, you’ll have a difficult time adjusting to a smaller mouse, as you won’t be able to rest your hand on it, this holds true the other way around as well, as fingertip grippers won’t be comfortable using a larger mouse such as something in the Zowie EC series, or a Deathadder, etc. This is also the reason mouse shape is mostly subjective as it all boils down to preference once you’ve narrowed down the mouse selection into a reasonable range of well performing mice, but there are also objective elements. Choosing a smaller mouse usually allows for a more relaxed position in your fingers, meaning that they have more freedom to move around in order to make the appropriate adjustments while aiming in FPS games, Valorant is very reliant on making micro-adjustments, and although these are mostly horizontal, it’s still far easier to be precise while using a combination of your wrist + fingers for fine adjustments, and your arm for larger mvoements, over just using your arm for 99% of actions.
While the leading factor in choosing a mouse will always be how the shape feels in an individual’s hands, there are plenty of hardware aspects which you should look into before purchasing a gaming mouse, these include general build quality, stock feet, stock cables, sensor quality, clicks, and most importantly, weight. Let’s break each of these aspects down, and discuss their importance.
In relation to build quality, what you’re looking for is pretty simple, just avoid any company that uses poor materials for their products, in the long term, it will be worth it. It’s better to spent $80+ on a mouse that has the potential to last for years without any problems, than to spend $20 on a mouse that will start having major performance issues in a couple of months. Cheaper mice may have hardware issues such as quickly deteriorating mouse switches, peeling grip material, faulty scroll wheels, and deteriorating sensor accuracy / performance. If you are serious about your performance in games, you should be ok with spending a little more, as the return is quite substantial, your mouse is the most important part of your peripherals setup and has the largest impact on your in-game performance
Mouse feet are what the glide of your mouse is dependant on, low quality feet will often result in poor glide, meaning your mouse movements will require extra force, this can often result in a lack of accuracy while playing. Unfortunately, even higher-end products often tend to come with sub-optimal stock mouse feet, for example, logitech gaming mice (including the GPW, the company’s flagship) are known to come with pretty horrendous stock feet, the GPW is a great mouse and an expensive one too, however, the stock feet offer pretty poor glide and even a “scratchy” feel. On the brightside, feet are pretty cheap and easy to replace, so all you’ll have to do is order a new pair online. When buying mouse feet, the material you want to be looking for is Teflon, otherwise known as “PTFE”. Teflon is a very cheap material, and offers great glide, my personal recommendation for after market mouse feet brands are Tiger Arc, Corepadz, and Hyperglide, in that order. If you’re interested in something offering a different glide that last longer, you can look into ceramic feet like Lexips, although I wouldn’t recommend ceramic mouse feet as they can feel horrible depending on the mousepad you use. For more information on mousepads, check the “resources” section further down the post.
This one is pretty self explanatory, you want a cable that isn’t too stiff or made out of a material that drags on your mousepad. Poorly designed cables are unfortunately something that comes up as an issue with higher end mice as well, Zowie mice for example come with rubber cables which tend to drag like crazy and are quite stiff, while Logitech mice also come with braided cables that are quite stiff and drag quite heavily on your mousepad. Similar to the problem with sub-optimal stock feet, you can alter your cables for quite cheap. You can paracord your cables (remove the stock material from around the wires and replace it) in order to reduce the stiffness and allow for your cable to bend freely in any position, and you can buy a mouse bungee for quite cheap to eliminate cable drag.
The sensor being used in a gaming mouse is simultaneously the most important aspect of a mouse, while also being the least important aspect of a mouse. What do I mean by this? Well, having a sensor that doesn’t add smoothing, mouse acceleration, etc. to your movements, is low latency, and doesn’t spin out, is absolutely crucial to your performance, however, any modern gaming mouse that you purchase that isn’t some off-brand piece of plastic will have an accurate sensor.
Mouse clicks aren’t that important, and is also a quite subjective topic in relation to what people enjoy the most. The only thing you need to worry about here, is having clicks that aren’t too stiff or too light, which most modern mice offer regardless. If the actuation force required to activate a mouse switch is too low, it will result in overly light clicks which may lead to accidental clicking, something you definitely don’t want. If the required force is too high, it may lead to mouse buttons that are too stiff, which is also something that you definitely want to avoid, for obvious reasons. Be careful of mice such as the GPW which tend to have switch-related issues such as double clicking.
To me, this is the second most important factor when it comes to picking a mouse, shape being the first. Having a mouse in the right weight range can make it a lot easier for you to aim accurately, too much weight and you may end up having to use too much force to actually get the mouse moving, and on the flipside, too little weight (<60g) and you may sacrifice stability. Personally, my ideal weight range is something in the midst of 70-80 grams, as I find anything substantially lighter to be too light, resulting in an evident lack of stability, and anything substantially heavier results in an unecessary amount of force required to initiate movement, throwing off my aim, especially in scenarios which require you to react rapidly to a target changing directions. Another thing to look out for, is center of mass, the GPW for example is a mouse that lands within my ideal weight range (80g) yet the weight is distributed unevenly, making it quite back heavy, so it doesnt’ feel as good as other mice in the same weight category to me.
Personal Mouse Tier List
In this section I will be discussing my ideal mice for competitive FPS, and the reasons that lead to me choosing them.
My favorite mice, from right to left
1) Razer Viper Series
The Razer Viper series is single-handedly the best line of products that Razer has released in a good while, these mice are absolutely amazing. Light weight with no honey-comb shell, an amazing wireless sensor on the ultimate, great build quality, best stock feet I’ve used (pure PTFE), a great ambi shape, and a very decent scroll wheel and optical switches. I personally main the RVU ( Razer Viper Ultimate ) as I can’t go back to wired mice, and the mouse is absolutely fantastic, it is quite expensive at approximately $150 with the charging dock for the wireless model, but it is 100% worth it in my opinion. Personally, I do enjoy the shape of the Viper mini slightly more than the wireless due to the decrease in size, but it doesn’t negatively impact performance for me to the extent where I’d switch to the wired counter-part of this mouse. The Viper (wired) and Viper mini are both quite cheap if you don’t want to opt for the wireless flagship, and still perform just as well, while being even lighter.
Not much to be said for this one, it?s pretty straightforward. <$50 Wireless mouse with a great low-latency sensor. This mouse comes in pretty heavy if it isn’t modded, with horrible stock feet, and it’s center of mass is very rear-ended due to the battery position. unmodded, I wouldn’t place this mouse in second place, but if you simply buy yourself an AAA lithium battery, and some aftermarket mouse feet, which will set you back for a combined total of around $10, you have a great wireless mouse that you paid at most $60 for. The G305 is a value king, not to mention the fact that it’s so called “egg” shape allows for more freedom of movement than any other shape currently available, that’s if you can get used to the way the sides bulge outwards. Around 80% of top aimers in Kovaak’s use the “egg” as their main mouse.
3) EndGame Gear XM1
This mouse is the ideal shape for claw grippers, narrow middle portion and thick rear portion allows for added comfort while maintaining control / stability. It uses crisp omron switches, a flawless sensor (3389), pure PTFE stock feet, and one of the best, if not the best, cables, Endgame Gear’s so called “flexcord”. The front end of this mouse is very low profile, allowing for more precise fine adjustments. An analogy that RJN (best mouse reviewer) often uses is to think of it as holding a pencil while drawing, you’d be much more precise while gripping the mouse lower down, closer to the surface you’re drawing on. This mouse is currently seen as the ?claw king?, highly recommended for it’s price point.
4) G Pro Wireless
This mouse is more on the expensive side at a price of around $150 retail, but it?s definitely worth it in my experience with it. Great highly responsive clicks, great sensor (wireless is just as responsive as wired), fantastic build quality (the plastic used is extremely smooth and almost feels “soft”), great removable side buttons with no post/pre travel, no cable / wire to drag across your mousepad. My only complaint in relation to this mouse would be the stock feet, but you can get a pair of tiger arcs for $5-10. Weight distribution is also slightly rear-ended but it shouldn?t matter much when you aren?t picking the mouse up, which you shouldn’t be doing to begin with. I mained this mouse for a couple of month before switching to the RVU (Razer Viper Ultimate) a superior choice, in my opinion, since I like more agressive shapes, and lower profile mice.
5) G Pro Wired / G102 / G103 / G203
I will elaborate very briefly upon this choice, these are all basically just wired versions of the G305, the shape is identical, the only difference between these models being their weight, and some having slightly better mouse button switches. Again, the mouse comes with pretty horrible stock feet, but those can be replaced for $5-10, so it isn’t much of an issue. The logitech braided cable is also horrendous, so you’ll have to get yourself a paracord + bungee, setting you back around $30 when paired with the aftermarket feet purchase. The weight for these mice also can’t be adjusted like the G305, due to the fact that they don’t have removable parts.
6) Zowie EC2-B Divina Series
Although quite large, this is one of the most used mice in CSGO, due to it’s great shape and sensor (3360), everything else is pretty garbage to be very honest with you but I’m heavily biased due to two reasons. For one, I used this mouse for years while playing competitively in CSGo, and two, the shape of this mouse is so good for people who prefer ergo shapes over ambi shapes, that it pretty much makes up for all it’s errors, and boy does it have a lot of those. Bad cable material, stiff clicks, mushy side buttons, and mediocre overall build quality. Why am I recommending this? again, shape >.
In this section, I will provide you with a collection of online resources which I find to be quite useful for those looking to buy a new gaming mouse.
Shape Comparison Tool
If you already have a mouse that works for you and you’re thinking about upgrading, but you don’t know which mouse would suit your current preference, here’s a great online tool to visually compare mice shapes / sizes:
Here is an example of me using the tool to compare the GPW to the RVU:
Shape comparison tool
Spec Comparison Spreadsheet
Example of what sort of information the spreadsheet provides
Hand Measurement Guide
In order to measure your hands for the purpose of finding a mouse you will want to measure two things, one is the length of your hand, like so:
The other is the width of your hand, like so:
Once you have these measurements, you can check out RJN’s mouse picker tool here to narrow down the list of mice that may work for your hand size:
Discord + Twitter Links