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I'm doing a bit of research about mice, with the view of getting a new one. There's quite a few things that are obvious (for example, i wouldn't get a ball mouse) but there's a few things that baffle me.

I notice most mice seem to be graded by DPI (though wikipedia says cpi is more accurate) and that mice have switchable DPI - what would be the advantage/disadvantages of high and low DPI mice? Which would be better for precision work, gaming, or use with fairly limited desk space (well for the last, trackballs), but you get the idea.

I also notice that some logitech mice seem to have adjustable weight - what would be the practical advantage of a heavier mouse?

lastly, while i'm planning on getting a wired mouse, if i was getting a wireless mouse what technologies should i be looking at? i notice some systems use bluetooth, and others use other technology. Is there any practical difference between them?

EDIT:

One more thing i just noticed - what would be the difference between an optical, laser and infrared based sensor?

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Probably not worth an answer, but if you have a local computer store it might be worth actually handling a mouse before buying it if you have a chance. It might tick all of the right boxes but be uncomfortable in your hand when it arrives otherwise! –  Richard Oct 14 '11 at 7:29
    
if possible, yes. Kind of helps that i favour non handed mice –  Journeyman Geek Oct 14 '11 at 7:46

3 Answers 3

up vote 4 down vote accepted
  • DPI. This refers to the amount of movement in the mouse that corresponds to an amount of movement in the cursor or whatever is being controlled by the mouse. This is useful for different applications, but commonly used in games, where you may want fast movement for run-and-gun and slow movement for sniping, where you want fine control. So a lower DPI means more mouse movement for a given movement on screen. It could be useful on a small desk, but try it first, as a higher DPI means a finer level of control is required. This can become tiring for normal work.

  • Weight. This is about choice more than anything. The differences in inertia due to different masses in the mouse means a different level of force required for it to move. Again, this can help when doing fine control stuff, as you don't want the mouse skittering around when doing pixel level activities - so a heavier mouse could help. Very subjective.

  • Wireless mice come in two main flavours, 2.6ghz and bluetooth. Both require batteries or charging from time to time. Bluetooth is sometimes preferred with laptops if it already supports bluetooth, so you don't need to sacrifice a usb port for a mouse usb dongle. Otherwise there isn't much benefit in bluetooth imo.

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I don't understand how DPI is of any importance. Can't you just set the mouse speed higher or lower in your OS or the game? Isn't the maximum trackable acceleration much more important (so that the mouse keeps track of where it is even when moving it very fast, for example in games to turn around and shoot instantly)? –  Luc Mar 27 '13 at 8:52
    
@Luc DPI is more important for accuracy. Imagine that a mouse could only measure 10 DPI, so it would only recognise 10 individual steps when moved an inch - so the resultant motion on screen would be jumpy. Compare that to 2000 DPI. –  Paul Mar 28 '13 at 10:32
    
Right. I don't really notice the difference between my 800DPI mouse and a 3500 one (besides the increase in cursor speed), but that makes sense. –  Luc Mar 28 '13 at 10:59

To continue Paul's list with some things I've experienced:

  • Some optical mice dislike the colour of your desk - had this experience at a customer where Microsoft optical mice were in use - the light beige desk surface somehow irritated the mouse. Sometimes not moving at all and then doing wild jumps - we had to revert to mousepads to overcome this issue - to clarify: The desk surface was not too smooth and mice from other brands didn't had any problems. I think it's related to the color of the light the mouse uses.

  • The last time I was looking for a mouse for my Laptop I tripped over a neat Logitech one, which featured an optical sensor instead of a wheel and this sensor was also clickable. Just out of curiosity I bought that one and was very satisfied with that sensor. With UNIX/Linux I use the middle button very often (paste) and a clickable scrolling wheel often slips on clicking. Not so this optical sensor which is in my opinion a very nice solution. Still I haven't found a nice mouse with scrolling wheel and a full sized middle button yet. It's because of this that I still use an old mechanical 3-Button mouse at my primary workstation.

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I've bought two great mice since asking this question (for different systems) and had a few things that I realised with them.

Firstly of course, that the position of the buttons was crucial - I had a Logitech G300 which was a great mouse, but 4 of the mouse buttons were awkwardly positioned.

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On the other hand, the mouse I got after that, for my new system was a little more accessible

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This will naturally depend on your grip style, hand size, but button positioning is essential in picking the perfect mouse.

I found that I preferred different resolutions for different tasks, and that the ideal mouse resolution setting depends on screen size. The G300 goes up to 3200 dpi/cpi, and this is what I use on it by default, on a Full HD screen (1920x1080). My Kone XTD goes up to 8200 DPI (and I only have a 1600x900 screen on that system) - I use the full resolution for normal use, and turn it down to 3200 dpi for normal use. You can, however also leave the mouse at full resolution and turn down the sensitivity either in windows or from the mouse configuration program. While a lot of gamers do this, this means you can't use the built in resolution switching option from the mouse configuration software effectively. If you're happy with your current mouse, and there isn't another compelling feature, there's not as much point in paying more specifically for higher resolution.

Mouse configuration software seems to be a useful thing too - I have my mice set to use the keys under the scrollwheel for scrolling, and once you breach the 3 button paradigm, you really want to be able to re-map these extra keys. You might be able to use them, in many cases as extra keys in games without remapping however, which might be simpler in many cases.

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