Gaming Mouse vs Regular Mouse, Should You Upgrade?

Whether you need a gaming mouse or not simply comes down to what you would use it for. If you’re not big into PC games then a regular mouse should be fine. Maybe you are a PC gamer and are wondering if you should upgrade to a gaming mouse. How much better is a gaming mouse vs a regular mouse?

Improved performance in and out of the game

When you’re playing a game you want your results to come down to your personal skill. What you don’t want is out-of-game elements affecting your in-game score/performance. A perfect example of this would be a cheap mouse affecting your in-game ability. Gaming mice outperform regular mice across the board. Mouse software, programmable buttons, DPI and mouse sensors are a few examples of gaming mouse qualities that could improve your gaming experience.

gaming mouse vs regular mouse

Mouse software

Most high-end gaming mice come with software you can download that lets you fine-tune your mouse settings. You would also use this software to bind the extra buttons on the mouse, allowing more flexibility with your in-game keybinds. A lot of mouse software lets you change the color of the RGB lights on your mouse. If you don’t like backlighting you could turn the lights off completely. These programs will also let you set your DPI to an exact number to find the perfect sensitivity for you. You can set up different profiles on the software with individual settings. You can change between your different DPI profiles whenever you feel like it.

corsair gaming mouse software

Extra buttons

Extra programmable buttons are something you will almost exclusively find on gaming mice. Most mice offer at least 3 extra buttons with some offering up to 14. MMOs like World of Warcraft are where these extra buttons shine. The Razer Naga was specifically designed to cater to games that require tons of macros. In a game like WoW it’s not uncommon to have 20+ keybinds. To avoid using many variations of shift and alt modifiers a lot of people buy an MMO mouse instead! Although most games don’t necessarily need extra buttons to keep up with the key-binds, it’s nice to have quickly accessible buttons for more flexibility.

Razer gaming mouse programmable buttons

Build quality and design

You get what you pay for, the best gaming mice are far more expensive than regular computer mice. Gaming mice have improved build quality, in fact, Corsair mice promise to last for up to 2 million mouse clicks. Gaming mice are built to last, as long as you take care of them they should last considerably longer than regular mice. Most pro gaming mice come with a 1-2 year warranty, this helps justify the price for anyone worried about the mouse not lasting.  

Gaming mice are known for their design, some designs being more over the top than others. It comes down to personal preference whether you want flashy RGB backlighting, or prefer a simple clean look. The point is that when buying a gaming mouse you get to choose from a wide range of designs. If you’re someone who values having a sweet looking setup then the design alone could be enough reason to go for a gaming mouse.

white logitech gaming mouse

Ergonomic advantages

Gaming mice offer a wider range of shapes and sizes than regular mice. If you’re a gamer spending a lot of your time using the computer it’s a good idea to look out for your hands. Having a mouse with good ergonomics will soften the effects of long term computer use. In theory, good ergonomics should also improve your in-game performance as you’ll be more comfortable while playing.

Wire quality and length

Wire quality may not seem like the biggest deal but in my experience electronics often break due to the wire breaking. Knowing this I value the quality wires gaming mice tend to offer. Many gaming mice come with braided cables, not only do they look cooler, but they also add an extra layer of protection for the wire.

Depending on your computer setup you may need a long wire for your mouse to reach your desk. The wire should also provide enough leeway so you don’t run out of length while playing games. Gaming mice typically have much longer wires than regular mice. After doing some research I found that most gaming mice have between 1.8 – 2.5 meter long cables. On the other hand, most regular mice don’t include the wire length in the product description!

Optical sensors vs Laser sensors

Sensor technology can be a little confusing. More often than not gaming mice use optical sensors whereas regular mice, especially older mice, will use laser sensors. Both sensor types capture thousands of images of the surface and then translate that into mouse movement on the screen. A laser mouse can function on almost any flat surface due to it being so sensitive. Optical sensors will not work on all surfaces and are ideally used with a mouse pad.

The problem with the laser sensor is that some say its TOO sensitive which can cause mouse acceleration. This means the distance your mouse travels is affected by the speed you moved your mouse in real life. Mouse acceleration is considered un-optimal when it comes to competitive games. It essentially makes your mouse movements less consistent and therefore causes your aim in the game to be less consistent. For these reasons, laser sensors are considered worse for gaming.

So which sensor you should choose comes down to preference. If you want a mouse that works on almost any surface and you’re not bothered about mouse acceleration then go for a laser sensor. If you value precision and consistency then you should buy a mouse with an optical sensor, just remember you’re going to need a mouse pad to go with it.

Conclusion – Should you buy a gaming mouse?

It depends on what you want to get out of a new mouse. From this post we have learned that gaming mice offer:

  • Improved build quality
  • Extra programmable buttons
  • Fancy designs and RGB lighting
  • Mouse software
  • Ergonomic advantages
  • Reliable and consistent in-game performance

If any of the above features appeal to you and you use your computer often enough to justify the price, then yes I would say you should buy a gaming mouse!