Whether you're blowing chunks out of opponents or demolishing those TPS reports, it's essential that you have the right mouse under your hand. Gaming mice in particular have a seemingly endless variety of options to choose between, all offering different benefits.
Here are some tips on choosing the right one for you. These mice - all available in the UK in 2018 - are ideal for gaming PCs as well as these great gaming laptops, but you can use them for day-to-day work and browsing too.
Gaming mouse buying advice
A lot of it comes down to personal choice - how it feels in your hand, and whether you find the positioning of the buttons comfortable. Incidentally, lefties should take note; these are almost entirely right-handed mice, and the SteelSeries Sensei 310 is the only model here that is ambidextrous, so you might want to consider that before splashing out.
However, aside from sheer ergonomics, there are other factors to consider. Many mice offer adjustable on-the-fly DPI settings, allowing you to change your mouse's sensitivity at the touch of a button. This is for when you need extra-fine control, such as when going for that sniper headshot.
Only three buttons on your current mouse? Most gaming mice come with anywhere from five to ten programmable buttons (which you can assign to specific functions such as sprinting, crouching or reloading), while an MMO-style mouse might cram 20 or more onto its chassis. These can give you a leg up on the competition, when used correctly.
Many also offer various backlighting options to make them more attractive to look at. Occasionally a mouse comes with removable weights, allowing you to make the mouse heavier or lighter until you’ve found your “perfect” weight.
Wired vs wireless is another consideration. Most of these mice are wired, in part because there are substantially more wired gaming mice on the market. Sticking with wired saves you from worrying about battery life and guarantees a lightning fast connection, but wireless mice are undeniably convenient and save you from messy cords. It's also worth noting that wireless connection speeds are constantly improving, so latency is becoming less and less of a concern.
Whatever you're after, whether you're a twitch-gaming fanatic looking for the perfect precision headshots or a MOBA gamer trying to maximise your DPS, there's a mouse that'll suit your needs, and after finding it, you'll never go back.
Razer Naga Hex V2
Named the ‘OP MOBA mouse’ by Razer, it’s easy to understand why: it features not one, not two, but seven programmable buttons around a circular thumb wheel on the left-hand side of the mouse, making it easy to locate each button in a split-second when required.
While it admittedly took a while for us to get used to the circular layout of the buttons, once we adjusted it felt natural and we were never worried about mis-clicks, as is the case with standard grids of programmable keys on mice. The circular thumb wheel is rubberised and provides extra grip, allowing for improved response times.
In fact, Razer is so confident in the Naga Hex V2’s abilities in MOBAs, it has provided several League of Legends and DOTA 2 profiles on its site – simply download the profile you want, adjust it if necessary and you’re ready to go without having to manually programme it yourself.
However, it’s not just the impressive key layout that makes the Naga Hex V2 stand out from the competition. It also features a 5G laser capable of 16,000 DPI with two buttons directly beneath the scroll wheel to adjust sensitivity on-the-fly.
And of course, it wouldn’t be a gaming mouse if you couldn’t customise the LEDs, right? The Naga Hex V2 features Razer Chroma lighting, allowing for customisation of the logo, scroll wheel and the programmable buttons on the side of the mouse.
The Razer Naga Hex V2 is an impressive specimen, especially when you consider the intuitive layout of the seven programmable buttons. Despite the focus on MOBA gaming, the Hex V2 can provide enhancements to all types of games and, in our opinion, is a solid all-round gaming mouse.
Logitech G502 Proteus Spectrum RGB
The G502 Proteus Spectrum RGB is part of the gaming range from Logitech, which has a substantial pedigree when it comes to PC peripherals.
The G502 is one of the most user-friendly mice we've tested - it fits ergonomically into the hand, and we barely had to move our thumb to reach the two side buttons. Counting these, the Proteus has 11 programmable buttons, including a thumb button and on-the-fly DPI switching.
There's also a button for shifting scroll wheel function, which allows you to change from clicky to free-scrolling mode at the press of a button.
The DPI levels are adjustable, and are indicated by three LEDs (that can be switched off through the software). Along with the DPI LEDs, the Logitech ‘G’ logo is the only section that includes RGB backlighting. It’s a shame the G402 doesn’t include more than this somewhat desultory twinkle, but we can forgive it on the strength of its design.
The visual design of this mouse is weirdly pretty; matte-black with gloss detailing and smooth, arresting contours, it’s minimalist chic that’s cool without being overly flashy. The body feels solid and well put-together, and it’s relatively weighty, but can be customised through its adjustable weights.
Logitech has come a long way over the years to fine-tune its software, and with the Logitech Gaming Software, you will be able to customise every single aspect of the mouse, from macros and basic functions to mouse mat calibration!
Asus ROG Spatha
The Asus ROG (Republic of Gamers) Spatha is the latest gaming mouse from Asus, sporting a completely new design with a rather detailed Mayan-style grip on the left hand side next to six fully programmable thumb buttons, ideal for use in MMOs and MOBAs alike.
There aren’t only six buttons though – there are twelve buttons across the mouse ready to be customised via the ROG Armoury software available for Windows. That’s only touching the surface with regards to the app, as it also lets you customise button response, polling rate, acceleration, angle snapping and more, perfect for pro gamers.
The magnesium alloy-constructed ROG Spatha boasts extremely high sensitivity, thanks to the use of an 8200dpi laser sensor coupled with a DPI switch. As well as this, the ROG Armoury offers surface calibration, providing you with the best performance for the surface it’s being used on.
This combination allows you to switch between high and low sensitivity with a single click while giving you finer control when aiming with a precise weapon like a sniper rifle, for example.
If that’s not impressive enough for you, then maybe this is: the Asus ROG Spatha is both wired and wireless, depending on your personal preference. You can use the supplied Micro-USB cable to connect the mouse to your PC, or alternatively, you can connect the receiver/charging station and use it wirelessly until it requires a charge. It gives users the freedom to play how they like without having to compromise.
Along with the above features, it comes with fairly standard LED customisation that lets you change not only the colour of the logo on the mouse and scroll wheel, but also the light that leaks out between the thumb buttons along the left-hand side of the mouse.
SteelSeries Rival 700
Although when compared to other gaming mice, the SteelSeries Rival 700 can look a bit ‘basic’, it’s far from it under the hood. It features an advanced optical sensor that offers zero hardware acceleration and 1:1 tracking, enabling precise movement – and you can tell the difference instantly, especially when combined with a 144Hz monitor.
It features a whopping 16,000 DPI, up from 6500 on the original Rival, enabling gamers to find the perfect cursor sensitivity for their style of gaming – although, in our experience, trying to use the mouse at 16,000 DPI is almost impossible.
SteelSeries Engine 3 enables gamers to access various Rival customisation settings, including programmable buttons, polling rate, angle snapping and acceleration and deceleration speed. Though if you’re looking for loads of programmable buttons, look elsewhere: there are only seven buttons and a scroll wheel on the Rival 700.
One new addition to the Rival 700 is tactile alerts thanks to a built-in vibration motor. Via SteelSeries Engine 3, users can set up hotkeys for games that feature attacks with cooldowns (like League of Legends) that’ll alert them as soon as the attack has been recharged. The uses spread far beyond that though, as it’ll also notify you of things like low health, ammo, headshots and more when playing FPS games if set up correctly. It’s a very handy feature for pro gamers, but setting it up properly can take a while.
It also features a customisable OLED display that can either play a GIF of your liking, or display real-time stats for supported games. We’re not so sure about this feature as we can’t get into the habit of looking away from the screen when the information is already in front of us. It’s a fun way to customise your mouse though, for those that want the personal touch.
The internals are only part of the package when it comes to the Rival 700, as design is just as important for a great gaming mouse. The Rival features an ergonomic design that’s comfortable to use for hours on end that’s reminiscent of gaming mice of the past.
It boasts a matte finish, but still manages to feel smooth to the touch and the anti-sweat coating helps to maintain contact when the pressure is on – although you can swap it out for a glossy cover if required.
Battery life and latency worries have traditionally kept most manufacturers from pushing wireless gaming mice too hard - the perception has always been that serious gamers will usually opt for wired mice for a fractional extra edge.
Logitech hopes to change that though, and its G603 mouse does its best to resolve both those concerns and give gamers proper wireless action.
The G603 boasts the company's Lightspeed wireless tech, which it boasts offers latencies as low as 1ms - which basically means you shouldn't ever notice any lag. We certainly haven't in our time testing the mouse out, and it's hard to imagine any wired traditionalist having complaints about the performance, especially with on-the-fly customisable DPI up to 12,000.
Battery is also not an issue. The G603 has a small switch to flip between 'Hi' and 'Lo' modes - the latter dropping you to a still-speedy 8ms response time. The idea is that you use the slower mode for day-to-day computer use to conserve battery, amping up to Hi when you want to game. Logitech promises 18 months of battery on Lo mode from a pair of AA batteries, or 500 hours of non-stop gaming on Hi.
Getting beyond the tech specs, the mouse has a comfortable rounded body, with a design that's worlds away from the garish, angular likes of many other gaming mice. There are 6 programmable buttons, and the mouse can support both Lightspeed and Bluetooth, with a switch on the bottom to jump from one to another. That means you could in theory use the G603 with multiple devices, but it does mean turning the mouse upside-down every time you want to swap between them.
The G603 may miss some of the bells and whistles of SteelSeries and Razer rivals, but it offers solid, reliable wireless performance at a friendly price point.
SteelSeries Sensei 310
For those looking for something a little cheaper than the Steelseries Rival 700, we present the Steelseries Sensei 310. It doesn't feature the OLED display or built-in vibration motor, but it does boast an ambidextrous design ideal for those lefties out there.
It also boasts what Steelseries calls 'the world's first true 1:1 eSports sensor' up to 3.500CPI. More specifically, the Sensei 310 features a 12,000CPI PixArt TrueMove 3 optical sensor, providing incredibly accurate tracking, whether it be small adjustments or huge sweeping movements. Moving a distance on the mouse results in that exact same distance on screen with no kind of jitter.
Beyond the sensor, the Sensei 310 is impressively light at 92.1g, which when coupled with silicone side grips and fiber-reinforced plastics provides a comfortable gaming experience, even when you're clicking away for hours at a time.
And, in true Steelseries fashion, you can customise the LEDs and button mappings of the mouse via SteelSeries Engine. It'll all be saved on a 32-bit ARM processor, meaning you can switch PCs without having to install Steelseries Engine to load your presets.
If the ambidextrous design isn't for you, you might be interested in the Rival 310.
Coolermaster CM Storm Alcor
The Cooler Master CM Storm Alcor is, to all intents and purposes, identical to the Sensei 310. The design is the same (bar the tiniest of differences), and the two side buttons are in the same place.
However, there are some fairly key differences. Firstly, the Alcor is available for under £30 which is great value.
The DPI settings come in four levels, with the CM Storm logo on the palm section changing colour to indicate the current state. We could argue that it would be better placed in a more visible location, but this is a quibble at best.
Admittedly, we couldn’t find any support software for customizing DPI levels or macros, something every other mouse we tested was able to provide. The quality is also a little disappointing – it’s solid enough, but doesn’t feel particularly different to a bog-standard desktop mouse.
The semi-gloss finish also had a tendency to get a little sweaty during extended sessions, which didn’t happen with any of the others.
Corsair M65 RGB
The Corsair M65 RGB mouse is, appropriately enough, a sleek, dangerous-looking thing of beauty, a mix of contours and sharp angles. The matte surface is non-slip for fast, precise movements, it has a braided cable, and it feels pleasantly solid.
It’s also part of Corsair’s RGB range, meaning it has three separate lighting sections that can be customized with 16.8 million colours in a variety of ripple, wave and chase effects.
While design and aesthetic appeal are clearly a key focus of this mouse, it by no means skimps on the features. The 8200 DPI sensor is the best we tested, and it comes with on-the-fly switching via two buttons below the scroll wheel, although the colour-changing indicator is less convenient than the Kone’s voiceover system.
It also features a ‘sniper switch’ as mentioned above, so you can drop your DPI down at a moment’s notice to nail that perfect pin-point headshot. The two side buttons are well-placed in thumbs-reach and the M65 feels reasonably comfortable in the hand, aside from a lack of pinkie support. For the more particular gamer, Corsair’s mouse also offers three ‘tuning zones’ to tweak the center of gravity to your individual satisfaction.
Corsair’s configuration software covers all their peripherals, so applying customized lighting patterns between devices is a snap. The lighting management software itself can be somewhat confusing, but the options for creating patterns and effects are almost infinite, so it’s a good trade.
The software also includes macro functionality, so you can bind specific custom macros to any button you wish, as well as additional commands such as multimedia control.
The Corsair M65 RGB is ideal for those gamers who want their battle stations to look as awesome as humanly possible. However, it’s also one of the best-equipped mice we tested, and would be equally at home in the hands of a tech-spec purist.
The Tesoro Shrike is an interesting little number; it’s not technically lacking in any area, but it somehow feels a bit underwhelming. It has eight programmable buttons, all of which are within easy reach, a braided cable and pleasing brushed aluminium look, and it’s fairly easy to use. Not as much as some, but it’s far from awkward.
The rubber side-grips are also comfortable, and excellent at preventing slippage. On the other hand, there’s no getting away from the definite cheapness of the plastic body – this doesn’t feel like a particularly well-built model.
Additionally, while it’s got a five-level DPI cycle (up to 5600), there’s no clear indication of which setting you’re currently on, which makes for some rather tedious guesswork. The cycle system also frequently leads to overshooting your desired DPI and having to go round again.
The macro and button-mapping software, while functional, is pretty basic, and not especially pretty to look at. The manufacturers also claim full-colour LED illumination, but you’d be hard-pressed to tell, as it’s restricted to a teeny-weeny area beneath the scroll wheel.
One area where the Shrike does shine is the manual weight system. Included with the mouse is a set of four weights totaling 35 grams, which can be slotted in various combinations into a pop-out section on the underside. This allows players to customize exactly how heavy they want their mouse to feel during play, and is a rather nice feature.
While it’s not the best on this list, the comparatively cheap pricetag of around £35 is enough to make up for the Tesoro Shrike’s superficial flaws, making it a very solid mouse for those looking to upgrade to a dedicated gaming peripheral.