What should we look for in a gaming mouse that would also be used for other stuff?

Obviously any gaming mouse will work fine for anything else, but, for instance, I wish to have 2 axis wheel for horizontal scrolling (use it a lot on internet browsing and image manipulation and yes, I'm on a mac). So, which other feature a gaming mice usually lacks that we should look for?

Here are few more instances of features I could think of:

  • Are there particular advantages to laser, optical or infrared tracking options? I've read somewhere laser mice are bad options for irregular surfaces.

  • Does DPI matter? Is this a feature I should consider? If so, are there any relevant thresholds?

  • What ergonomic features matter? Handedness, shape?

  • Obviously the best choice is wired mouse, but just wondering about technical aspects: battery and responsiveness wise should I look for bluetooth or other wireless technology?

  • As for wheels, is there any kind of 2 axis wheel that will not be bad for gaming?

  • Whoever already voted this negatively, I think this is clearly a technical hardware question, allowed in the FAQ, and far from asking shopping advice. Would you mind explaining why downvoting?
    – cregox
    Commented Oct 5, 2012 at 11:58
  • Questions not allowed in the FAQ get close voted. Down votes have little to do with whether your question is on topic and everything to do with whether the voter thinks it's a good question that reflects research effort, is clear, and useful. Commented Oct 5, 2012 at 11:59
  • @LessPop_MoreFizz fair enough. Thanks for the feedback. I was hoping this was a question more people would have. Apparently not.
    – cregox
    Commented Oct 5, 2012 at 12:02
  • 2
    The way this is worded still makes it sound like you're looking for a specific product recommendation. Price especially, isn't something that stays static enough to include in a feature set.
    – Frank
    Commented Oct 5, 2012 at 13:21
  • 2
    Looks like it got closed anyways. If you're looking to fix it up, you may want to do something about the DPI option; it's very subjective. Your last point, why nobody came with... isn't constructive. Your other points are also excluding options, which still makes it look like you're asking for a product recommendation. I'd recommend limiting it to the aspects that would make it a good overall mouse.
    – Frank
    Commented Oct 5, 2012 at 14:59

2 Answers 2


Tracking technology

Laser mice are generally the best, though their extreme precision occasionally causes problems with awkward surfaces. But I play on a rough wooden table with my laser mouse and I rarely notice when I'm moving over the wood instead of my mousepad. Optical doesn't work well with reflective or black surfaces. I'm not really sure what the complaint about laser is about honestly. I am currently unable to find a surface this cheapo laser mouse can't work perfectly on.


The best thing you can do is have a DPI switching mouse. This has two benefits; the first is letting you immediately switch the mouse movement speed (go from instant-turning speed to super precise sniping movements) and the second is letting you find exactly how sensitive you're comfortable with the mouse being for a given application or surface. Since I'm used to my high-DPI mouse I don't really switch it down (or all the way up) that often, but it's a nice feature to have.

If you want high DPI (I recommend it) again, laser is best; they're usually double optical or more. My Logitech G500 is ridiculously sensitive at 5700 max DPI, but right around 2000 feels nice. Remember if your mouse is too sensitive you can lower the pointer speed via software.


For ergonomic factors, get a "handed" mouse if at all possible. If you're Left Handed you might go with an ambidextrous mouse (or if your partner is differently-handed and will use it as much as you do), but generally a "handed" mouse is far more comfortable to grip.


Depending on your grip, get a mouse big/small enough for you. My hands are large so I have to scrunch up my hands (claw grip) or let my palm all off the mouse (fingertip grip). To palm-grip the mouse I need a mouse with a big "butt". Razer has a good guide to grip styles if you're confused by these terms or want more info on grip styles.


Weight-adjustable mice are also nice. High-DPI, low weight mice can be a pain to use; I prefer them a bit heavier, but the best thing you can do is manually adjust the weight. This sounds silly to some but adjustable weights are pretty common in mid to high end gaming mice.


I've had issues with Bluetooth but what really matters is interference; the more wireless devices you have the more likely there's some interference going on. I've had issue with bluetooth and non-bluetooth devices.

Battery really shouldn't be a concern here; your mouse should last weeks between charges no matter what. General battery specs should be listed by the mouse anyway, so there's no need to consider which tech is going to eat more battery.

Multi-axis/multi-touch mice

For "two axis" wheels, if you mean Apple's multi-touch mince, those are terrible for gaming. Physical buttons are a must for one thing. If you mean horizontal scroll "tilt" wheels they usually don't get in the way of gaming, just make sure it's not too sensitive. My Logitec G500 requires a bit of force to press the horiz scroll which is good, an older Microsoft wireless mouse was sensitive enough I often accidentally pressed the horizontal scroll buttons while moving the wheel.

  • I guess that tells me: get 2 mouses.
    – cregox
    Commented Oct 8, 2012 at 10:35

Part 1: The lasers will be more accurate then the infra-red. Also they are extremely useful for anyone doing work with Art of Photos

Part 2: The higher the DPI that you have, the more precise the movements with the mouse, but also increased mouse sensitivity. Most manufactures have built in buttons on their mouses that allow you to change the DPI on the fly, this can be useful for gaming e.g. lowering the sensitivity and DPI while looking down the scope of a sniper rifle in Battlefield 3.

Part 3: Bluetooth and wireless mouses are not recommended for gamers, because signal may be lost or disrupted. Also the signal can be effected by objects between the mouse and receiver. As for battery life, it is recommended to keep an extra pair of batteries handy, unless that is the mouse comes with a docking station for charging when not in use or a wireless mouse that can also function as a wired mouse when plugged in or a wireless mouse that can also function as a wired mouse when plugged in.

Part 4: The 2 axis mouses are all personal choice. Myself as a gamer, I choose to stay away from 2 axis mouses, but it is your choice to use one or not.

  • quite evasive answer in general and little technical information added there... also, you mentioned lasers and infrared, but nothing about optical or why someone would say lasers are actually bad for gaming. at any pace, thanks for taking the time and trying to help! :-)
    – cregox
    Commented Oct 5, 2012 at 18:19
  • Never said lasers where bad for gaming, just that they are more accurate then infrared, and therefore will be more useful when doing work with art or photos Commented Oct 5, 2012 at 18:23

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