Everyone needs a mouse and a mouse mat. If you're a serious gamer, however, your choice of mousing kit could be a major factor in your gaming abilities - getting the right shape for your hand, and the right mat for your mousing sensitivity is crucial. Even if you're a less serious gamer, having the right tools makes gaming far more enjoyable.
Today we're looking at three gaming mice and two new mouse mats that claim to be a fragger's best friend. Many thanks to the top guys at GamerzStuff for helping to make this article happen.
Microsoft virtually invented the optical mouse with its original Intellimouse Explorer, and its laser technology is the latest iteration. It claims that "Laser mouse products are more precise, more responsive, and deliver smoother tracking." The sensor in the mouse updates at 6000 times a second (hence the name) and the sensor records images at 1000 DPI.
There is a wireless version available, which has a different design. However, since most people still consider wireless mice to be detrimental to gaming - there is a lag, however minute - we're looking at the wired version here. It sports a button on each side as well as the standard tilt-wheel, for sideways scrolling as well as up down. For those who prefer one over the other, the wheel is a 'clicky' rather than a 'rolly'.
The actual design of the mouse feels comfortable in the hand - a quick straw poll of the office found that everyone was able to happily pick it up and play, even our resident leftie. The mouse is of a shape that means it can be used by those who prefer to lay their entire palm over the device, as well as those who prefer just to use their fingertips to manoeuvre.
The design and feel is totally inoffensive and this gives it a wide appeal. You won't find anybody picking this up and thinking - "I can't use this, it's too weird!" The cord is just the standard rubberised Microsoft job, which is light enough to move around quickly.
However, some will find the positioning of the side buttons a little odd - they're not in easy thumb reach, which is odd given Microsoft's otherwise impeccable history of industrial design. They're also not very big, and aren't ideal for assigning critical functions to.
The tracking is responsive and we found absolutely no quibbles with it whatsoever when gaming. We used it on both hard surfaces and soft surfaces with equal result - if tracking and accuracy gets better than this, we'd like to see it.
The accuracy is there, the price is there, and the comfort is there. Microsoft has got all the basics covered - even given the bad placement of the side buttons, the fact it's £24 means you can still check it out and not worry too much if you don't like it.