In recent years gaming mice have been ever more complex, gimmicky and expensive. But between the claims of 4,000dpi sensitivities, squillions of macro-enabled buttons and interchangeable weights you can actually find some very useful innovations and features that will help your gaming.
Take SteelSeries’ World of Warcraft MMO Gaming Mouse: while the name’s as unwieldy as a ten-foot JRPG sword, the mouse and its accompanying software has been designed with Blizzard to work seamlessly with World of Warcraft. It can set up macro profiles for different characters, has fifteen programmable buttons, and has fancy dwarfish runes sculpted into its sides.
Then there’s Microsoft, who, having seen that the argument as to whether laser or optical is the best tracking engine has largely died down, clearly wants to shake things up again. Its Sidewinder X8 is the first gaming mouse (but not the first mouse ever) to incorporate the new BlueTrack tracking engine.
BlueTrack offers some insane specs, such as a maximum tracking speed of 120in/sec (or 305cm/sec) and the ability to accurately track at accelerations of up to 75g (or 735m/sec2). Men pass out at 5g acceleration, and you’d have to move your hand so fast that your skin would blister before the mouse show a tracking error. Awesome! As the name suggests, the optical component is powered by a blue LED – what is with the association between blue LEDs and gaming?
Microsoft's new Sidewinder X8 uses a blue light rather than a red one.
Another thing we’ve learned during testing a selection of the best new mice is that being able to independently configure the sensitivity of your mouse in both the X and Y axis is seemingly a staple requirement of a gaming mouse – all three of the following mice allow this via their software. We’re still not sure why you’d need a mouse that’s twitchier horizontally than it is vertically (it’s rare that a PC game level doesn’t have many-story levels, after all) but this is the new trend, so it seems we should get with it.
Whichever of these mice takes your fancy, we’d recommend heading down to a high street retailer to get a feel for their curves before splashing out on one. As we said, the right choice of mouse is a fiercely personal one, so it’s always a case of try before you buy.