Best Gaming Mouse of 2021
The Razer Basilisk V2 lives up to its name with a sleek, lethal-looking exterior and plenty of less conspicuous features that back up its threatening bearing. For starters, the mouse has an adjustable polling rate (125, 500, and 1000 Hz) as well as DPI/CPI (100 - 20,000), so you can dial in the perfect balance between the two and your gaming style. Supporting this endeavor is software that makes adjustments of these elements — as well as the programming of the 11 buttons packed into the unit — easy and accurate. The mouse also boasts programmable lighting in the logo featured on the shell and the scroll wheel. Speaking of the scroll wheel, we absolutely love the fact that the wheel resistance is adjustable.
While there is a lot to like about the Basilisk V2, it isn't without some shortcomings. The most notable of these is the asymmetrical shape — so, lefties need not apply! Also, the sheer amount of customization that is possible across the 11 buttons, lights, wheel, et cetera may be overwhelming to some users. Finally, the grippy texture on the sides of the shell proved to be difficult to clean and can gunk-up with time. With that said, this remains a well-rounded optical mouse that will tackle most types of computer gaming at a high level.
The wireless Razer Viper Ultimate offers extended striking distance and a whole lot of customization across its 8 programmable buttons. Adjustments to the DPI/CPI range from 100 - 20,000 (in steps of 50) and are made through the user-friendly proprietary software. Lighting, too, is customizable though it is limited to the logo on the palm rest of the unit. The shell is symmetrical as well, making it equally functional for both lefties and righties. Additionally, we found this unit to have prolonged battery life but, just in case, the charging dock ensures that you'll always be ready for a gaming bender.
Given all the benefits offered by the Viper Ultimate, it's not surprising that the unit cost a pretty penny. However, you can save yourself some money by forgoing the charging dock as the mouse is sold with and without it. Aside from that, our main concern focus on customization. The stiffness — and lack of adjustability — of the scroll wheel was not to our liking. Also, the polling rate is fixed at 100 Hz. Despite these issues, we found this mouse to be a pleasure to game with because, in addition to the features already mentioned, its shape matches a variety of hand sizes and grip preferences.
The Logitech G203 Prodigy is a sleek-looking corded mouse that packs a heck of a punch given its price point. Both polling rate and DPI/CPI are adjustable — the latter from 200 - 8,000 in steps of 50 and the prior at presets of 125, 250, 500, and 1000 Hz. One might think that lighting options would be omitted to save money but not so with this economic unit. Shoot, it even has some customization, too. Add to all this a lack of smoothing, acceleration, and filtering (all of which ensure consistent and accurate mouse gestures), and we think you'll be as impressed as we were with this unit.
Unfortunately, the Prodigy isn't without its limitations. Foremost is the issue with the side buttons. While we like that all 6 of the unit's buttons can be reassigned, we do not like that the side buttons are almost flush with the shell. This design may look good, but it makes it hard to find the buttons you're looking for in the heat of battle. Aside from that, we felt that the mouse cable was a bit stiff, a minor complaint to be sure. In spite of these minor criticisms, the Mercury sensor proved to be among the best performers in the class, while the unit's shape fits a wide variety of hand sizes and grip types.
If you want lots of keybind options at the tip of your thumb and index finger, look no further than the Corsair Scimitar RGB Elite. The machine packs in no less than 17 buttons, all of which can be reassigned to the user's specifications. Given the demand this abundance of buttons put on one's digits, it's a definite bonus that the thumb keypad adjusts fore and aft to better match the user's anatomy. Additionally, the proprietary iCUE software allows for easy and precise adjustments of DPI/CPI (100 - 18,000), polling rate (125, 250, 500, and 1000 Hz), and lighting (front, side, scroll wheel, and logo).
Given all the options that this unit is endowed with, it's unfortunate that its asymmetrical shell is geared to righties who favor palm gripping. Additionally, our testing showed that this model is best suited to MMO and MOBA-type games as we experienced some trouble aiming in FPS games. This aiming issue is likely due to the relatively heavy weight of the unit, which comes in at a whopping 119 grams. Despite these shortcomings, we think this model is deserving of accolades for the sheer number of customizations it is capable of incorporating into one's gameplay.
The Glorious Model O- stands apart from the crowd on account of its lightweight (57 grams), its ultra-flexible braided cord, and its competitive price. While it may be a negative for some, righties and lefties with medium to small hands will like the symmetrical shell and compact proportions. Add to this features list adjustable polling rate (1000, 500, 250, 125 Hz), DPI/CPI (400 - 1,200 in steps of 100), and lightning, and it should be clear why we took a liking to this unit.
On the downside, the O- has just 6 buttons at the user's disposal. Also, the scroll wheel is a little stiff by our estimation, and the light weight takes a bit of getting used to — we never did feel at ease when playing MMOs and the like. Indeed, this is a speed mouse best fit for FPS gaming. If you like what this model has to offer but are concerned about sizing, there is a medium option available as well.
Despite the Razer DeathAdder V2's macabre name, it is none-the-less a quality all-around gaming mouse. It has all the key features one would expect in a gaming unit, such as adjustments for the DPI/CPI, polling rate, and lighting. Given its 80 gram weight, it's a good tool for the high-speed gestures of FPS gameplay. Moreover, its robust braided cord is flexible and unobtrusive. To round things out, the unit boasts 7 buttons that can be set to the user's specifications. Like we said: it's an all-around solid gaming machine.
While the DeathAdder checks all of the boxes in the gaming mouse criterion, it does so at a bare minimum. For example, while both DPI/CPI and polling rate are adjustable, the range and steps in the adjustments are limited when compared to other models here reviewed. Additionally, the shape of the shell is targeted exclusively at right-handers. That said, this somewhat plain-looking mouse performs admirably, especially so when factoring in its competitive price.
The Logitech G Pro is a feature-packed wireless mouse. The unassuming design of this symmetrical unit has 8 programmable buttons, onboard dongle storage (for those of you who want a travel mouse), as well as adjustable polling rate and DPI/CPI. The unit also has optional software that will help dial in the keys, light, et cetera. To make the G Pro a do-it-all mouse, the design incorporates a G-shift function, which is like a mouse equivalent of a mullet: business functionality on the front-end and, with the press of a button, a seamless transition to a user-defined gaming setting on the back-end.
Common complaints about this mouse are preferential in nature. For one, the mouse is very lightweight at 80 grams. While this is good for FPS activities, it's not the best for MMOs and the like. Also, some might not like the symmetry of the shell and the modular side buttons. As far a flare is concerned, the mouse has only one light — a backlit logo on the shell. Personal preferences aside, the G Pro is one of the few mice that we have tested that performs at a high level as both a gaming and productivity mouse, incorporating smooth scroll and click action as well as forward and back browsing buttons, to name some of the non-gaming features.
The BenQ Zowie S2 Divina is a pared-down but fully functional gaming mouse with some interesting innovations. For one, the rubber cable is attached to the front of the mouse at an upturned angle that prevents the cable from dragging on the mouse pad. Additionally, the short, symmetrical shell design has the hump positioned towards the back, making it easy and comfortable to both palm and claw grip the mouse. In addition to the features, the mouse has 4 buttons, a scroll wheel as well as manually adjustable DPI/CPI (400, 80, 1,600, 3,200) and polling rate (125, 500, 1,000 Hz).
Given that the S2 Divina is a very simplistic mouse, several features are lacking. For example, there is no supporting software. However, the unit doesn't really need software as there are no lights to customize, and the polling rate and DIP/CPI are adjusted with buttons on the underside of the unit. Also, there are just two auxiliary buttons that are set to forward and back. Finally, the mouse is small, which makes gripping it easier, but it might not be suited to those with bigger hands. In our opinion, this mouse is designed for browsing and productivity applications and, given its light weight, FPS games.
The ROCCAT Kain 120 Aimo is a high-quality gaming mouse at a decent price. It has almost all the customization options you could ask for from DPI/CPI to polling rate, from scroll wheel to logo lighting. The unit has high-end Omron switches, and the scroll wheel has a nice tactile click when rotated. Moreover, the unit comes with proprietary software to program its abundant features as well as Easy-Shift[+] technology that allows the user to switch between remapped button configurations.
Given how complementary we have been about the ROCCAT, you might be wondering why it didn't do better in our evaluation. Make no mistake, this mouse is awesome. However, when compared to other high-end models, it just isn't as comfortable to grip, easy to use, or customizable as other models here reviewed. With that said, it does have the unique feature of having a manual DPI adjustment button on the top of the shell, which is kind of cool.
The Logitech G502 HERO is a button-packed mouse. To be exact, it has no less than 11 buttons to program as you see fit. Even the scroll wheel has two button options. Additionally, the mouse has five individual weights that can be added to the unit to increase its weight in ~3.6-gram increments. Given the weight of the unit and the button options, it is a good mouse to get one started with MMO games.
While the HERO provides enough buttons to get started in MMO games, it will not excel in such activities. As such, we consider this unit to be more of a generic gaming mouse — too heavy for FPS games and too limited in its binds to be an effective MMO machine. Yet, the mouse isn't terribly expensive, and it is a good starter mouse for those getting into computer gaming.
Why You Should Trust Us
Senior research analyst Austin Palmer is a dedicated — and skilled — gamer when he is not at work testing electronics such as gaming keyboards, gaming headsets as well as a much wider variety of home appliances and tools. Senior Review Editor Nick Miley has been testing and analyzing consumer products ranging from outdoor equipment to computer peripheries for nearly a decade. He has worked hand in glove with Austin on several computer game-related reviews over the past few years.
Together these two researched and selected the most promising gaming mice available. Having purchased and received the mice of interest, the two set about testing them in actual gameplay. Their analysis also included an assessment of the glide of each unit on various surfaces, the action of the scroll wheels, the cable (both the material used and the flexibility), and of course, the weight. Additionally, they looked at customization, button configuration, software, size, and shape.
Analysis and Test Results
The following review is the product of hands-on, practical tests of gaming mice. This evaluation is divided into metrics that capture specific aspects of mouse use and that collectively cover all aspects of the devices in question. Read on for the specifics of each metric and the details of which models performed best and why.
This review does not directly address the different grip styles (palm, claw, etc.) because there is simply too much variation in mouse size/shape, hand size, and personal preference. In general, smaller hands will have an easier time palm gripping almost any mouse. Large hands are going to have a difficult time palm gripping smaller mice and an easier time claw or fingertip gripping them.
As the name implies, the glide metric takes stock of the resistance on the various surfaces it may be operated on. The ideal mouse would perform at a high level on a variety of surfaces. To capture the capabilities of each, we tested on two pads that represent the two extremes of surface density that one may place their mouse on. Namely, these are the Zowie G-SR (control pad) and the Logitech G440 (hard/speed pad). Without a doubt, the Glorious Model O- outshines the competition for across-the-board performance for speed. However, the Razer Basilisk V2 and the Razer DeathAdder V2 are pretty close seconds.
The Logitech G203 Prodigy and the Logitech G Pro offer a good balance between speed and control. Whereas the BenQ Zowie S2, Corsair Scimitar RGB Elite, Logitech G502 HERO is where you want to look for a mouse with more control than speed. It's important to remember that mouse feet (skates) have a break-in period and will perform differently on different mouse pads over time.
What we are looking for in this series of tests is consistent on-screen actions produced from the user's gestures with the mouse on the two different mouse pads. Several factors contribute to consistency across the two surfaces, with the feet and the weight of the mouse being chief among them. Case in point, the Model O- is a super lightweight machine, and it has four small feet (one to a corner) that offer low glide resistance regardless of the surface they're on.
We broke up our analysis of the scrolling wheels of the mouses into three parts: scrolling, clicking, and sound. Few models excelled in all three submetrics. However, the Razer Basilisk V2 topped the charts across the board. This mouse has a silky smooth action scrolling up and down, clicking and selecting with the roller is effortless, and these two actions produce almost no noise at all.
While the Razer Basilisk V2 did well in all three assessments, other models are worth mentioning as they did well in one submetric or another. Specifically, we found the Logitech G502 HERO showed scrolling quality akin to the Basilisk. Similarly, the Logitech G203 Prodigy's click function was effective to the point of going unnoticed — it simply did what it was supposed to without any deliberate effort from the user. Finally, the Logitech G Pro upstaged the Basilisk with all but silent action.
The mouse cable metric focuses on two factors: flexibility and construction. What we're looking for here is a connection with the computer that is both long-lasting and unobtrusive. Obviously, those models that do not have a cord claimed the gold in this evaluation. These wireless models are the Logitech G Pro and the Razer Viper Ultimate.
As for those mouse models with cords, the Razer Basilisk V2, Glorious Model O-, and Razer DeathAdder V2 excel in flexibility. Part of this success is the construction material employed. All three models' cord construction can be described as a paracord or soft braid design. The manufactures describe it as SPEEDFLEX CABLE in the case of the two Razer models, while Glorious calls it Ascended Cord. Both are ultra-flexible and speak to long-term durability.
Weight matters as it will affect gameplay in a variety of ways. For example, most FPS gamers favor lighter models for quick aiming, wrist flicking actions. Conversely, MMO gamers lean towards heavier models as they are more stable and offer a bit more of a damp feeling. That said, weight is preferential. For that reason, we liked that at least one model — the Logitech G502 HERO — provided for adjustability in the weight. However, its lowest weight is 119 grams, not what we'd describe as light. The Glorious Model O- (57 grams) is quite light. Conversely, when fully loaded with its weights, the Logitech G502 HERO checks in at a hefty 137 grams. Dang!
This review of gaming mice takes a comprehensive and thorough look at all the aspects that contribute to a competitive gaming mouse for every genre ranging from FPSs to MMOs. Specifically, we plunged into the weeds evaluating details such as glide (how the mouse moves across various surfaces), scroll wheel action, cable type, and weight. With the information derived from our analysis, you can make accurate side-by-side comparisons so that you will be more likely to select the right tool for your gaming the first time around. Game on!
— Nick Miley and Austin Palmer