Even though it tends to not be a top priority when putting together a gaming PC, selecting the best mouse to meet a user’s needs is important. The market is flooded with countless gaming mice of all shapes, price ranges, and built-in features. With so many products vying for a customer’s attention, it can be difficult to know where to start.
While barely mentioned in the promotion of office or casual variants, DPI is usually plastered all over gaming mice. This feature comes with a lot of wiggle room, with some mice supporting a range starting from 100 to over 10,000 DPI. What is the best DPI for gaming? Is a high or low DPI better?
What Is DPI?
Before progressing further, a brief explanation of DPI is necessary. “Dots Per Inch” determines the number of pixels a cursor will travel on the screen for every inch the mouse is dragged on the pad. Basically, a mouse with 1300 DPI will move 1300 pixels per inch.
The higher the DPI, the more monitor real estate the cursor will cover. Therefore, a high DPI translates to faster on-screen movement or a more sensitive mouse. This might seem like nothing but a good thing on paper, but this can result in lower accuracy.
What Does DPI Mean For Gaming Mice?
DPI is a term that comes up a lot when searching for gaming mice. What does it mean exactly?
Office mice typically come with a DPI of somewhere between 800-1600. However, gaming mice are different. While exceptions exist, most gaming mice promote flexibility, allowing players to choose from a range of DPI.
For instance, the SteelSeries Aerox 9 Wireless has a DPI range (or CPI, which can be treated as the same thing in these cases) between 100 – 18000. These are split into increments of 100. Players can use the mouse’s app to set their preferred DPI.
A wide DPI range is not an exclusive feature of high-end gaming mice either, as budget-friendly options like the Razer DeathAdder Essential have a respectable max sensitivity of 6400.
Game Rant’s Handpicked High DPI Mouse Picks
SteelSeries Rival 5 Gaming Mouse
$36 $60 Save $24
The Rival 5 is a wired gaming mouse from SteelSeries, one of the most versatile peripherals on the market. This mouse includes nine remappable buttons with five quick auction side buttons, making the Rival 5 perfect for anything from FPS to MMO titles. Despite this functionality, the mouse weighs only 85 grams and includes a healthy dose of SteelSeries PrismSync RGB lighting. The Rival 5 is also highly accurate with a PixArt 18,000 DPI optical sensor.
ROCCAT Kone Pro Air Gaming Mouse
The ROCCAT Kone Pro Air is an advanced gaming mouse with an ergonomic design, perfected through extensive anthropometric research, catering to various hand sizes and grip styles. Weighing a mere 66g, it offers exceptional comfort. The device supports Puls Bluetooth, allowing users to switch between 2.4GHz for gaming and Bluetooth for productivity, boasting over 100 hours of battery life.
Its bionic shell features a lightweight honeycomb design and vivid AIMO RGB lighting, while the Titan Switch Optical ensures rapid actuation with a 100 million click life cycle.
Glorious Model I
The Lightest Mouse in its Class: The ultralight Glorious Model 1 weighs in at 69g, allowing for effortless mouse movement with extreme speed and precision while still having 9 programmable buttons for MMO gamers to program macros. The enhanced palm and thumb support provides satisfying comfort with reduced hand strain during extended use. The Glorious Model 1 is perfect for both gaming and productivity.
Logitech G502 Hero Gaming Mouse
$40 $80 Save $40
The Logitech G502 Hero Gaming Mouse is proof that players don’t need to sacrifice user customization, comfort, and performance when snagging a gaming mouse at a lower price point. Its affordability, paired with some great out-of-the-box features makes it one of the better options on the market for those that are looking to secure a great gaming mouse without breaking the bank.
The mouse has a 25,600 DPI sensor, adjustable weight, and 11 programmable buttons.
Razer Basilisk V3 Gaming Mouse
$50 $70 Save $20
With a Razer Focus+ 26K DPI sensor, the Basilisk V3 gaming mouse provides the precise tracking needed in the best FPS games. The mouse can store five onboard memory profiles with 11 programmable buttons.
The Basilisk V3 Pro features a HyperScroll tilt wheel with smooth, free spin, or tactile cycling modes. The RGB effects of the mouse never fail to impress with 11 Razer Chroma RGB lighting zones.
Corsair Scimitar Elite RGB Wireless MMO Gaming Mouse
The Corsair Scimitar Elite RGB Wireless MMO Gaming Mouse is Corsair’s newest take on an MMO gaming mouse, as the well-received Scimitar Elite goes wireless with a 26,000 DPI Corsair Marksman Sensor upgrade in tow.
With a large battery life, some of the best feels for a gaming mouse, and an adjustable key slider, the Scimitar isn’t just aiming to capture a user’s MMO gaming session time but to replace their daily driver altogether.
Some of the best mainstream gaming mice offer very high DPI presets. While these are not presets users might generally use for their everyday work or gaming needs, most (if not all) high-DPI mice generally come with quality sensors that allow for accuracy, seamless switching across DPI presets, and wide compatibility with a variety of surfaces and mouse pads.
The mice above are sorted by DPI/CPI in ascending order:
Steelseries Rival 5: 18000 CPI
ROCCAT Kone Pro Air: 19000 DPI
Glorious Model I: 19000 DPI
Logitech G502 Hero: 25600 DPI
Razer Basilisk V3: 26000 DPI
Corsair Scimitar Elite: 26000 DPI
Selecting A DPI For Gaming
Ultimately, DPI comes down to personal preference, and users are recommended to try out a mouse’s full range to see which one works best for them. A large selection of gaming mice includes a DPI button that cycles through different levels (typically starting from the lowest and ending at the highest), and some even allow this input to be customized through an app. Do not hesitate to experiment to find the perfect setting.
DPI Depends On The Monitor’s Resolution
A 4K monitor has 4x the pixel count of a 1080p screen. Therefore, a mouse with a DPI of 1600 will seem much slower in the former than in the latter. Like any other component of a gaming PC, compatibility between the monitor and mouse should be the deciding factor when selecting a DPI.
Even though some mice have a DPI that can reach 20000+, those numbers will be impractical for most people unless they happen to be using an 8K monitor. Users with 1080p and 1440p may not need presets of 1600 or higher, given the lower resolutions in play.
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Benefits Of High DPI (>1000)
As high DPI equals more rapid cursor movement, these levels are generally considered to be a good fit for twitch shooters and games that require quick reflexes. However, as previously mentioned, high DPI results in less accuracy, which can be a death sentence in precision-based first-person shooters. That said, a high DPI can complement stuff like RPGs or MMOs where players wish to move their camera quickly.
Benefits Of Low DPI (<1000)
Low DPI means every pixel counts, giving players full control over the cursor at the cost of speed. MOBA and strategy games demand precise actions, so a high DPI would be a detriment to these genres.
In-Game Mouse Sensitivity and EDPI
The majority of PC games permit players to change the sensitivity of their mice. By increasing or decreasing this setting, the mouse’s DPI will change, creating what is called eDPI (“Effective Dots Per Inch“).
If a game’s sensitivity is set to 2x, a mouse with a DPI of 1200 will have an eDPI of 2400. Conversely, if the sensitivity is set to 0.5x, the mouse’s eDPI will be 600. It is also possible to change a mouse’s sensitivity through Windows.
What Is The Best DPI For Gaming?
800 is the best starting DPI for a 1080p or a 1440p system. While it might seem low, this level suits most gameplay styles. Rather than constantly changing a mouse’s DPI, players should set an eDPI for each game. Once the ideal sensitivity for that title is discovered and saved, that setting will always be ready to go. There isn’t one DPI that fits every experience out there, so rather than jumping back and forth between the mouse’s levels, pick a foundation that can support as many configurations as possible.
If a game does not have a standard mouse sensitivity option, then 800 might be too low for many genres. In such cases, start with 800 and go up exponentially after that, jumping up 400 DPI at a time.
At the same time, a high DPI does not equate to a better sensor. Many lower-DPI mice are sometimes more accurate than their higher-DPI alternatives, and it always helps to make an informed choice when it comes to gaming mice, even if on a budget. At the end of the day, it all boils down to what mouse works best for gamers and enthusiasts. Game Rant always encourages gamers to experiment with settings and research to find the best fit possible for their needs and use cases.
Is A High DPI Mouse Better Than A Low DPI Mouse?
While not all gamers feel that a higher DPI translates to better gameplay, it generally means more accurate and capable sensors when it comes to mice. While not all high-end mice are created equal, they tend to, more often than not, be superior to their low-DPI, general-purpose alternatives.
It must also be noted that DPI is linked directly to one’s resolution on-screen. This is also why some companies such as Steelseries have abandoned using DPI as a reliable standard, choosing to opt for CPI to measure a mouse sensor’s capabilities. A lot of what gamers look for in terms of responsiveness is also directly linked to a mouse’s polling rate, with a higher polling rate generally translating to a more accurate or fluid experience. This is particularly easy to see in high refresh rates, especially on modern multiplayer esports titles that utilize some of the fastest refresh rate monitors available to end-users, even as they employ technology such as Nvidia’s Reflex Low Latency software to further boost responsiveness meaningfully.
All in all, while a low DPI mouse might hold its own against a higher DPI mouse in some cases, the general rule of thumb points to a more accurate, fluid, and overall better experience when using a high-DPI gaming mouse, preferably with a high polling rate to match its tracking abilities.
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