The right mouse can make the difference between winning and losing. Gamers serious about their peripherals look for top-notch performance, comfortable ergonomics, and features that optimize their gaming experience. Great mice come in all shapes, sizes, and weights; many of these factors will come down to personal preference.
Some mice are specifically designed for FPS or MOBAs, whereas some try to strike a middle ground. To properly evaluate each mouse in this review roundup, I used each one in a competitive match of Counter-Strike: Global Offensive (CS:GO) and Heroes of the Storm (HOTS). I installed the appropriate software and tinkered with programmable buttons for the in-game tests. To keep things consistent, I also used a Steelseries QCK cloth mouse pad for all of my tests. I then critiqued each mouse in three aspects: ergonomics, performance, and value.
I also intend to update this story as we get our hands on additional mice and new iterations of current models.
Different types of grips
There are three main ways to grip a mouse: palm, claw, and fingertip. Bigger mice with a prominent arch on its body tend to work well for palm grips. Deep grooves for the thumb and pinky finger are a common feature to help move and lift the mouse.
A claw grip puts more emphasis on your fingers and allows for more granular movements without having to move your whole hand; lighter mice with shorter chassis are recommended. The fingertip grip is only realistic with small, lightweight mice since all the weight and motion is, of course, at your fingertips.
No one grip is objectively better than the other, it only matters that you go with whichever grip works best for you and the mouse you’re using.
Logitech G Pro
Design and Ergonomics: The Logitech G Pro sports a minimalist and lightweight design, and it’s a joy to use. The inward slant toward the bottom of the mouse makes it easy to pick up and swipe with a claw grip. However, its compact body makes a palm grip difficult. The all-plastic housing is a bit disappointing considering most higher-end mice have some sort of rubber texture that provides better grip.
The left and right click buttons have subtle grooves and the scroll wheel sports textured rubber. The G Pro can be used ambidextrously, but you can only realistically use the two side buttons with your right hand.
Performance: Clicking feels tactile, proven during the pistol rounds in CS:GO. Since these weapons are semi-automatic, the responsive clicking allowed me to fire as fast as possible. The rubber scroll wheel offers distinct actuation and a strong grip, but its heavy resistance as a middle mouse button could make it difficult to use in key situations. The two side buttons are also responsive, but the thin profile could be hit or miss; you aren’t likely to accidentally press them, but the limited contact surface may not be ideal in frantic moments.
Features and Value: Since there is only a single DPI button, you can only cycle through different settings, but it can be set anywhere between 200-12,000 DPI with up to five presets through Logitech’s Gaming Software. Full RGB backlighting shines through the Logitech G logo and a trim around the palm area of the mouse. These lights are also programmable through the software.
If you don’t mind the smaller side buttons and heavy scroll wheel then the Logitech G Pro is worth the $70 asking price.
Razer Deathadder Elite
Design and Ergonomics: The tried and true core design of Razer’s Deathadder–originally released in 2006–remains intact with the Elite model. It fits seamlessly into your right hand and sports textured rubber grip on both sides of the mouse. The Deathadder works best for those who prefer a palm grip due to its large size and length, but the mouse remains lightweight. The Elite’s smooth scrolling tactility and bumps along the rubber coating are highlights of this mouse.
Performance: This mouse performs extremely well with its slick tracking on a cloth mousepad, but sticks to the surface just enough and doesn’t slide around unnecessarily. Responsive clicking is one aspect where the Deathadder Elite needs improvement. Both the left and right click tend to sink and not spring up as distinctly as other mice I tested. This made semi-auto weapons in CS:GO slightly harder to use. The two side buttons and the scroll wheel have a very solid click, however.
Features and Value: The Deathadder Elite has Chroma RGB lighting on the Razer logo and along the scroll wheel, which are programmable through Razer’s Synapse software. Its optical sensor can be set up to 16,000 DPI, which can be adjusted with up and down buttons on-the-fly.
At $70, it’s hard to beat the Deathadder Elite, especially if you prefer a palm-grip mouse.
G.Skill Ripjaws MX780
Design and Ergonomics: G.Skill’s Ripjaws MX780 sports an extravagant cyborg-like design with interchangeable side grips. Both sides snap into the mouse magnetically, and you have the option of grips with or without a thumb rest platform. You can adjust the height of the back-end of the mouse to make a comfortable palm grip possible. Its ambidextrous design is good news for left-handed folk, and a set of two thin thumb buttons reside on both sides of the mouse body.
Performance: While the MX780 has a lot going for it, its side buttons have limited contact surface which makes them difficult to use. The best way to press them would be to get under with your thumb, but it’s less than ideal. It’s nice that there’s extra set of buttons to use with your pinky or ring finger, but they proved cumbersome to click. The main left and right click have very distinct actuation, and felt just right in CS:GO. The smooth rubber scroll wheel has a tactile bump and works as a great responsive middle mouse button.
Features and Value: The MX780 features RGB backlighting along the sides and atop the mouse body. The DPI switch allows you to cycle through up to five settings (8,200 DPI max), which are programmable through G.Skill’s software.
I wouldn’t recommend the MX780 at its original price of $75, but it’s frequently found between $40 and $50 from popular retailers. At discounted prices, this mouse could be worth it.
Fnatic Gear Clutch G1
Design and Ergonomics: While the Fnatic Gear Clutch G1 has a bulky chassis, it’s surprisingly lightweight. It’s slightly larger than the Razer Deathadder and similarly intended for palm grips. The entire surface has a rubber-like texture, and combined with subtle grooves, it’s incredibly easy to grip. Two prominent thumb buttons reside on the left side, through they’re more responsive when pressing towards their center. The scroll wheel has noticeable resistance and clicks down nicely.
Performance: The first thing about the Clutch G1 that stands out is the amount of friction it generates on a cloth mouse pad. Swiping around felt tiresome over time since there was substantial resistance under the mouse. It still performed accurately as the tracking did not disappoint when sniping in CS:GO, though it did take time to adjust. The left and right clicks have a slight sinking feeling, making rapid clicks a little challenging, but not prohibitive. I switched to a hard surface mouse pad for a moment, which made movements smoother, but it didn’t glide as you would expect on a hard surface.
Features and Value: The Clutch G1 has RGB lighting on the scroll wheel and three LED lights to indicate its current DPI mode. Its round buttons atop the mouse switch DPI up and down and the Fnatic Gear software allows you to set it up to 5,000 DPI.
While it’s not a bad mouse overall, you should take note of its quirks before dropping $60 on the Fnatic Gear Clutch.
Mad Catz RAT 6 / RAT 8
Note: The Mad Catz RAT 6 and RAT 8 are nearly identical mice that perform similarly.
Design and Ergonomics: The Mad Catz RAT 6 and RAT 8 standout with their flashy robotic-like design, but they do warrant the look in a way. Both mice fit my hand well, but I had to spread my fingers noticeably more than other mice. The palm area of the mice can be adjusted and slid outward a few extra centimeters by using a lever just under the back. It’s a nice addition for those wanting a bit more ergonomic customization. With the back extended to its outward most point, the RATs were comfortable palm grip mice. However, a steep downward slope towards the left and right click made this configuration feel awkward.
I prefer lightweight mice, so I removed all the weights tucked under the mouse. But if you desire the extra weight, it is an option, though it will alter the balance of the mouse.
Exclusive to the RAT 8, the thumb and pinky rest can be adjusted for a different outward angle. This helps spread your hand more when gripping the mouse for a more natural feel.
Performance: Both the RAT 6 and RAT 8 felt slick across a cloth mouse pad. Tracking was precise in CS:GO, which was evident when I sniped under clutch situations. The left and right clicks have a springy tactile response, good for rapid clicking. Low-profile side buttons along the thumb were more resistant than the other side buttons of other mice I tested. Though these buttons felt solid, they were too far back to use comfortably with a claw grip.
Features and Value: The RAT 6 sports a laser sensor that goes up to 8,200 DPI and the RAT 8 has an optical sensor capable of 12,000 DPI. RGB backlighting is also featured in both mice, though the red accents of the mouse body would make any other backlight color look strange.
If customization is important to you then the Mad Catz RAT 6 and RAT 8 will spark your interest. At $80 and $100, these are expensive mice that should be reserved for those who prefer customization and futuristic aesthetics above all else.
Steelseries Rival 500
Design and Ergonomics: The Steelseries Rival 500 is specifically designed with MOBAs and MMOs in mind. There are six asymmetrical side buttons for your thumb, two buttons along the perimeter of the left click, and one along the edge of the right click. The large body feels best for palm grips and the pinky/ring finger rest provides comfort, through this makes the mouse harder to lift up. The rubberized cord is an odd choice as most gaming mice use braided cords. Rubber cords get snagged easily and aren’t flexible, which is important for a peripheral that is constantly moving.
Performance: As this mouse is intended for MOBAs and MMOs, it performs very poorly in FPS games. The textured rubber along the side did not provide enough grip to pick up and swipe across the mouse pad with any comfort. It’s also heavier than the other mice tested, compounding this issue.
The unique button layout takes time to get used to, but each buttons distinct placement helps you remember what action is mapped to it. Left and right clicks feel very responsive and the scroll wheel had an easy, light tactility. The bottom two side buttons also act as a small platform to rest your thumb. This can be an issue if you want to use those buttons in-game as they can be clicked on accident fairly easy. There is a switch below the mouse to keep the buttons from moving, but it defeats the purpose of having these buttons.
Features and Value: You’ll need to use the Steelseries Engine software to map and take advantage of all the extra buttons. You can also set the mouse between 100 and 16,000 DPI, though you can only swap between two settings on-the-fly. RGB backlighting is featured on the brand logo.
With all the curious design choices and my experience using the Rival 500, it’s hard to recommend this mouse at any price point, let alone the $80 MSRP. It’s disappointing too, considering a few of its upsides.