Our Control section consists of five different test boxes. Here, we review different technical attributes of mice, like sensor specifications, buttons, scroll wheels, noise, and click latency. These features can easily make or break a mouse, especially for gamers who expect very precise levels of performance.
Our testing process aims to give you a better idea of how a mouse performs overall, if it's adequate for your needs, and the kind of usage you want it for. While we score some tests in this section, other parts are left without a grade, as different results may cater to different types of users. Also, keep in mind that different gaming styles require different specs, button layouts, and degrees of customization.
The following article will give you more information on our testing procedure and how those results may benefit you.
Having a mouse with a great sensor, the right number of programmable inputs, and very low click latency is key for having significantly more control over your cursor's movements, which is extremely beneficial while gaming.
Of course, good build quality, a comfortable design, and great companion software are also important, but at the core of a well-performing mouse are all the things that make it faster, more responsive, more precise, and more consistent. A good mouse will feel like an extension of your hand.
In our reviews, the sensor specifications section summarizes how the mouse reacts when you're moving it around. Click latency is also extremely important in terms of responsiveness, and buttons and wheels are an essential part of any mouse. Consequently, choosing the right attributes and specs can have a big impact on your gaming experience.
Testing the controls is relatively straightforward, though we have to assess many different components with their own subcategories.
Sensor info is gathered from the manufacturer's website, user guide, specs on the box, and other reliable sources. We also use two different websites to test the CPI variation and the polling rate. For lift-off distance, we use a few CDs or DVDs to measure the minimum value.
For buttons and wheels, our tests cover all of the main characteristics, from the technology used to the number available and their programmability. Our goal is to give you more info about the level of customization you can expect while using the mouse.
Click noise is tested in case you're looking for a very silent mouse. However, even louder mice shouldn't bother people around you unless you're in a very noise-sensitive environment.
Finally, click latency is another important aspect of mice, especially for gamers, as it can make the difference between winning or losing a game. Although most people can't visually or audibly tell the delay between when the mouse is clicked and when the action appears on the screen, having a low latency mouse can definitely give you an advantage.
Keep reading to know more about each section.
Our Sensor Specifications section consists of the following subcategories:
Sensors can have a noticeable impact on your gaming experience, especially in terms of speed, accuracy, consistency, and responsiveness.
Every sensor model is slightly different, and most gamers will have their own preferences. That's why our sensor specifications aim to give you more info to help you choose a model that's going to fit your performance needs and expectations.
We don't actually score the section as a whole, as different specs will have different pros and cons, and the best choice really depends on your needs and preferences.
For more info, take a look at our sensor specifications tests article.
Our Buttons section includes the following subcategories:
Testing for these doesn't require much equipment. We start by counting the buttons on the whole mouse, excluding the power switch if there's one, and then we count only the ones on the sides to list as 'Side Buttons'.
The activation technology is identified with the manufacturer's website or the mouse's box or by using the buttons. They can be mechanical, optical, or a combination of both.
To calculate the number of programmable inputs, we use the companion software. We exclude any profile switch, wheel unlock buttons, or CPI switching buttons if they aren’t programmable. We also take into account the possibility to set a second layer of commands, such as G-Shift (Logitech), Hypershift (Razer), or anything similar.
Finally, for gesture support, we simply acknowledge if the mouse supports it and if so, we describe the gesture function. The ability to scroll, zoom, or quickly reach an app or menu using those gesture methods is considered to be supporting the gesture function.
For the wheels, we take note of their types (vertical or thumb), if they're incremented, the number of steps when completing one full turn, and if they have left/right tilt buttons.
Some mice also have a vertical wheel unlock button to switch between incremented and free (infinite) scrolling, which is great for office work as it allows you to quickly scroll through long documents from one finger movement.
Finally, we describe the overall feel of the wheels and comment on the step definition, tactility, grip pattern, and tension.
To measure the general noise of a mouse while in use, we use a tripod, a camera, an audio recorder, a measuring tape, a spotlight, and a computer with DaVinci Resolve 16 installed.
We place all the equipment in predetermined positions on and around the table. We then start recording and click three times on every button in the following order. Take note that we don't test any buttons on the underside of the mouse.
We then transfer the video and audio files in DaVinci Resolve 16 and check the audio level obtained when pressing the L/R clicks. The results are rated as follows:
|Audio Level (in dB)||Result|
|Between -50 and -40||Very quiet|
|Between -40 and -30||Quiet|
Having a mouse with low click latency can be very beneficial for gamers. Click latency refers to the amount of time it takes from when you click a mouse button to when that command is activated on your computer. We measure it by comparing the moment we click the button to the moment the input is registered by the computer. Due to the system latency on the computer, this isn't an absolute value but a relative one that's useful to compare mice we've tested.
We measure the latency over different connection types. Generally, wired mice have the lowest latency, and Bluetooth mice have the highest one. A Bluetooth connection likely isn't ideal for gaming, but it's still good for office use, and most people won't notice any delay unless the latency is extremely high.
For more info, take a look at our click latency tests article.
Once you buy a particular mouse, there isn't much you can do to improve the controls, besides using a wired connection when possible and programming the sensor and buttons to your liking within the companion software.
Pretty much all gamers are looking for a mouse that's going to give them more control and precision over their cursor's movements. To achieve that, you need to make sure that the sensor, the click latency, and the number of programmable inputs on your mouse are all adequate for your needs and gaming style. Those features can definitely make the difference between winning or losing, and choosing the right specs for you will ensure that you're happy with your mouse, which is, after all, one of the key pieces of your gaming arsenal.