I recently made a topic where I wanted to discuss further two set mice that had been recently announced/released. The response wasn't very overwhelming and the recently released Tt eSports Level 10 M seems to be a fairly lack-luster product. Along with recent threads discussing gaming mice in general it got me thinking about product quality when it comes to the major gaming peripheral brands (and just brands in general) and how poor some products really are (or rather, how low standards the general population seem to have). It's not that there is an overwhelming amount of bad products, it's just that there's an overwhelming amount of mediocre products.
Allow yourself to be a bit elitist when reading the following because I'm trying to pinpoint some "not so obvious" flaws and ask the question what a really good gaming mouse should be in terms of overall features and quality.
I'll start by listing my bar minimum requirements when it comes to a gaming mouse. These are things essentially every single product should have to be regarded as good, period. None of the functionality below should be "premium" - it's stuff that every single gaming mouse should have.
An ergonomic design where grip and feel is prioritized over looks. A mouse can look as excellent and spectacular as it wants on display, but if it doesn't feel great in the users hand after a set amount of gaming hours it gets the boot no matter how great it looks. Function really should be prioritized - there's no excuse for it. I won't go into detail discussing certain models here, but generally any uneven surfaces, miss-match of parts that create cracks or an unergonomic design means the manufacturer prioritized looks over function. This is, no matter how you put it, true for a lot of gaming mice that are on the market today.
Of course, the above hugely is impacted by user preference. While some might find the obscure design of the R.A.T. mice from formerly known Saitek, now Cyborg Gaming, comfortable by themselves it doesn't eliminate the fact that these mice aren't designed entirely with user comfort in mind; some compromises have been made to make these mice look the part. I'm also thoroughly convinced that those who own and find the R.A.T. mice comfortable (here only used as an example) would find mice with better ergonomics more comfortable after prolonged use. I used a MX518 (now G400) for a good 7 years and found it to be extremely comfortable, but upon changing to a better ergonomically shaped mouse I realized that the left-hand side of the mouse wasn't optimally designed for my ring-finger and pinky (at least not for my grip).
Overall component quality:
Good components, which is not necessarily limited to a good sensor (and good software/firmware that controls that sensor) and the switches used. Everything from the cord, to the surface, to the materials of the buttons, to the teflon patches underneath the mouse, to the components inside the mouse - it all matters and is all of great importance. The components inside are just as important as the components you interact with. Having inconsistent buttons, even slightly, should be a reason alone to call a mouse mediocre.
I'll make this a separate point because it is so utterly important; the sensor. Since this is essentially the source to the users input it is by far the most important piece of hardware in a mouse, especially for first-person shooters (and perhaps less for MMO-gamers). And don't focus on the wrong thing here; high DPI is useless for 99.9% of gamers. 3600 DPI has proven to be the maximum of what most gamers use. What is more important is the polling rate (Hz), the absence of jitter, the ability to set or turn off acceleration and calculation and to have a linear performance of the sensor at any given DPI interval.
With the above each manufacturer can start to add premium features to their mouse, like macro functionality, more buttons or a weight system - but that's not what I want to discuss. What I want to point out is that if the above criteria isn't met it doesn't matter how fully featured a mouse is with extra features because it will still essentially only reach "mediocre" status.
I find myself looking for mice that meets the above criteria but it is actually really hard. Some mice come extremely close, but fails due to jitter issues or sensor issues at certain DPI settings (or other, seemingly minor, flaws).
Currently, I list 6 mice as recommended in the peripherals section of my sample builds. Let's look a bit further into those - mice I have researched for more than a couple of hours and that come close to or actually meet the above criteria. Note that the below mice are by many considered to be the top segment of mice to date, of course with some personal opinion playing part.
Reported to be completely jitter free since a change earlier this year (April?) and arrive with a 1000Hz polling rate out of the box. Sensor is reliable and performs as it should with prediction turned off (again, with later models). No distinct problem at different DPI intervals. Design can be argued to be a bit on the less-ergonomic side, but fact remains that this mouse sits neatly in most users hands. Large teflon feet make for a great glide across most surfaces. Has also since April(?) started to use off-brand switches but these are reportedly not of less quality than the previously used (now using Himake instead of Omron switches).
CM Storm Spawn:
Jitter issues around 800 DPI and 125MHz polling rate. Has slight prediction. It also seem to have inconsistent acceleration when comparing left to right swipes. Simply put, it doesn't meet the criteria.
Zowie Gear AM:
Inconsistency between left and right buttons where left often is a lot firmer than right (most likely due to a manufacturing issue where the left and right buttons almost touch). Issues with tracking zone (if the mouse is raised slightly above the surface erratic jitter can occur - also referred to as lift-off issues). Slight acceleration. Otherwise darn close to meet the criteria.
Corsair Vengeance M60:
Arguably an ergonomic design flaw (the back of the mouse can feel erratic and doesn't offer great support regardless of palm or claw grip). Has prediction, and can act "twitchy" according to some - regardless of DPI settings. Lift-off issues. Doesn't meet the criteria.
Acceleration, although very slight (might have been resolved through firmware updates). Design can be argued to fall in the same category as the G400, but it's made to fit almost any need. Bar the acceleration issue, this mouse meets the criteria.
Mionix Naos 5000:
Lift-off issue out of the box, although this can be adjusted and corrected for in the software. Ergonomic shape for palm grip. Uses a good sensor that has reportedly no jitter with the ability (through the software) to set acceleration and polling rate.
So, out of the six mouse that I have found to be the ones I want to recommend, there's only really one or two that meet the criteria completely. If we count the ones that come close the number rises to four (Logitech G400, Zowie Gear AM, SteelSeries Sensei and the Mionix Naos). I can think of one other mouse that might fall into the category of what I would call "good mice", the Razer DeathAdder 3.5G, but Razer's inconsistency with product quality forces me not to recommend it.
Essentially, are there other gaming mice out there that actually fall under what should be the minimum standard?