Purchasing the Right Mouse

Low motivation to do schoolwork and being caught up in work caused me to spend an hour and a half of researching about computer mice this evening*. The result is a feeling of satisfaction, decent knowledge of mice, and 3 notifications on slickdeals for mice that I will instantly buy.

Like most things I do, I simmered on the idea of buying a mouse for a few weeks as I found more and more reasons to do something about it. My current mouse is a Logitech MX700, an apparently decade-old piece of hardware that I’ve used for just over half that time. I got it as a peripheral to a computer I was supposed to fix up and reallocate, and it was a great change. Previously, I had used a cheap, dependable Microsoft optical mouse without any particular concern about how it felt. This mouse, however, felt much better: it was larger to fit my hand better, it had a thumb indentation for better grip, it was much heavier, and overall, it was just much more comfortable to use. I’m using it for this post right now, and it still feels good.

But I also use a Logitech Performance Mouse MX at the office, and it’s also awesome. Found in a random pile of peripherals, its shape has the same indentation and feel that I like about this mouse, but it’s better in other ways, too. I thought I liked the heft of my MX700, but it turns out that the much lighter Performance Mouse also works: the size was more important. According to Razer, I’m a palm grip guy, and I like tall mice that fit into my palm. And while I have to charge my mouse every few days, I used the Performance Mouse on low battery for 6 months. And it also doesn’t have a huge dock/receiver, like my MX700. So given how many hours a day I use my mouse, it’s time to upgrade.

It’s honestly been awhile since I’ve needed to do serious shopping research. I’ve been contemplating my next computer setup, but since I’m a Mac user, there are actually very few choices, and the deciding factors are larger usage questions. In looking at mice, there are tons of small questions: optical or laser? Wired or wireless? How many DPI? What about the shape? Ultimately, most of these choices aren’t going to matter too much to me, and as overwhelming as it seemed, I think I’ve figured it out in about an hour.

My primary concern is to get a comfortable mouse. First, it should be a full-sized (not a mobile/compact) mouse. Second, it should be shaped for my hand, which would include a mouse indentation. Finally, it shouldn’t be light, as I have developed a preference for slightly heavier mice. Oddly, I discovered that this meant that I need to look at gaming mice. Nowadays, the best computer peripherals are gaming devices, and although I certainly do get my game on, I primarily want a good mouse for daily use. I’m already an emacs user who will develop carpal tunnel from how I need to use the keyboard anyways, so I might as well be as comfortable as possible with my mouse. So, all the details about DPI and extra random buttons weren’t particularly important.

Research went relatively quickly. I had previously accumulated a few links from random browsing, so I put all of those into a spreadsheet. In total, I had 11 mice with some basic spec and price points. From there, I used Google product search to find reviews for each and sorted them according to my preferences given all details. This narrowed me down to a list of 3 mice that seemed roughly equivalent and worth buying: the Logitech G400, the Razer DeathAdder, and the Logitech G500. All of them appear to have roughly the shape I want, aren’t too expensive when on-sale ($30 or $40), and are well-reviewed. At that point, I googled direct comparisons between them, which yielded a ton of forum threads on exactly this choice. As I figured, the preferences there were a wash as various people spoke up for personal preferences and mentioned their own particular malfunctions with each device.

I think this is where I call it a draw and let price and chance decide for me. I have deal notifications on slickdeals setup for each mouse, and when a good deal comes up on any of them, I’ll be upgrading. Sadly, I saw the G500 come and go less than a week ago while I was still deliberating whether to researching buying a nice mouse or not.

Anyways, that’s about it. This post ended up being a lot drier than I was shooting for, but that’s okay. I have 2 takeaways from the experience, which you might consider as well.  First, a lot of shopping research is really easy nowadays. The number of choices and unimportance of most of them can be overwhelming, but a combination of a well-deliberated system and a ton of opinions from others got me through the process in almost no time.

Second, it’s worth thinking about computer and desk peripherals if you spend as much time at a computer as I do. At the beginning of college, my desk was my Macbook Pro 15-inch screen, its built-in keyboard, and my MX700. Now, I’m on a 23-inch LCD screen and an external keyboard, looking to buy a new mouse, and more comfortable than I’ve ever been before. So if you haven’t thought about your mouse much until reading this post, I recommend it. Even if it makes you feel like a tool or a nerd, I recommend looking at the Razer Gaming Mouse Advisor, which can help you think through what you should look for in a mouse.

Or if you can wait, there will be a Logitech MX700 coming onto the market as soon as one of my deal alerts fires. It’s in fine condition, will come with rechargeable batteries, and may be more comfortable than any mouse you’ve ever used before. There might even be a blog-reader’s discount.

* not actually written this evening. I backlog and space out my blog posts nowadays. As of this evening, I have already bought the G400. Anyone want a MX700?

4 thoughts on “Purchasing the Right Mouse”

  1. What type of keyboard are you using? I bought the Razr Imperator and it died on me within a month. They have great customer support and mailed me a replacement within a couple of weeks. So far this one hasn’t given me any problems but I was looking into a logitech mouse.

  2. I’m using the Logitech Media Keyboard Elite. Far less thought was put into this acquisition: I got it as a castoff from a friend moving out of a dorm. It’s maybe 5 years old at this point, but other than the keyboard being smoothed out and the “s”, “c”, and “d” keys having lost the character paint, it’s still in fine condition. My impression was that other than the clickiness of a keyboard, it doesn’t make a big difference.

    How is the Imperator going? I tried out the DeathAdder for a few minutes at Fry’s, and it felt fine. My concern was that it felt a little more fragile than the Logitech mice, which has buttons completely flush to the body and just seems durable.

    For what it’s worth, I’m very happy with the G400. The one drawback is that Logitech never released Mac drivers, so I can’t use the forward/back buttons on the thumb in Mac OS. It took maybe a week to get used to not using them, and it’s fine now.

  3. Imperator is good. It has a nice blue to it and customizing the buttons with the additional software was an ease. I definitely recommend it if you are still in the market for a mouse. My ‘travel’ mouse is the G500. Definitely not pretty but very effective. I use it when i go to the local gaming cafe b/c it has onboard memory and on the fly sensitivity adjustment.

    Looking for a good mech keyboard. Any suggestions?

  4. Yeah, I almost got the G500 as it basically seems to be a spiffier version of the G400. In the end, though, I figured I could do without more complexity, at least in this aspect of my life.

    No idea about keyboards. I don’t ever remember being dissatisfied with a keyboard before, so I don’t have strong enough feelings to tell you anything in particular.

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