There’s a serious problem with choosing gaming peripherals these days.
With all the options available, we all tend to rely on specs and technical features when choosing products as we search for “the best.” But unlike a graphics card or processor, there’s precious little that’s objective about something like a gaming mouse.
I found this out when I took the SteelSeries Prime out for a test spin. It quickly became my go-to option, and now I can’t go back to using anything else. It’s not because it’s the best. It’s because when it comes to choosing a gaming mouse, fit and feel are king.
There are a few key specs to pay attention to when looking at a gaming mouse: The sensor and its maximum DPI, the switches and their technology and longevity, and the buttons and how practical they are to use. Wireless connection also plays a role, though honestly, most major mouse makers have fast wireless protocols that offer plenty of battery life.
Taken together, those specs tell you … well, nothing. Sure, I can tell you that a switch lasts for 50 million or 100 million clicks, but that doesn’t say anything about the mouse. You’ll probably replace it long before a switch fails. Similarly, a sensor may sport a resolution of 26K DPI, but only a microscopic fraction of players will ever notice the benefits of such a high resolution.
I certainly can’t, and I’ve used most of the best gaming mice you can buy. The SteelSeries Prime Wireless has an 18K DPI sensor, while the $110 Corsair Sabre Pro Wireless comes with a 26K DPI sensor. The Corsair sensor is objectively better and cheaper, but that just doesn’t translate into real-world use.
Specs are important when comparing the wide range of gaming mice you can buy. But when you’re dealing with devices from major brands like SteelSeries, Corsair, Razer, and Logitech, most gaming mice are more alike than they are different on the inside. The differences come down to form, functionality, and above all else, preference.
Making the difference
I recently reviewed the SteelSeries Prime Mini Wireless. It’s a decent gaming mouse, but perhaps not good enough to earn a spot among the best gaming mice on the market, though. The weaker sensor, relatively high price, and annoying wireless dongle just didn’t cut it.
Even more, the Prime Mini wasn’t right for me in particular. It just wasn’t the right size for my hand. After having used the more standard-sized SteelSeries Prime Wireless, it became even clearer how much the ergonomics mattered.
The SteelSeries Prime Wireless is my favorite gaming mouse right now because I like using it. It’s not because of the sensor, which lags behind the competition, and it’s not because of the wireless technology, which is just as fast as the wireless tech from Corsair, Logitech, and Razer. It’s because the SteelSeries Prime Wireless feels good in my hand.
When choosing a gaming mouse, it’s all about the subjective bits: How the mouse is shaped, what the left- and right-clicks feel like, how the mouse looks. Performance is the least important thing to worry about when dealing with high-end gaming mice. I’d choose a mouse from a major brand that has RGB I like over one with a better sensor every time.
For the past several weeks, the Corsair M65 Ultra Wireless has been my daily driver. It’s a great mouse, and it comes with the best specs you can find right now. I like the shape, too, but I gravitated toward the M65 because of its listed performance, not because it was the best mouse for me. The Prime Wireless changed that in a matter of days, and I haven’t switched back.
That doesn’t mean the Prime Wireless is the best mouse for you — the point here is that there isn’t one mouse that’s best for everyone. Maybe you prefer the stubby shape of the M65, or you want to use something that’s as light as possible like the Logitech G Pro X Superlight. All three of these mice are wireless, performant, and cost around the same. So, which is the best? It comes down to what you like most.
Feel is so important that I would put it above specs, and in some cases, even looks. That’s the case with the Prime Wireless, which still has a lot of problems.
Compromise is OK
The Prime Wireless has some issues. I don’t like the chunky dongle that occupies the sole USB-C slot on my motherboard, the software is a couple of years behind Corsair’s iCue and Logitech’s G hub, and there’s only a thin, underwhelming strip of RGB lighting around the scroll wheel. If you laid out the 10 top gaming mice and I had to pick one without touching any of them, I wouldn’t choose the Prime Wireless.
Still, I continue to use it. It’s OK to compromise on specs, lighting, and even software support for a mouse you like to use. This should be obvious, but it’s all too easy to get caught up in the comprehensive view of a product — how it stacks up to the competition, and all the bits and bobs that contribute to the experience — while overlooking what’s most important.
Although I don’t have concrete numbers, my Destiny 2 clan said I was playing better with the Prime Wireless. And I felt better playing while using it. Even with my list of problems, I keep using the Prime Wireless. It might not be the best mouse for you, but it’s the best mouse for me.
The best for me is not the best for you
The Prime Wireless lands in a strange spot in the world of gaming mice. It’s just enough below the competition to not stand out, but for a certain section of the gamers that appreciate the clicks and like the form factor, there’s nothing better. I haven’t gone back to my Razer Viper Ultimate or Corsair Sabre Pro.
It’s important, especially with peripherals, to find something you like, not something a review or roundup tells you to buy. I will scream until I’m blue in the face about how Cherry MX Brown key switches are the best for gaming and typing — but I don’t have a better argument than someone who likes Red switches. The same is true with gaming mice.
If you have a local Micro Center or Best Buy, make sure to put your hand on the mouse before buying one. Feel the form, click the switches, slide it across a mouse pad if you can. That will tell you more about if it’s the right mouse for you than a sensor or spec list ever could.
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