After more than 30 hours of research followed by 100+ hours of testing ten gaming mice, there's no question about the one I'd buy: the $60 Razer DeathAdder 2013. It's affordable for a gaming mouse, comes with Razer's straightforward and customizable drivers, and has quite possibly the best body design and buttons of any gaming mouse I've used.
That’s saying a lot. Even before doing this guide, I’ve used a lot of mice, ranging from popular brands like Logitech, SteelSeries and Roccat to the lesser-known Ozone and CM Storm. Furthermore, I didn’t decide on the DeathAdder by myself: I tested ten mice (on top of a few I already owned) alongside professional Battlefield 3 player Charlie Goldberg, who plays under the handle LevelCap, and we both agreed that the DeathAdder is the best gaming mouse we’ve ever used.
(Charlie is quoted under his handle LevelCap throughout this article, and he also wrote up his own impressions on all of the mice we tested.)
Now, a big part of choosing the mouse that’s right for you is finding one that comfortably fits your hand size and grip style. With that in mind, we’ve picked out three other mice from our carefully chosen testing pool that don’t quite match the DeathAdder, but are still great. Comfort matters, and personal opinion is always an important part of picking out the right mouse. But even more important is knowing what to look for in a gaming mouse to inform that opinion—button placement, click distance, weight, material grip and sweat resistance, driver software options and the mouse sensor itself. Switching to a new mouse can take some adjusting, but it can also pay off with better control and reaction time.
First we’re going to tell you what all that stuff means and why you should care about it. Then we’ll tell you why the DeathAdder and a rare few other mice get it right where so many other mice get it wrong.
Who Should Get This?
If you play PC games, especially first-person shooters, you should buy the DeathAdder. This is a great choice for just about anyone looking to upgrade to a new mouse, and it’s a pretty affordable buy at $60. (Amazon often sells it even cheaper.) The mouse’s CPI is customizable up to 6,400, which is so high that you’ll barely be able to follow the cursor as it flits across the screen. Even if you really love your current mouse, read up on why we recommend the DeathAdder. It’s possible that the DeathAdder (or a mouse with a similar grip, which we’ll explain in detail) could actually make you better at games than you are now.
Left-handed? Me too, although I’ve always used a mouse with my right hand. If you’re a left-handed mouser, though, Razer has you covered with a left-hand edition. Unfortunately, the left-hand model hasn’t been updated for 2013; the older DeathAdder has a great mouse sensor but inferior glossy plastic sides. We think mousing lefties will be better off choosing our favorite ambidextrous mouse, the Mionix Avior 8200, which we talk more about below.
If you’re a PC gamer but spend all your time playing MMOs, the DeathAdder may not be the mouse for you. It has only two customizable buttons on the left-hand side of the mouse, which may not be enough for players who like to bind multiple commands to their mouse. However, after talking to pro gamers who play shooters (Battlefield 3, Counter-Strike) and real-time strategy games (Starcraft), not one recommended a mouse with tons of buttons. In fact, they unanimously preferred simple, lightweight mice, saying more buttons tend to get in the way of a comfortable and highly-controlled grip.
Worse, too many buttons can cause you to even press buttons accidentally. “I can’t imagine any pro gamers would get a mouse for macro functions,” said Derek, one of the pro gamers I talked to. “Most of the time they stack them all right where your thumb goes on the mouse, like the [Razer] Naga and Logitech MMO mouse. I can’t control those mice for shit even with the same DPI/resolution. It feels off because I’m gripping the mouse differently. For an MMO they would be fine though.”