The mouse is quite possibly the most important PC gaming accessory one can have. The search for the perfect input device is really akin to the search for the holy grail. And not the funny Monty Python version either, this is actually serious business you know. Shape, size, weight, materials, buttons, button placement, friction, cord material, and personal sensitivity to specific sensor issues all play a great part into what makes a good device. It’s very much a personal quest, one that is indeed best done alone, contrary to the advice we’ve been given by the hero’s of our imagination.
The perfect mouse is but a dream, I’m afraid.
A mouse is an extension of our bodies, or should be anyway, much like a lightsaber or sword is to Jedi and other sword bearing warriors respectively. We shouldn’t feel hindered by it by any means, and it should feel natural in our hands as we control our avatars and characters in these virtual worlds we all enjoy. As a result of not really paying attention to the input device betwixt our fingers likely contributes to us compromising on one of the most integral parts of gaming; the mouse.
I’ve personally been on this quest for a very long time, attempting to find the perfect combination of features for my particular hand.
Being that our hands are all different and preferences play a big part, I wouldn’t be surprised if we see custom mice in the same way that we see custom in-ear monitors for superior listening. But, I digress. My search for the holy grail brought me to a wonderful place known as overclock.net. A wonderful community of nerds and geeks that are on similar quests. Within that site is a discussion sub-forum that deals specifically with mice. Oh my gods is there just a plethora of information available there. It’s almost too much to handle for the average mouse novice.
But, alas, weeding through the sticky threads reveals a recommendation list that includes all of the mice that have been observed to work well. But before you choose one you must figure out your preferences first.
In my own search I’ve noticed that size and shape play the most important roles in determining the ideal levels of comfort and usability. Button placement is obviously of interest and crucial to being able to properly frag your friends. I feel that sensor issues are only really problems if they hinder gameplay and enjoyment in obvious ways. Otherwise worrying about such minutia can detract from actually playing games and having fun. At some point you’ll have to concede and simply enjoy the scenery. Isn’t that what we’re supposed to do, as gamers? Just enjoy the games at some point?
The first question that needs answering is how you hold your input device. Do you use the claw method? The palm or perhaps the fingertip grip? These three are the most common and are sometimes combined in hybrid forms. So pay attention to how you naturally hold a mouse while doing everyday tasks and of course while gaming. The grip style will determine which mouse body shape will likely be most comfortable.
Dimensions of your hands are the next most important aspect and determine how long, wide etc. that your preferred mouse should be. Keep in mind that there is nothing truly perfect and nothing that will mold seamlessly to your hand, yet. But those two dimensions should guide you to the right choice, or at least closer to it.
The decision to use optical or laser as a means of measuring movement is largely a preference of the user and what they’re either used to using or what they’re sensitive to. Each type of sensor does seem to subjectively have a different feel, and indeed there seems to be objective measurements to attest to those feelings. But ultimately both sensor types essentially work well enough.
My search has ended!
Personally I prefer a palm grip type and enjoy mice that have an ergonomic shape that fit the right hand comfortably. I also enjoy a slightly steeper “palm bump” on the back. I’ve been searching far and wide for the right one, which I’ve almost found. Or perhaps I already have. Scouring overclock.net and other great sources I’ve stumbled upon the Final Mouse 2015. I think this almost counts as perfect for me. The Final Mouse 2015 is made by a small upstart company that’s been interested in trying to come up with a good formula that can potentially fulfil the needs of gamers everywhere. It’s certainly a niche product, not unlike the mice of Zowie, made to very high standards to provide a mousing experience unlike any other.
The Final Mouse 2015 is a 74 gram mouse with a shape that’s similar to the Razer Imperator. The main body is of a rubberized plastic with smooth glossy plastic on the sides. The portion where the thumb rests is also dimpled to aid in gripping it. It has two main buttons that use Omron switches with a very sure actuation point that isn’t too soft nor too shallow.
There is also a stepped mouse wheel that’s reminiscent of Logitech mice in how feels. Two side buttons provide the usual forward and back functionality in an OS and a third CPI adjustment button sounds out the rest of the functionality. It’s an optical mouse based off of the Pixart 3310 IR sensor which features four hardware programmed and native CPI adjustments at 400, 800, 1600 and 3200 counts per inch. Programmed in the firmware meaning that it’s completely plug and play, with no software to install. Once it’s plugged in the CPI adjustments can be made using the button located just south of the mouse wheel.
For those concerned with the lack of customizability, the CPI settings included in the firmware are actually rather convenient and work quite well. They’re considered to be optimal settings that have been the subject of actual research by mouse companies and gamers. A representative of the company on overclock.net, Jude, defended the position of not including customization by saying that;
“We did ALOT of pretuning to take out the chance for user error. That is why there is no driver. We simply saw no reason for people to stray away from the optimal configuration. Plug and play with Mac and pc, all ready to go.”
I happen to agree. These settings indeed work rather well.
Most gamers may not necessarily know, or care, but to compliment the nearly perfect Pixart 3310, they employ their own custom lens solution to achieve what they have found to be an ideal lift off distance. It’s a bit too short for me, but that’s being nit picking really.
Also, this sensors was chosen for the lack of any hardware assisted features so that all of your movements can be recreated on screen in all their shaky glory. When hardware tries to predict where you’re moving the mouse, the most common mouse hardware assist feature, it can become problematic in game and actually does have a real effect on your aim. Some are more sensitive to it than others, while still others claim that it’s all bullshit. But it’s a real phenomenon regardless of where you stand (or sit).
Playing and practicing.
But how is it in reality? Phenomenal. The Teflon feet provide just enough traction without it sliding too easily while it tracks near perfectly and maps my movements to the screen. It feels cheap, though that’s because of the light construction combined with glossy plastics on the sides. This doesn’t mean it’s built poorly, however and so far it’s been able to withstand sweat from regular gaming and gaming fitness sessions. But really, it’s a great mouse that fits my hand very comfortably. Incredibly comfortably. For those that are interested, the following screenshot shots how it tracks in the great MouseTester software package.
Putting it through its paces on a CS:GO competitive match I was more accurate and played better than I ever have. This, of course, may be due to many different factors and is only a correlation, though the control offered by the Final Mouse 2015 did add a level of confidence not previously there. I felt that the crosshairs was tied to my hands for the first time since my foray with the Logitech G500 so many years ago.
Put quite simply, I think I found my personal preference for mice now. It checks every mark and provides a great experience. It doesn’t hurt that the small company behind it are very adamant about supporting their product either. Their presence on overclock.net attests to their willingness to listen to the community at large in order to improve their product so that it does indeed live up to its name. Manufacturing defects, specifically lens issues, were noted and the mice replaced quite promptly. The only true issue I have is with the price, which is currently $67.12 at Amazon. This may seem like a very steep price of entry considering it’s essentially a “basic” mouse, but the smaller production numbers combined with the actual quality and the excellent parts used makes it a little more understandable. I feel as if it’ll last a long time, certainly longer than the three weeks that my Razer Deathadder Chroma did.
Is this the perfect mouse?
The bottom line is that this mouse fulfills a role that I didn’t think was ultimately possible. My holy grail has been found and I think that for the time being, and the near future, I’m satisfied with my input device of choice. I’d like to give kudos where it’s due, the Final Mouse team have done a great job concocting a brilliant mouse that’s more than capable of assisting you to achieve your best in games. Perfect, however, is personal to you. For me, my search is temporarily over, though.