Gamers are constantly trying to improve their hardware, and one of the many concerns they have had for some time is their mouse’s speed and sensitivity. In fact, an age-old question among gamers has been: what is the best DPI for gaming? The truth is, depending on who you are and what you do with your mouse, the answer to this question will slightly differ.
In this article, we will discuss why a gaming mouse’s DPI count is important, but not as important as one might think. In addition to DPI, we will also touch on the other aspects of a mouse that you should pay attention to.
What does DPI mean?
DPI stands for dots per inch, which could just as easily be called PPI or pixels per inch as they are essentially one and the same. DPI in a gaming mouse is, in simple words, how sensitive your mouse sensor is to movement, which translates into the movement of the cursor on your display. The more sensitive a mouse sensor is, the faster it can move from one part of your display to the other (although this is only true to some extent). You may see gaming mice with 5-digit DPI numbers, but most consumer-grade mice on the market have a DPI of around 1000.
The “Gamer” tag
Having a very high gaming mouse DPI has turned into an industry-standard at this point. In fact, there are quite a few mice that boast up to 26,000 DPI. But the reality is that a DPI this high is somewhat of an unreasonable feature since you would never be able to take advantage of the highest accuracy that these mice provide. The typical display resolutions are not capable of allowing you to take full advantage of high DPI numbers. Therefore, the best dpi for gaming is based not just on your mouse’s capabilities, but your monitor’s as well.
Allow me to explain. If you have a 1080p monitor, there are 1080 pixels in a straight vertical line on your display. Based on the description we provided for DPI in a gaming mouse, with a 1080 gaming mouse DPI, you would be able to move your cursor from the bottom of the screen to the top by moving the mouse one inch. One inch is roughly the length that you can move your mouse comfortably just by moving the mouse under your fingers as opposed to moving your entire wrist. But if the sensitivity of the mouse was set to just above 2000 DPI, the cursor would traverse the entire height of the display with just half an inch of movement.
But let’s imagine we are using a mouse with 4000 DPI; ¼ of an inch would be enough movement to get the cursor from the bottom to the top. That is just six millimeters of movement! If you wanted to stop at a particular spot on the monitor, your hand movement needs to have millimeter level accuracy with such a high DPI number. Otherwise, you would just be flailing the cursor around without intending to.
The point is that, in a 1080p monitor, anything beyond 2000 DPI in a gaming mouse could make precision difficult.
What about higher resolutions?
There is a redeeming quality for higher DPI mice in monitors with higher resolutions, which are more and more common amongst gamers, designers, and other computer users nowadays.
For instance, in a monitor offering 1440p resolution, there are 40% more vertical pixels than a 1080p monitor. So, a 3000 gaming mouse DPI would be reasonable for a 1440p monitor. At 4K, we are working with 2560 vertical pixels, so, a mouse with 5000 DPI would allow you to move your cursor across the vertical axis of the screen in ½ inch. Of course, the DPI number that is considered within reason will increase when you look at the number of pixels in the width of the display. So, mice with even higher DPI numbers would be appropriate for wide and ultra-wide monitors like the Samsung G9.
DPI in games
When it comes to the practical benefits of having a high DPI mouse in games, it might seem hard to find use-cases where a four or five-digit DPI in a gaming mouse could be beneficial. We will take 4K monitors as an example to offer mice with high DPIs the best chance to prove their usefulness.
Since we are working with approximately 3840 horizontal pixels, a DPI of 4000 would mean around an inch of movement would take the cursor from one end to the other. In a first-person shooter (FPS) game, you realistically can’t go much higher than a DPI of 6000 because accuracy is key, and this DPI would mean that the cursor moves from left to right in just half an inch of movement in FPS games, which is more than enough.
But in massively multiplayer online and Multiplayer online battle arena (MOBA) games, the added DPI could be beneficial. This is because the increased DPI improves speed, which is imperative in such games that tend to require great cursor movement without needing pin-point accuracy.
The main takeaway is that the best DPI for gaming will differ, based on the type of gaming you play. Therefore, you’ll definitely want to change your mouse dpi accordingly when playing different games that require different DPIs for optimal performance.
What to actually look at
In general, you should look at the specs and design of the mice you want to buy in a holistic manner. Comfort is probably the most important aspect to consider. The build quality, extra programmable buttons or any extra feature that a mouse might have would be completely meaningless if the mouse doesn’t feel comfortable in your hand.
Once you are confident a mouse is comfortable, you should consider whether it matches your needs and purpose for using it. For instance, if you will be using the mouse to work 12 hours a day and have wrist pain, then you may want to prioritize a professional, ergonomic mouse with a lower DPI and even greater comfort, such as the Logitech MX Ergo. If you are a graphic designer or video editor, you may need a mouse with many programmable buttons that will allow you to access various functions in programs you use by just a click of a button, thus expediting the completion of your day-to-day work tasks.
A high gaming mouse DPI is something that gamers only seem to be most concerned about, and probably rightfully so. Depending on the game they are playing, DPI in a gaming mouse could play a significant role in a gamer’s efficiency and ability to showcase his or her skills. However, DPI and finding the best DPI for gaming is not everything; it is just one feature to pay attention to, and it is not one that you should pay attention to at the expense of sacrificing features that you may benefit from more.
Interested in learning more about mice and DPI?
Newcom is the authorized distributor of Logitech, a globally recognized manufacturer and producer of some of the best gaming mice. If you are interested in learning more about mice, DPI, and other specifications of gaming mice, please visit our product site to browse various Logitech mouse models. If you have any specific inquiries, please contact us. We would be delighted to assist you in any way we can.