Mouse and Trackballs

Even with the advances in the possible interactions between users and their computer machines, which are always advancing and have already resulted in widespread touch-screen and touch-pad functionalities, mouses & trackballs have remained favorites among a very large majority of people due to their practicity and ease of use. Over the years, they have expanded their designs and features while still retaining their overall shape and functionality. Read our buying guide and figure out what is most relevant when buying a new mouse & trackball. Read buying guide

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Buying guide

Types of Mouse

Classic Mouse

A classic mouse main feature is versatility. With a size and shape that fits most palms and, usually, a LED sensor, the classic mouse is the preferred choice of ordinary PC users for web browsing or casual gaming. Its relatively cheap, but usually outlasts its compact and gaming cousins because of the mild working conditions its exposed to.

Compact Mouse

Slightly smaller, but structurally identical to the classic mouse, the compact mouse is valued for its portability. Some compact mouse come with retractable cords or even with no cords at all, making storage and transport a breeze. But being the smallest of the three, it also provides the least support to the fingers making it the least ergonomic. This type is most appropriate for people on-the-go.

Gaming Mouse

Precision and sensitivity are what separates the gaming mouse from the other two. Its the most complicated, most advanced and, unfortunately, the most expensive of the three. Most gaming mice have laser sensors that make them sensitive to subtle or sudden wrist movements. Some even have weight unjustment kits for players who are very particular with their gaming mouse’ heft.

Mouse Sensors

Optical Mouse

Instead of a ball, an optical mouse uses reflected light from light-emitting diodes (LED). The beams of light are then picked up by photodiodes which in turn relay the movements to the computer. It performs best on opaque surfaces such as the mousepad, but not nearly as good as its laser counterpart. Optical mice come cheap and is the most common type of mouse there is, making it the perfect choice for casual PC users.

Laser Mouse

Laser, so far, is the most advanced mouse sensor available in the mainstream market. Its laser diode gives it 20 times more surface tracking accuracy than the optical mouse. High-end gaming mice usually have laser sensors as they can keep up with fast wrist movements with excellent precision.

Wired vs Wireless

The choice between a wired or a wireless mouse is essentially a dilemma between frugality and convenience. A wired mouse is a whole lot cheaper especially because it gets its power directly from the computer. However, tangled wires are an eye sore and may even limit your mouse movement, so “losing the tail” can significantly de-clutter your workspace.


Radio Frequency vs. BluetoothMouse and Trackball

Cordless mice are further divided into two categories according to the technology they use: the radio frequency (RF) and the Bluetooth mouse. The only visible difference between the two is that an RF mouse has a small USB transmitter that must be connected to the PC while a Bluetooth connects directly to the computer.

 

In terms of convenience, the more expensive Bluetooth mouse has the upper hand. For one, it does not use up an USB port like the RF mouse. Bluetooth signals also have twice as much range than RF signals while offering transmission with minimal interference. But the difference between their response time, so far, is negligible, so it really boils down to choosing between sacrificing cash or an USB port.

Mouse speed

Mouse speed is measured by comparing the amount of distance travelled by the mouse in inches to that of the on-screen cursor in pixels or dots, thus the unit dots per inch (DPI). While leading manufacturers are engaged in a frenzied rat race to produce a mouse with the highest DPI, mouse speed is a rather subjective criteria. Hardcore gamers are the most particular lot about DPI, but even regular PC users may want to customize their mouse’s speed according to their preferences.

Refresh rate

Refresh rate or polling rate (Hz) determines how often a mouse reports its movements to the computer. Modern day have mice have refresh rates as high as 1000Hz, which means that it sends signals to the computer every 1 millisecond making the cursor movements smooth and accurate. If the polling rate is less than 100 Hz, however, the cursor’s movement will be erratic and jerky.

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