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  • Corsair Dark Core RGB Pro

  • SteelSeries Rival 3

  • Glorious Model O Wireless

  • How We Tested

  • What You Should Know About Gaming Mice

  • Other Gaming Mice We Tested

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Our Favorite Gaming Mice of 2021

  1. Product image of Corsair Dark Core RGB Pro
    Best Overall

    Corsair Dark Core RGB Pro

    Pros

    • Lots of useful buttons

    • Customizable lighting

    • Comfortable

    Cons

    • Best with palm grip

    Skip to the full review below
  2. Product image of SteelSeries Rival 3
    Best Value

    SteelSeries Rival 3

    Pros

    • Affordable

    • Customizable lighting

    • Programmable buttons

    Cons

    • Wired

    • Relatively few buttons

    Skip to the full review below
Corsair Dark Core RGB Pro
Credit: Reviewed.com/Simon Hill

The Corsair Dark Core RGB Pro is our favorite wireless gaming mouse.

Best Overall
Corsair Dark Core RGB Pro

Comfort and grip are supreme with this full-featured, right-handed, wireless gaming mouse which packs in an impressive amount for the money. It’s quite large and weighty, so it’s best suited to larger hands. There’s a textured surface for enhanced grip on your palm and there’s a textured thumb rest on the left. You can remove the right-side panel (which reveals a slot for the USB receiver) and switch in a textured pinkie rest to keep your hand completely off the desktop. It’s incredibly comfortable to use for long periods.

Connectivity is seamless, thanks to Corsair’s “Slipstream” technology which can switch channels on the 2.4 GHz frequency automatically. There’s also Bluetooth support as a backup. This mouse handles frenetic in-game action with aplomb, boasting a sensor that goes up to 18,000 DPI with a 2,000 Hz polling rate. There are eight programmable buttons you can remap or customize with shortcuts and macros. You’ll also find nine RGB lighting zones. Everything is configured via Corsair’s iCue software, which takes some concentration to get to grips with, but proves to be very versatile indeed, offering deep customizability.

With a suggested battery life of up to 50 hours, the Corsair Dark Core RGB Pro has some stamina, though you’ll need to be in power-saving mode with lighting off to get close to that time. There’s a USB-C port, so you can always plug in and keep playing when the battery runs down. If you really want Qi wireless charging support, you can get it for a price upgrade with the Dark Core Pro RGB SE. You could buy Corsair’s MM1000 Qi Wireless Charging Mouse Pad at $34.99, or you can charge the mouse on any Qi wireless charging pad. Just know that the wireless option can tend to add more to the bottom line than we feel is worth it at most retailers.

Weighing up the feature list here, the $79.99 price is currently unbeatable, especially if wireless charging isn't a big deal to you. At the end of our testing, this was the mouse we wanted to return to. The Corsair Dark Core RGB Pro offers everything you could want in a gaming mouse.

Pros

  • Lots of useful buttons

  • Customizable lighting

  • Comfortable

Cons

  • Best with palm grip

SteelSeries Rival 3
Credit: Reviewed.com/Simon Hill

The SteelSeries Rival 3 offers excellent performance for the money.

Best Value
SteelSeries Rival 3

Not everyone is willing to pay big bucks for a gaming mouse and the SteelSeries Rival 3 proves you don’t have to. It’s a small, lightweight wired mouse for right handers that’s perfect for a comfortable claw or fingertip grip. At just 77 grams, with a thin 6-foot cable, it’s very easy to manoeuvre, and the build quality is solid.

You’ll find six buttons here and three RGB lighting zones. Everything can be configured via the SteelSeries Engine 3 software. The sensor in the Rival 3 tops out at a respectable 8,500 DPI and the polling rate goes up to 1,000 Hz. This mouse is no slouch in the performance stakes and keeps up with the action well. While it’s a tad small, there were no issues with accuracy.

The main attraction is the relatively low price. That’s a bargain for this kind of performance and while it lacks the bells and whistles of many of the other options here, we don’t think you’ll find anything better without spending a good bit more money. The SteelSeries Rival 3 is also compatible with both Windows and macOS.

Pros

  • Affordable

  • Customizable lighting

  • Programmable buttons

Cons

  • Wired

  • Relatively few buttons

Related content

Glorious Model O Wireless
Credit: Reviewed.com/Simon Hill

If you have the need for speed, the ultra-lightweight Glorious Model O is for you.

Best Ultra-Lightweight
Glorious Model O Wireless

Weighing in at just 69 grams the wireless Glorious Model O is an absolute dream for gamers with a need for speed. Ultra-lightweight gaming mice have been growing in popularity as they allow for quick fluid movements with the minimum of effort, which is especially important in first-person shooter games where every millisecond counts. Combine that low weight with incredible sensitivity up to 19,000 DPI and special PTFE (Teflon) mouse feet for minimal friction on any surface and you have a dangerously fast gaming mouse.

To keep the weight down, the Glorious Model O has a shell with a honeycomb design which also looks seriously cool. The hexagonal holes reduce the weight and encourage airflow, but they do also let in dust and dirt. There’s RGB lighting with three separate zones you can customize via the Glorious Core software, which also allows you to create profiles for different games and configure the six programmable buttons.

You may worry about durability with something this light, but the Glorious Model O feels tough enough to stand up to long gaming sessions and the Omron mechanical switches are good for 20 million clicks. Battery life can be pushed to 72 hours with lighting turned off, but you also get a highly flexible, lightweight cable to plug into the USB-C port when the power runs out.

While it’s not cheap, the Glorious Model O Wireless is our favorite ultra-lightweight mouse and you can also save considerably if you opt for the wired version instead. If you want to go as light as possible Glorious recently released the wired Model O Minus at 58 grams, which is the lightest mouse on the market at the time of writing. But at 69 grams we think the Model O Wireless will be light enough for most people. This gaming mouse is almost effortless to use and it’s very comfortable. For certain games, its winning combination of speed and accuracy makes a real difference.

Pros

  • Wireless

  • Very lightweight

  • Customizable lighting

Cons

  • No Bluetooth

  • No dongle storage

How We Tested

The Tester

I am Simon Hill and I have more than a decade of experience reviewing all sorts of consumer technology. Before I was a writer, I worked as a game designer for many years and had a serious first-person shooter habit. I work on a computer all day and often play games long into the night, so a good gaming mouse is essential to me.

The Tests

Every gaming mouse I tested was used for at least three days. I worked through a normal day with each mouse, writing, researching, and running through typical administrative tasks. At night, each mouse was put through its paces in marathon gaming sessions with a range of different titles, including first-person shooters, real-time strategy games, and more sedate management sims.

What You Should Know About Gaming Mice

How to Choose a Gaming Mouse

  • Wired vs. Wireless: The debate between wired and wireless gaming mice used to be straightforward, with wired mice preferred by gamers looking to eliminate any lag between muscle movement and onscreen action. Nowadays, the top wireless mice offer seamless connectivity and no perceptible lag. The lack of a cable makes them easier to move around without any drag or risk of getting snagged, but the trade-off is that they need to have batteries inside, which makes them heavier, and they inevitably need to be charged up from time to time. Some high-end gaming mice offer wireless charging now and you can even snag wireless charging mouse mats, so you never have to plug in.

  • Size, weight, and feel: Choosing the right size and weight for you is all about how a mouse feels in hand, so it’s a good idea to test them out before you buy whenever possible. Many gaming mice are right-handed only, so southpaws will have a more limited choice. You’ll want to take your preferred grip style (discussed above) into account.

  • Programmable buttons: All gaming mice offer buttons that can be remapped using the manufacturer’s software. Many of them offer extra buttons to change the DPI on the fly, but you can also map additional buttons to specific shortcuts or create macros that trigger a series of actions with a single button press. Your gaming habits figure here. MMO players will likely want lots of buttons, while FPS players tend to prefer fewer options. Sometimes you’ll find specialist inclusions like a sniper paddle or button that can be depressed to drop the DPI temporarily for accurate aiming.

  • Customizable lighting: RGB lighting seems to be a standard feature in gaming mice now. It’s easy to turn off if you don’t care for it, but if you like to enhance your gaming with a lightshow then you should check into the manufacturer’s software and see how many customizable lighting zones your prospective mouse has and where they are.

  • Portability: If you plan to take your gaming mouse on the road, then you might want the ability to store customized profiles onboard. The top gaming mice have memory for a few profiles. For wireless mice, you should also check that there’s a compartment to store the USB receiver in.

Terms You Should Know

  • DPI: Dots Per Inch is the number of pixels your cursor can move across per inch of movement from your hand. While you may assume higher is better, it really depends on your preferences, screen resolution, and the game you’re playing. A good gaming mouse will offer several preset DPI levels and make it easy for you to switch as required.

  • RGB: This stands for Red Blue Green and means you can change the color of the lights on your gaming mouse. Most gaming mice have some RGB lighting, but the number of zones and the available lighting effects differ from device to device and brand to brand.

  • Grip styles: Palm, Claw, and Fingertip are the three main grip styles you’ll hear about. Most people have a preferred grip style, but it’s not uncommon to change your grip for different games. Generally, larger, heavier mice favor a palm grip while smaller, lighter mice work well with a fingertip grip.

  • Polling rate: This refers to how often your mouse is checking its position and reporting it to your computer and is measured in Hertz (Hz). A polling rate of 1,000 Hz indicates that your mouse is reporting its position 1,000 times per second. If you like to use a high DPI, then you’ll want a high polling rate to go with it.


Other Gaming Mice We Tested

Product image of Razer Basilisk Ultimate
Razer Basilisk Ultimate

At the expensive end of Razer’s mouse range, with an off-putting $169.99 price, the Razer Basilisk Ultimate sits proudly atop its angled charging cradle. As the name implies, this wireless gaming mouse has everything. It looks fantastic with no fewer than 14 customizable lighting zones, an elongated left mouse button, hard angles, and textured sides for enhanced grip. It will suit large hands and a palm grip best, but it’s light enough for claw or fingertip grips, with a textured thumb rest on the left that means it’s only suitable for right handers.

There are 11 programmable buttons and a large scroll wheel that you can finetune for the perfect tension level. Movement is silky smooth and lightning fast, and the Basilisk offers laser accuracy with an exceptionally reliable wireless connection and zero perceptible delay. Every element of this mouse can be tweaked to your liking. Dig into Razer’s Synapse software and you can customize everything, taking DPI up to a maximum of 20,000, calibrating for different surfaces, and choosing preset lighting effects or creating your own.

The Razer Basilisk Ultimate is an absolute pleasure to use throughout the workday and then long into the night for gaming, which is possible thanks to the long battery life. The option to switch to a wired connection if the battery runs out on you is handy, but rarely needed. When you’re done, it slots onto the charging cradle like a small desktop sculpture. We also appreciate the optional sniper paddle, which you can hold down with your left thumb for a temporary DPI switch that makes precise aiming much easier.

The only thing that gives us pause in recommending the Razer Basilisk Ultimate is the price, which will be impossible to justify for most people. Otherwise, it’s an absolute dream mouse.

Pros

  • Lots of useful buttons

  • Customizable lighting

  • Sniper paddle and charge dock

Cons

  • Very expensive

Product image of Logitech G502 Lightspeed
Logitech G502 Lightspeed

Building on the popular G502 range, the Lightspeed improves on its predecessors by cutting the cable, shedding some weight, and improving the sensor. The tweaks are all on the inside, as the G502 Lightspeed has the same angular exterior as the old Proteus Spectrum, which will be good news for gamers used to that design. It’s a right-handed mouse in matte black with a rubberized thumb rest and side panel for enhanced grip. Compartments make space for a set of small weights, so you can tune the feel of this mouse.

Performance is fast, accurate, and completely lag free. The sensor goes up to 16,000 DPI and features 1,000 Hz polling rates. There are 11 programmable buttons within easy reach, and you can use Logitech’s G hub software to map them, set up macros, and create shortcuts. This mouse also features fully customizable RGB lighting with various effects and the option to create your own.

As a wireless gaming mouse battery life is a potential issue, particularly if you like lighting effects. Logitech supplies a USB-C charging cable and you can always plug in and continue to play when the battery runs low. There’s also an optional Powerplay wireless charging mouse mat, though it’s pricey and slightly reduces your weight customization options as you have to insert the wireless charging puck.

Pros

  • Feature packed

  • Classic design

  • Wireless charging

Cons

  • Expensive

Product image of Roccat Burst Pro
Roccat Burst Pro

This is another ultra-lightweight mouse for esports players and gamers looking for frictionless performance. It weighs just 68 grams, offers sensitivity up to 16,000 DPI, and has six programmable buttons. The aptly named PhantomFlex cable is 5.9 feet long and not only does it keep tangles away, but you’ll also barely notice it’s there. PTFE (Teflon) feet ensure this mouse slides easily on any mouse mat or desktop.

While Roccat has gone for the same honeycomb design as most other ultra-lightweight mice, there is a very thin skin completely covering it. That means it’s not as eye-catching as something like the Glorious Model O, but it is easier to keep clean. The placement of the lighting is a slight disappointment as it’s mostly covered by your hand when in use and there’s only one zone. You can customize the lighting and tweak other mouse settings in Roccat’s Swarm software.

Accurate and comfortable for long gaming sessions, the Roccat Burst Pro is a solid choice for gamers seeking something lightweight. However, it is quite pricey for a wired mouse with these features, especially since options like the wired Glorious Model O can be had for less.

Pros

  • Very lightweight

  • Programmable buttons

  • Comfortable

Cons

  • Wired

  • Limited lighting

Product image of Corsair Ironclaw RGB
Corsair Ironclaw RGB

With a sharp, angular style, three RGB lighting zones, ten programmable buttons, and slick wireless connectivity the Corsair Ironclaw RGB is a versatile gaming mouse. It boasts an attractive design with excellent build quality. It’s big and tall with a pronounced peak, textured grip on the sides, and it’s a right-handed mouse. It will suit palm grips best, though fingertip or claw grips are possible for those with larger hands. At 130 grams, it is quite heavy, so it might not suit FPS fanatics.

The Corsair Ironclaw RGB is a wireless mouse and can connect using Corsair’s “Slipstream” technology which jumps channels on the 2.4GHz frequency automatically to keep you seamlessly connected. It feels very responsive and we didn’t encounter any lag. There’s also Bluetooth support as a backup and you also have the option of plugging in via the charging cable for a wired connection. A customizable DPI goes up to 18,000 for extreme accuracy, and your current level is displayed on the side via three LEDs.

To get the best from the Corsair Ironclaw RGB, you’ll want to install the iCue software. This allows you to set up lighting effects; map keys, shortcuts, and macros to buttons; choose your DPI presets; and a host of other specifics to get the right feel for you. We didn’t like the defaults, but after fiddling around with iCue, we really began to appreciate the Ironclaw. You can set up profiles for different games and there’s onboard storage for three profiles.

The rechargeable battery can go for 16 hours connected via Slipstream with the lighting on and it takes around two hours to recharge. Considering the versatility, top notch wireless connectivity, and long list of features on offer here, the price tag feels reasonable.

Pros

  • Lots of useful buttons

  • Customizable lighting

Cons

  • Best for large hands

  • No wireless charging

Product image of Razer DeathAdder v2 Mini
Razer Deathadder V2 Mini

Easily one of the best gaming mice available, Razer’s Deathadder V2 is a popular pick for gamers of all kinds. The Deathadder V2 Mini takes most of what’s great about the design and shrinks it down a little for smaller hands. Razer has managed to shave a fraction of an inch from the width and height and shed one of the buttons next to the mouse wheel, but the Mini retains the same shape. This is the lightest gaming mouse we’ve used, at just 62 grams, and it’s effortless to move, with a braided power cable that never gets in the way.

The Razer Deathadder V2 Mini comes with optional grips that you can affix if you feel the need. The response time is 0.2 milliseconds, there are six programmable buttons, and the DPI sensor goes up to 8,500. That’s a long way short of the regular Deathadder V2 which tops out at 20,000 DPI. Still, the Deathadder V2 Mini is very responsive and accurate for first-person shooting and third-person action. It’s perhaps too small and light for adults, but perfect for kids.

Like most of Razer’s wares, the Deathadder V2 Mini can be customized via the Synapse software. It also supports Razer Chroma RGB, so you can pick from various lighting effects or create your own if you have the patience to work through the complicated editor. Some of the scaled down elements of the Deathadder V2 Mini are more pleasing than others, but the best is the lower price;at $49.99, this mouse costs $20 less than the regular Deathadder V2.

Pros

  • Customizable lighting

  • Programmable buttons

  • Very light

Cons

  • Wired

  • Best for small hands

Product image of Roccat Kain 120 AIMO
Roccat Kain 120 AIMO

Most gaming mice have sharp, angular designs with countless programmable buttons on them, but the Roccat Kain 120 AIMO is relatively subtle and minimalist. It’s gently shaped for right handers, with two buttons where your thumb rests, and a good gap between the left and right mouse buttons where you’ll find a DPI button and a wide, clickable, notched mouse wheel. It’s a wired mouse that weighs in at 89 grams, with a permanently attached braided cable that’s 5.9 feet long. Although there are no textured grips, the soft touch coating feels grippy and durable.

It feels very responsive in everyday use and it never let us down during gaming sessions. The DPI goes up to 16,000, way beyond what most people will need. You can remap buttons, set up macros, and tweak a few other settings using Roccat’s Swarm software, but note that it doesn’t work with macOS. We particularly like the option to set up different profiles for different games, and you can save up to five of them on the mouse itself.

The AIMO RGB lighting is also fairly subdued, with just the Roccat logo and mouse wheel lighting up. You can choose various preset lighting effects or set up your own using Swarm. While we found the Roccat Kain 120 AIMO comfortable to use throughout the day, and appreciated the handy DPI button and the feel of the mouse wheel, it doesn’t set your pulse racing and we were a little surprised by the relatively high price for the package.

Pros

  • Customizable lighting

  • Programmable buttons

  • Good performance

Cons

  • A little dull

  • Lacks grips

Product image of SteelSeries Sensei Ten
SteelSeries Sensei Ten

Ambidextrous designs are in short supply, so the SteelSeries Sensei Ten is sure to pique the interest of left-handed gamers. This is a low-profile, lightweight mouse at 92 grams, and it has a lovely, soft-touch finish that makes it extremely comfortable to use for long periods, but also enhances your grip. The thin 6.75-foot cable won’t get in your way and there’s a symmetrical button design, so you can use this mouse whether you’re right or left-handed.

We have no complaints about the performance of this mouse. The sensor goes up to 18,000 DPI and has a 1,000 Hz polling rate. You can use the SteelSeries Engine 3 software to map the eight buttons, but there are only two RGB lighting zones, comprising the logo, which tends to be under your hand, and the mouse wheel.

Unfortunately, the design was a deal-breaker because we kept accidentally pressing the right-side buttons. The features are also somewhat lacking for the asking price, but if you prefer an understated style that focuses on performance, particularly if you’re left-handed, the SteelSeries Sensei Ten might be your ideal gaming mouse.

Pros

  • Designed for right or left hand

  • Very comfortable

Cons

  • Easy to hit the wrong button

  • Limited feature set


Meet the tester

Simon Hill

Simon Hill

Contributor

@IamSimonHill

Simon Hill is a freelance technology journalist with a decade of writing experience covering everything from smartphones to smart home gadgets. For the last few years, he served as Associate Editor at Digital Trends where he wrote features, reviews, analysis, how-tos, and more.

See all of Simon Hill's reviews

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