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2020 has become the year of the gaming mice. More gaming mice have been released this year than any other before it. That increased productivity combined with the already ongoing progress in the wireless gaming mice industry has made the wireless option more and more compelling and the times when gamers could logically only go with a wired mouse are over. Wireless gaming mice have developed to the point where they can compete at par with their wired counterparts. But have they come far enough? Is it time for the mouse to follow the headphones and go wireless? More importantly, what do the pros think? Do pro gamers use wired or wireless mouse?
Professional gamers are using both wired and wireless gaming mice now. Just a few years ago, any e-sport professional would’ve ridiculed the idea of using a wireless mouse in a competitive context. But the trend has been shifting. Since the latency of the wireless mice has been improving and prolonged battery life along with lighter models has been becoming more and more abundant, it’s starting to make more and more sense to go wireless. There are, however, some things you should consider before making a decision to go or not to go wireless.
So let’s look into what the pros and cons of wired and wireless mice are. This might help us in figuring out why some professionals might make the shift while others might choose to stay.
Wired vs wireless mouse for gaming
There are reasons why gamers, especially professionals, have preferred wired gaming mice. The most noticeable concern is latency which we’ll discuss down below. Most of the concerns are getting dealt with. And as mentioned, aside from a few personal tastes and perks, wireless has caught up and in some cases, getting ahead.
Since the trend in the gaming industry has generally leaned towards wired mice, we can take wired gaming mice as a baseline and judge wireless gaming mice from that context.
Pros and cons of wireless mice
Latency or input lag in the case of a gaming mouse, as the name suggests, is the time gap between the moment you move your arm and the moment the appropriate reaction takes place on the screen. It’s heavily affected by the connection between the system and the mouse.
If you’re familiar with the gaming peripheral industry, you might have some idea of how big a concern latency can be. At lower levels like recreational gaming, it might be something you can work with but as you get higher into the professional ranks, this becomes an unacceptable drawback of going wireless. Imagine playing an FPS game, noticing and starting to take aim to get the other guy but he gets you before you get him…. just because he had a smaller input lag. It would be cheating if it wasn’t due to your own hardware! This is a very real concern for pro-gamers and it’s no wonder. You want the competitive advantage whenever you can get it but you have to at least be at par with the other guy’s hardware to call it a fair game.
Up until a few years ago, wireless mice just hadn’t come to the point where they could boast a faster or even identical response time to the top-tier’s favored wired gaming mice. This was understandable since the medium being used to convey signals between the mouse and the system was dramatically different in terms of how fast it could conduct signals. The metal wire between a computer and a wired mouse conducted signals much better than what you could achieve with a Bluetooth or dongle connection used for a wireless mouse. However, the gap has closed thanks to the 2.4 GHz dongle connection that wireless gaming mice can now have. This is a feature you can see in Logitech’s Lightspeed and Razer’s Hyperspeed connection technology.
With their Lightspeed 2.4 GHz end-to-end connection, Logitech claimed that they had achieved faster performance in terms of latency and they weren’t pulling any legs. Different technical and practical tests tend to agree that the latency issue with wireless mice is now gone. Razer’s HyperSpeed wireless connection features ultra-low latency times going as low as 195 microseconds (according to Razer). Other brands like Corsair and Glory are also in the game producing some major ripples for the whole industry with great wireless products showing up across the board.
So latency? Gone.
This is the other area where professionals have typically preferred wired mice. Gaming mice can generally weigh anywhere between 50-125g with 100g being something like the mean weight. Mice hover around this weight and you might think that a few grams isn’t the type of difference you should be able to make out while using a gaming mouse but you can. Professionals certainly do. Heavier mice can make it seem as if there’s just a bit more resistance and drag in the movement of the mouse across the pad.
Due to wireless mice being internally different than wired ones, the fact that there might be a difference in their weights isn’t entirely a surprise but it’s not because of the whole wireless set-up. Typically, wireless mice gain a few chunks mainly from the on-board battery (or batteries). Manufacturers like Logitech and Razer have to design around this problem to not let the weight go crazy. Some, like Glory with their Model O, have gone with cutting honeycombs into the mouse chassis so that lesser material makes the mouse lighter. But even without those structural novelties, lower weights have been achieved across the board.
And as with other areas, the gaps here are filling up. Some wireless mice are lighter than their corded counterparts like the Logitech G502 Lightspeed compared to the corded G502 Hero.
Last but not least, as with wireless earbuds, wireless gaming mice also bring up the issue of battery life. Gamers should naturally be more concerned with this than the average Joe since some of their brethren don’t tend to see the light of day every day… all because they’re so absorbed in their rather spiritual pursuit of FPS kills and MMO achievements.
Fortunately, wireless gaming mice have taken care of that too with some rechargeable mice like the Razer Basilisk Ultimate boasting battery life up to 100 hours with the RGB off and 20 hours with the RGB full on. That doesn’t mean you should try to drain your mouse in a single run though, there are other ways of proving one’s determination. It just means you probably don’t have to worry about your mouse dying on you in the middle of an intense firefight. Even if you’re an ultra-heavy user, wireless mice have got you covered. Logitech’s G502 Lightspeed can charge on the PowerPlay wireless charging pad while you’re playing. The charging pad serves a double function as the mouse pad. So now you have virtually undrainable wireless gaming mice.
One more gap filled and over with.
The Best Wireless Gaming Mouse Used By Pros
Logitech G502 Lightspeed
Sensor: Logitech HERO 25K Optical Sensor. DPI: 25,600. IPS/ Malfunction speed: 400. Price range: $$$ Weight: 114g.
So now for some specifics. Since we’ve discussed how it’s gotten more and more sensible to go wireless when it comes to gaming, let’s take a look at one of the shining models of wireless mice that helps us make the transition from the cords of wired gaming mice to the novel frontier of wireless peripherals.
The G502 is something of a household name among the gaming community. It’s been around for around 6 years and has gained popularity with its design and ergonomics. The 2014 version got an RGB update in 2016, got upgraded to Logitech’s HERO optical sensor in 2018, finally got to the wireless version in 2019, and is now shopping with the newer HERO 25K Sensor. The wireless version came after Logitech announced it’s Lightspeed connection technology. This was supposed to promise reliability and performance that wouldn’t stain the glorified legacy of the G502. And the G502 Lightspeed delivered. With an even lighter design than the wired version and no discernable difference in latency, the comfort package of the G502 made the transition to the wireless domain quite successfully.
Backed with Logitech’s proprietary 2.4 GHz Lightspeed end-to-end connection, the G502 just works. It’s not packed with a dozen macros on the side but it’s not dull either. With 6 macro buttons, this mouse is well-equipped to handle your gaming needs. As for the most important part, the ergonomics and the exterior design of the G502 haven’t changed from the last version. The same promising design with its comfortable finger placement is a fan favorite. It’s a combination of form and function which has proved to be an effective recipe for success.
On the tech specs, the new Industry-leading High-Efficiency Rating Optical (or HERO) 25K sensor can crank up the DPI up to an astounding 25,600 so you’re MORE than covered in terms of your sensitivity spectrum. The polling rate is a very healthy 1000 MHz with a malfunction speed of over 400 inches per second ( which is pretty good, if you were wondering).
The main buttons are bouncy and have an ease of pressing to them. Oh, and who could forget the hyper scroll! With just a single click of the quick-release button, the scroll wheel frees itself from the resistance mechanism and you can breeze through your long inventory in a single scroll of your finger. It’s a nifty little feature that Logitech sneaks in with their products which just adds some flavour to their line-up.
Along with the six macros, you can adjust what flicking the scroll wheel to either side will do on Logitech’s proprietary software comparison; G-Hub. The software is super user-friendly and should be a breeze to get the hang of, even for beginners. You can also adjust the RGB settings of the mouse just like the previous iterations.
The G502 Lightspeed also comes with additional weights of 2 and 4 grams so you can add weight to it if you prefer a more draggy mouse which can be helpful if your movements are a little too sporadic or forceful. Movements are made smoother by the non-stick, hydrophobic PTFE feet on the mouse which is a fancy replacement for plastic.
All in all, the G502 Lightweight maintains the great tradition of comfort and functionality of its predecessors and combines it with the capabilities of a modern mouse like the Logitech G Pro Wireless to come up with something comfortable, efficient, and tweak-friendly for the gaming elite.
The Best Wired Gaming Mouse Used By Pros
Razer Deathadder V2
Sensor:Razer’s Focus+ Optical sensor. DPI: 16000 IPS/Malfunction speed: 650+ Price range: $$ Weight: 84g.
Another pick from the greats, the V2 comes from the line that started about 15 years ago. The V2 unlike some of the Naga products that Razer offers isn’t too bombastic with a dozen macro buttons on the side. It’s more subtle than that…, more sensible. Like a true classic, it focuses on the fundamentals of the game which first and foremost include a great ergonomic experience. Next comes precision and then customizability.
This mouse provides great support for all types of grips. It has a big right button with a little bump near the outer edge which supports your finger on the button and helps it not fall over.
The buttons on this thing are also pretty neat. They use optical sensors which minimize the latency even further. And don’t think the opti-mechanical switches are just a frail little gimmick. The buttons come with a 70- million click life which should outlast the 2-year warranty that this mid-price mouse comes with. And compared to the G502, this IS mid-priced. There are other Razer mice that hover closer to the 150$ price point too so it’s not a brand thing. The price of this mouse is great for what it delivers.
The feet on the V2 are also made from PTFE which is a non-stick and hydrophobic material that helps move the mouse across the surface and at just about 82 grams, the Deathadder V2 is right in the sweet spot where it’s not that light nor that heavy although some may prefer a more stable and bulkier feeling mouse.
The mouse is Razer’s Focus+ Optical sensor which can deliver DPI up to 20,000 which you can crank up using the button on the top of the mouse. The polling rate is 1000 Hz and the mouse speed is over 650 inches per second. That’s about 54 feet in a second. Try moving your hand that fast! (Don’t actually).
As for tweaking, the Deathadder V2 comes with 8 programmable buttons which you can use in 5 different profiles that can be stored in the on-board memory of the mouse itself rather than on the Synapse 3 companion software. And of course, the mouse also features RGB customization so that’s another gaming box checked off.
The DeathAdder V2 is a straightforward gaming mouse and it builds on the strong foundations of a good and comfortable design with enhanced capabilities that can go up against any mouse in the game. It’s light and responsive with a great hand feel and not too much arm movement involved which should help keep your hand and arm nimble in case any surprises come up during a game. It’s a great buy for the relatively modest price range it comes in.
So to put it all together, as far as the question of “Do pro gamers use wired or wireless mouse?” is concerned, professional gamers have less and less to worry about concerning the shift from the traditional wired set-up to the wireless set-up. Wireless counterparts of the conventional wired peripherals can perform just as well or in some cases, even better. The issues of latency and surprisingly low battery life are becoming a thing of the past.
The Logitech G502 Lightspeed is a great example of how wireless peripherals can take on the competition and win. As for the people with more conventional taste, the Razer Deathadder V2 is a classic mouse with contemporary capabilities and a great design.