Mice have become really complicated, going from their humble cave origins of using a rollerball to using literally LASERS, how cool is that? 🖱️✨
Well, along with modern tech comes the complication of modern tech. I know back in the day of roller ball mice, we didn’t really care about DPI. In fact, I don’t even remember ever thinking about DPI or checking my mouse for it’s DPI rating. You just bought a mouse and that was it.
But let’s move on from my reminiscing and get to the meat of this article, which is looking at the DPI of modern mice and how to deal with it.
What is Mouse DPI?
DPI stands for Dots Per Inch and is the basic unit of measurement for your mouse. The DPI number is how many dots the mouse tracks as you move it. The higher the DPI, the faster it moves, the lower the DPI, the slower it moves.
Ok, that’s the simple answer, the slightly more complex one is that there are two different types of mice: Optical mice and Laser mice. Both use DPI but the difference is how they chose to illuminate the surface they’re on.
You see, how a mouse works is that it sends out some form of light unto a surface. That light is then reflected back at a camera (yes, a literal camera). As you move around your mouse captures hundreds of images a sec (and sometimes thousands on high-end mice). It then compares one picture to the next and calculates how much movement has been made and translates that to actual movement on your screen.
Optical Mice vs. Laser Mice
As I mentioned the main difference between Optical and Laser is how they illuminate the surface.
Laser mice use . . . well, a laser to illuminate the surface. Because lasers can actually penetrate deep into a surface, they tend to pick up jagged peaks and other imperfections which practically means that you can get more jittery movement. Of course, since laser mice are so accurate, you can use a laser mouse on any surface, so they’re great if you move around a lot.
Optical mice use an LED to illuminate the surface. Because the LEDs don’t penetrate as deep into materials, you don’t get the same jittery movement that you might find on a laser mouse. Variation in accuracy can be less than 1% in optical mice, and up to 5% in laser mice.
How to Check your Mouse’s DPI setting?
The first and primary way to check your DPI settings is to look at the box the mouse came in. The DPI setting should be clearly written somewhere, sometimes even several times. Unfortunately, some manufacturers aren’t great about this, especially if it’s not a gaming mouse, in which case you’ll have to go to their website and see on there what the specific DPI is.
If you still can’t find the DPI, you’ll probably have to use an online DPI analyzer. If you go to that link and follow the instructions it should give you a good estimation of what your DPI is. Just make sure to switch off your mouse acceleration by going into control panel > Mouse > Pointer Options and unticking the box next to ‘Enhance Pointer Precision’.
This process changes slightly if you have a mouse that can change it’s DPI. In that circumstance, if you check the utility software that came with the mouse, you should not only see the DPI setting you’re on now but also alter the settings for each DPI profile. Of course, the other methods will still work, but why make your life difficult if the software is right on your desktop?
Best DPI for Gaming
This one is a hot button topic and the truth is that it doesn’t really matter. The best DPI for gaming is the one that you are most comfortable with and the one you’ve adapted too. This is even more compounded by the fact that DPI means nothing without taking into account mouse sensitivity setting on windows and in the game you’re playing.
Yes, while it’s true most pro gamers tend to go for lower DPIs like 800, it’s equally true that there are pro gamers who use 1700 DPI. It all depends on what the person’s preference is and how they play. But first of all, you need to get the best gaming mouse for you.
It all depends on what type of games you prefer. For example, if you’re into Fortnite you need to look for the best mouse for Fortnite, or if you’re more of an Overwatch fan, you’ll look for the best mouse for Overwatch, etc. You get the point.
How to Change Моuse DPI
Changing your DPI will depend on the mouse you have. If you have a multi-DPI mouse, there will usually be a DPI switch button on the mouse that allows you to change it on the fly. Alternatively, you could change it in the mouse’s utility software.
On the other hand, if you have a single-DPI mouse that can’t change, your only option is to change mouse sensitivity. You do this by going to the menu we mentioned before: Control Panel > Mouse > Pointer options and then you’ll see a slider that says ‘select pointer speed’.
If you move that slider back and forth, it achieves nearly the same thing as altering your DPI.
Gaming mice are awesome but they’re equally a pain. Having to deal with a bunch of different settings, especially when you just want to play, can be a big hassle. That being said, taking a little bit of extra time to set up your mouse can do wonders for your gaming, so don’t skimp on it!