For years, many PC players have been running away from wireless mice, worrying that wireless communication would introduce lag, which could take a toll on your game. By 2021, we can remove those troubles behind us. I can’t say exactly when the producers turn the corner, but over the past three years, I have tested a number of wireless playing mice that show rope-like speed and accuracy. Wireless mice are still priced, so top-notch models tend to be more expensive, or there are many ways to choose a budget. If you want to indulge in a wireless mouse by playing, let’s talk about the good entry.
Some Things Do Not Change
With the exception of wireless connectivity and battery life, the key features of a wireless gaming mouse are almost identical to any other gaming mouse: its sensor is in your hand, the number and arrangement of buttons, the quality of the sensor. No matter how much the wireless toy mouse may have a gee-whiz feature, I don’t mind buying it that doesn’t feel right and do the things I want it to do. For a complete breakdown of those items and why they are important, check out our dictionary on choosing the best mice to play with.
There are some minor issues where switching to wireless should change expectations, however. Most noticeable to rat players, wireless mice tend to weigh less than their cordless counterparts because of their extra parts. But the gap between wireless and wireless weights, when compared with other factors, becomes much smaller. (There are even a few wireless mice in our excellent esports list.) Only the most discerning competitive player can tell the difference.
Wireless connections can make or break a wireless toy mouse. Mice designed for daily web browsing and office work can do well with Bluetooth, but the fast and direct movement of games requires a high level of quality. To determine the level of accuracy expected for gaming mice, most manufacturers use a 2.4GHz wireless connection that directly connects to a USB receiver connected to your PC. The 2.4GHz wireless should be able to create stable connections without the intrusion of virtual reality.
These mice are technically not “lag-free” – there will always be input lags – but we’re talking about millisecond fractions. In my experience, the 2.4GHz connection also tends to be more stable than a Bluetooth connection, which can sink out and lose time to sync when there are too many signals nearby.
Low-latency connections are often the best way to play games, but they come with some drawbacks. First, it drains the battery much faster than a Bluetooth connection. Between this and RGB lighting, wireless play mice tend to get out of the juice much faster than production mice.
Second, since the mouse connects wirelessly with a USB dongle, that 2.4GHz connection will only work with PCs. If the mouse does not have Bluetooth, you may not be able to use it with a phone, tablet, or other devices other than USB. If the dongle is USB-C and you have a recent phone with a USB-C port, you can make that connection work, but it’s difficult.
Also, you’ll be amazed at how easy it is to lose a USB dongle when switching devices, carrying it on the road, or while traveling. Mistaking that piece of plastic can make the whole mouse empty, so if the two of you split up, be prepared to turn your entire set upside down to reassemble. Ideally, the wireless toy mouse should have a dongle storage slot or room in the mouse body, which allows you to store the dongle safely when not in use. Surprisingly, some mice do not have this important value, so put it on your to-do list.
Excellent gaming consoles, offering 2.4 GHz and Bluetooth. You may have used the 2.4 GHz connection most of the time, but Bluetooth will give you the option to sync it with any device no matter what, and save power on the pinch.
The second big thing to consider is the battery. To some extent, any wireless power concerns boil over in the long run with a single charge but finding that can be much harder than you think. The limited battery life provided by the manufacturer indicates how long the mouse will last under optimal conditions — meaning that all RGB lighting is turned off.
You should expect that most wireless gaming mice can last less than half the life of their battery reported by the manufacturer by lighting with RGB. In our review, we asked for battery ratings for usable conditions and performed anecdotal tests to give you a practical understanding of how many days or weeks a mouse will stay on a single charge.
Battery life may also vary depending on the type of battery used by the mouse. Most of the wireless mice we recommend include non-renewable internal batteries, which can hold for hours. Some gambling mice, especially the least expensive ones, test the internal batteries of AAs or disposable AAAs, which last a very long time – usually 100-200 hours – but need to be replaced when they run out of juice.
As with my general guide to finding the best wireless mice, I recommend that you get a rechargeable battery for a few reasons. First, if the AA-powered mouse runs out of power and you do not have batteries to replace you, you will need to discard what you are doing to get out and get more. That could mean getting away from your PC during the game to catch them in another room, or even out of the house. In contrast, most wireless gambling mice allow you to use their charging cables to set up a wired connection, so you can charge and play at the same time if you need to.
Second, mice with disposable batteries produce e-waste, which can be irritating to reuse or dispose of properly. (You can reduce this by using rechargeable AA / AAA batteries, of course.) The need to charge your mouse regularly may sound like a waste of paper, but it rarely feels that way because it doesn’t lower your ability to use the mouse. The times when I had a death battery affected the game when I was not maintaining track of my mouse battery life.
If installing your mouse is still seen as accessible, some wireless play mice also include wireless charging. Depending on the model, that means you place your mouse on a wireless charging pad or another type of dock to charge. Wireless charging standards for gaming mice often vary by manufacturer. Some companies, such as Corsair and HyperX, rely on wireless Qi standards, so you can charge their mice for multiple wireless charging packages. Razer’s high-end Ultimate and Pro tier mice rely on the Razer wireless charging port.
Logitech G Mice Gaming supports a special mousepad called PowerPlay, which charges a mouse while playing. Contrary to the full charging option, but the mouse pad costs $ 120 – much like the Logitech G502 Lightspeed itself – so it’s a luxury in the middle of luxury.
Don’t Forget Software!
The configuration software, which allows you to re-enter the input and set your RGB lighting, almost always includes some settings related to the power of wireless gaming mice. Most will allow you to set an auto-shutoff that puts the mouse to sleep or turns off its light. Some will allow you to adjust the RGB brightness, allowing you to find a pleasant space between peak performance and your own custom-colored beauty. My favorite feature, installed in some but not all apps, is the battery life indicator that sits on your Windows tray so you can view it without opening the app.
These characteristics vary from manufacturer to manufacturer as well as mouse and mouse. I wouldn’t say that one of them might be a deal-breaker, but the usefulness of the software setup is something to keep in mind. Products with a long, well-tracked record of making gaming rats often have very cool, rich software.
Apple fans note Windows-only suspension software. Most mice can work in a basic way on any platform, but the high cost of a wireless gaming mouse is worth paying for only if you can get full functionality from it. If you have a Mac, make sure the mouse you find includes software that is compatible with your hardware and the macOS version.