Let’s face it. Not everyone needs a 16,000 DPI mouse, swappable grips, and a weight tuning system. When you find a mouse that suits you, all that just goes out the window. The simplest mice are also some of the very best out there, and they can be far easier on your wallet.
ASUS ROG Strix Impact
Cooler Master MasterMouse S
Razer Abyssus Essential
SteelSeries Rival 110
ASUS ROG STRIX IMPACT
ASUS isn’t generally a brand associated with simplicity, but the ROG Strix Impact doubles down on the essentials with a plain, ambidextrous design. Its low-slung shape reminds me of the Razer Abyssus, and it feels more suited for a claw rather than palm grip.
I was still able to palm the mouse quite comfortably, but it didn’t feel as natural as on some of the other mice. Given that this is quite a small mouse, I imagine folks with larger hands would struggle even more, so that’s something to take note of.
This is truly a no-frills mouse, and I’d venture to say that it is a little too Spartan, especially considering its $89 price tag; aﬀordable, but not exactly super cheap. The mouse has just four buttons (including a DPI button), and I’m so used to having at least two side buttons to navigate web pages that the ROG Strix Impact left me feeling quite lost.
Of course, this may be less of a big deal for you, but it definitely feels like a mouse that costs close to a hundred should have more buttons to work with, especially since it is marketed as a MOBA mouse.
In addition, there are just two available DPI steps, which again feels limited for the asking price. Still, I do appreciate the helpful LED indicator below the DPI button that shows which sensitivity stage you’re at.
That said, build quality is good, and the mouse trigger buttons are separate from the main shell of the mouse. This approach is technically more durable, as the entire plastic shell doesn’t have to flex whenever you actuate the buttons.
The rubber cable is a little stiﬀer than on mice like the SteelSeries Rival 110 and Razer Abyssus Essential, but it still feels much better than the cord on the Cooler Master MasterMouse S.
Finally, the mouse is equipped with a 5,000 DPI PMW3310 sensor, which is a very capable sensor, even if it’s not the best on the market right now. I didn’t experience any problems with tracking, and the mouse performed quite reliably throughout.
+ Ambidextrous shape.
- No side buttons.
AT A GLANCE
SENSOR PixArt PMW3310
DIMENSIONS 115 x 62 x 39mm
The mouse grips feature ASUS signature Mayan-inspired design.
A helpful LED indicator helps you keep track of the sensitivity stage you’re on.
COOLER MASTER MASTERMOUSE S
The MasterMouse S has a great shape, and is one of the most comfortable to handle in this shootout. It has a prominent arch that your hand cradles almost perfectly, so it’s really nice to palm, particularly if you have smaller hands. Those with larger hands will find that the mouse takes well to the claw grip as well, thanks to its relatively compact size and short length.
At 89g, it’s also quite light, making it particularly suited for FPS players who require an agile mouse.
The 7,200 DPI PMW3330 optical sensor that it uses is extremely competent, and you should have few issues with tracking and aiming. The sensor performed reliably throughout, and I wasn’t able to make it spin out, even when swiping quickly across the mat.
This is a six-button mouse with two side buttons and a DPI switcher, which gives it a clear edge over the pricier ASUS ROG Strix Impact.
However, the mouse is dragged down by its less than intuitive software interface. The MasterMouse S has two independent lighting zones on the scroll wheel and base of the mouse, but I took quite a while to figure out how to configure the eﬀects to my liking. Instead of drop down menus to select the eﬀects, you’ve to contend with a large grid of checkboxes that are quite tedious to work with.
Nevertheless, the software serves up a good range of options, including up to four DPI steps, lift-oﬀ distance adjustments, and StormTX button assignments. The latter nearly doubles the number of programmable buttons by letting you access alternative functions when the StormTX button is held down (you can assign this to any button).
The build quality on the mouse is questionable though. There’s a little too much flex in the chassis that extends far past the trigger buttons, an issue systematic to having trigger buttons part of its shell.
What’s more, pushing down on the DPI button sometimes results in either the left- or right-click button actuating, so the mouse’s shell could really use some extra rigidity. The striated cable is also stiﬀ and a pain to work with, and the mouse would feel a lot better with a more flexible cord.
+ Very comfortable shape.
- Stiﬀ cable and questionable build quality.
AT A GLANCE
SENSOR PixArt PMW3330
DIMENSIONS 117 x 63.5 x 38mm
The two side buttons are a little on the loud side.
The matte surface resists dirt and grime quite well.
The Logitech G304 is the future of wireless gaming technology. I don’t think this is much of an exaggeration, as it basically eliminates most of the pitfalls of wireless mice, such as a prohibitive price, heavy weight, and input lag.
Not that we’ve had to deal with input lag in a while, as Logitech’s and Razer’s Lightspeed and Adaptive Frequency Technology have proven that wireless mice can perform on par with their wired counterparts.
But mice like the Logitech G903 and Razer Lancehead are still bogged down by high prices and weight.
The G304 has a sweet $79 price tag and weighs just 99g with a single alkaline AA battery installed. You could cut even cut it down to around 89g with a lithium battery. That’s pretty impressive for a wireless mouse and allows for an envious degree of freedom of movement while gaming.
The G304 is essentially the wireless version of the G Pro. The two share exactly the same dimensions and shape, which means it’s on par with the G Pro in terms of comfort.
The simple, ambidextrous profile is equally suited to both palm and claw grips. But like most of the other mice here, it’s best for folks with smaller hands, especially if you’re a palm gripper.
In use, the buttons do feel slightly diﬀerent than those on the G Pro. They’re lighter and springier; whether you like them or not really comes down to personal preference.
Battery life is excellent as well. The mouse is rated for up to 250 hours of battery life on a single AA battery in Performance Mode, thanks to the new HERO optical sensor. This sensor is a far more e ﬃcient version of the PMW3366, and it retains the stellar performance characteristics of the latter.
However, Logitech has had to give some things up in order to oﬀer the mouse at this price. The G304 lacks any RGB lighting, and that may disappoint those of you who really enjoy your lighting eﬀects. Having said that, the company did add a color-coded DPI indicator LED, which is super useful in telling which of the five DPI stages you’re on.
+ Light weight and excellent wireless performance.
- No RGB lighinng.
AT A GLANCE
DIMENSIONS 116.6 x 62.15 x 38.2mm
There’s a useful slot for storing the wireless dongle in the mouse itself.
The color-coded indicator tells you what sensitivity you’re at.
RAZER ABYSSUS ESSENTIAL
The Abyssus Essential comes from a line of no-frills mice that’s as simple as they come. It is small, ambidextrous, has just three buttons, and the only luxury it oﬀers is support for Razer Chroma lighting.
A good thing too, as lighting implementation is excellent, and when combined with the easy-to-use Synapse 3 software, this is probably one of my favorite mice in this shootout in terms of RGB lighting.
That aside, the shape of the Abyssus Essential takes some getting used to. Its low-profile doesn’t provide a lot of support, and it forces your hand into a claw grip. That’s good news if that’s your preferred grip style, but those who favor the palm grip or have large hands will probably be happier with another mouse.
The matte plastic surface feels grippy enough, but the Abyssus Essential loses the rubber side grips the V2 had. However, the 5,000 DPI optical sensor on the V2 has been upgraded with a 7,200 DPI sensor on the Essential.
The rubber cable on the mouse is also soft and flexible, and I didn’t experience any problems with cable drag. The buttons and scroll wheel on the Abyssus Essential oﬀer decent feedback as well, and there’s little to complain about.
Unfortunately, the mouse also commands a $79 price tag, which is more than a little stiﬀ considering what it oﬀers vis-a-vis the competition. With the exception of the ASUS ROG Strix Impact, the other mice either cost the same or are cheaper, but they still oﬀer side buttons and a DPI switcher. In the case of the Logitech G304, it even manages to pack in wireless technology, which only shows how little you’re getting per dollar for the Abyssus.
The Synapse 3 software only further highlights the limitations of the mouse. It supports Razer’s HyperShift technology that lets you assign secondary functions to the mouse buttons, but with only three buttons to work with, you can’t really use this without sacrificing core functionality.
You can also set up to five DPI stages in 100 DPI increments, but without any easy way to toggle the sensitivity, there doesn’t seem to be much point to this.
+ Lighning quality is simply stellar.
- Limited functionality for the price.
AT A GLANCE
SENSOR PMW 3330
DIMENSIONS 114.7 x 63 x 37.3mm
The lighting on the mouse is bright and even.
Gone are the rubber side grips that the Abyssus V2 had.
STEELSERIES RIVAL 110
The SteelSeries Rival 110 is an iterative upgrade over the older Rival 100, and it fixes the biggest weakness that mouse had – the sensor.
The Rival 110 is equipped with a 7,200DPI TrueMove1 optical sensor, and it tracks wonderfully with no noticeable acceleration or jitter. The lift-oﬀ distance is a little high, but it didn’t interfere with the usage of the mouse too much.
In addition, you can tweak sensitivity in 100 DPI increments and program up to two DPI stages. The older Rival 100 was fairly restrictive as it was limited to preset DPI stages such as 250, 500, and 1,000 DPI.
The Rival 110’s ambidextrous shape is exceedingly comfortable to palm, and its relatively full middle arch provides ample support. It also has a slightly tapering design and the rear is a good centimeter wider than the front and middle of the mouse, which is part of why I’d call this primarily a mouse for the palm grip.
Its sides aren’t rubberized, but it is textured for some extra grip. The Rival 110 handles well, with a lightweight and flexible rubber cable that makes it quite an agile rodent to work with. It’s also a bit larger than most of the other mice in this shootout, so it should be better suited for those with larger hands too.
This is also a six-button mouse, so you have the full complement of two side buttons and a DPI switcher, as should really be the norm at this price. The buttons and scroll wheel click quite satisfyingly, and there’s little to dislike in terms of build quality. It may not use the split trigger design that pricier mice like the Rival 600 use, but it definitely feels a lot better put together than the Cooler Master MasterMouse S.
When it comes to lighting controls, SteelSeries doesn’t let you customize the scroll wheel and logo separately, so you’ll have to settle for the same eﬀect for both lighting zones. That said, the lighting doesn’t look as bright as that on the Abyssus Essential. However, the Rival 110 is also part of SteelSeries’ PrismSync ecosystem, so you’ll be able to sync it with other compatible gear.
+ Good for palm grip.
- Lift-oﬀ distance on the high side.
AT A GLANCE
DIMENSIONS 120.6 x 68 x 38.12mm
The textured plastic sides help provide a slightly better grip.
The DPI button lets you toggle between two DPI stages.
WHAT TO LOOK FOR WHEN BUYING A GAMING MOUSE
The most important thing to look for when buying a gaming mouse is the shape of the mouse. A mouse may have the best sensor in the world, but if it’s not comfortable in your hand, you won’t play well with it. First consider the size. All of the mice in this review are on the smaller side, and as such are best suited for smaller hands (under 17cm in length from the base of your palm to the top of your middle finger). If you have larger hands, look for a mouse closer to 125cm or even bigger, like the Razer Deathadder or Logitech G403. The size that works best for you will also vary depending on what kind of grip you use: palm and claw grippers tend to prefer larger mice, while fingertip grips do better with smaller mice.
Next you should consider the shape of the mouse: ergonomic or ambidextrous? Big hump or small hump? Mouse shape is entirely subjective, and if possible, you should find a shop that will let you try out as many mice as possible. Generally speaking, ergonomic mice are more comfortable, but their unique shape means you often have to grip them a specific way. Ambidextrous mice oﬀer a more universal grip, but aren’t as comfortable. If you’re left-handed, you’re basically stuck with an ambidextrous mouse as there are very few left-handed ergonomic gaming mice – a notable exception being the left-handed version of the Razer Deathadder. If you’re a palm gripper, you’ll probably want a big hump for your palm to rest on, while claw grippers will want a flatter pròile.
AND THE BEST AFFORDABLE GAMING MOUSE IS...
The Logitech G304 oﬀers a tantalizing combination of good design, performance, and value. It serves up impeccable wireless performance, yet it is still priced similarly to wired competitors with even fewer features. It also manages to address the longstanding weaknesses of wireless mice, which means that there’s little reason to go with one of the other wired alternatives, unless you really prefer their shape. The G304 weighs under 100g and boasts excellent battery life thanks to Logitech’s eﬃcient HERO optical sensor, so there’s nearly no trade-oﬀ if you choose to go wireless this time.
Photography by Tan Wei Te
Art Direction & Digital imaging by Ashruddin Sani