Mouse DPI: What Does It Mean? It Is Important?

New guide on everything you need to know about the DPI value of your mouse. You will be interested to know these details, especially if you are a gamer. Normally, when you buy a mouse, the first thing you look at is the number of buttons it has, the connection interface (USB or wireless), and little else. But the truth is that to get a good mouse you have to look beyond that.

In gaming, certain features like DPI are especially important in getting what you’re looking for from your mouse. These are values ​​that you can overlook when you buy a mouse to surf the net or for office automation and other daily tasks with your team, but in video games, it is a clear competitive advantage that can make a difference. Especially if you like eSports and compete.

It is also especially important in graphic design equipment, so those who do artistic tasks with their PC should also pay attention to these qualities when choosing the perfect mouse.

How to choose the perfect mouse?

How to choose the perfect mouse
How to choose the perfect mouse

To choose a good mouse you must take into account the following considerations :

  • What do you need it for? : If it is for browsing, office automation, and more normal use, any decent one is fine. If it is for gaming or design, then you should look for specific mice for these uses. Many brands have special models for gaming. Perhaps if you want it to move from one place to another with your laptop, you should think better of a wireless mouse to avoid having to connect it with the cable and it is more comfortable for you (especially Bluetooth ones that do not need a USB port to connect the RF adapter).
  • How much am I going to use it? : If it is a short time, you should not worry too much, as long as they are not the typical mini mice that are small and annoying to handle in the long run. But if you are going to spend many hours with it, ergonomics is very important. An ergonomically designed mouse that fits well with the anatomy of your hand and doesn’t force it into an awkward position can save you a lot of trouble and aggravation.
  • Polling rate or polling rate: it is the frequency with which the mouse reports its position to the PC controller. That speed is measured in hertz (Hz), the number of times they do it per second. A mouse with 1000Hz will report the pointer position 1000 times in a second (every 1ms). A higher rate will reduce the delay between the movement of your hand and the pointer updating on the screen. But you should also keep in mind that the higher the frequency or polling rate, the higher the consumption of CPU resources since it has to execute the update routine more times. Although for a modern hardware team it is not a significant effort…
  • Optical vs. laser – The difference in today’s technology, now that the ball of primitive mice is gone, is that optical mice use an LED to detect motion reflected from a surface and lasers use a laser to do so. Both are good, the only thing is that for opaque surfaces the LED works well, while it is not suitable for certain surfaces like glass, etc. On the other hand, the laser can be used on certain surfaces where the optics do not work correctly. Also, laser technology is more sensitive and tends to have higher DPI, so if you don’t want your mouse to move too fast across the screen and you can’t control it, you should lower the sensitivity in the settings.

Does DPI really matter?

Difficult question to answer. The easiest thing to do would be to say yes, it matters for designers and video games. And that would be true, but you have to take it with caution. Higher DPI is good, but too high DPI could create too much acceleration of the cursor across the screen and it would move almost uncontrollably with any movement of your hand. But I repeat, it would be beneficial for design, for some video games, or very large screens such as 4K or WQHD.

Well, first of all, you should look back. The old mice had a metal ball covered with rubber that rotated on the mouse pad and moved mechanical rollers that passed an analog signal to a chip inside, which digitized it and transformed it into data for the position of the mouse. pointer. That ball collected fluff and dirt and you had to clean it periodically, in addition to not being so precise.

Now, with optical and laser technology, the IR LED and laser emit light that is reflected by the surface and a sensor captures this to transform that data into cursor movement. Being a digital technology, the precision of these mice is much higher. This has led to an increase in the DPI and the polling rate.

What is DPI exactly?

DPI stands for Dots Per Inch, that is, points per inch. It is a unit that measures the sensitivity of the mouse. A low DPI indicates that if you make a certain movement with your hand, the cursor will move a little. But with high DPI, if you could repeat that same movement exactly, the cursor would move faster, that is, it reacts better to your movements even if they are small.

For example, a mouse with a DPI of 1000 would mean that for every inch (approx. 2.54 cm) you move the mouse, the cursor would move 1000 pixels (px). With this data, contrary to what many people think, a mouse with more DPI can become even more imprecise than one with a lower DPI. That is why many manufacturers and professionals have downplayed DPI.

This is where it becomes interesting for artists and gamers since, for example, to get the cursor where you want to shoot in a video game or to draw something small, a higher DPI can help you with precision and sensitivity. But remember that a DPI that is too high can have the opposite effect to what you expect, that the cursor with any slightest tremor of your hand or movement goes beyond where you want. That is also very cumbersome and you may have to tweak your mouse settings to lower the DPI.

What DPI do I need?

Then? Imagine you have a mouse with a DPI of 4000 and you have a 4K screen with a resolution of around 4000 pixels horizontally. If you want to get from one side of the screen to the other faster to react faster in a video game, then with that mouse you would only have to move your hand about an inch to go from one side to the other with the cursor.

But of course, imagine that you are trying to aim in a shooter to shoot, or you are drawing something in an editing program and it is a small surface that you are coloring… with a low DPI you could make big movements without going off, while a high DPI it would make the tool you are using come off easily.

In conclusion, high DPI is for tasks that need fast reactions, while lower DPI is for those that need more precision when aiming. But the DPI shouldn’t be too low, because even if you set a higher sensitivity in the settings, with a low DPI, the cursor might jump from one place to another, and that wouldn’t be a nice natural movement either.

Is DPI the same as sensitivity?

Logitech Suite
Logitech Suite

Yes and no. In principle, according to what you have read, it has a lot to do with it. But the sensitivity can be adjusted in the operating system settings independently of the DPI. For you to understand better, DPI is the capability of the hardware and sensitivity of the software. You can combine low DPI with high sensitivity or high DPI with low sensitivity and play with that to suit your needs.

The sensitivity and DPI can be adjusted from the operating system’s configuration panel or the video game or software itself. Sometimes, these settings also have their DPI and sensitivity settings. I recommend that you do tests to determine which configuration you feel most comfortable with, only you know which is the best. It is a matter of taste.

Some manufacturers of mouse models specific for gaming usually include physical buttons to adjust the speed of the mouse whenever you want, such as those from Microsoft, Corsair, Razer, Logitech, etc. Other drivers for this type of mouse also have a specific suite to configure the DPI and other values. If it is not like that and you have Windows, go to Control Panel, then Mouse, and in Pointer Options you will have them.

By the way, for people with reduced mobility or with some kind of problem, perhaps playing with the sensitivity or DPI settings can be very beneficial so that they can handle the mouse well. That is, they are good accessibility settings.


On WQHD, 4K, 8K, etc. screens, and with high pixel density, a mouse with high DPI is better. On small screens, a lower DPI is better. And in intermediate screens in terms of resolution, you can buy a mouse with a high DPI without fear, since you can play with its settings and sensitivity to adapt it to how you like it best.

For video games, with a DPI of 800 or 1200, it would be more than enough, even if you are a professional you will prefer these rates. A higher DPI would be more of a marketing claim from certain mouse manufacturers than anything efficient.

What you should not do is with high-resolution screens buy a mouse with low DPI or you will have to move the mouse many times to get it from one end of the screen to the other. And that would also mean having a larger mouse pad so you don’t roll off it or pick up and rest the mouse when you need to move the cursor long distances.

Read more about The History Of The Mouse

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Abram left his e-business studies to devote himself to his entrepreneurial projects. In 2017, he created the company Inbound Media and wrote articles about high-tech products for his Chromebookeur site. In 2019, Chromebookeur was renamed Macbound and became a general purchasing advice site. Today, Abram manages the development and growth of Macbound, surrounded by a young and talented team.

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