Five Best Desktop Mice

Picking the best mouse is a personal decision, but there are some stand-out models that are more likely than others to be recommended. This week we're taking a look at five of the best desktop mice.

Photo by Erik Charlton.

Logitech Performance Mouse MX/MX Revolution

The Performance Mouse MX ($129.995 RRP in Australia) is Logitech's flagship non-gaming mouse. The MX Revolution, its immediate predecessor, and the MX1000 before that all share the same basic features and design, but the Performance Mouse MX was the first to roll them all into a neat and tidy package. The MX sports a Darkfield sensor on the bottom that can track on reflective and glass surfaces, a thumb-switch that activates Expose in Mac OS X and an Expose-like app in Windows that Logitech ships with the mouse, a charging system that lets you use the mouse while it's charging, a long-lived battery, and a tiny Unifying Receiver that's designed to just be left in a USB port. It's pricey, but it's the mouse of choice for most of us at Lifehacker HQ because it's so comfortable and has the right number of buttons.

Logitech MX 518

The MX 518 ($79.95 RRP in Australia) is a model that stands out on its own. Many gamers consider the MX 518 the peak of Logitech's gaming mice, and while Logitech has been trying to push it aside in favour of the Logitech G400, the MX 518's incredible popularity keeps it on store shelves in a number of places. Its 1800dpi sensor has been outmoded by newer models, but its on-the-fly resolution switching and completely smooth design have earned it a cult following. It's not going to win on features, but I can't count the number of gamers — especially FPS fans — who just prefer the feel of the MX 518 over the newer G series. Grab it while you can.

Logitech G-Series (G5/G500/G700)

The G500 ($149.95 RRP in Australia) descended from the G5 (which descended from the MX 518, mind you) and the G700 ($159.95 RRP in Australia) descended from the G7 (itself a wireless version of the G5). Still, the G500 and G700 feature Darkfield-enabled laser sensors with switchable resolution up to 5700dpi. The G500 is wired, and the G700 can be used wired while charging or completely wirelessly. Both models feature programmable buttons and on-the-fly dpi switching. They also come with a weight tray and an array of small weights so you can tune the heaviness of the mouse. The G700 sports a few extra programmable buttons on the surface, as well as large and smooth feet that glide across your desk.

Razer Naga

The Razer Naga ($109.95 RRP in Australia) turned heads at first because it seemed to have a ridiculous number of buttons on the side. But it caught on quickly with MMO fans and productivity nuts alike. Both groups adore the dozen-plus programmable buttons on the side of the mouse that can be programmed to in-game macros or complex actions in almost any application. The Naga also features interchangeable side panels for a comfortable grip and a 5600dpi laser sensor with switchable resolutions. If the Naga isn't enough for you, you can always pick up the Naga Epic ($179.95 RRP in Australia), a wireless version with a slightly altered grip, or the Naga Hex ($109.95 RRP in Australia), which is a version of the Naga with its side buttons arranged in a hexagonal pattern designed for multiplayer online battle arenas.

Saitek Cyborg R.A.T. Series

If you're looking for a mouse that you can completely customise and tweak to fit your specific hand, the Cyborg R.A.T. line (prices vary) is for you. Each model gives you some control over how the mouse is shaped, with a number of dials and toggles that let you extend a thumb-rest and change the overall length of the mouse. It sports a set of weights that you can use to change the heft of the mouse, and a precision laser (variable dpi based on the model you buy) sensor with switchable dpi settings built in. The mouse ships with interchangeable palm rests and grips, programmable buttons and programmable mouse-wide settings that you can switch with the touch of a button. It may look scary at first glance, but it's an incredibly powerful and customisable mouse.

Honourable mentions this week go out to the Logitech MX1000, which is no longer widely available. If you want an experience like the MX1000, pick up the Performance MX or MX Revolution — the two mice that came out directly after the MX1000. Also worth noting is the Razer DeathAdder, which many of you praised for its affordability, comfort and availability in both left-handed and right-handed models. Trackball fans weighed in with support for the Logitech Wireless Trackball M570, perhaps the best — if not one of the few — richly featured trackballs still widely available.

Have something to say about one of the contenders? Want to make the case for your personal favourite? Have your say in the comments below.


Comments

    Small correction, the G700 does not have a weight tray. It's got the battery in place of that feature unfortunately. I happen to be using one now, comfort, performance, reliability and feature wise this is by far the best mouse I've ever used (Mamba 4G being the worst for looking pretty and being good at absolutely nothing else) although much like gamers miss the MX518, I still miss the supremely comfortable MX 1000. Best mouse I ever held.

      I bought the G700 with my tax return. As the years go by, my Mouse gets more expensive, my keyboards gets cheaper. Go figure.

      This mouse is f***ing incredible. Best mouse I have ever owned bar none. Plus I use its charging cable for my phone! WIN!

      But seriously, Logitech knocked it out of the park with this one.

    I quite enjoy the Razer experience on th Addere: from mouse feel, quality and response to Synapse 2.0 custom game settings.

    I have a R.A.T. 9 and it is $150 of disappointment. It might be full of all the bells and whistles but it fails quite spectacularly at the basics of being a mouse. At random times it will start tracking in one plane only, usually horizontal. Weirdly, the best way to fix it is to blow in the laser, like clearing out the ball of an old mechanical mouse. It also changes resolution by itself. I used to think I was doing it accidentally but I came to realise it does it itself. And if you customise any of the buttons, you have to manually load the profile every time you start your PC. You also find yourself swapping batteries at least once a day, which would be OK if getting the dead one out wasn't such a PITA. (You get two batteries and the massive wireless receiver recharges one while you are using the other.)
    I had a basic Razer mouse and it was pretty good but quite pricey for what it was. As for Logitech, I've had some really good ones and some absolute duds, so I just don't trust them any more. I'll stick with MS - the original Arc Mouse is as good a desktop mouse as it is a portable, the Arc Touch being slightly less adaptable.

      I've got a RAT 7 and it's fantastic. Obviously, batteries aren't a problem as it's wired. As for the tracking problem you experienced, it happened to me on and off for a day or two (at precisely the time Diablo III came out, to my horror) but I cleaned the laser out by blowing into it and it's been faultless ever since.

      Despite appearances, it is the most comfortable mouse I have ever used. And it's not just me having a weird-shaped hand, everyone who's seen it wants to try it (they all want to try it - "What the hell is that" is the usual beginning to the conversation) and they've all agreed it's a very comfortable mouse.

      R.A.T. 9 ... excellent!
      Tracking is great.
      Resolution changes are easy using the on-mouse button, and never change by themselves.
      Profile loading is simple using the system tray icon.
      Battery swapping is easy and fast. They tell you that expected battery life is only approx 8 hours in order to keep the battery weight down and allow more weight customisation options.
      The only thing missing is horizontal scrolling using the wheel, but it's not something I miss often.

    It's a shame the Mx 518 is so damn ugly colored.. I had the nice blue one before it and it worked great. Have a razor mamba now which is also just as nice.

    http://www.gizmodo.com.au/2009/10/logitech-g500-gaming-mouse-review-itll-get-you-killed/

    I have the r.a.t 7 (didnt want wireless). Best mouse i have owned. I had a razer death adder which was very good, but the rat takes the cake. I also have the logitech performance mx for my laptop. adequete for day to day use and ok for some games.

    I havent experienced the rat dropping to a lower dpi automatically, but i have had to blow the laser to fix tracking. but on my mouse this is rare. Its still my favorite mouse and i love the customisations i can do to it.

    I like the Microsoft Basic Optical Mouse. After review I found that I hardly used the extra buttons, and instead would be better for me to just use an old reliable 2 button wheel mouse.

    Steelseries Kana FTW. It is so light and comfy and doesn't have a squillion buttons everywhere.

    Hmm... So much for reading this and being a lefty...

      I gotta agree, John. I'm a lefty too and none of the mice in the list looked as though it was ambidextrous nor was any mention made of whether any were left handed compatible in the copy. The questions still remain. What is the best desktop mouse for a lefty? Come on LH, do an item on that, please.

      Yup, I'm a lefty too, and I want a decent mouse that isn't designed just for a righty.

    The Naga grip is pretty terrible. A bit disappointed to not see the Razer Deathadder listed.

      In it's place^**

    My friend has the razor naga epic and i have a corsair m90, i prefer the m90 due to the side buttons placement as you can tell what button you are pressing compared to the naga without looking, i also beleive. the m90 and naga have the same dpi, naga epic atleast, i also like the weight of the m90.

    I've tried a bunch of different mice over the last few year and my favorite has got to be the Razor Deathadder V2. its a really nice overall package.

    Had a couple of Logitech MX's and they just didn't seem to last long (possibly bad luck) as i wouldn't consider myself a heavy gamer

    I have both the RAT9 and the RAT7, one RAT9 for my desktop and RAT7 for my laptop (wired mouse for laptop and wireless for desktop. Weird right?) but anyhow, RAT7 is great! As for people saying that RAT9 has tracking issues, I must say at first it would occasionally not track at first but now it works perfectly fine, no tracking issues and sensor doesn't catch dust anymore. (maybe it's the mousepad i switched over to (razer goliathus))

    I am never going to buy anymore Logitech crap, each time is has been a disappointment.

    IMHO Microsoft still make the best mouses, I like their blue light, got few mobile mouse 6000, pretty much perfect stuff.

      I wholeheartedly agree. They make good hardware, but there software is so buggy that it renders the extra features unusable. We have a few desktop sets at work and they all have bugs. I had the MX Revolution at home which was so awful that I got rid of it the day after I bought it - the hardware was terrible for that one too :(

    Can you change this to best GAMING Mice please. From a productivity perspective all these mice suck and if I recommended them to my wife I'd get them thrown back at me.

      +1
      Let's see the article for the best mouses for non-gamers. Would love to see whats recomended among simple, ambidextrous (for those of us who mouse goofy sometimes) models.

        MX revolution the first mouse is not a gamers mouse...it even says so!
        Gamers mice are corded...The others may be but the number one mouse listed is not.

        ps. it is great, all of its predeccesors are also!

        What exactly would a more productive mouse have that a gaming mouse doesn't?

          Just responding for myself, I look for:
          Ambidextrous design (I like to mouse goofy at times to give my right hand a break); the right size/support for my hand (not something an article could cover, although giving dimensions helps); and wireless connection, specifically Bluetooth. And although it has nothing to do with productivity, I look for simplicity of design, clean lines and a minimum of extra buttons and features.

      mx518 is my daily driver. for gaming and working. it is so damn comfy under your palm. with 5 programmable buttons for outside gaming purposes as well its very very good. my hotkeys are vol up and down, and maximise/minimise. you just need to drop the sensor (which is what i left the last 2 programmable buttons for)

    Yeah I have the MX Revolution at work and the Rat 9 at home.

    the MX has UNBELIEVABLE battery life, I can have it on my desk a week before I have to charge it, but the RAT 9 (as someone said) you change the battery nearly every other day.

    Only problem with the Logitech I have found is the online only installer for setpoint... while the software is awesome to use once it's set up, actually installing is a pain.

    The RAT 9 software is really bad, configuring the buttons is easy enough, but then you have to load the profile each time you want to swap game or restart the PC (even if you have saved the profile to one of the 3 selectable on the mouse they all wipe when you restart and you have to select them again)

    Not sure if there is an update for the Cyborg software, but I love how configurable the mouse is changing the layouts etc makes it much more comfortable.

      I take that back, I have just checked the Logitech website and they now offer an offline installer :) happy days.

    Microsoft Sidewinder X8 wireless mouse. I'd long been wary of using a wireless mouse for gaming until I'd had a go of a friends one and was blown away by its performance and nifty little features like the interchangeable feet stored in the mouse receiver, magnetic charging cable and 3 DPI switch presets on the fly.

      YES!!! I love my Sidewinder mouse! I bought it after a terrible experience with a Logitech MX Revolution and could not be happier with it :)

    I brought in my own MX Performance from home into work to replace the crappy HP mice we get here! So good to use it...

    Got myself the above MX Revolution for home in its place.
    (OW price matched Logitech shop - never pay full price or that price listed above EVER!)
    I don't like the button layout on the side, I keep pressing the button below the fwd/back buttons by accident! Otherwise a worthy successor!

    I would just like to say that the MX Revolution is a pretty shit mouse, the curve is too steep and it is uncomfortable to use over long periods.

    I also own a G700 like many others, and it is so much better than the Revolution...if anyone is considering the Revolution, do yourself a favor and buy the G700 or even one of those small symmetrical mice.

    Out of the five there i would consider 2gaming mice. the others are just mice.

    Btw i know they make high end gaming mice and such but Razer make a ambidexturus mouse

    you can get an mx518 for like $35 bucks. Best bang for your buck if you don't want to pay too much. I prefer the G9x because i prefer the claw grip rather than the palm rest but hey that's me

    I currently have the naga epic, but I still would rather have my navigator 535 back again, it was a really nice mouse.

    I use a Logitech G300 because of its affordability, 6 programmable buttons and USB connectivity. The optical sensor is not the best, but for day to day (non-gaming) use it is the right mouse for me. It is smaller than other mice I've used but I've found I like the size. Also, it's ambidextrous if you're for some reason inclined to use your left hand (I'm a leftie and have never felt the urge myself).

    Razer and Logitech over Steelseries, I see.

    Steelseries Sensei and the Steelseries Kana are two of the best mice, and I wouldn't use any alternatives.

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