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. [clear]

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. [clear]

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. [clear]

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. [clear]

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.

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