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How to Choose the Best Mouse for Your Laptop

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How to Choose the Best Mouse for Your Laptop

Trackpads are great.  They allow you to work and use your laptop almost anywhere, and more recently with the more advanced gestures that have been included with many trackpads, they are becoming even easier to use effectively.  That being said, there is nothing that can replace a good quality mouse when you really want to get work done.

I really can’t over emphasize how important a good mouse is even if you have a laptop.  Let’s face it, even with the best trackpad, you can often navigate the operating system and apps on your computer much faster with a mouse.  If you like to game, then a trackpad simply won’t do, as much of your control is handled by a combination of the mouse and the keyboard.  But a good quality mouse can help you with much more than just your favorite first person shooter, it can also help you navigate applications and data much more quickly so your laptop transforms into a full mobile workstation that is much more useful to you than just a mobile gaming machine.

That means that when you set out to buy a mouse for your laptop, you need to carefully examine many different factors to make sure you purchase the mouse that is right for you.  One trip to your local electronics store will reveal dozens upon dozens of mice all offering different types of features and builds.  All of these claim to be the best, but which one is the best for you?  Let’s take a look at several factors you should consider when buying a mouse so you choose the right one for your needs.

Mouse Factors to Consider

There are several different factors you must consider when selecting the perfect mouse for your laptop.  Before you begin shopping, take a few minutes to consider exactly how you use your laptop, as this can help point you on the right path.  For example, if your laptop is used in a more workstation environment and remains stationary for most of its life, a larger, more comfortable mouse with more features may be in order.  However, if you are constantly on the road, you may want to select a mouse that is smaller and much easier to pack.

Once you have determined how you will be using your mouse, it is time to take a look at several other factors that can help narrow down your decision.

Ergonomics and Size

First and foremost, you need to examine the size and shape of the mouse you are thinking about buying.  The size of your mouse can impact how easy it is to pack and travel.  It can also change how it feels in your hand as well.  If you have small hands, a larger mouse may feel bulky and even heavy.  But if you have large hands a small mouse will be difficult to hold onto and uncomfortable to use when you try to click the buttons or use the scroll wheel.

You also need to take a moment to think about ergonomics, especially if plan on using your mouse for hours at a time.  Relax your hand for a minute and take a look at its shape.  Notice it isn’t flat?  Mice that aren’t designed to fit the contours of your hand can cause you pain in your hands and wrists if you use them for long periods of time and could even contribute to carpal tunnel syndrome as well.  This means that it is very important for you to consider the shape of the mouse before you buy one.

Of course, if you are looking at something that is more travel friendly, your ergonomic options will be more limited as some of that design is sacrificed in order to make the mouse smaller.  But, in larger models that are made to be used at workstations, it is easy to find models that are sized just right and ergonomically designed for comfort when you use it for a long periods of time.

Wireless or Wired

There was a time when this wasn’t a question, as all mice used a wire.  Today, however, there are tons of wireless and wired options available for you to choose from.  So how do you decide?  If you are traveling, you should always go wireless.  Who wants to deal with an extra cable while you are sitting in an airport after all?  Now, if you are sitting at a desk all the time using your laptop, you may want to think about a wired mouse as you can often get more mouse for your money and you won’t have the expense of changing the batteries a few times a year.  But, even if you are at a desk, you may want to reduce the clutter of your desk by removing the mouse cable from the equation.  In the end, it all comes down to you and what you prefer.

Extra Buttons

The standard mouse today has two buttons with a scroll wheel in the middle, unless you consider Apple’s line of computer mice.  This has pretty much been the standard for many years now.  However, there are mice out there that also include other buttons that can be pressed with the thumb.  These buttons can be used to more quickly navigate the Internet or can even be mapped to other commands if you enjoy games or other types of software that require a little more than just the standard two button setup.  Depending on what you are planning to do with your mouse will determine what you need in the realm of buttons.


Pretty much every mouse out there can simply be plugged into a laptop running Windows or Mac OS X and it will work.  You will have basic functionality with your buttons and scroll wheel, but it will work.  However, many will come with additional software that will help you customize tracking and response time and even map what each and every button does on your mouse.  This usually increases the price, but if that sounds like something you could make use of then by all means add that to your list.


You may be asking yourself exactly what this means.  Drag your mouse across your screen.  How much do you have to physically move the mouse in order for the cursor to go across the screen to the other side?  The less you have to move your hand, the more sensitive it is.  While some may find no use for mouse sensitivity, other users such as gamers or those that work on very large monitors running high resolutions will want a mouse that is sensitive.

Sensitivity is measured in dots per inch, otherwise known as DPI.  Most decent mice will come with a sensitivity of 1200 DPI or higher.  For most people, this will be more than enough to make the tracking speed on your mouse fast and responsive.  Be careful when buying cheap, inexpensive mice, though.  Some of these devices can have a sensitivity of 400 DPI meaning it will be slow and just painful to use at times, especially if you like to play games on your laptop.


As always, you have to look at your budget before selecting the right mouse.  Computer mice come in a wide range of shapes, sizes, and prices ranging from really cheap $10 models all the way up to models that can cost over $100.  So before you fall in love with that really expensive mouse, be sure it is in your budget to buy.

3 Mice I Recommend

In case you need a little more help, I decided to include three different mice that I would recommend based on 3 different types of users – the traveler, the gamer, and the stationary worker.  This is by no means a complete list of what you should buy, but I do think from these you can get a good start on your mouse shopping.

Logitech M510 Wireless Mouse


The perfect mouse for a traveler, the Logitech M510 Wireless Mouse is somewhat smaller than a standard sized mouse but not as tiny as many “travel” mice so it stays comfortable in your hand.  It’s contoured shape and combination of plastic and rubber is designed to provide the ultimate comfort even during long stretches of use.  What makes this one stand out, though, is the impressive battery life.  The batteries can last up to 2 years meaning when it finally does need new ones you will have forgotten that it even uses them in the first place.  It comes with the Logitech Unifying Nano receiver so you can plug it in to your laptop and forget about it.

Microsoft Natural Wireless Laser Mouse 6000


If you sit at a desk all day long, or just use your computer for extremely long stretches of time, you are going to want a mouse that features some of the best comfort options available so you won’t have to deal with pain and the other effects of carpal tunnel syndrome in your hands and wrist.  That’s where the Microsoft Natural Wireless Laser Mouse 6000 comes in.  At first glance you will notice that this mouse looks quite a bit different from your standard point and click device.  That is because it is designed to fit your hand perfectly and will help you reduce any wear and tear on your wrist and hand when you use it for long periods of time.  It features high definition laser technology and even offers 4-way scrolling and a magnifier to get up and close and personal with whatever you happen to be working on at the time.

Razer Ouroboros Elite Ambidextrous Gaming Mouse


Do you love PC gaming?  I know I do.  If you do enjoy games, you are going to want to consider something more than just a standard mouse.  The Razer Ouroboros Elite not only looks slick as hell, but also comes with a huge range of features designed with gamers in mind.  It features multiple programmable buttons and an insane 8200dpi 4G laser sensor so you can move quick as you fight and survive in your favorite PC game.  The mouse is powered by a single AA battery that is rated to last up to 12 hours of continuous gaming.  That means that while it does well with gaming, you will be changing the batteries on this wireless mouse more often than others.  But that’s what happens when you push so much power and features on one single battery.  Left-handed gamers won’t feel left out with this one either, as it is designed to be ambidextrous.  With just a few clicks you can switch it from right-handed to left-handed so no matter which side is your dominant side, you can easily enjoy your favorite games.


As you can see, there is much more to picking a mouse than meets the eye.  You must consider a wide range of factors including ergonomics, tracking speed, software, buttons, portability, and much more.  When did computer mice get so complicated?  Don’t worry, by simply following our list here and separating all the factors, you can easily cut through the sea of mice and narrow down your search to just a few mice.  Once you do narrow it down to just a few choices, spend a little time at your local store giving them a short test drive before you buy it or order it online.

Remember, while you may be tempted to spend $10 on a cheap two button mouse, you will be surprised how much a good quality mouse will make your day while you are using your laptop.  Even if you are on a budget, I recommend avoiding those ultra-cheap mice altogether, as you can still find a truly great mouse for a low price.  Still, if you are willing and able to spend more, by simply increasing your budget, you will gain access to many more features that will make your computer experience that much better.  What type of mouse do you like to use with your laptop?

By Matt Garrett

Matt is an IT professional with over fifteen years experience supporting network infrastructure and computers. An avid gamer, Matt enjoys his time playing and writing about his experiences both in the IT world and in the gaming communities. You can find more of his writing on our sister ShopNinja sites where he enjoys talking about anything and everything tech.

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