Since the 1970s, when it was referred to as the “X-Y Position Indicator for a Display System,” the mouse has gone from a wooden brick garnished with nothing but a small red knob to the governing force of your PC’s cursor. No longer is it limited to a measly shortlist of buttons.
More than 40 years later, the mouse has gone from a monopolized piece of hardware to a diverse selection of unique and varied peripherals. There are ergonomic mice, travel mice and, of course, there are flashy mice with high-DPI ratings like the Asus ROG Gladius II fit for gaming.
Whatever your prereqs, we’ve gathered the top mice in every category – from the gesture-wielded Apple Magic Mouse 2 to the U-shaped Anker Vertical Ergonomic Optical Mouse. Now take notes as we venture out to find you the best mouse of 2017.
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The MX Anywhere 2 is smaller than Logitech’s flagship MX Master mouse, making it a more travel-friendly option. However, we find that it’s a more comfortable fit for smaller hand and have been using it as our main rodent rodent in the office.
It connects using Bluetooth or 2.4Ghz wireless (using Logitech’s dongle), can connecrt with up to three devices and sports excellent low-latency tracking which is helped by Logitech’s Darkfield tech that makes the mouse usable on shiny surfaces. Like the MX Master, the scroll wheel can spin freely once you’ve depressed it, allowing you to scroll down long pages without suffering finger ache.
Logitech says that the Anywhere 2’s non-rechargable battery will last up to 60 days on a single charge, which isn’t something we can verify but we haven’t seen it give up the ghost in half of that time. It’s practical, portable and pretty much one of the best mice out there.
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Logitech’s flagship is a mighty mouse indeed. Hand-sculpted for comfort, the MX Master connects via Bluetooth or USB dongle and it can pair to up to three devices. The rechargeable battery lasts for up to 40 days and goes from flat to a day of power in four minutes, and you can use it while it’s charging. The scroll wheel’s a two-state job with click-to-click and unrestricted speedy scrolling, there’s a thumbwheel for side-to-side scrolling and you can reprogram the buttons to suit your way of working.
Let’s get the weird one out of the way first: Anker’s mouse sits vertically, so you hold it as if you’re shaking hands with someone. It feels strange until suddenly it doesn’t: it’s comfortable and doesn’t make you twist your arm as normal mice do. The price means a few corners have been cut – where other mice are a collection of curves the Anker has a couple of sharp bits to jab the unwary – but it’s a good and inexpensive choice for anyone who has or fears RSI.
It has its critics – including your correspondent, who thinks it’s the most spectacularly uncomfortable mouse ever made – but the Magic Mouse has plenty of fans and the second version is a big improvement over the first generation. It boasts a trackpad-like multi-touch surface and moves more smoothly around your desk than the first version, and it doesn’t require normal batteries thanks to a built-in rechargeable battery. Unfortunately the position of the Lightning port means you can’t use it while it’s charging.
Like the MX Master, the Triathlon M270 can pair with up to three devices using Bluetooth, making switching between them in a snap. However, the Triathlon is more affordable and much more comfortable to hold if you prefer a smaller rodent. It also gets the Master’s free-spinning scroll wheel, letting you zip through documents or webpages. Logitech promises up to 24 months of use before the Triathlon gives up the ghost on one AA battery. The only drawback? Due to Bluetooth, the Triathlon isn’t quite as responsive as the wired Logitech Proteus G502 – our daily driver.
Sometimes a peripheral comes along that has the potential to change all others in its category. Logitech’s M330 Silent Plus, a prime example of this, features left and right buttons that barely sqeak – ahem – click, when pressed. Using it for the first time is like booting up a fanless laptop for the first time – quiet, inconspicuous and curiously satisfying. Simply put, using the M330 feels great. With only three buttons, however, it isn’t the most feature-packed mouse on the market, but its silent and compact nature, comfortable design and leggy battery life make it a great choice – and not just for frequent travellers or people with easily irritated co-workers.
If you’re going to drop £150 on a mouse it might as well be a fun one, and the R.A.T. ProX is definitely that: it’s the Transformer of mice, with swappable sensors, swappable scroll wheels, swappable palm rests and what Mad Catz calls “analog strafe”, which enables the scroll wheel to act as an analog stick. It looks amazing, costs a fortune and if it were a game it’d be Broforce: ridiculously over-the-top, completely crazy and an absolute hoot.
We’ve a soft spot for the good old Microsoft Mouse, and the 3600 uses Bluetooth to deliver wireless connections without dongles. It runs for up to a year on a single battery and is that rare thing, a mouse that’s designed for both left and right handed use. It doesn’t have 32 billion buttons, a sensor capable of tracking atoms or the ability to turn into a car and save the universe, but if you want a good, comfortable, reliable mouse to take wherever you go the 3600 is a winner.
You just know that a mouse called the Razer DeathAdder Chroma isn’t going to come in pink with My Little Pony stickers. Offering high-end performance for a pretty reasonable price, the Chroma’s USP is its 16.8 million-colour lighting effects coupled with a 10,000 dpi optical sensor. It’s blazingly fast, exceptionally accurate, offers on-the-fly sensitivity adjustment and looks fantastic, which is probably why it’s so popular among e-sports athletes. It also has a seven-foot braided cable, which is handy if your PC is quite far away.
Read the full review: Razer DeathAdder Chroma
Better known for its mechanical keyboard switches, Cherry has made a no-frills mouse in the MC 4000 Precision, which is a step up or two from the basic mouse that may have come with your computer. Featuring an ambidextrous symmetrical design, the MC 4000 lights up red or blue to indicate whether it’s in 2,000 DPI mode (the former) or 1,000 (the latter), with the higher value modes being useful when using 4K and other high-resolution displays. It’s a smooth mouse to use thanks to a sliding surface that covers the entire bottom of the mouse and provides a solid base for using it on a variety of surfaces.
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Gabe Carey has also contributed to this article