You can forget about DPI/CPI, mouse acceleration, RGB lighting, LOD all of that means jacks**t until you have considered which mouse sensor is the best available for your budget. The sensor inside the gaming mouse you select is absolutely critical to the performance of the mouse and therefore your performance in game.
Optical vs. Laser Mouse Sensors
Budget / Price
And the winner is…
The optical mouse sensor is significantly more reliable and far more accurate than it’s laser competitor. For gamers, where accuracy, reaction time and consistency is key, the optical sensor provides the best performance. As with everything though, there are pros and cons – an optical mouse sensor will behave slightly differently on various surfaces, which is why it is vital that gamers use a mouse pad. However, that is when you have to start considering what type of mouse pad is best, what size, thickness and material all of which are key factors – you can read our guide to gaming mouse pads right here.
Flawless Sensor: What does it mean?
What is the best mouse sensor?
Mouse Sensor List
Generally, PixArt optical sensors follow the rule of “The higher the number, the better.” The 3325 is the budget entry optical sensor, performing adequately but not phenomenally. It is frequently found in budget-oriented mice that still strive to offer decent performance.
Now onto the technical stuff. The 3325’s maximum DPI is only 5000. Keep in mind that this has no bearing on accuracy, but for users who prefer crazy high DPIs, this might be a limiting factor. The max tracking speed clocks in at a respectable 100 IPS, but the acceleration rating is only 20G. This means that it is at a higher risk for a spinout than other, better sensors, although I have never personally managed to make a 3325 spin out.
As mentioned above, the higher number of this sensor means that it is just slightly better than the 3325. This sensor is relatively rare, as it is more expensive than the 3325, but not significantly cheaper than other, better sensors.
The max DPI of the 3330 gets a respectable step up to 7500, so super high sensitivity gamers should feel right at home. The IPS also jumps all the way to 150, a sizeable increase over PixArt’s budget offering. The Acceleration rating gets a proportional increase, although it seems smaller, jumping from 20G to 30G. I have never personally used a 3330, but the general consumer perception is that it is a very solid technical option, if not always the best financially.
Every great rule has an exception, and the 3310 embodies this. It is specification-wise better than the 3325, although not quite on par with the 3330. For a few years, this was seen as the be-all, end-all of competitive sensors, and is still heavily used by Zowie, one of the premier mouse companies. Many pro players, especially in CounterStrike, still use Zowie mice with the 3310, including S1mple, widely regarded as the best player in the world currently.
The max DPI of the 3310 comes in at the same as the 3325, at 5000. Again, this isn’t ideal for super high sens players, but should be enough for the majority of the population. The IPS is a very respectable 130, just slightly below the 3330, and the acceleration rating is just the same as the 3330 at 30G. I have never heard reports of a 3310 spinning out, even during intense competitions where mice are pushed to the limit, so you should be good to go.
The SDNS-3989 is an odd man out in the sensor world. It is one of the few sensors without the PMW prefix, and is generally not considered as a top optical despite having better statistics than the 3310. It is generally found in Cougar mice, and most iterations of the Razer Deathadder have been known to use it.
The 3989 has a relatively low max DPI of 6400, but is very impressive in other stats. The IPS is 200, meaning that this sensor is extremely unlikely to lose control, and the acceleration rating jumps all the way to 50G. The Deathadder, the best mouse that uses this sensor, is known to have one of the snappiest-feeling sensors in the community, so any mouse with this sensor should be A-OK.
The 3360 and its variants (such as the 3389 and the 3366) are regarded as the current pinnacle of the sensor market. It was first adopted by Logitech in mice such as the G403, the G Pro, and the G900, although it has since been made available to all mice manufacturers.
The 3360 boasts some seriously impressive stats. The max DPI skyrockets all the way to 16000 (THOUSAND!!!), although smoothing has been found at DPIs over 5000. The IPS is the highest we have seen at 250, and the acceleration is the industry-standard 50g. Some owners of the new Zowie mice using the 3360 have reported spinouts, although this is due to Zowie’s implementation rather than a sensor problem.
The Mercury sensor is Logitech’s budget offering, found in mice like the G203 and G102. Despite being a budget mouse, this sensor has cemented its place in the gaming community, being widely used by pros in the Overwatch scene.
The Mercury sets its maximum DPI at a solid 8000. The max tracking speed is once again 200 IPS, with a relatively low acceleration rating of 25G. Many users have questioned why the Mercury is regarded as a budget sensor, since most of its important stats closely mimic the 3360. The lower accel rating is the true answer here, although if the pro scene is anything to go by, it will still serve you well.
The Logitech Hero is the current pinnacle of sensor engineering. It boasts some seriously impressive stats, but the real innovation is in the power consumption. Logitech deliberately designed a high-performance sensor with extremely low power consumption. Combine this with some creative structural engineering and the simply amazing Lightspeed wireless tech, and Logitech has pulled ahead of the curve for wireless mice.
The max DPI of the Hero is the second-highest we have seen, at 12000. Its max tracking speed is a staggering 400 IPS, and its acceleration rating is a respectable 40G. In short, good luck making this sensor spin out.
Well, thanks for wading all the way through this! It is a fairly technical article, but if you actually do finish, it should set you up to start making more informed decisions about your next mouse purchase. Here at GamingVerdict, we strive to better inform consumers, not shill for a certain company or product.