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Struggling to find fingertip grip mouse that meets my needs...please help

Last response: in Computer Peripherals
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September 20, 2013 7:06:20 AM

First, thanks for reading.

Over the past few weeks I've done a ridiculous amount of research and searching for the right mouse for me, and I just can't seem to identify a good fit (too often literally).

Here are my specs:
- I have truly average-sized man-hands (7.5" wrist to longest fingertip, 3.5" palm width, average finger width and length)
- I am right-handed and use a fingertip grip. My thumb grips left side. Index and middle fingers are on LMB and RMB, respectively. Ring finger and pinky grip the right side. Palm barely touches the mouse, if that. Side-to-side horizontal movement is fingers w/wrist. Front-and-back vertical movement is 100% fingers. My arm doesn't move.
- Current mouse is a Logitech G5. I know that many consider this too big for fingertip grip, but it works fairly well for me. Because even though the mouse is large overall, the thumb depression is deep. Also, the right side angles smoothly downward (no square edges between top an side, like so many mice), so my ring finger can rest comfortably along the side and still grip effectively. Furthermore, the surface materials are good — I get plenty of grip, without discomfort or sweat. Still, I find the mouse a bit large, and the sensor is nothing special. I believe I can do better.

Here's what I'm hoping to find in a new mouse:
- Good fit for my fingertip grip
- High-quality, gaming-level DPI optical sensor (I tend to play at 800 DPI with my laser-sensored G5, but I also have software sensitivity set at middle-high (in games and Windows) to allow my fingertip grip to move the mouse effectively across my 24" 1920x1080 monitor). I don't know what DPI I'd play at with an optical sensor.
- At least five buttons, but preferably 7+ (includes LMB/RMB). It seems that every optical mouse that's on the smaller side — and so well suited to a fingertip grip — has the bare minimum of buttons, as in three. Three? That may work in straightforward FPS games, but I also play RTS, MOBA, MMO, CRPG, etc. I simply need more programmable buttons, and, with only a couple of exceptions listed below, those seem available mainly on palm-grip-only and/or laser-sensored mice.
- Lighter weight. Not looking for a featherweight mouse, but I prefer a lighter weight to something on the heavier side (like some metal mice).
- The rest is the obvious stuff all gamers look for: quality switches, solid feel, nice surfaces and coatings, reliable and customizable software, decent warranty, etc.
- I'd prefer to pay under $70, but price isn't a major concern
- Things like looks, colored lights, etc. aren't at all important to me

Some options I've identified (opinions please):
- CM Storm Spawn
I like CM mice quality and software. My concern with this mouse is the right-side ring-finger rest. I've tried those before (Razer Naga, for instance), and while they are comfortable, they don't generally allow the fingertip grip user to get optimum leverage. But I haven't been able to test firsthand, since there isn't a store around here that carries it.
- CM Storm Recon
This could be perfect or nearly so, but, again, I'm unsure of the shape for fingertip users. As with the Spawn above, there isn't a store around here that carries it.
- MadCatz Cyborg Rat 3
A lot of reviewers are really surprised at how good the cheapest Rat is, often preferring it to the Rat 5, 7 and (maybe) 9 (no one reviews the 9). It's optical and has multiple buttons with a shift key. Lighter weight too. Some adjustment is also available, but not as much as its more expensive siblings. I've never found one to try. I'm somewhat concerned that it's too wide to fingertip grip comfortably. If not, it could be great.
- Logitech G400s
Another decent option, since it has multiple buttons and a high-grade optical sensor. The shape will be very similar to my G5, which is good, because my G5 is a solid fit...but as I already said about Logitech (excepting potentially the G9x below), I'm hoping for better.
- Logitech G9x
Many people rave about this mouse, and fingertip grip users often say it's the best fit out there. But it isn't optical, it's laser. And I've heard the middle mouse button isn't wonderful, though it does tilt left/right, which is nice. I've never been able to try one.
- SteelSeries Sensei
Another beloved mouse. And folks say it's well shaped for fingertip grip users. But, again, it's not optical, but laser. This is rarely mentioned, though, so perhaps the laser is so accurate it's equal to optical. Is there something special about the Sensei's sensor? I haven't been able to try this either.
- Roccat Savu and Roccat Kone Optical
Roccat is renowned for quality. Both these mice are high-end optical offerings. They've got multiple buttons, and the Savu has a shift key that effectively doubles the number. However, I'm quite concerned that they are too wide for fingertip use. I tried the Savu briefly in a store, and I didn't instantly take to the fit.

Please help. I've really put a lot of effort in to the search. Your feedback is most welcome.

Thanks,

ELB
September 20, 2013 8:05:04 PM

I don't understand your dislike for laser mice, when you use one now that you find great.

The only difference between a laser an an optical mouse is the light used. One uses LED (optical) and the other uses a laser. The laser has the advantage of higher DPI and works on more surfaces. Whether or not you need the extra DPI doesn't really matter, as mouse software allows you to change the DPI you are working with. Given how low of a DPI setting you use, either will be fine, just as long as it is a good sensor, which I know all those Logitech mice have good sensors. Most all the best sensors are currently laser, with a couple decent optical ones (the G400 has a good optical sensor).

If you want a good 7 button mouse, the G700 may fit the bill. It may be wireless, but it is every bit as sensitive as any wired mouse, and you can opt to use it with the cord always attached. It has 4 buttons on the side, so it meets the preferred 7 button option. It actually has an additional 3 buttons on the side of your index finger if you want to add a few things there. I like it for quicksave/load or other non twitch actions, but the 4 thumb buttons are the part I really like.

I hear the G9x is great, but I'd have a hard time giving up those 4 thumb buttons on the G700.

Finger tip grips are quite capable of working with just about any mouse. I personally hold mice with my finger tips, and the G400 and G700 definitely work. I have not tried the G9x though.

As far as comfort level goes, it would be ideal to go to a local shop that has mice on display to try out.

EDIT: As for your mouse sensitivity preference goes, most people prefer the Windows "Mouse speed" to either be set dead center for default sensitivity and adjust the mouse software DPI, or there is an on going thought that if you set the Windows mouse speed to the slowest possible, you get the most accuracy possible using the mouses DPI. The idea is if you use Windows mouse speed option, it accelerates the mouse pointer and there are fewer steps made when the mouse is moved. I personally can't tell a difference between default and going to the lowest setting, but others swear by it. Having it sped up may be giving you poorer results with your current mouse.
September 20, 2013 9:33:56 PM

Bystander, I appreciate your comments; thank you.

To clarify, I don't "dislike" laser mice. I've simply read quite a few accounts that assert that optical is superior, and haven't read anything that says the opposite (laser is better). And therefore I'd like to try optical. It may well be that I won't be able to tell the difference, as I'm not a competitive gamer — I'm not even in their league. But I have heard that optical feels more like a direct link to the cursor. This sounds to me like power steering vs. manual steering in a car — and if you've ever tried manual, you'll know that it sucks at low-speed maneuvers, but is far superior at everything else. But, again, I'm just guessing here, since I've never gamed with optical. And, for that matter, I don't know the difference between a good laser sensor and a bad one.

As for the G700/G700s, those were the first mice I considered. But, honestly, beyond the fact that it is a laser mouse, I'd like something a bit smaller than my current G5, in spite of it being a good fit (and the G700 is larger, if only a little). When I say "good fit" here, I mean comfortable. But it can be comfortable and still seem bulky rather than nimble, which is the case for me. I believe I'd appreciate the agility offered by a smaller, lighter fingertip-grip-friendly mouse.

Also, I have to say that I felt like the G700s, which I have tried on for size in the store, felt cheap. Specifically, the mouse wheel (too loose), the thumb buttons, and especially those three upper left buttons (the LMB and RMB were fine). I know many people love their G700s, though, as you seem to.

I have gone to the local retailers multiple times to test various mice. I must have tried 15+ already. Unfortunately, of the ones on my list above, only the Savu was available to sample. They don't carry the others, or I wasn't able to try them outside their packages.

- ELB
September 20, 2013 10:24:18 PM

You may want to watch this. It is interesting to say the least. http://www.tomshardware.com/news/logitech-mouse-sensor-...

Anyways, you see the debate of laser vs. optical a lot, the reality is, both have pros and cons, and in all practical use, the differences in actual use is so small, I wouldn't be concerned. Lasers track better, optical mice have 0 acceleration, but their differences are so tiny, I cannot tell the difference between the G400 (optical) and the G700 (laser), and neither do most people. Comfort and layout will matter more in the long run.

Take a look at this list for help if the sensor thing is a deal breaker, but I find it interesting that some of the laser sensors are listed as "yet to be proven perfect" or "suspected to have flaws", yet they aren't proven not perfect. It would seem the instruments used to test are the only way people can tell a difference: http://www.esreality.com/index.php?a=post&id=2024663

I believe the whole list are their recommended mice anyway, though there are a few which are considered perfect sensors at the top.
September 21, 2013 9:10:26 AM

bystander said:
You may want to watch this. It is interesting to say the least. http://www.tomshardware.com/news/logitech-mouse-sensor-...

Anyways, you see the debate of laser vs. optical a lot, the reality is, both have pros and cons, and in all practical use, the differences in actual use is so small, I wouldn't be concerned. Lasers track better, optical mice have 0 acceleration, but their differences are so tiny, I cannot tell the difference between the G400 (optical) and the G700 (laser), and neither do most people. Comfort and layout will matter more in the long run.

Take a look at this list for help if the sensor thing is a deal breaker, but I find it interesting that some of the laser sensors are listed as "yet to be proven perfect" or "suspected to have flaws", yet they aren't proven not perfect. It would seem the instruments used to test are the only way people can tell a difference: http://www.esreality.com/index.php?a=post&id=2024663

I believe the whole list are their recommended mice anyway, though there are a few which are considered perfect sensors at the top.


Bystander, I want to thank you again. This is so helpful. You are definitely helping clarify the issue(s) for me.

Even if I set aside the laser vs. optical debate, I'm still in a bit of a bind. That's because I want both a comfortable, nimble-feeling mouse that suits my fingertip grip (meaning, on the smaller side) and also a surplus of buttons for multiple programmable functions. This combination either doesn't exist or is very rare. For example, I don't know of a single smaller gaming mouse with a tilt wheel. I love my G5's tilt wheel; it gives me two extremely accessible, spammable functions in games.

So, I'm doing my best to weed through the options to find the right solution. I'm grateful to you, though, because opening up laser sensors as a possibility does expand my choices.

- ELB
September 21, 2013 10:00:38 AM

Logitech mice mostly have tilt wheels (G600, G500, G700, G9x), but most other brands don't seem to like it. The G400, which has the optical mouse, does not have a tilt wheel. I don't know of any Razers with tilt wheels either. The MS sidewinder x8 has one, but the sensor sucks on it. I personally liked the tilt wheel a lot, and my last mouse had to have it, but once I had the 4 thumb buttons, instead of 2, I haven't used the tilt wheel again, so that may not be a deal breaker if you find other buttons instead.

As far as size goes, you mentioned you liked the large mouse you had before, so as long as it is similar, you may not have an issue. As a finger gripper myself, I find I can use most any mouse as long as it isn't too funky only our fingers tips touch the mouse, so the width is all that might cause issues (the MS Sidewinders x8 width had made my hands uncomfortable after long hours of use a couple times, but never the Mx518, G400 or G700). You may find focusing on fairly narrow is more important than short.

Anyways, good luck on your quest. I personally would give some of the mice with the layout you like a chance, even if their size may not appear ideal. You may be surprised.
September 21, 2013 5:36:52 PM

Well, I stopped by the PC store and was surprised to find that they had a good number of the mice I've yet to see available to sample. So I got my hand on them, as it were. Here's what I found.

Roccat Kone Pure. Too wide in the rear for my grip. Pinkie uncomfortable.

Roccat Savu. Pretty good shape for my grip. Not the best Roccat quality, but still high. Definitely an option.

CM Storm Spawn. Good shape for fingertip, except thumb buttons, which are way too far forward. This is why it's a claw grip mouse only.

SteelSeries Sensei. Exact same problem as Spawn. Shape is pretty good, but buttons are too far forward. Quality seems excellent.

G400s. Just like my G5 in shape. Seems fine, but didn't love the mouse wheel. Not bad, but not excellent either.

CM Storm Recon and Logitech G9x. No stock (G9x is out of production anyway), so haven't tried.

Mad Catz Cyborg Rat 3. The biggest surprise, as it was the best fit. Quality is generally good-to-excellent, but thumb buttons don't feel great, though they work well. Mode button isn't well placed and doesn't feel solid. The rest is great. Great fit. Nice LMB/RMB and very good mouse wheel action and click. Nice light weight (if you prefer light, as I do).

I bought the Rat 3. I've heard about quality issues, and at $55 it's too much money for what it is, if you ask me, but the fit was undeniable. Now that I've had a chance to try it, I particularly love the sensor (liquid smooth and entirely "direct" feeling), weight is perfect for me, and it just glides beautifully across my SteelSeries Qck Mass thick cloth mousepad. The mouse wheel action is also praiseworthy.

So, I've got 15 days to return it. We'll see how it does. If it disappoints, I'd say the Roccat Savu is next. After that, the G400.

- ELB
September 21, 2013 5:41:48 PM

Hopefully you like what you bought, but if not, you could try the G500, rather than the G400, as it is the same shape, but has the tilt wheel. The possibly downside is the G500 uses a laser sensor, instead of Optical, though I doubt you'd notice much of a difference.
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