If you are looking for the best gaming mouse, you probably came across many choices that showed similar optical sensors for most of the cases. But if we go a few years back, laser gaming mice remained predominant. Nowadays, most manufacturers are focusing on optical mice, but laser mice are still prevalent.
For any buyer, the question comes into mind that which mouse is better for gaming and why? Well, we first have to see the technology that both mice use. Laser mice are more prone to jitter as they use laser-based sensors with high sensitivity. Contrary to this, optical mice are more accurate and reliable due to their less sensitivity and LED-based technology.
Out of hundreds of gaming mice options, people get confused when deciding between optical and laser mice. It is a common belief that laser mice do not perform at the same accuracy and speed as optical mice. Does this is true? Do a decision between mice sensors can affect your gaming experience? Let’s found out!
What is similar between Laser and Optical Mice?
Although both laser and optical mice have some differences in technology implementation and how they perform on a particular surface, there are two significant areas where they show similarities. Before digging into the difference between optical and laser mice, let’s explore their similarities.
There is a common belief that both laser and optical mice have different imaging technology. But here is the fact to blow your mind: both have basically the same technology. There are CMOS sensors in both mice, which act as video cameras. These sensors record each and every movement that you perform on different surfaces.
When you use your mouse, its sensor acts as a digital camera and records imaging of the surface, by keeping track of the movement lets you know which way the mouse is moving. You may have noticed that mouse performance is not similar on each surface. This difference in performance is basically due to the texture difference of each surface that the CMOS sensor of the mouse catches.
Now you already know that both optical and laser mice track the movement through the CMOS sensor, you may be thinking about how it detects each surface’s texture. These mouse sensors cannot actually detect the surface textures but recognize them by light detection. When mouse light reflects from the surface, the sensor captures it.
If there is an uneven surface, the mouse will detect the reflection with variance. Each image from the reflection is analyzed separately for getting accurate movement. Take an example of a still object; you take a picture and move it slightly. Then again, you take another picture and move it. Repeat it several times and then observe these pictures in a slideshow. It will imitate that the object is moving; mouse imaging works the same way.
Although the technology of both laser and optical mice works on the same principle but both have different sensors. Laser mice use laser-based sensor detection, while optical mice use LED-based detection, which is more accurate.
Difference between Optical and Laser Mice
After getting to know about the similarities of laser and optical mice, let get to the real differences between them. This comparison is equally essential because it will let us know which mouse is best and why. Grab your coffee as it is going to be interesting.
Sensitivity and Accuracy
It is commonly known that a laser mouse has better sensitivity than an optical mouse. It is true as they are accurate due to laser diode technology. However, in collecting the surface imaging data, they tend to capture more in-depth but irrelevant data. For example, they can record every small elevation or depression on the surface.
In this way, the mouse undergoes a condition known as acceleration or jitter, which causes slower cursor speed on the screen. The useless data that the mouse captures cause the cursor to not appear on the exact location on the screen where you want it. This makes the laser mouse less accurate, especially for gaming and graphics designing, where accuracy is crucial.
However, with the improvement of laser technology over the years, it performs much better in mice. You may use a smooth surface to operate the laser mouse to get accurate results. If your mouse goes crazy on the screen and gives flickering movement, try to lower its sensitivity to make it more accurate.
Contrary to the laser mouse, the optical mouse shows remarkable accuracy as its LED-based detection is accurate. It does not record useless data and keep things plain for most surfaces. Therefore, it is a common belief that an optical mouse sensor works better than a laser mouse.
In the early days of laser mice, the prices spiked, and they were more expensive to buy. But as soon they become streamlined, the price hype went down a bit. Still, there is a laser mouse that can cost exceptionally higher for the features it offers. For example, there are some best gaming mice under $100 while some can cost more.
The difference these days actually happen because these mice offer many other features like RGB lighting, ergonomics, and customizations. Optical and laser mouse at their basic model almost cost the same these days, so there is not much difference in prices.
As explained earlier, both technologies track the texture of the working surface to move the cursor position on the computer screen. However, a laser mouse tracks the surfaces’ irregularities more deeply and provides information more than required that causes the cursor to juggle around.
Besides that, both technologies almost work on all types of surfaces. But they need a surface that can reflect the light properly to track the movement accurately. A great example of an imperfect working surface for the mouse is glass. Laser mouse diode technology can still track some texture on the glass and may respond slightly to the movement of the mouse, but the optical mouse cannot track the same surface.
This surface working comparison makes the laser mouse more workable on the glass where the optical mouse fails to register any movement. However, you that laser mouse movement is not workable as it detects only a small part of mouse movement. Overall, an optical mouse is better for accurately working on all surfaces.
Most gaming manufacturers try to hang with a specific technology more than the other as a preference. For example, if we see the gaming lineup of Razer, the most expensive mouse has laser technology. While when we see the Logitech gaming mouse, they mostly have an optical sensor for their large mouse base.
Razer uses laser technology because they want more snappy and accurate mouse movement, while Logitech uses optical technology for the same purpose. Does that make sense to you? Well, let us explain. Most gamers have dedicated setups with properly equipped accessories. They probably use an expensive mouse pad already or using the best gaming desk.
In this case, the high-quality mouse pad or desk can support ignore the laser mouse imperfections with their smooth texture. Similarly, LED technology in optical mouse quickly detects the surface and provide a smoother and accurate mouse movement. Overall, optical or laser technology does not affect gaming if using on the right surface for most gamers.
Laser Vs. Optical mouse – Which is the best?
Laser and optical mice are both the perfect companion for gamers with higher accuracy and more reliable performance. But there are slight differences between these two in terms of motion tracking. Laser mouse tends to go deeper for surface texture tracking to generate jitter or acceleration on rough surfaces. Contrary to this, the optical mouse does not have this jitter due to LED technology. The rest of the functioning of both mice is the same. In our opinion, optical mice are the best gaming mouse due to their accuracy and reliability.
If you have any other opinions or still confuse about making the right decision about mouse selection. Let us know in the comment section. We always encourage healthy feedback.
M. Kashif is a published author at Gaming Expert.net. He is a tech enthusiast a passionate gamer and loves to try new gadgets and writing about games and technology events.