Gaming mice come packed with lots of features and specifications that make them different from office mice. They have better ergonomics and features like extra buttons and RGB lights. However, the most crucial topic of discussion for the gamers is the DPI of the mouse. You often see the word “DPI” written on the mouse packing more prominently than any other feature.
What is meant by DPI, and why is it important when buying the gaming mouse? We will describe the difference between DPI and sensitivity and explore the concept in further detail to enlighten you and make sure that you can easily understand DPI, its importance, and how it affects the overall gaming performance in real-time.
What is DPI?
DPI is the measure of the actual mouse sensitivity, and it often refers as Dots per inch. It is the property of the mouse that decides the cursor’s movement and responsiveness. The higher the mouse’s DPI value, the more distance the cursor travels on your screen from one point to another. This feature is significant for gamers that need rapid movement in a short course of time.
Having such an advantage with the DPI does not mean that a higher DPI is better. You won’t like the mouse that floats across the screen with little movement for everyday usage and office work. But this is always not the case, especially when you are playing multiplayer shooter games and require a quick and sudden reaction to the enemy ambush.
For first-person shooter games, DPI acts as the backbone of the gameplay. While snipping the long-distance, you need to aim accurately with precise movements. In this case, DPI emerges as a valuable feature that helps you aim the target with great precision. At the same time, you may require comparatively less DPI in the same game when you do not require zooming and sniping. Therefore many manufacturers offer a dedicated DPI button at the top of the mouse for taking exact DPI decisions according to the situation.
DPI Vs. Sensitivity
There is a clear difference between mouse sensitivity and DPI as sensitivity is mainly related to the software capabilities while DPI is a purely hardware-based feature. To clear the concept, let take the example of a regular computer mouse. When you move it at default sensitivity settings, it moves the cursor generally on the screen. As soon you change the sensitivity setting to highest, it will travel from one part of the screen to other like crazy.
The cursor jumps around while not targeting the small areas of the screen. In this way, a minor movement of the mouse gives a big push to the cursor. The computer operating system compensates for the lack of DPI with sensitivity and tries to mimic the action but fails in a smooth cursor movement.
Contrary to the sensitivity settings, a mouse having high DPI is easy to operate even under the low sensitivity setting and can work flawlessly. It doesn’t fly across the more extensive screen area as you move it and the movements resulting from DPI settings are smooth.
Does High DPI really help?
Yes, high DPI is best for the gamer who likes a sensitive mouse to aim and play first-person shooters. Generally, the more sensitive the DPI, the more precision work you can do during the games. It is due to the detection of even small mouse movements and their translation into the screen’s fast and more significant cursor movement.
But higher DPI is not always needed, especially for the instance where you want to move the cursor with more accuracy and want to move it smoothly and slowly rather than fast. If you’re going to play games with a DPI mouse, the DPI value requirement will not remain the same throughout the game. This is due to the different gaming requirements according to the situation.
If you want to get an accurate aim on small things using zooming in, higher DPI seems more usable and accurate. But for any other in-game movement, a moderate to low DPI works best. Therefore it becomes possible to make the DPI switchable without using the software. Many manufacturers feature a dedicated DPI button on the mouse top for easy switching between various DPI levels.
When used in conjunction with a high-resolution monitor, high-DPI mice are more valuable. If you’re playing a game laptop screen on a standard resolution of 1366 x 768 pixels, you won’t necessarily require such a high DPI. On the other hand, a higher DPI allows you to move your mouse cursor smoothly around the screen when playing a game on a 4K display with a resolution of 3840 x 2160 pixels, rather than dragging your mouse across the entire desk.
How DPI affects mouse performance?
DPI is not always the governing factor for mouse performance. Most computer works well with the DPI under 1000 as this value is more than enough for running the basic tasks. However, gamers and graphic designers always want a mouse with a higher DPI. This is primarily due to the fact that they work on big screens, and the quick and smooth mouse cursor on these screens requires a higher DPI mouse.
Furthermore, people who like drawing objects digitally on their PCs also need DPI for accurate and precise work. For smaller and more precise movements, you may want to lower the DPI settings to get the best results for your work.
The amount of DPI depends on the need and size of the screen. If the resolution is high and the screen is large, there are more pixels to cover for the mouse. In these circumstances, an ordinary mouse under 800 DPI does not work fast and smoothly. For this, a mouse with a higher DPI than average value proves more performance-oriented.
If you work on high-resolution and big screens, you should look for the higher DPI mouse. In this regard, the best gaming mouse is a better option to invest in. They provide smooth and fast cursor movement on these screens and help to achieve more than 8000 DPI values.
How to check mouse DPI
After you get familiar with the concept of DPI and its application in mouse performance, you may be thinking about checking the DPI of your mouse. Well, this is relatively simple for most manufacturer mice with a correct model number on them.
You can try checking the manufacturer’s website and searching your mouse model. Doing so will take you to the product page, where there are detailed specifications about the mouse. There you can find the DPI value of your mouse.
But the above method is not viable for searching the DPI of the branded mouse. These mice mostly don’t have models written on them, and their online presence is scarce. However, most branded mice these days have proper specs sheets that list all the features, including DPI.
Another method for checking the DPI is by installing the drivers or mouse support software. Many famous manufacturers like Razer and SteelSeries have dedicated software like Razer Synapse. This configuration software and driver are readily available on the manufacture’s website. Downloading and installing this software helps to identify the mouse DPI and gives the ability to choose and change it from the setting. However, if you have a branded mouse that relies on Windows-provided drivers, you may be out of luck checking the DPI.
Another resort to finding out the mouse DPI is by analyzing it using an online DPI check or analyzer. This method is not 100% accurate but can provide you with a rough estimate of the mouse DPI. This method only works for most users, checking the estimated DPI value rather than the actual value.
To check out mouse DPI, check this detailed article about How to check mouse DPI on Windows 10 and 11?
How to change DPI on the mouse
If we talk about the standard mouse, there is no possible way to change the mouse DPI as they usually lack dedicated DPI buttons. However, we are enlisting some methods to help you change the mouse DPI by using software and hardware assistance.
Many gaming mice come with a dedicated DPI button to change the settings. Besides that, there is a software approach like Logitech G-Hub and Razer Synapse software. These utilities facilitate the DPI changing along with many other settings like managing the macros and RGB settings. We will discuss these in another article. Let’s focus here on the working methods to change the mouse DPI more easily.
1. Changing DPI using mouse button
This is the most common way to change the mouse DPI. It is also the most effective method. This notable feature is prevalent in many new gaming mice as dedicated DPI buttons are usually located near the mouse scroll button between the primary click buttons.
Besides the pricey models, affordable gaming mice usually have a single DPI button that switches the DPI within a specific range. Contrary to this, expensive gaming mice typically have a dedicated button for increasing and decreasing the DPI values.
The button-controlled DPI is practical and more beneficial for the gamers as they can change the DPI on the go without minimizing their game. Every gaming stage has different mouse sensitivity needs. With a dedicated DPI button, you can quickly switch between the DPI values and get the edge over the opponents, especially in the first-person shooters.
Changing the mouse DPI is pretty straightforward if you follow these easy steps.
Find the DPI button near the scroll wheel of the mouse
If it is a simple DPI changer, pressing it increases the DPI range until you reach the peak value.
If there are dedicated keys for increasing and decreasing the DPI, you can utilize them to set the required DPI.
Some mouse has DPI indicator lights or LCD that prove helpful in monitoring the DPI level while you change.
2. Changing mouse DPI using a Software utility
Many manufactures like Razer and Logitech offer their software utility for the mouse. If you are into the gaming world or playing PC games for a long time, you might be familiar with the Synapse and G-Hub utilities. These utilities and similar software by other manufacturers offer more control over the DPI settings.
You can install the software utility according to your mouse model. After that, go dig out the DPI settings from the main interface. Once you landed the right menu, you can increase or decrease the DPI value according to your need. However, this method is less practical for the gamers if they need to change the DPI more often during gameplay as it involves minimizing the game and change the settings that can distract from the game.
Conclusion: What is the best DPI for me?
After reading the article, we hope you understand “What is mouse DPI” and everything related to DPI. Many people confuse the DPI with the mouse sensitivity settings, but both have different results and performance levels. Although DPI is the most critical factor for gamers when buying the mouse, there are some other features that you don’t want to miss out on. These features include sensor type, design, connection type, and programmable buttons.
No exact DPI value is best for everyone, and it depends on the user’s needs. If you want to make your mouse investment futureproof, getting a higher DPI mouse is a better decision. You can lower the DPI according to your needs but cannot increase the DPI once it reaches its peak.
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.