So your old pointer’s looking a little ragged and it’s time to upgrade, but do you go for a wired or a wireless gaming mouse? It’s important to say first up that one design is certainly no better than the other – our roundup of the best gaming mouse models features plenty on both sides of the fence. However, the decision of a wired vs wireless gaming mouse does come down to how you plan on using your pointer.
Back when these accessories were in their infancy, there were far more features distinguishing the two designs – a wired mouse was quicker and far more reliable than that early wireless connection, for example. However, today’s 2.4GHz wireless connections have very little bearing on the speed of your response, unless you’re looking at particularly small numbers that may only make the slightest of differences in the world’s most competitive leagues.
Still, everyday players won’t notice any difference in response times or latency, whether they opt for the cheapest or the best wireless gaming mouse on the market. So, to help you work out what does separate a wireless and a wired gaming mouse today, we’re rounding up all their key differences, as well as who should buy which right here.
TL;DR: Wired vs wireless gaming mice compared
Wired gaming mouse
- Often cheaper
- Can be ever so slightly faster
- No extra weight from batteries
- No need to charge
Wireless gaming mouse
- No cable dragging
- Tidier aesthetic
- More portable
- More freedom of movement
Wired vs wireless gaming mice: what’s the difference?
The wired vs wireless gaming mouse debate today stands as a point of preference. Now that concerns around reliability and response times have largely been left in the past for everyday players, there’s really very little separating these two connection options from a performance standpoint.
Of course, cutting the cord means you’re getting a clutter-free setup which is sometimes the main draw when choosing the right device for you and certainly can’t be understated. However, there are some differences in the way wired and wireless gaming mice perform as well.
Dropping the cable on your pointer means you’ll be moving just a little more freely with a wireless mouse. There’s no drag, no chance of snagging your cable, and no resistance during larger sweeping motions when there’s nothing tying you down. Many wired mice these days offer up drag-free cables to keep your movements as smooth as possible (the Corsair M65 RGB Ultra offers up a particularly smooth cable), and you can also pick up a mouse bungee to keep your wires off the desktop as well. These are additional extras that you don’t need to think about with a wireless model, though.
There are some sacrifices to be made when going fully wireless – and many come from the battery sitting under your hand. Not only will that battery need to be charged, something you won’t need to think about with a wired version, but it will also add extra weight to your mouse as well. While your sweep might be a little freer, then, it’s going to be a little heavier as well. If you’re playing super-fast fps titles and rely on twitch reflexes and minute movements, this may become a problem. It should be noted that there are plenty of ultralight wireless options out there, like the Razer Viper Ultimate – but they do carry a premium.
A wired mouse, on the flip side, has room to be featherlight – with some, like the Cooler Master MM710, coming in at just 52g – and won’t stutter in its performance when running out of juice.
Who should buy a wired gaming mouse?
A wired gaming mouse wins this debate if you’re not fussed about keeping a minimalist setup and want the best bang for buck value possible. While you’re sacrificing a little flexibility, you’re making up for it with a lower price tag and a lighter form factor overall.
We’d recommend choosing a wired gaming mouse over a wireless one if you:
- Aren’t concerned about a cable-free desktop
- Don’t want to spend more than you need to
- Play faster FPS or action titles regularly
- Play competitively
- Don’t want to worry about charging
Who should buy a wireless gaming mouse?
Grabbing a wireless connection on your gaming mouse is very much a nice to have at this stage. Any differences in response times are negligible, and if you’re not concerned about adding a little heft under your hand, a wireless pointer can certainly clean up a desktop and add extra flexibility to both your play and travel.
We’d recommend aiming for a wireless gaming mouse if you:
- Want a cable-free setup
- Travel frequently with your gaming mouse
- Need absolute freedom of movement
- Don’t mind charging
Once you’ve made that all-important connection decision, it’s time to scout out some pointers. We’re rounding up all the best Razer mouse options on the market, with a whole guide to the world of left-handed gaming mice as well. Or, for a full setup refresh, take a look at the best gaming keyboards on the market right now.