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What is a DPI Mouse? (Everything you need to Know)

As an avid gamer, whether you are professional or casual, it’s common knowledge that every piece of equipment on your gaming setup contributes significantly to your performance level. However, if you have the best equipment but the wrong critical settings, you will not maximize your potential.

One of the critical aspects in question is your mouse DPI settings. While every game and consecutively all actions in the game require different settings, you need to know how to know what works best at each moment. Therefore, this article contains all the information you need pertaining to DPI – from how to change from one setting to another to what settings you should opt for. Stick around and learn a thing or two!

What Is DPI?

DPI is an acronym that stands for ‘dots per linear inch.’ You can also refer to it as ‘counts per inch’ or ‘Mickeys per second.’ That said, DPI defines the number of pixels your cursor moves each time you move the mouse.

So, assuming your display resolution is 1440 pixels, your mouse has a 1440 DPI with an x1 sensitivity. It means that each time you move your mouse an inch, the cursor will move across 1440 pixels. For that reason, before considering your mouse DPI setting, you should consider your monitor’s resolution.

However, if you have a high-resolution monitor and are using it to play a modern game, the monitor resolution doesn’t translate to your mouse DPI. This is because your monitor’s software will amp up the DPI using virtual pixels to improve your user experience. All in all, the DPI concept still applies.

You don’t need a high DPI if you use your computer for mundane tasks such as editing an article. However, if you are gaming professionally, a mouse with a DPI of 2000 or higher is appropriate.

If you have a mouse with a low DPI, then your cursor sensitivity will reduce, which will, in turn, affect your gaming performance. Additionally, please note that your mouse DPI is different from mouse sensitivity. Though the two work simultaneously, they have different functionalities.

What Is Mouse Sensitivity?

As stated in the above segment, DPI is mainly about the distance a cursor moves when you touch the mouse(which is hardware). On the other hand, mouse sensitivity is about the settings you have imposed on your monitor and mouse, meaning it’s leaning towards software.

Regarding your in-game sensitivity, you also need to look at your monitor resolution, the game you are playing and the DPI. For perspective, if you use a low-quality mouse with a low DPI, then opt to put a high sensitivity setting; it will make any action you perform with your mouse inaccurate and rough.

Alternatively, if you have a high-quality mouse and set it to a high enough DPI, you can get by with a low sensitivity level because if you go higher, the cursor will move too quickly for you to control. However, the longer you game, the more you can handle high sensitivity because you will have mastered precision.

What Is EDPI?

When gaming against real-life people, gamers often prefer to compare each other’s DPI and in-game sensitivity settings. This way, they can all be on the same competitive level.

However, considering DPI and sensitivity are hard to compare because the type of hardware matters a lot, gamers use eDPI, which stands for ‘effective dots per linear inch.’The eDPI gives gamers a specific estimate of each other’s settings hence its popularity.

To calculate the eDPI, you are supposed to multiply your DPI by your in-game sensitivity. For context, assume there are three players:

Player one: 300 DPI x 2 in-game sensitivity = 600 eDPI

Player two: 600 DPI x 1 in-game sensitivity= 600 eDPI

Player three: 450 DPI x 2 in-game sensitivity = 900 eDPI

In the above scenario, player three is supposed to adjust their settings accordingly to have the same eDPI as the rest. Also, every player can have a different DPI and in-game sensitivity and still have the same eDPI.

Do I Need a High DPI?

With the rise of manufacturers of gaming paraphernalia, marketers are doing their level best to try and outdo the competition. Unfortunately, one way the said marketers do this is by adding features that an average gamer would not be able to utilize, one of them being a high DPI. For context, a gaming mouse can boost up to 20,000+ DPI.

While the aforementioned seems like a great deal, it’s a luring tactic you shouldn’t fall for. This is because an extremely high DPI is not practical.

A viable example would be, let’s assume your primary display is 360p, meaning that there will be 360 pixels per each vertical straight line of your screen. Therefore, if you set the mouse DPI at 360, you will only need to move your mouse an inch to move the cursor from the top to the bottom of the screen.

As per the scenario mentioned above, you cannot game if your DPI is set to more than 400 because you will not have time to aim correctly, as the cursor will move way too much after every slight touch. And the only way you can handle such a DPI is if your hand movement has a millimeter accuracy which is quite rare, bordering on impossible.

Additionally, most of the gaming displays in the market won’t even support a 2000 DPI (which is a generous number.) So, to answer the question: You don’t need a high DPI.  

How to Find My Mouse DPI

The easiest way to find out your mouse’s DPI is by checking for the specs on the manufacturer’s website or the user manual. Alternatively, you can also download and install the mouse’s drivers and software; this way, you can quickly check the DPI settings. The advantage of the latter method is that you will have access to more information than just DPI settings, such as how to alter settings.

If you only need a rough DPI setting estimate, one significant point to consider is that gaming mice released before the 2000s have a DPI of 800 or less. While those released from the 2000s to 2010 have a DPI of 1200-1600.

What are The Best DPI Settings?

In gaming, there is never a combination of one size fits all settings, no matter how similar your set-up is to the next person. This is because specific attributes, such as who you are playing against, your ability to make haste decisions, your hand muscle memory, and so forth, also play a large part in your performance.

It is for the above statement that there is no perfect DPI setting.

However, below are a few examples of  DPI and sensitivity settings that some elite gamers use to give you an idea of a suitable range in which your settings should lie:

Ninja

  • 800 DPI x 0.77 sensitivity (Fortnite) x 62.4 eDPI
  • 800 DPI x 5 sensitivity (Overwatch) x 4,000 eDPI

Shroud

  • 450 DPI x 2.4 Sensitivity (CS: GO) x 1,080 eDPI

Time

  • 800 DPI x 5 sensitivity (Overwatch) x 4000eDPI

Cloak

  • 400 DPI x 0.11 sensitivity (Fortnite) x 44eDPI

ZywOo

  • 400 DPI x 2.0 sensitivity (CS: GO) x 800 eDPI

Aside from the above suggestions, most games offer you a suitable DPI range and sensitivity that suits their game moves. Below are a few tips;

  • If you are playing a Real-time strategy game, then a 600 DPI to 1200 DPI is suitable
  • If you are playing MMOs or RPG games, then an 800 DPI to 1600 DPI is suitable
  • You need a 400 DPI to 1000 DPI for FPS or similar shooter games
  • As for MOBA games, you only need a 400 DPI to 800 DPI

As you have seen by the above suggestions, the correct DPI is relative. Therefore, it’s essential to have a mouse that makes it easy to switch from one setting to the other.

How to Change DPI Settings Using a DPI Switch

Most high-end gaming mice in the market come with a dedicated DPI switch somewhere on the side of the mouse. This way, it’s easier for the user to switch from one DPI setting to the other, depending on the action they want to perform in the game.

For such a mouse, you will typically be prompted to set your default DPI setting the first time you press/Toggle the DPI button. After this, every time you toggle it front or back will either increase or decrease the DPI.

How to Change DPI Settings Using a DPI Switch

Not every gaming mouse has a dedicated DPI button; therefore, it becomes difficult to change from one setting to the other or even alter your default DPI setting. You will need to use the designated mouse software in such a scenario.

A standard gaming mouse will be supported by software in which you can make all the necessary customisation features, including the DPI.

If your mouse isn’t supported by any software and has no DPI button, then chances are you cannot change the default DPI setting. Feel free to google your mouse model and look up its specs to confirm if this is the case.

What Are Polling Rates in a Gaming Mouse?

Aside from noting your mouse DPI before buying it, you should also consider the polling rate. In layman’s terms, a mouse’s polling rate is the frequency at which a mouse reports the cursor’s position back to the monitor.

Typically, the polling rate is measured in hertz. So, assuming your polling rate is 300, then it means your mouse will report back to the monitor 300 times per second. Therefore, having a mouse with a fast polling rate reduces delays between your action and the required reaction.

Other Ways to Improve Your Gaming Performance

While choosing the right DPI setting does wonders for your gaming performance, there are other avenues you can use to explore your gaming potential where the mouse is concerned. Some of them include the following:

Choosing the Right Fit

The shape and size of your mouse will either make it easier for you to control or harder. Therefore, ensure you explore your options and choose one that fits your wrist comfortably, even when you use it for a prolonged period.

Type of Monitor Displays

Your monitor display is arguably the most essential part of your setup. Choosing a good one will mean it’s easy to customize as well as switch from one function to the other. However, if your monitor doesn’t have a display, it’s okay, as there are ways around it.

Choose which type of gamer you want to be

There are two types of gamers, high sens and low sens. The low-sens gamers level is a perfect setting to start with as a beginner as it’s easier to use your mouse to aim, while high sens is more complicated. Choosing one tier will allow you to build muscle memory, making it easier to move to the other level.

Buy a Mouse With a Suitable Sensor

While increasing your mouse sensitivity is an option, it’s imperative to research whether the mouse you want to buy has a quality sensor before you buy it. This way, your mouse will react accordingly, even with slight movement.

Conclusion

There are plenty of aspects and different settings you need to master to be a professional gamer, one of them being DPI settings. Though challenging, your gaming experience will be second nature once you go through all the notions. Hopefully, the above article educates you on everything you need to know about DPI settings and how to go about it.

FAQs

What is the easiest way to change the DPI setting?

It depends on your mouse design. If yours comes fitted with a designated DPI button, then all you need to do is press it up or down to reduce or increase the DPI setting. However, if yours doesn’t come with the button, as mentioned earlier, you will need to log into the mouse software and change the settings.

Best DPI Mouse to Buy in 2023

SaleBestseller No. 1
Logitech G502 HERO High Performance Wired Gaming Mouse, HERO 25K Sensor, 25,600 DPI, RGB, Adjustable Weights, 11 Programmable Buttons, On-Board Memory, PC / Mac
  • Hero 25K sensor through a software update from G HUB, this upgrade is free to all players: Our most advanced, with 1:1 tracking, 400-plus ips, and 100 – 25,600 max dpi sensitivity plus zero smoothing, filtering, or acceleration
  • 11 customizable buttons and onboard memory: Assign custom commands to the buttons and save up to five ready to play profiles directly to the mouse
  • Adjustable weight system: Arrange up to five removable 3.6 grams weights inside the mouse for personalized weight and balance tuning
  • Programmable RGB Lighting and Lightsync technology: Customize lighting from nearly 16.8 million colors to match your team’s colors, sport your own or sync colors with other Logitech G gear
  • Mechanical switch button tensioning: Metal spring tensioning system and pivot hinges are built into left and right gaming mouse buttons for a crisp, clean click feel with rapid click feedback
SaleBestseller No. 2
Razer Mamba Elite Wired Gaming Mouse: 16,000 DPI Optical Sensor – Chroma RGB Lighting – 9 Programmable Buttons – Mechanical Switches
  • High-Precision 16,000 DPI Optical Sensor: Offers on-the-fly sensitivity adjustment through dedicated DPI buttons (programmable) for gaming
  • Customizable Chroma RGB Color Profiles: Includes 16.8 million color combinations w, included preset profiles
  • Improved, Ergonomic Design: Rubberized side grips reduce fatigue over long use sessions
  • Ridged, Rubberized Scroll Wheel for Maximum Accuracy: Small, tactile bumps increases grip and helps with more controlled scrolling in high-stakes gaming situations
  • 9 Programmable Buttons: Allows for reconfiguration and assignment of complex macro functions through Razer Synapse
SaleBestseller No. 3
Logitech G305 LIGHTSPEED Wireless Gaming Mouse, Hero 12K Sensor, 12,000 DPI, Lightweight, 6 Programmable Buttons, 250h Battery Life, On-Board Memory, PC/Mac – Black
  • HERO Gaming Sensor: Next-gen HERO mouse sensor delivers up to 10x the power efficiency over other gaming mice with exceptional accuracy and responsiveness thanks to 400 IPS precision and up to 12000 DPI sensitivity
  • LIGHTSPEED Wireless: Ultra-fast LIGHTSPEED Wireless technology gives you a lag-free gaming experience. The G305 wireless gaming mouse delivers incredible responsiveness and reliability with a super-fast 1ms report rate for competition-level performance
  • Ultra-Long Battery Life: The G305 wireless Logitech mouse boasts an incredible 250 hours of continuous gameplay on a single AA battery so you can play at peak performance without worrying about running out of power
  • Lightweight design: Thanks to an efficient mechanical design, the G305 gaming mouse weighs in at only 99 grams for high manoeuvrability
  • Compact, portable design with convenient built-in storage for included USB wireless receiver. Max. speed: > 400 IPS
SaleBestseller No. 4
Razer Basilisk X Hyperspeed Wireless Gaming Mouse: Bluetooth & Wireless Compatible, 16K DPI Optical Sensor, 6 Programmable Buttons, 450 Hr Battery, Classic Black
  • 25% Faster Than Competing Wireless Mice: The all-new, Razer HyperSpeed wireless technology brings together extreme low-latency and interference reduction for true wireless freedom
  • Dual Mode Connectivity: Supports Bluetooth for efficient power consumption and HyperSpeed Wireless for lag-free gaming.Max Acceleration (G):40
  • 6 Programmable Buttons: Allows for reconfiguration and assignment of complex macro functions through Razer Synapse 3
  • Up to 450 Hr Battery Life: Lasts 450 hours on Bluetooth, 285 hours on HyperSpeed Wireless
  • Durable Mechanical Switches: Supports up to 50 million clicks, backed by a 2 year warranty
SaleBestseller No. 5
Razer Viper Mini Ultralight Gaming Mouse: Fastest Gaming Switches – 8500 DPI Optical Sensor – Chroma RGB Underglow Lighting – 6 Programmable Buttons – Drag-Free Cord – Classic Black
  • Lightest, Zero-Compromise Miniature Mouse: 10% Smaller Than the Viper and lighter at 61g, with a 8500 DPI optical sensor befitting the most serious gamers without the need for drilling holes in the chassis like competitor mice
  • Faster Than Traditional Mechanical Switches: Razer optical mouse switches uses light beam-based actuation, registering button presses at the speed of light for absolute control
  • Customizable Chroma RGB Color Profiles & Underglow: Includes 16.8 million color combinations w, included preset profiles
  • 6 Programmable Buttons: Allows for reconfiguration and assignment of complex macro functions through Razer Synapse 3
  • Drag-Free Cord for Wireless-Like Performance: Razer Speedflex cables eliminate the need for mouse bungees, drastically reducing weight and drag

Last update on 2022-12-05 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

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