So you're a lefty, huh? So what! That shouldn't stop you from playing all those awesome games out there. But getting a proper mouse can be pretty tough. If you're in the market to buy a left handed gaming mouse, here's what you should look into first.
How do left-handed mice differ from right-handed mice?
No one needs to tell a left-handed person in detail how much they’ll appreciate a custom option for them. Right-handed products can be brutal on the ergonomics and in a competitive gaming match, feel absolutely unnatural. Left-handed gaming mice help simplify the process a little bit by offering a comfortable alternative to right-handed gaming. More so, left-handed gamers can FINALLY orient themselves to the left of the keyboard properly allowing for far better control and precision than using a non-dominant hand.
Many left-handed gamers compensate by using the middle finger to click with a right-handed mouse. This works but it’s a compromise between comfort and efficiency. There is little to no room for aiming or precision with keyboard keys as well so relegating tasks that only require button presses to the dominant hand makes aiming hard. You can be decent or even good with a right-hand mouse but the difficulty curve is dropped and comfort increased by converting to left-focused items.
One advantage that left-handed gamers tend to have over right-handed gamers is that the use of a mouse with a non-dominant hand feels pretty sloppy, therefore they tend to learn more proficiency with the keyboard shortcuts that often sit unused by those who can simply click. Once they master these, they can accomplish the same work with significantly less mouse usage. It’s a minor consolation prize though for the uncomfortable and wonky feeling of playing an FPS with a non-dominant hand. It can really show in a MOBA or MMO though when a left-handed gamer gets good equipment and switches over. The natural mastery of the keyboard translates over really well.
Why should I use an ambidextrous mouse?
Ambidextrous mice are designed to give consumers optimum freedom while simultaneously solving the challenge of catering to the Left-handed market. It’s not always a perfect compromise. In fact, a truly ambidextrous person wouldn’t need a specific mouse, they could use a right or left-handed one. It’s clear this is just an industry cop-out to wash themselves clean of satisfying a smaller niche.
Many ambidextrous mice are in reality a neutral mouse. The design shouldn’t lean one way or the other. The challenge with this is that a neutral mouse can’t specialize or cater to unique grips, comfortable ergonomics, or non-symmetrical design. Worse yet, sometimes ambidextrous mice will still offer buttons on one-side that obviously are for a right-handed person. A symptom of design by someone who is so focused on right-handed design practices. Others are so toned down in shape that they feel like a cheap business level Dell mouse that’d ship with mass-produced enterprise computers.
Left-handed gaming mice are rare. Only a handful exist and they’re often older and less capable than modern mice. They offer very natural feeling play and let a leftie easily use a mouse like it was intended. They’re fantastic. But they’re rarely made for gaming. Most left-handed gaming mice have poor polling speeds, low DPI, sloppy response time, and ultimately are made for college students and office use.
While its true for some gamers that nothing will ever beat the asymmetrical curves of an ergonomic gaming mouse, newer ambidextrous models are learning to overcome and adapt to the market. We spent a long time creating this list because we wanted to find mice that you could actually use and fall in love with. The best ambidextrous mice make Southpaw gamers play well without feeling uncomfortable or missing out on the awesome features touted by modern gaming mice. Top-notch ambidextrous mice can be highly customizable and even offer loads of buttons, software, and ergonomic grips.
Are there any TRUE left-handed mice?
As of September 2018, there haven’t really been any purely left-handed gaming mice that have been able to go head-to-head with the customizability and options of top-tier Gaming Mice. So extremely versatile mice such as the Naga Trinity, which allow enough customization for an FPS and MMO (Swappable button panels) aren’t available yet. Don’t lose hope though! Buying left-handed and ambidextrous mice, letting your voice be known, and supporting initiatives by companies like Razer is a great way to help the industry take notice and make a change. We can only honestly recommend the Death Adder Essential as a true left-handed gaming mouse.
Why is a gaming mouse superior to a traditional mouse?
Everyday items like keyboards and mice can become second-nature. Because we use them so much, we don’t even comprehend how much the experience can be improved upon. The first improvement is usually quality. Many traditional mice have a huge issue with sensitivity and read accuracy. They’ll get the job done but the internal workings are slower and less accurate. For example, a traditional mouse may freeze randomly while sliding across a plain surface. This is because the internalized machinery can’t register enough detail from the surface. A quality gaming mouse though can be programmed and tuned to specific surfaces. That means no more slippage while the mouse looks for its place.
Gaming mice also take the traditional experience of a mouse and heavily improve upon it. For instance, some Gaming Mice have customizable side parts that switch out for different game genres. Others can be popped open and weighted with metal to have a good heavy feel. There are tons of different features and aspects of Gaming Mice that make them vastly superior to traditional mice. Read over product features to see some of the neat offerings individual brands have that will make your gaming experience WAY better.
What Features to Consider When Selecting a Gaming Mouse
Gaming mice are complex and we could go into depth about the unique features. The most important factor here though is whether or not it works for a left-handed gamer. Here are some base features to consider but be on the lookout for a new guide from GameAuthority in the future covering a deep dive into Gaming Mice.
Almost all gaming mice are traditional in style. There are trackball and vertical mice options for gamers but they’re pretty rare in use. We didn’t select those because they have a function but really aren’t easy to use. Doubly so if you are left-handed and using a right-handed non-traditional mouse.
Mice have specific grips for the three most common styles of use, Palm, Claw, and Fingertip. Each style is preferred for different reasons and used in a different genre. Some good left-handed gaming mice let you switch grips out to compensate for different playstyles.
Obviously left-handed mice our best but be careful to consider whether an ambidextrous model is truly ambidextrous as well. Some have a neutral frame but aren’t particularly left friendly.
DPI or Dots Per Inch is simply a measurement of how sensitive a mouse is. The higher the DPI, the more accurate readings it can get from a given surface. Traditional mice have a pretty low DPI while gaming mice reach DPI as high as 16,000. There is a question of whether or not DPI actually matters (As most esports professionals use a low DPI) to which the answer is complex. First, it depends on individual preference. Second gamers with a physical challenge such as Muscular Dystrophy can use high DPI mice to play games with less muscle movement. That means high-DPI can offer accessibility to those who previously couldn’t game with a mouse. In short, DPI is very useful
Every mouse has different button configurations. As a left-handed gamer, it’s important to consider if they’ll be comfortable or usable, especially on an ambidextrous or right-handed model. These buttons are often programmable. Using gaming software and setting up your buttons can really up your playing ability.
Sensor or Polling Speed
Mice no longer function by rolling a rubber ball across mechanical sensors. Now they use lasers to read and see what they are rolling over. But not all lasers are equal. High-quality ones are far more accurate and useful. The amount of reads per second is usually measured in Hz. The standard for gaming is 1000hz or 1ms response time. Anything lower is somewhat unacceptable for a gaming mouse.
Mice feel different and everyone has a specific feel they like. Gaming mice often allow for custom weighting, an excellent option for those who like heavy solid mice or frictionless light gliding.
Lots of different Gaming mice come with RGB lighting, often controllable through the onboard mouse software. It’s not going to do more than glow but people really like that!
Some mice allow for changing the side panels or even button placement. Modular mice are GREAT for left-handed gamers because they show foresight by the company to invest in lefties. You can trust most will offer good experiences to left-handed players.
A good gaming mouse WILL come with some form of software you can install on your rig. This one of the most important features of gaming mice and should be considered. We’ll get in depth below, but this is almost as important as the physical mouse.
Why Do I Need Software for My Gaming Mouse?
A gaming mouse typically comes with awesome features, great accuracy, and unique design. The real power though lies in being able to custom fit your mouse for your playing needs. Gaming mouse software differs dramatically in the industry but companies like Logitech and Razer offer amazing free software. Some companies don’t offer software at all. This is a huge thing to consider when making a purchase because the software you have dictates your ability to program buttons, change DPI, set profiles, create macros. We’ll explain that all below but take note, software matters.
Why does mouse software feature multiple profiles?
One of the most obnoxious UI issues is inconsistent sensitivity amongst games. CS:GO and Fortnite may both involved lots of mouse-based aiming but they have completely different sensitivity scales (Technically there is a method called cm/360 but it’s needlessly complex). Mouse software often allows you to store specific profiles with unique keys and specific settings. It’s an amazing feeling to jump out of DOTA 2 in Call of Duty and not feel like you are messed up in the aiming department. Using gaming software you can really customize your favorite games and have an experience that feels grand no matter what game you play.
How do I use DPI effectively?
First, depending on your mouse, you’ll want to check your software for the ability to surface tune or simply register the mousepad/surface and adapt to it. This involves clearing out the space you’ll use the mouse on and letting the software pick up the various grooves and indentations of the material with the onboard laser. It’s simple but trains your mouse. After the mouse has learned a new surface, it becomes far more effective at registering accurately. From here you can start toying with DPI
DPI is a bit challenging to nail at first and a good mouse will let you switch it on the fly. The key is to use consistent DPI and then set the in-game settings for each game to what feels best or the most comfortable. One strategy we use is to leverage our DPI shift in small increments (Like 100DPI per level). This gives you a range of 500 or more DPI readings to toy with without entering a menu. Then go into the game and switch the DPI up, testing how it feels with each level.
If you feel good, you can keep the range and record your DPI level for that game. If it feels wonky, just adjust the in-game mouse sensitivity until it hits your DPI range. Doing this effectively can give you a simple range that works in any game you play while giving you room to move to other settings if necessary. And if you feel off, you can adjust it in increments in game really quick.
It’s recommended to learn how to play with lower DPI than higher. This is all up to user preference but lower DPI can have a bit more precision for those with shaky hands or poor control. Higher DPI is great though if you love fast-paced movement and turning around near instantly. Everyone is different and esports professionals have won with both the highest possible and lowest possible DPI available today. It’s very subjective.
What are the advantages of basic key-binding?
Suppose you play a game like Assassin's Creed often and find yourself with a sore pinky after hours of holding shift for parkour. Or worse yet, your keyboard can’t handle console level button combinations (Some keyboards can only handle 3 keys at once). Key-binding allows you to use the mouse for common tasks and complex tasks. Sometimes it allows you to execute a complex move at the touch of a button. Other times it simply makes the most sense for your dominant hand to be holding down a button casually. Basic key-binding really just involves attributing unique buttons to the mouse. More complex key-binding is expressed through macros.
Why would I use Macros?
Macros are simply one key that activates a list or string of button combinations. These can be super complex or generally as simple a button on your gaming mouse activating two keyboard buttons at once. For example, a complex macro may execute a multi-button command in an MMO such as Press 3 + Press 4 + Press 3 again after 3 seconds. In a fighting game like Injustice 2, you could activate a move with the press of a mouse button rather than a combination of keyboard presses and mouse clicks. In an MMO like WOW, a macro can easily execute multiple buttons and keep you from needing to mash buttons at an insane focused speed.
How do Gaming Mice help in esports like CS: GO versus a MOBA like DOTA2?
FPS games rely on absolute accuracy. Whether it’s sniping for your squad or trying to use Hanzo in Overwatch, accuracy matters. The most valuable FPS features in gaming mice generally involve a mixture of polling rate (Hz) and DPI sensitivity. For instance the Logitech G502 Hero offers a custom button that allows a gamer to use a specific DPI. If you go from close combat to sniping in an FPS game, you may want a DPI switch.
In an MMO, MOBA, or RTS, gaming mice allow the player to do complex tasks. Some mice allow for sophisticated macros whilst others offer 12 or more buttons for in-game assignment. This saves immense amounts of time while allowing you to perform insane maneuvers quickly. For instance, instead of focusing on map movement, attack, defense, and formation commands with a keyboard or worse, manually clicking those commands, you can set hotkeys on the mouse that initiate these tasks. Or perhaps you need to group up multiple units, Gaming Mice allow you to segregate out groups of units to specific buttons so your WASD hand isn’t constantly battling to press A, CTRL, or number combinations.