– Laser is better than Optical, with higher + changeable dpi (dots per inch, aka sensitivity), and usability on more surfaces. The older optical (infrared) is better for not tracking while lifted (necessary when reaching the end of the mousepad). However, with lasers’ high mouse sensitivity, lifting is a thing of the past.
– Higher dpi is especially required for higher resolution monitors
– Wired is better than Wireless, due to faster signal and no need for batteries
– Acceleration is not preferable. All sensor 9500 (Avago) based mice (even the well-rated Logitech G9X, Logitech G500, Steelseries Xai, Corsair M60) have some positive acceleration (about 5-10% nonlinear) that CANNOT be disabled.
Mouse shape preference depends on how one grips the mouse. Either:
Claw Grip (players who hold their forefinger and middlefinger up in “claw-like” fashion)
Palm Grip (hand completely wrapped in full contact around mouse).
Best Claw Grip Mouse
Substitute: Zowie Gear FK2 $60 [Amazon] (better than older AM FK, Ninox Aurora is better though). Better than CM Storm Spawn or CM Storm Xornet or Zowie/Monoprice Mico or Finalmouse 2016 (also great but slightly worse size, too small, and shape, worse durability) or Razer Abyssus (3500 DPI)
Old School Gaming Mouse: Wheel Mouse Optical (WMO) 1.1 [Amazon] (this is an Intellimouse Optical (IMO) 1.1 without buttons and a little lighter), this is also better for left-handers than the Intellimouse Explorer 3.0
Do NOT Get: Feenix Nascita ($100+, internal parts are poor, uses the shell of Sharkoon DarkGlider, poor customer service)
Best Palm Grip Mouse
Recommended – Best Professional Gaming Mouse: Razer DeathAdder Chroma $60 [Amazon] 10,00 DPI. It’s on the bigger side. Note: the DeathAdder is Razor’s top-selling mouse
Substitute: Zowie EC2-A [Amazon]. The Zowie is much lighter than the DA if you’d like that. Better than the Roccat Kone Pure Military (KPM) – Also has an amazing precise sensor and great build quality but not as great shape, better sensor than Kone Pure Optical (KPO).
Old School Gaming Mouse: One of the most classic gaming mouses is the Microsoft Intellimouse Explorer 3.0 $70 (ie for RTS games like Starcraft). This has medium DPI at ~450 but is really not that great of a sensor.
Newer Version of Intellimouse Explorer 3.0: Microsoft Habu (similar design, but a faster mouse with more buttons. Cons: Need a hard pad to make it track well and 2.4 mm lift off on most hard pads, while 1.2mm is the perfect lift off (only with the Intellimouse Explorer 3.0)
Most Popular Value Mouse: Logitech MX518 $35 This one I just listed because it’s a very popular budget option. There is a newer 1800 DPI version. This was not as comfortable as the Intellimouse Explorer 3.0. Many people recommend the G400v2 over this one
Do NOT Get: Razer Mamba (again wireless has downsides and twice price of DeathAdder@ $116), Razer Imperator
Unfindable or Classic Mouses: Logitech Mini Optical, KTEC KTM-6500 or KTEC KTM-3500 – the popular “classic” Korean brand mouses but practically unfindable outside of Korea, Microsoft Ball (BoxeR used this without wheel), Logitech MX300
High Sensitivity players require only small mousepads, Low Sensitivity players require big mousepads.
Best: QcK Heavy (slick but better control than the QcK+ and Puretrack Talent, 17.7×15.7×0.2 inches) [Amazon], black so no mistracking (best color for light absorption), thicker so more comfortable for hand-resting, Very durable
Second-Best: QcK+ (slickest with the Puretrack Talent a close second) 17.7×15.7×0.08 inches) $15 [Amazon]
Don’t get: Zowie ie G-TF (more speed than G-SR and G-RF) is almost as good as QcK, Artisan Hien kai.g3 or Hayate $60, Razer Goliathus Speed (slightly faster/slicker than the QcK Heavy and Zowie G-TF yet maintain precision but wears out very fast), Puretrack Talent (overhyped, not super durable, slick at the expense of control)
Note: If your mouse is having hardware issue of double clicking when you single click, use the mousefix [here]
Precision Gaming Keyboards
Pros: Higher quality keyboard switches are great for precision due to more tactile feel of when the key “hits” than cheap rubber dome keyboards, and have audio feedback (clicky sound).
Con: Mechanicals’ noise can be distracting to others, even with the noise-dampening O-rings (a rubber mod).
Preferable option: No numpad (tenkeyless) – saves space and is more comfortable (smaller distance between right hand on mouse and left hand on left side of keyboard).
Best Keyboard Hands Down (PBT, Topre capacitive switches)
Even crisper and higher quality than Mechanical Cherry-Switch Keyboards
Happy Hacking Keyboard – HHKB Pro 2 $260 [Black @ Amazon, White @ Amazon]. Topre has better build quality but HHKB has better key layout, smaller footprint and more “soul” (but heavier keypresses)
Topre Realforce $260 [87U @ Amazon, 104U @ Amazon] The closest cherry mechanical keyboard that is almost as good as Topre is ergo clear, but topre feels more refined: bottoms out softer (while ergo clear is harder) and the tactile bump is rounder. Topre sounds “thock”-ey, ergo clears sound akin to plastic hitting metal. (Don’t get the $160 Heaven, it has ABS keycaps, not PBT)
Note: There might be released cheap alternatives under brand Noppoo who use the same switches, ie: Noppoo EC108-Pro with MX compatible Topre clone 45gr switches
Mechanical keyboards (cherry mx switch keys)
When it comes down to mechanicals, the switch type is subjective preference. Most recommended is Ergo Clear or Clear (subjective, but better than Brown and is a good medium between blue and black/red). Two categories of mechanical switches:
1) Tactile Switches – easier to know when you’ve hit a key because of having a pronounced clicky bump, thus better for typing:
Blue switch keys are the only switches with loud click noise during switch activation, not just “bottoming out” (noisiest type, so beware of disrupting others nearby). They also are super tactile; feel very light until the activation point in the middle where there is a sharp “crispy” bump to overcome and then it is light until the bottom. Easy to bottom out and make more noise.
Brown switch keys are even lighter & less finger-fatiguing than blue, yet “mushy” due to less of a tactile bump as Blue.
Clear switches are tactile, with a strong bump until its ‘crisp’ actuation near the top (said to be more aligned with the actual point compared to Blue but requires higher actuation force) then a valley and after is stiffer/cushiony (like a Black). Heavier presses on the clear also mean its easier to refrain from “bottoming out”. Clear is similar in heaviness as Black, some say too tiring. Ergo Clear – (have to custom make this) Ergo Clears may be the best of both worlds: soft (less tiring than Clears) but huge tactility
2) Linear/Non-tactile Switches (easier to double tap keys because no clicky bump, thus better for FPS gaming):
Black switches are more heavy/fatiguing to the fingers than blue switches.
Red switches are less heavy than the Black (softer springs, but easier to mistype keys).
Note: Some people say tactile gets in the way of gaming, however, I don’t see the point in getting linear switches for a mechanical, as they aren’t as different from the cheap rubber dome keys as tactile.
The Brands and Products
Clear Switches: Ducky Shine 4 with Clear Switches $140 ([eBay or TigerImports]) – is probably the best value quality keyboard with topre from above still being the absolute best. (Leopold $140 clear switches looks to be discontinued and also their $90 Blue or Brown switches)
Blue Switches ~$180: Filco Majestouch-2, Click Action $159, ie Tenkeyless (no numpad) [Amazon]
Brown Switches ~$180: Filco Majestouch-2, Tactile Action (Brown Switches) $159, ie Tenkeyless (no numpad) [Amazon]
Substitute said to be similar to Filco and Ducky quality ~$80:: Rosewill RK-9000 $80 ([eBay], others say is a rebrand of Filco for cheaper)
Don’t get: Lower quality mechanicals (Razor BlackWidow Ultimate or Stealth – good quality but doesn’t feel as solid as Filco, CM / Cooler Master, Steelseries). Das Keyboard $130-160 is just okay for the price.
Best Silent Keyboard for Office Environment
Ideal for a work environment or a small home. The forums state that all mechanicals are not loud except for the cherry mx blue mechanicals, but this is simply not true. They all make considerable distracting noise.
Best Chiclet Scissor Switch Keyboard – Cherry brand $60 [Amazon] – Quieter than Matias Quiet, DAS Quiet, and Other mechanical keyboards with pre-installed O-rings. Unfortunately, Topre does not sell the silent versions of their Realforce (ie 87U Silent, 104UB-S, 104U-S) much outside of Asia. That was the best performing silent keyboard. You should be able to find them for $350 on eBay, but that’s pretty pricey.
Miscellaneous Keyboards and Accessories
Old Classic Keyboards
QSENN DT-35 or Samsung DT-35 $20 – 90% of SC progamers use this [Amazon Black], the “classic” poor quality Korean keyboard, also Samsung SWT1000
Wrist / Palm Rest (Keyboard, Mouse)
Keyboard Ergonomic Wrist Rest (Orthopedic designed): Imak A10160 Keyboard Wrist Cushion [Amazon], or Secondarily 3M Gel [Amazon]
Mouse Ergonomic Wrist Rest (Orthopedic designed): IMAK A10165 Mouse Wrist Cushion [Amazon] or [Amazon] or [Amazon]
Don’t get: Filco Leather Wristrest for Compact Keyboards FKBPRM/B $59 (expensive, comfortable but just okay), Belkin, 3M Gel (yet very firm), Ducky is horrible, Grifiti (very comfortable but peels and not durable)