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Glossary of Mouse Related Terms

Glossary of mouse related terms sorted by alphabetical order.
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Mouse is a computer peripheral device that converts 2D surface movement into display pointer 2D movement

Mouse type
Mice are built using different technologies and purposes. On this site we refer to mouse type from the purpose type e.g. gaming mouse, business mouse, upright mouse and so on.

Sensor type
Mouse sensor type is the part of the mouse that detects movement. Modern mice uses optical sensors and laser illuminated optical sensors, but in the past mice used mechanical movement sensors.

Laser sensor
Laser sensor refer to an illuminating type rather than a type of sensor. Laser sensors are actually optical sensors. Laser mice use laser to shine surface where the mouse move and then analyze bounced light to detect movement.

Optical sensor
Optical sensor shine surface with the infrared or red LED diode. Currently optical sensors are superior to laser optical sensors.

Mouse shape can have varying ergonomy. On this site (in current iteration) under ergonomy term we consider is the mouse intended for right handed, left handed or ambidextrous persons.

Grip is “how you hold the mouse”. There is no right way to do it. Every grip is good if you use it long enough. People tend to hold the mouse on different ways… Main ones are palm grip, fingertip grip and claw grip. Each has its own advantages and disadvantages.

Palm grip
Palm grip is the most popular type of grip and is preferred for biggest number of models. This is basically when you lay your whole hand on the mouse in relaxed position.  This grip is suitable for long glides but you need to take more time to develop muscle memory for precise movements.

Claw grip
Claw grip is when you hold your mouse like a predatory bird. Your palm reside on the mouse but fingers are arched heavily for fast clicking. This allows you quicker reactions but less accuracy. It also causes more strain on your fingers.

Fingertip grip
Fingertip grip is when you hold your mouse with your thumb and pinky fingers while fingers residing on mouse buttons. This grip allows fastest reaction time for clicks but it can strain and influence reaction time for glides and precision movement.

Flawless Sensor
Flawless sensor (or sometime perfect sensor) used to be very rare occurrence in the past. However, since gamers prefer flawless sensors, more and more mice come with it… Flawless or perfect sensor refer to sensor which convert movement on the pad, to movement on the screen in 1:1 ratio and does not have any filtering or hardware acceleration. This allows player to predict more accurately movement of his mouse and build muscle memory over time.

Mouse resolution is measured in counts per inch (CPI), however due the marketing and somewhat practicality reasons many brands refer to it as DPI (dots per inch) which in literal sense is the wrong thing to do.

Counts per inch (CPI) is a measure used to report mouse movement to a computer. It is the number of pixels which fit into one inch of your mouse sensor’s surface. It is similar to DPI and can be interchanged.

Dots per inch (DPI), is a measure of movement to a computer and it is the number pixels per one inch o sensor’s surface. It is similar to CPI and can be interchanged.

CPI/DPI Indicator
It explains if there is any sort of visual representation of the selected CPI/DPI level (eg. blue for low, red for high, etc.). This can be useful to easily switch in excited gameplay sessions.

Max/Min Resolution
Maximum or minimum resolution sensibility of the sensor, measured in CPI/DPI. User can usually select a value in this interval through the mouse software and/or a mouse button.

Resolution Ratio
The division between the maximum and minimum resolution of the sensor. The higher the ratio, the more the sensor offers the possibility of selecting values in a wide range.

Maximum Acceleration
This number represent maximum linear acceleration in G’s before mouse stops working properly.

Polling Rate
Frequency at which mouse reports data to computer (how often). 1000 Hz is standard value, which means that your mouse reports movement every millisecond. 500 Hz is half slower reporting, which means 2 milliseconds.

Maximum Tracking Speed
This number represent movement speed up to mouse software can record movement successfully. It’s measured in IPS (inches per second).

Lift Off Distance
Lift off distance represent height between the mouse and the mouse pad, up to which mouse can track successfully. This vary from sensor to sensor, and with some sensors lift off distance is adjustable.

PTFE or Teflon is a material used for mouse feets due the low friction coefficients. Some cheaper mouses uses plastic feets although PTFE itself is not very expensive.

Smoothing or interpolations happens when mouse either on sensor or controller level inserts movement data. In practice mouse movements seems elastic and stretchy.

Hardware acceleration
Hardware acceleration is built in option that increases distance that cursor on the screen passes depending of the speed mouse is moved. For gaming mice this feature is undesirable because prevents user in developing reliable muscle memories and it will prevent you to learn what can you expect from your mouse. Most modern mice have option to disable or enable this.

Angle snapping
Angle snapping is feature or the mouse that tries to predict next position of the mouse and ignore certain positions between starting point and predicted point. It serves to smoothen the mouse movement. Natural sensor reading is in zig zag, while angle snapping is trying to straighten this zig zag into a line.  This option is also undesirable in gaming especially in FPS games. Similarly as hardware acceleration angle snapping prevent builing reliable muscle memory. In most gaming mice this option is by default turned off.

Mouse filtering is any of the options which modify raw data coming from the sensor. It can be hardware acceleration, angle snapping or really anything else.

Click Latency
The amount of time (ms) between the user click input and its detection by the machine. Like the Movement Latency, the lower the value, the more responsive (fast) the mouse.

Movement (Shift) Latency
The amount of time (ms) between the user movement input and its detection by the machine. Like the Click Latency, the lower the value, the more responsive (fast) the mouse. It is is computed considering all kind of movements and each phase of the shift.

Onboard Memory
Some mice can store the user profiles locally, in a memory, at the device side. This can allow users to switch between different configurations without being connected (wired) to pc.

LED Lighting
It indicates the presence of any kind of RGB lighting on the mouse, for example on the scrolling wheel or along the mouse sides.

LED Editable
Often the RGB effect can be personalized through software to vary the colors and the effects, like “breathing”, “rainbow” etc, but also to link colors with user made profiles.

Adjustable Weight
Some producers give the possibility to add/remove extra weight units, since players sometimes prefer heaver or lighter devices.

Editable Scroll-Wheel Resistance
This will indicate the ability to change the scrolling speed, for example through the so called “infinite-scroll” (a button to let the wheel scroll without friction) or through any kind of mechanical modification, given with the product, which can edit the resistance.

Silent Clicking
Business mouse are often characterized by this feature, a way to decrease the sound of clicking and so to do not disturb other people in the same room. Sometimes gaming mice have silent clicking aswell.

Battery Time
The amount of time battery is expected to least for a wireless device, expressed in hours.

Battery Type
It is the chemical composition or the working mechanism of the battery.

In some countries you can have 2 years of warranty, or just 1: this will clear if the producer is offering more than one year of warranty, to every buyers.