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Questions about mousepads and mouse sensors?

post #1 of 15
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So I'm going to be buying 2 mouses (...mice? whatever) from BestBuy today to try them out. I'll be looking at the SteelSeries sensei and the Razer Taipan (If i don't use all the Taipan's buttons, I'll be getting the deathadder 2013). I've never had good equipment so now that I have the money I'm going to indulge :3

1. Which is better, optical or laser?
2. What kind of surfaces do each prefer? and will graphics on the mouse pad affect the performance?
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Triennial
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post #2 of 15
1. For me laser is better. (Because there's no red light coming from below LOL).
2. The surface depends on you. Both (optical and laser) perform well on good surfaces (E.G. Razer Goliathus, QCK+, etc). It's up to you if you prefer a slidy (speed) surface or a more textured or control surface. I think the graphics doesn't affect the performance if its very very very thin. Because it depends still in the texture of the surface. For me, I prefer smooth surface to reduce strain in the hands. Hope this helps.thumb.gif
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post #3 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by TehOnlyMITTENS View Post

So I'm going to be buying 2 mouses (...mice? whatever) from BestBuy today to try them out. I'll be looking at the SteelSeries sensei and the Razer Taipan (If i don't use all the Taipan's buttons, I'll be getting the deathadder 2013). I've never had good equipment so now that I have the money I'm going to indulge :3

1. Which is better, optical or laser?
2. What kind of surfaces do each prefer? and will graphics on the mouse pad affect the performance?

For "pro" players:
1. Optical, because they have no / less acceleration than laser sensors (btw, some optical sensors use IR light which does not have red light coming out)
2. Graphics will affect performance as sensors track differently on different colours. Also match laser with hard plastic pads, and optical with cloth pads, as it is said that such combinations have better tracking quality.

However, if you are not a data logger or do not play very competitively in FPS game (even then, a lot of pro players don't abide by these observations), you may not be able to feel the difference in top level optical/laser sensors and mousepad with pure color or with patterns.

What matters the most is a sensor that can cope with your gaming needs (with the resolution and tracking speed you need), and a mousepad that you feel comfortable with... After these things, you then look at the shape, the surface material, the buttons, the scroll wheel, the driver, etc of the mouse.
Edited by raisinbun - 2/5/13 at 8:18pm
post #4 of 15
1. Laser or Optical is best answered by asking you what you do or play most.

If you told me you mainly FPS, I'd say optical. If you told me your a serious MMO player, then I'd say laser. If you told me it's a mix of both I'd say choose. If you told me you need a steady slow precise mouse for artwork I'd say optical. If you told me you rarely play games or don't put much weight into them I'd say choose.

Which ever you decide, most importantly will be by finding a mouse that fits your hand best. Offers side buttons you need or the extra buttons you don't want that might get in the way. Sometimes no matter how hard you want either laser or optical if you can't find a comfortable mouse it's going to be the wrong choice anyway.

Depends who you ask. In this section of OCN seems most users prefer optical by choice but not because it may be better for what they are being used for.

2. Lasers track better on hard pads like aluminum's & plastics. Optical sensors do better on soft pads like cloths & hybrid materials. I prefer my pads center area where I do the most mouse tracking to be solid colors. Some patterns can mess with some mice sensors.

Have three computers between home and work not including the wife's laptop. Pads I currently own and have tried both laser and optical mice: Razer Vespula, Steel Series Qck, Steel Series 4HD, Mionix Sargas 320, Mionix Ensis 320, Roccat Sota & have an incoming Roccat Taito today. (Love trying new gear....computer hobby).

An example I had with my newest optical (Roccat Savu) was on the Sota pad, which is a flexible plastic surface, the sensor felt a bit too 'speedy'. Same settings on a cloth pad and it was just fine. However, I fine tuned the mouse settings by turning down sensitivity slowing the cursor on the Sota and it's fine now. Though I can make it work I'd rather place it on cloth where I don't have to adjust sensitivity and obtain most accuracy. So keep in mind to some degree adjustments to mice settings can be made to accommodate your pad possibly.

Happy mouse hunting. smile.gif
     
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post #5 of 15
How do we decide which is better?

I think most will agree that being better depends on the reliability and accuracy of the sensor. In that sense we can objectively say that the best sensors that are out right now are all optical. If you are looking for something that has no prediction, no acceleration problems, remains accurate at high speeds, and tracks on most surfaces then you are looking at optical sensors like those found in the G400, Zowie mice and Deathadder. The one way in which laser beats optical mice is that it allows for higher levels of DPI. Though you have to ask,.. who uses 8.200 DPI ?

That does not mean that laser sensor are bad. When used on the correct surface they can be good to the extent that you may not even notice their shortcomings and even some pro players (though mostly in genres where accuracy is not key) even use them competitively. Some people dont care about prediction, and acceleration does not have to be an issue as long as it is not too pronounced and/or consistent.

It is not true that optical and laser perform well on both surface types. The most popular laser sensor, which is still the Avago ADNS 9500 performs horribly on cloth. It is easy to recreate the problem too. Just see how it performs on cloth when doing fast long swipes and the negative accel will become obvious. I have tested this myself on various mice (which I have a review on on overclock). These problems are more noticeable the lower the sensitivity you use. In general, with the new laser sensors, you are best off on hard mousepads. But even when you go optical , you need to be wary of whatever quirks your sensor may have. For Example, the Zowie AM that I am using, for whatever reason, has a lower max tracking speed when playing on a multicolored surface. Generally however, my experience has been that optical mice have less tracking issues, and I think this is the consensus.
Edited by kazuyamishima - 2/6/13 at 3:16am
post #6 of 15
While the above post are trying to pin optical and laser into two separate categories, the most popular or common variations of both illumination sources are identical in terms of basic sensor technology. What you're really dealing with is a separate architecture with alternative limitations.

It isn't a matter of optical being better than laser or vice versa, though laser illumination technically has much wider compatibility.

-The claim "laser mice have acceleration" is only limited to 1 specific architecture and does not reflect the market (now very limited) as a whole.

-Claims of laser and optical "feeling" better or different could be considered mere placebo, at least compared to sensors with similar specifications tested on a neutral surface. In regards, surfacing is actually an important factor to specific LED and VCSEL performance. You will have laser and optical mice excelling in certain areas and vice versa.

@ Above mentioning 9500 perofming badly on cloth. This was true on very early A9500 mice, though specific areas have been improved and there are many mice that excel certain configured optical LED (30x0) variants in terms of tracking fidelity. IPS speed too.


PS: There are also laser mice utilizing alternative technology though not widely adapted. (Philips Twin Eye) I don't feel like bringing it up since most are focused on CMOS tech.
Edited by Skylit - 2/6/13 at 9:46am
post #7 of 15
Optical is better than laser from my experience playing alot of FPS games since the one laser mouse I had was very sensitive to dust messing with the sensor and I've never had those issues with optical mice. Graphics on a mousepad can definitely affect the sensor but usually isn't a problem. Some say a white mousepad can reduce the liftoff distance of a mouse so it might be worth trying if that is an issue. A one coloured mousepad is best imo, preferably a dark one for better tracking.
post #8 of 15
I've had skipping on pads with white graphics(different mice on different surfaces), so try to atleast avoid white graphics.
post #9 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by Skylit View Post

While the above post are trying to pin optical and laser into two separate categories, the most popular or common variations of both illumination sources are identical in terms of basic sensor technology. What you're really dealing with is a separate architecture with alternative limitations.

It isn't a matter of optical being better than laser or vice versa, though laser illumination technically has much wider compatibility.

-The claim "laser mice have acceleration" is only limited to 1 specific architecture and does not reflect the market (now very limited) as a whole.

-Claims of laser and optical "feeling" better or different could be considered mere placebo, at least compared to sensors with similar specifications tested on a neutral surface. In regards, surfacing is actually an important factor to specific LED and VCSEL performance. You will have laser and optical mice excelling in certain areas and vice versa.

@ Above mentioning 9500 perofming badly on cloth. This was true on very early A9500 mice, though specific areas have been improved and there are many mice that excel certain configured optical LED (30x0) variants in terms of tracking fidelity. IPS speed too.


PS: There are also laser mice utilizing alternative technology though not widely adapted. (Philips Twin Eye) I don't feel like bringing it up since most are focused on CMOS tech.

I am not going to sit here and pretend that I know the technology behind the sensors. I dont. I was not trying to claim that one technology is technically better than the other. I was just saying, given the sensors that are available in mice right now, optical remains the better choice as far as accuracy and reliability is concerned. That is not to say there are no decent laser mice, or that all optical mice are somehow superior.

Concerning the 9500. I understand that many brands have their own tweaks that can change the behavior of the sensor. However, I have found the issues to remain in the ones that I have tried. Not only the G500, but also for example the much more recent M90.

Philips Twin Eye, in my humble opinion, is to be avoided if what you are after is a decent sensor. Depending on your playstyle habits, it can really be a pain to use.
Edited by kazuyamishima - 2/6/13 at 2:51pm
post #10 of 15
So I dont mean to hijack this thread, but I have a question.

A few months ago I bought several mice from best buy to try out and find the one I liked the best. I ended up settling on a rat 7 mmo, Razer was a but too light for my taste, coming from a g700, and I like as many buttons as possible, which ruled out most other mice. I currently use a slealseries cloth mouse pad, which I've started to notice some hints of tracking problems or acceleration on. Would a hard surface pad improve this to any noticeable effect? If so which ones do you guys like and why? I play mainly fps, so accuracy is hugely important.
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