Close to the Metal Ep. 20: What do you get from a $10 gaming mouse?

Matt Smith
Digital Trends

Hardcore PC gamers are willing to shell out serious cash on the right peripherals. That includes mice which, in their most extravagant forms, look nothing like the cheap two-button hunk of plastic that ships with most desktops. The best gaming mice have sensitive sensors that can whip your cursor across the largest displays in the blink of an eye, a buffet of buttons ready for customization, and built-in RAM to let you take your settings with you.

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But do you really need those features? For most people, it seems, the answer is no. A look at Amazon.com’s list of best-selling mice reveals it dominated by inexpensive gaming options, most priced around $10. That’s a fraction of a mid-range mouse like the $70 Logitech G403 Prodigy, to say nothing of the most expensive models, which can exceed $150.

It’s easy to scoff at these cheap mice, calling them knock-offs that aren’t worth anyone’s time — but are they really so bad? To find out, we ordered four inexpensive gaming mice from Amazon.com: the TeckNet Raptor, Zelotes 5500, the Havit HV-MS672, and the Redragon M601. The first three sell for just $9 on Amazon, while the Redragon goes for $14.

Contrary to what we expected, all of the mice worked out of the box in exactly the way we might’ve hoped — or better. Some strange packaging choices aside, we encountered no problems, significant or insignificant. But are these inexpensive gaming mice really a good alternative? And what advantages do you get from buying a mouse that’s many times more expensive?

Close to the Metal is a podcast from Digital Trends that focuses on the geekier side of life. It tackles the topics PC enthusiasts argue over in language everyone can understand. Please subscribe, share, and send your questions to podcast@digitaltrends.com. We broadcast the show live on YouTube every Wednesday at 1pm EST/10am PST.