There are a lot of gaming mice. A ridiculous number of gaming mice. So many mice, in fact, that trying to decide on a single size and style — especially on a budget — is much more complicated than scouring Reddit and Amazon’s top lists to find an answer.
That’s nonetheless how I started my search for a new gaming mouse. I’m not a serious gamer and I don’t stick to one type of game, though I do prefer first-person shooters. I had never really given much thought to the mouse I used beyond switching from a wireless one to wired. I am a gaming mouse n00b.
In my initial searches, names like Razer and Logitech made up most of the go-to picks, but I also noticed the name Zowie popping up. If you’ve never heard of them (I hadn’t), there’s a better chance you know the company behind the brand, BenQ, which makes monitors, projectors and other computer peripherals.
It was on Zowie’s site that I first noticed anything about mice being designed for palm or claw grips. When I brought grip types up to a few of the more serious PC gamers here at CNET, none of them immediately knew what I was talking about. Turns out, though, knowing how you like to grip your mouse is fairly important to getting one that meets your performance and comfort needs.
Zowie’s lineup is focused on fit and performance. Comfort, speed and control are the priorities and not how many buttons and lights you’re getting. It only really has three models — two of which are ambidextrous — and, unlike almost every other mouse, there’s no software or drivers to install.
Aside from shape, a key to their comfort is that each model comes in two or three sizes, so you can find the mouse that’s right for your hand size and grip style. (Check out #mousefitting on Twitter and you’ll see people are pretty enthusiastic about this approach.)
If you’re not sure what grip you are and what to look for, here are the basics for each type.
Just like it sounds, a palm grip means most of your palm rests on the mouse and much of your fingers do, too. This is the most popular grip type and since your hand is relaxed and resting on the mouse, it’s comfortable.
It does make the mouse more of an extension of your arm, though, so you end up using potentially slower arm movements more than faster wrist movements. But it does make cursor move smoothly and accurately. A mouse sculpted to fit your right or left hand is going to be best, as well as one with an area large enough to rest your entire palm on.
Fingertip is the complete opposite of the palm grim. Just your fingertips are on the mouse with your palm always up and off the mouse. The position makes it easy to lift the mouse and make fast moves with your wrist. It’s a position that makes you appreciate having a lightweight mouse, so go with a smaller, low-profile one that weighs less than 100 grams (3.5 oz.).
The claw grip falls somewhere between the palm and fingertip grips. Your fingers are up in a claw shape with just the bottom of your palm resting on the back of the mouse. The position allows for better wrist movement than the palm grip, but with more fine control than fingertips alone. A shorter ambidextrous mouse with a rounded back and higher profile works well for the position.
While the Zowie lineup offers something for all types of grips, they are primarily designed for eSports. If you’re looking for a mouse with more features, more buttons, RGB lights or all of the above — wired and wireless — stay tuned. We’re in the middle of testing a lot of models and will be back with full recommendations. And if there’s a specific model you think we simply must test, please let us know in the comments.