Artist’s Mouse or Gaming Mouse?
Is it a gaming mouse or an artist’s mouse? I guess that’s in the eye of the beholder! The logic that led to my selection was that I needed something with precision. And if there’s any group of computer users that care about precision, it’s gamers. The end reason may be different. They want to win a game, you want to make a precise line or box or circle or what have you. I haven’t researched the numbers but I suspect that there are a lot more gamers out there than artists so I always try to seek out technology aimed at that particular group. It’s a path worth exploring even if it happens to lead to a dead end.
A little background, over the past few years, I’ve replaced virtually all of my technology. And yes, most of it is stuff I use in my occupation as an artist. After years of using a Macbook pro, I ended up switching to a windows desktop and most recently a windows laptop. There’s a long explanation behind all that, but on a day to day basis, the only thing I really miss about my Macbook is the touchpad. Ironically, I was never in need of an artist’s mouse for my Macbook. I could do it all on that touchpad! If I could clone that one piece of technology. Granted two years later I might be surprised by how little I could accomplish with it. Perhaps I was kidding myself??
Whatever the case, the loss of that touchpad was a good thing for me. I’m sure I couldn’t replace my Wacom Intuos tablet which I use for most of my day to day work as an artist. It took my work to a whole different level, but there are still times when I need a mouse for very precise work where I can’t quite freehand what I need for a design. I was using a wireless mouse that was a leftover from my days as a project manager. At that point, being easy to take on the road was most important. I decided I wanted a wired mouse because I was tired of feeding the old one batteries. I also never had a solid feeling it was a good artists mouse. It didn’t have a solid feel to it and I always felt like the sensitivity and precision was only so-so. Some of that I blamed on it being wireless, but it was old tech even then so it may just be down to a mediocre mouse that was already past its prime.
That’s what ultimately led me to a surprisingly inexpensive gaming mouse that has delivered for me for over two years now. I can’t say I did a ton of comparison shopping. I did a search for a gaming mouse on Amazon and not only was it near the top of the reviews, it was incredibly reasonably priced. I figured if it wasn’t bang on perfect, I could always stick it in my bag as a travel mouse. As it turned out, I’ve been completely satisfied with my Redragon M601 CENTROPHORUS-2000 DPI Gaming Mouse. It works great for day to day PC use as well as when I’m using Photoshop, Lightroom and other graphic design programs. In other words, it’s a good artist’s mouse in my experience. I was prepared to pay a lot more but I’m also thrilled not to! Am I alone there?
I love the precision and sensitivity afforded by the 2000 DPI sensor as well as the built in weights. In theory you can adjust the weight of the mouse. I say in theory because I have opened up the compartment to examine how it works, but I have never felt the need to remove any of the weight. The fit to my palm is perfect and I like the heft.
When I bought this mouse, I was sure I would use all the customizable buttons for functions I used regularly in PS. It sounds like a great use-case for an artist’s mouse. But honestly I’ve never taken that extra step. Maybe writing this post will serve as a reminder for me to see if I can save some time doing that but so far I can only say I’ve used the standard buttons and smooth scroll wheel.
What made me think to write this article was that I just bought a new Redragon mouse just like the old one. I recently got a laptop. For the most part I use it at my desk and I have a USB switch that I use to jump between using the same peripherals on my desktop and laptop. It’s great but the mouse is plugged in behind my desk. If I take my laptop away from my desk, I want to be able to use my mouse. I got tired of reaching back there to unplug it and just this week bought a second mouse to use with my laptop. You can tell I love this mouse can’t you?
The only bad thing about getting a second artist’s mouse was the discovery that my two year old one is a little more worn than I realized. Until I used a new one, I thought it glided fine but on closer inspection, the Teflon skates on it are a little worn, particularly the left front side. Apparently I must grind down a little in that direction when I use my mouse. This particular mouse is so inexpensive I started to order another new one. I figured two years was pretty good value for my money anyway. But there’s a part of me that even though the expense is not great hates the waste. So instead I ordered Teflon tape for mouse feet or skates. Hopefully that will do the trick. I’ll post again with that experience once it arrives. Fingers crossed I don’t regret trying to keep my lovely mouse out of the landfill!
Anyway if you’re in the market for a good artist’s mouse, I think you should give the Redragon I use a look. They have several different models including a wireless one. I can only speak for the one I have but having two I can at least say that there build quality is consistent. The links in this article to this particular mouse are Amazon affiliate links. That’s where I purchased mine. If you buy a mouse (or well anything) after following my link, I get a small commission. It doesn’t affect the price you pay but helps me keep the lights on at Tisdale central a little longer.
Where to now?
Edit to add:
Received my “mouse tape” today and totally made my old Redragon mouse feel the same as the new one. I had not noticed how much the “skates” or “feet” had worn until I had a new one side by side with it. The tape I purchased at Amazon is not thick enough to entirely replace the original feet. Or at least I would have had to have cut many layers of it to achieve the same thickness. There was thicker tape to be found but it cost more than a new mouse! A little goes a long way. I used an X-ACTO knife to trim to fit the irregular shapes of my existing skates. Four skates might have been a couple of inches of tape. I’ll probably have tape left in my drawer long after my mouse goes to peripheral heaven. But the result is I can put the old and new mouse side by side and not be able to tell the difference in ease of movement.