Optical Vs Laser Mouse

Optical vs Laser Mouse

A computer mouse is a crucial input device that allows you to move the cursor on the screen, click, and select times. We have come a long way from the original mechanical computer mouse and trackpads/balls in terms of technology, we now use the optical mouse and laser mouse, which offers better performance.

In today’s post, we examine the various dissimilarities between optical vs laser mouse technology, which may look the same if you are uninformed. This article is designed to help which decide which type of mouse will be right for you:

Overview - Optical Mouse vs Laser Mouse

Optical Mouse

  • The illumination source is an LED light
  • Works through CMOS image sensors.
  • 3,000 dpi resolution.
  • Senses or detect the top of the surface
  • Suitable for non-glossy surfaces and mouse pads
  • Inexpensive

Laser Mouse

  • Laser illumination source.
  • Works using CMOS image sensors.
  • 6,000 and 15,000+ dpi resolution.
  • It can detect peaks and valleys on a surface.
  • It can be used on any surface.
  • Comparatively more expensive

Technological Differences Between Optical and Laser Mice?

Optical Mouse

  • Illumination source: LED light
  • Lower dpi
  • Surface illumination.

Laser Mouse

  • Illumination source: Laser
  • Higher, more sensitive dpi
  • Deep illumination.

The way the optical and laser mice track movement is different. Optical mice use an LED light, whereas laser mice have a laser for movement detection.

The two also differ in terms of sensitivity, since optical mice have a lower resolution of 3,000 dpi, and laser mice have a much higher resolution ranging from 6,000 to 15,000 and more dpi. This vast difference in dpi allows laser mice to track more dots per inch, which is an essential feature if you use the mouse for detailed work.

As for gaming, a lower dpi and a higher polling rate are important, and polling rate is the number of times a mouse cursor reports its position on the screen. These two things affect the accuracy of the mouse while you play games.

Laser and Optical Mice Surface Performance

Optical Mouse

  • Detects the top of a surface
  • Slow speed and smooth feel.
  • Works best on a thin cloth mouse pad or hard gloss-free surfaces.
  • Minimal acceleration issues 

Laser Mouse

  • Deeper detection of surfaces.
  • Shaky feel on slow speed.
  • Works on any surface.
  • Susceptible acceleration issues.

If you talk about user-friendliness, a laser mouse offers a more superior performance as you can conveniently use a laser mouse on any surface – even on a transparent glass surface. With an optical mouse, you have to vary of the fact that optical mice only work on mousepads or non-glossy surfaces. Unlike an LED mouse, any laser mouse can penetrate the surface it is placed on.

Another critical factor is the accuracy and sensitivity of both laser vs optical mouse. Although optical mice come at par with Laser Mice; however, Laser mice have a more promising performance in the long run, and exceptionally, in high precision situations.

Comparative Pricing, Not A Major Difference

Optical Mouse

  • Similar price range
  • Prices vary from model to model
  • A variety of models available under $20

Laser Mouse

  • Prices vary from model to model
  • A range of affordable options are now readily available
  • A basic model may not provide an adequate range of features for gamers

The price of both of these types of mice was a debatable factor a few years back. Laser mice were generally more expensive than optical mice. However, in the current times, the price difference between the two types has been narrowed down to the point that you can now find good laser mouse models for the price of an optical mouse.

If you want a laser mouse with additional features for specific functions, like for gaming, for graphics applications or heavy multimedia editing, then be prepared to pay a higher price. The prices generally range between a few dollars to a few hundred dollars.

However, a higher price does not translate into superior performance, so we would recommend you to stick to mid-range $30-90 options if you do not require a mouse with additional features than a standard optical or laser mouse.

Optical vs Laser Gaming Mice - Video Comparison

Optical Vs Laser Mouse - Reddit


Optical Mouse

Optical mice have difficulty working on reflective surfaces, like glass top tables. Another drawback of optical mice is that they have a lower image processing rate. If you are working on editing minute photo or illustration details, you might be better off using a laser mouse.

LED Mouse

Their faster DPI rates can be overly accurate or too sensitive, making them unsuitable for some tasks and harder to control. They are also more expensive than optical mice.

Overall Accuracy, durability, and consistency

When it concerns tracking and precision, the LED light emanating from the optical mouse outperforms the laser mouse by a significant margin. The tracking provided by the optical sensor is excellent so long as you use it on a surface that does not reflect light, such as a mouse pad of high quality. If you want to succeed in professional gaming, you need to be able to track motion and flick your mouse confidently. An optical mouse can accomplish these refined precision motions without any additional acceleration, enabling you to flick as well as adjust to the target reliably when it comes to slower, better-defined mouse tracking. On the other hand, laser mice function significantly less accurately than their optical counterparts. This causes jitter and inconsistencies when quick movements like swipes need to be made over your mouse pad.

If you are gaming competitively or want a more relaxed gameplay experience, you want to ensure you have the most fantastic consistency from your mouse. Whether you are competitive gaming or want to play more casually, this is true. There won’t be any erratic motions or jitters that throw off your aim, and there won’t be any instances where sliding your mouse to the right causes you to miss your intended target due to the laser sensor’s unreliability. The reliability of the optical sensors used in gaming mice will remove one potential distraction, enabling you to concentrate more intently on the action being played.

Since an optical gaming mouse sensor doesn’t have any moving parts, it does not require any kind of cleaning or maintenance in any form. This, in turn, implies that there is less chance that a mechanical part will break down on you while you are using it.

How long do the batteries in wireless laser & optical mouse last before they need to be replaced?

When it comes to wireless mice, the battery life is less dependent on the tracking system and more dependent on the power source that the manufacturer chooses and the specifications that the mouse is boasting.

Overall, a high-quality laser mouse is going to have a longer lifespan than an inexpensive optical mouse. In comparison, an affordable optical mouse will have a longer lifespan than a high-quality laser mouse. If your gaming mouse has RGB lights, a high DPI, as well as a high polling rate, the battery will almost certainly need to be recharged once every few days.

If, on the other hand, you have a basic mouse that does not include any additional capabilities, you might not need to replace the batteries for several months. Be sure to study a lot of reviews of different mice before investing in either a laser or an optical one so that you can figure out which one has the most extended battery life.

What Impacts Mouse Latency?

A mouse’s latency is affected by a few key factors. The first consideration is the kind of sensor it has to track movement. Different technologies are used in optical and laser mice.

Optical sensors track movement through an LED, whereas laser sensors use a laser. Although optical sensors are more accurate than laser sensors, they can be less responsive in fast-paced games. Laser sensors have higher responsiveness but less precision.

The polling rate is another essential factor that influences latency. The polling rate is the frequency with which the mouse tells its position to the system. A higher polling rate indicates that the mouse is telling the computer about its position more frequently, resulting in less latency.

Lastly, how the mouse is used can have an impact on latency. The mouse may have higher latency if used on surfaces like glass tables that prevent accurate tracking. Optical mice generally have lower latencies. There are, however, some exceptions. Low latencies have been designed into some high-end laser mice, such as the Razer Mamba.

Final Verdict

Do we have a winner between optical and laser mouse? Well, not really! Why? Because both technologies have some advantages and disadvantages. So you can choose either of them depending on your purpose of use and requirements.

If you are a pro gamer and you are looking for the best gaming mouse with additional features for gaming, then a laser mouse would be a better option for you. However, if you require a basic mouse for daily use and reliable performance, then you can opt for an optical mouse. Either way, you can’t go wrong with either of these two technologies.

We hope that this comparison helps select the mouse that will best fit your requirements. What type of mouse do you prefer – optical or laser? Please tell us about your favorite mouse technology in the comments section below.

Kylo is a tech geek who loves technology and spends time writing about it. He is also an avid gamer, completing his studies in Information technology. He is a co-founder of Reviewsed.