Written by @Vaganza
This is part of a series on choosing your perfect mouse: Check out the Gaming Mouse edition as well as our Mouse Buying Guide!
What makes a good productivity mouse? For the longest time, as an Apple user going as far back as the original iMac, I just used the mouse that came with Macs, even when they only had a single button. I used those mice for everything, from casual browsing to design in programs like AutoCad. Eventually I would introduce a Logitech G502 Lightspeed into my repertoire, but that’s considered a gaming mouse. Neither of those are considered “true” productivity mice, but they’ve helped me get my work done plenty throughout the years. With that in mind, let’s dive a bit deeper into the concept of a productivity mouse.
What makes a productivity mouse different than a gaming mouse?
This is a tricky thing to define for many, including myself. It isn’t a price thing, as the range on both a gaming mouse and a productivity mouse can be anywhere from $3 to $300. How about the sensor sensitivity? Gaming mice are frequently more precise. But why wouldn’t I use that in an application such as Illustrator or SolidWorks? Many often tell me, “Well gaming mice have the extra buttons you can program for games.” I personally use a Logitech G502 for my productivity, and I use those extra buttons for programming macros for common commands I may need in AutoCad, Illustrator, or Photoshop. The software recognizes which app I am in and applies the macros accordingly. So, it isn’t about the extra buttons either.
What is it, then? Amount of RGB? Ergonomics? Arguably, it really comes down to why it was designed. Mouse companies design mice with a certain audience in mind and find features that are important to those end users through focus groups and R&D. From there, it’s about finding the niche. For instance, Logitech’s G series mice are geared toward gaming users, while their MX line is considered their productivity line. So, let’s look at some of the features in the MX line to see if we can spot the differences there.
The first feature I notice when looking at this line is productivity mice do tend to lean heavily in the wireless realm, specifically in Bluetooth. This has a lot to do more with the way they are used. Productivity mice tend to travel with a business laptop more often and Bluetooth does away with the dongle that can easily get misplaced. Bluetooth mice also, often, have the ability to pair with more than one system. I have seen several productivity keyboard and mice kits that allow you to pair with a couple computers and, with a simple keystroke, switch between them, making it essentially a wireless KVM switch. Are there wireless gaming mice, absolutely, but productivity mice have become nearly entirely wireless.
Another key difference you may find in productivity mice is the wide range of ergonomic choices. People using ergonomic mice are often using them for hours a day, five days a week. As a result, you can find things such as a vertical mice, where you actually turn your thumb up toward the ceiling, removing repetitive stress by using a more neutral position. Productivity mice also often have things like trackballs which change how you hold it entirely, while freeing up a lot of space on your desk as you don’t have to move a mouse around. Other specialized features you may also find are things like a rolling thumb wheel in addition to a scroll wheel, allowing you to easily scroll through long contextual menus.
So, with all that clarified, lets ask the question again:
Whatever mouse helps you get things done. As with anything, I have found mouse choices to be as personal as which toothpaste is your favorite. Mice can be an expressive choice to show your style, a strictly performance choice knowing that the added shortcuts will help you get more done, or simply a choice that makes you enjoy what you are doing just a little bit more.
A mouse specifically designed for productivity can offer a ton of great quality of life features, but if a gaming mouse – or a single button mouse! – helps you get things done better, than that is your productivity mouse. And, when any mouse can be a productivity mouse, suddenly you have a lot more options. Which is why we’re more than happy to help you choose the perfect mouse for your needs; just stop by your local Micro Center and ask an associate for advice!
Great article, the mouse I'm personally using is the Logitech G-pro Superlight for its light weight and simple 5 button design.
I really like the Logitech MX Line!
I did have an MX for a while with my Titanium PowerBook G4, I think I still do have it.
I will refer to this article for my customers that like to "take care of business".
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