The computer mouse, as you know, is the most basic and essential accessory that carries out most of the commands. It has developed over time and introduces new technology in every new model. The early basic mouse contained a rubber ball that rolled when you moved your mouse across the mouse pad. When you used your mouse, the computer picked up the movement of the rubber ball by using mechanical rollers. Those mechanical rollers detect ball movement and then convert it into computer commands. They were high maintenance mice because when a ball rolled, it collects dust from the surface and thus causing hindrance in transferring of command; also, it needed a solid flat surface to work.
In the modern age, we have optical and laser mice. The optical mouse is the most common, which uses red light and a little camera. When you slide your mouse across the surface, the light shines on the surface, and the camera takes several photos per second. Then it analyzes the pictures to determine which direction a mouse is moving and sends commands to the computer. The computer examines the mouse input and moves the cursor accordingly on the screen. Laser mice work on the same principle but use the infrared light instead of visible red light.
DPI and its significance
Dots per inch DPI is a standard scale for measuring resolution in computer and related devices. In the case of a mouse, it refers to mouse hardware sensitivity, which it detects through sensors inside. The DPI or Counts per inch CPI is the number of pixel cursor cover when you move your mouse an inch. A mouse with higher DPI increases the cursor sensitivity, and it moves fast and further on the screen even with the slightest mouse movement, and lower DPI makes the cursor move slow. For example, most mice sold today come with 1600 DPI setting, which indicates that the cursor covers 1600 pixels on the screen when a mouse moves an inch on a mouse pad.
You can change the settings according to needs and usage. For example, a gaming mouse comes with 4000 DPI or sometimes more, which gives fast and accurate movement when shooting at small targets. But some gamers use low DPI of 1200 or even 800 to get more precision while doing zoom-in sniper shooting because high DPI is too sensitive to slightest movements. Some high-tech gaming mice feature a button on the side, which switches the DPI setting instantly, even during gameplay.
Nowadays, high-resolution monitors are being used widely and due to which the mouse DPI does not translate exact numbers to screen resolution. The operating system multiplies the DPI according to the screen resolution and adjusts the numbers so that the cursor works properly on the large high-resolution screen. In a way, high resolution increases your cursor sensitivity and moves it farther on the screen with just minor movements.
The standard mouse sensitivity setting does not include DPI because DPI refers to the mouse’s hardware abilities rather than a software setting. A mouse with lower DPI paired with high sensitivity setting makes the cursor jump around rather than smooth flow movement. The hardware of the mouse has low sensitivity, which does not detect the small movements; as a result, the operating system compensates and jumps the cursor farther when it detects an uneven movement.
On the contrary, a high DPI mouse paired with low sensitivity settings works smoothly. The low sensitivity settings prevent the cursor from flying across the screen and thus result in a smooth movement. High DPI mice go along with a higher resolution monitor because high resolution means more pixels to cover in an inch movement. When using a 4k monitor, a higher DPI allows you to move your cursor across the screen smoothly and quickly without dragging your mouse longer on a mouse pad. While using low-resolution, you don’t need that high DPI mouse.
How to check DPI?
The basic way to find out your mouse’s DPI is to check hardware specifications through a support website or user manual. Besides, when you install the driver and software of the mouse, hardware specifications and DPI settings are also mentioned in a mouse’s app.
Other than the dictated DPI number that the manufacturer asserts, you can check DPI yourself manually too. For that, you can check it through websites that offer mouse sensitivity calculation features.
The second option is to calculate average DPI by using a paint application.
- To do that, launch the paint app and set the zoom level to 100%.
- Take your cursor to the extreme left side till on bottom it reads 0ps.
- Move your mouse an inch by using a ruler or any scale for correct measurement in a straight line.
- Note down the number you get at the bottom pixel count panel when you stop the cursor.
- Try it a few times to get an average because you get a slightly different reading each time.
- In this way, you get an average DPI of your mouse.
How to change DPI?
Many gaming mice come with adjustable DPI settings. Some usually have three fixed DPI options of 1200, 1600, and 2000 and other mouse lets you choose DPI within a range of 400 to 4000. The high tech gaming mouse features a button on the side that helps you increase or decrease the DPI setting instantly and with ease. Some gaming mice come with dedicated app and software which let you customize DPI and set desired levels that you use through buttons on a mouse.
The primary computer mouse and some cheap gaming mouse do not have such a button for setting adjustments because they come with fixed 800 to 1200 DPI. You can change or adjust mouse sensitivity through third-party apps designed specifically for this purpose. However, this does not mean you can alter the mouse hardware capabilities but can only modify the multiplier of that default speed. Though you can do it with apps, the easiest way is through settings offered by your operating system.
If you are using Windows 7,8 and 10, then follow these steps:
- Open settings and go to Devices
- Proceed to the mouse section.
- Select the mouse whose setting you want to change and click on additional mouse settings.
- Locate the Pointer option then in the Motion section, make your changes.
- In this section, you can make pointer speed slow or fast, which serves as an alternative for DPI.
- Lastly, click on Apply to save your changes.
How to change mouse DPI in Macbook step by step
- Go to the Apple menu.
- Click and open System Preferences.
- In the System Preferences window, locate the Mouse or Trackpad settings depending on MacBook laptop or an iMac.
- Next, in case of MacBook move to Point and Click the tab where you can adjust the tracking speed according to your preference.
- For iMac, go to Mouse option to adjust pointer speed according to need.
Finally, test the pointer speed and then exit to save changes.
Everyone has different preferences in mouse and sometimes fixed DPI does not work for them because it offers many advantages in the gaming or designing industry. By making it higher or lower they improve its usage capabilities.
On the contrary, in many cases, users do not need higher mouse sensitivity and they can simply improve the performance of their mouse in some other ways. The mouse is a powerful and essential tool to carry out daily computer tasks and one should choose it according to need.