The Best Budget Gaming Mouse Isn’t Worth Buying

You can do so much better!

Alex Rowe


Photo taken and edited by the author.

Razer makes the best budget gaming mouse on the market today, but I don’t think you should rush out and get one. The manufacturer has been in the gaming-specific mouse business longer than anyone, starting from the humble and weirdly oversized “Boomslang” and expanding to a massive lineup that now includes mice for every taste and budget.

In the last few years they’ve made a push to conquer the cheaper end of the market, and the Razer Viper Mini is the proudest testament of their current ideologies. It packs in a solid sensor, a trendy lightweight body, and even has an extra lighting perk compared to its more expensive counterparts in the Viper family.

But it’s also a bit of a ruse. Its affordable price lowers your psychological expectations, and makes its solid performance seem amazing. It wows you with its relative value and makes you miss that you could have had something truly industry-leading for just a few dollars more. And thanks to its use of off-the-shelf parts and flashy marketing, I suspect it’s even more of a profit maker for the company than the more expensive options.

There’s no foot around the sensor for some reason. Photo taken by the author.

Note: I bought this mouse myself at Best Buy and tested it extensively over months. None of the links in this article are affiliate links.

The Razer Viper Mini sells for just $39.99 (official site here), which is a very low price for a modern gaming mouse. It uses a smaller shell than the original Viper and the wireless Viper Ultimate, and comes in at just 61g. The braided “SpeedFlex” cable is permanently attached, and the feet are made of pure PTFE, though bafflingly there’s no glide foot around the sensor.

That sensor is an off-the-shelf modified PixArt 3359 model that goes up to 8500 DPI; a modest number in today’s mouse spec race. It doesn’t have any of the fancy features that Razer programs into the firmware for their more expensive mice. It gets the job done, but it’s known in the community for having some lift-off and tracking issues, which Razer decided to tame with their Synapse software that you’ll need to install to…