Trusted Reviews is supported by its audience. If you purchase through links on our site, we may earn a commission. Learn more.

What is DPI?

Anyone in the market for a gaming mouse will have come across the term DPI. But what does it mean, and why is it important?

While buying a new mouse may not seem like a complicated affair, there are a fair few specifications you might want to brush up on before you commit to a purchase.

One of the most common specifications you have likely come across is DPI, which is actually a way to measure the sensitivity of your mouse. But what does that mean, and does the sensitivity actually matter during day-to-day use?

If you’ve found yourself asking these questions, keep reading, as we will be running through what DPI is, why it matters and what DPI you may need.

What is DPI?

DPI stands for dots per inch, which refers to how your mouse – whether that be gaming or otherwise – measures distance in real life.

The number your DPI is set to will impact how far your mouse moves on your screen. So if you have your mouse set to 500 DPI, your cursor will move 500 pixels across your screen for every inch you move your mouse.

Expanding on that, if you have your DPI set really high, your cursor will move further on the screen after being moved an inch. And if it’s set to a lower DPI, it will move less.

It’s important to note that the DPI is only a measurement of how far your mouse will move on screen, and it does not link to the accuracy of the sensor or how precise it is.

Do I need a higher DPI?

While every mouse will have a DPI count – which usually sits between 800 and 1200 DPI – you may find that if you are mainly engaging with productivity activities, like browsing the web and answering emails, your DPI may not need to be altered.

If you are gaming, however, it’s more likely that you will want to find a mouse that has an adjustable DPI, or a higher range. This is because a higher DPI allows you to move your cursor across your screen without needing to move your mouse very far, which is ideal for gamers who are wanting to quickly move the camera around in-game.

While is it subjective, anyone playing an RPG or MMO title, like Call of Duty: Vanguard or Total War: Warhammer 3, may want to look for a gaming mouse that has a DPI range between 1000 and 1600. However, you can find some gaming mice that have a DPI that hits above 10,000, with the Razer Viper 8K having a 20,000 DPI sensor, which you may find to be more beneficial while you game, as it will require smaller hand movements.

And that’s not to say that you can’t set your DPI low; playing an RTS game may require more precision which can be aided with a slower cursor. If you are drawing with your mouse and need high accuracy, a lower DPI would be preferable, as you will have more room to move your hand without the cursor flying off the screen.

Depending on what mouse you own, you may not be able to alter the DPI. If you are interested in a gaming mouse or a high-quality productivity mouse, it is worth checking if the model you’re interested in has an adjustable DPI and what the range is.

You can also check out our best gaming mouse list if you want to see which mice got our attention when we reviewed them. A lot of the entries also mention DPI, so you can get a gauge of the DPI range in different gaming mice across brands and use cases.

Why trust our journalism?

Founded in 2003, Trusted Reviews exists to give our readers thorough, unbiased and independent advice on what to buy.

Today, we have millions of users a month from around the world, and assess more than 1,000 products a year.

author icon

Editorial independence

Editorial independence means being able to give an unbiased verdict about a product or company, with the avoidance of conflicts of interest. To ensure this is possible, every member of the editorial staff follows a clear code of conduct.

author icon

Professional conduct

We also expect our journalists to follow clear ethical standards in their work. Our staff members must strive for honesty and accuracy in everything they do. We follow the IPSO Editors’ code of practice to underpin these standards.

Trusted Reviews Logo

Sign up to our newsletter

Get the best of Trusted Reviews delivered right to your inbox.

This is a test error message with some extra words