So I've seen laser mice become more and more powerful over time, with newer models supporting increasing levels of "DPI". The latest ones I've seen support up to 12000 dpi.

But what does this mean? Are humans with their wrists and hands actually able to place a mouse in 12000 different positions over an inch? Are humans able to move their wrist 2/12000 of an inch to the right and know they have not moved it 1/12000 of an inch to the right or 3/12000 of an inch?

Assuming that I am correct that no, humans are not able to do these things, why do mice manufacturers keep making mice more and more powerful?

To contrast with the approach Apple has taken with its ppi on its screens, it claims that its "retina display" technology is overpowered for the capabilities of the normal human eye and it packs only 220 pixels per inch (see http://support.apple.com/kb/HT5266). The approach mice manufacturers are taking seems to have taken a break from the physical capabilities of the human form.

  • Do consumers need cars with 500 hp? A gamer that pays $2000 for a video card alone will pay $200 for a mouse with the highest DPI.
    – paparazzo
    Aug 15, 2014 at 22:06
  • I won't try to sound like I know everything as most people here like to, but in short your answer lies with screen resolutions being added to your calculation. There is a math guru who I am sure can explain more in detail than I.
    – Jedi 0n
    Oct 18, 2017 at 2:47

3 Answers 3


There are two studies suggesting you are correct. This one and this one. From the first study: " this raises the question of whether, for non-experimental purposes, there is any benefit beyond marketing for the 5700 dpi mouse we used." From the second study: "Though other reasons may prevail, the quest for mouse resolutions above 10000 CPI does not seem worth pursuing from a useful resolution perspective." –

  • As a user of 2 4k monitors and a g903 I can say 10000 CPI is perfectly usable, but 12000 is perceptibly more comfortable, sure, it depends on the system mouse acceleration profile and multiplier, but as I like zero acceleration (accustomed with digital drawing tables precision), it do make a lot of difference. Jan 21, 2019 at 20:36
  • The original research preceded the wide-spread availability of 4K monitors. Perhaps the research should be repeated with current technology. Dec 11, 2020 at 15:46

Firstly, if you are interested in mouse technology and how it works this article does a great job of it: An Overview of Mouse Technology

To answer the first question, cpi (the correct term, but often confused with dpi) is pushed higher on mice for a number of reasons, but the tricky part is balancing out the different variables so that errors don't occur, or that too much of a compromise in one area isn't detrimental to the overall performance of the sensor.

More cpi will give you a higher resolution image from which to track movements but that can - and will, the further you push - introduce problems with the maximum tracking speed, accuracy, and the overall stability of the cursor. 12000cpi for instance is a mathematical fabrication as no sensor has that resolution natively, and many times is a very undesired setting as it is very unstable.

The emphasis on lots of dpi on a mouse is a pure marketing ploy designed to get you to be impressed with a product and buy, where practically speaking you'll never need more than 3000cpi in any situation whatsoever (including when 4k monitors are more common).

As for the minute changes that is possible with the wrist, there absolutely is a threshold from which you will not be able to properly control your cursor but this largely depends upon how developed your motor skills with 'mousing' are in the first place (think of the motor control differences between a pianist or painter vs a normal person).


I think its not made for the user wrist instead it is made for the better synchronization with high resolution games, or graphics, to give better experience while playing high resolution games or making high resolution graphics.


Consider if you have a high resolution monitor with high graphics, but you mouse is having low dpi. so when you move your mouse(8000 dpi) it will not point to exact point(dot) of your monitor as the mouse with (12000 dpi) so definitely it will increase efficiency of the mouse pointer.

And I think efficiency is most important to graphics designers or game players who are playing high graphics game.

  • This is what the advertisements say, but if the mouse is pushed by the wrist, how does it help to go from 8000 dps to 12000 dps if the wrist doesn't make that distinction?
    – Mishax
    Aug 13, 2014 at 5:40
  • please see my edit I may not be correct.
    – smali
    Aug 13, 2014 at 6:39
  • 1
    I think what you say would be correct if monitors had resolutions that approached these values and our eyes could tell the difference. They do not, and they are far far away from those levels. According to Wikipedia, Android's XXXHDPI (eXtra eXtra eXtra High density) is only ~640 dots per inch. A 12000 dpi mouse is almost 19 times more accurate, almost 20 times more precise than the naked eye can distinguish..
    – Mishax
    Aug 13, 2014 at 8:19
  • 1
    From how many inches away? Often a user will hold a screen closer to their face to get a closer look. Aug 13, 2014 at 15:16
  • @Mishax, but do you move your mouse over the entire distance of the screen to move the curser from one end to another? I have two monitors that span ~20 inches, and it takes me to move 2 on the mouse. Couple that with mouse acceleration animations and you need better mice. I'll grant you that these resolutions seem a bit much, but they must be some perceived need for people to buy it.
    – Tyzoid
    Aug 13, 2014 at 19:55

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