G403

One day in the not-too-distant future, we'll be controlling our computers with a wave of the hand, a blink of an eye, or maybe even the firing of a neuron, but until that day comes, we all still need a mouse and keyboard to get serious work or gaming done. This buyer's guide, updated for Winter 2017, will help you complete your PC setup, giving you the very best options for controlling your PC at every price point.

We've organized this guide into two sections. The first six items represent our personal favorites picks for home office and home theater users. Not surprisingly, Logitech is dominant here, as it has been for quite some time.

The next ten items in our guide are targeted at gamers, and in this market, Logitech has plenty of competition. In fact, while Logitech still makes the best mice in the world, others have taken up the mantle when it comes to keyboards and mousing surfaces. And while the addition of "gaming" to a product's name is often just marketing fluff, we've picked out a wide range of models that we use ourselves and know will actually improve your gaming experience!

For Winter 2017, we have a lot of new products to recommend, based on our hands-on reviews and our discussions with manufacturers at both PAX West 2016 and CES 2017. Basically, at this point we're confident we know what everyone's peddling, and we're also confident we know what's actually worth buying! We also happen to know what's coming in the near future, but that will have to wait until the Spring 2017 guide!

Vive

Just a word on virtual reality: we're finally ready to recommend a VR peripheral, the HTC Vive headset and controller system. Having checked out both the Oculus Rift and the HTC Vive, we can honestly say that the Rift is amusing, while the Vive is seriously entertaining. There's just no comparison: without motion controllers, there is no true VR experience, and only the Vive includes them in the box, along with the hardware required to use them.

Note that we use Amazon's pricing widgets to bring you the latest prices in the U.S., while also providing direct links to all the gear we recommend in Canada, the UK, and Germany as well. If you find a product you like in this guide, please use our links to purchase it, which helps support continued development of this site!

Peripherals - Winter 2016

    The Basic Wireless Mouse:

    Logitech M510 Wireless Mouse

    For home office use, you really can't ask for more than this ergonomic, wireless mouse. It features a tiny USB receiver, two years of battery life, and both a scroll wheel and side-mounted front/back buttons.

    The Guru's Tip:

    If you're using a standard corded mouse at your desktop, even at your office, you should invest in one of these mice for yourself, regardless of whether your employer pays for it! The side-mounted forward/back buttons alone are worth it when you're busy tracking down info on the Web.

    The Perfect Travel Mouse:

    Logitech Anywhere Mouse MX

    Need a mouse that will work on any surface? Then step up to the amazing Logitech Anywhere Mouse MX - battery life is lower due to the extra-sensitive "Darkfield" sensor, and it's a bit smaller than most mice because it's intended for travel, but wow, does it work! We've used it on wood, tile, and yes, even glass!

    The Guru's Tip:

    Logitech's newer Anywhere Mouse MX 2 offers a few nice improvements, such as built-in Bluetooth plus a rechargeable battery, but it costs quite a bit more. For most users, the original MX is the better bargain.

    The Deluxe Wireless Mouse:

    Logitech G602 Wireless Gaming Mouse

    Yes, it says"gaming" right there in the product name, but serious gamers will want one of the models we recommend later in this guide. So whom do we think this mouse is actually good for? Just about everyone else! In its high-precision mode, it will go 250 hours, and far longer if you use the handy top-mounted switch to reduce sensitivity in exchange for lower power use. It also glides very smoothly and has a comfortable shape for long hours of use. To learn more about this amazing mouse, read our in-depth review!

    The Guru's Tip:

    What do you give up with this model? To offer amazing battery life, this mouse uses an optical sensor rather than laser, and hence will not work on reflective surfaces, like glass. And unlike the more expensive wireless gaming profiled later in this guide, it doesn't have a fancy lithium battery - it just uses standard AAs.

    The Basic Wired Keyboard:

    AmazonBasics Wired Keyboard

    If you just need a great keyboard for home office use, consider the Amazon Basics Wired Keyboard. It features a low-profile design, dedicated volume and calculator keys, and a number pad.

    The Guru's Tip:

    We always like to have at least one corded mouse or keyboard around for troubleshooting, because you know you'll never get wireless interference when using it.

    The Home Theater Keyboard/Trackpad Combo:

    Logitech K400 Plus

    The K400 Plus is the ideal low-cost HTPC keyboard. No other manufacturer has come up with a solution that's quite so stylish, useful, or cost-effective. With its integrated trackpad, the K400 Plus allows you to interact with your PC from any seat in the room - no desk required! If you need an all-in-one typing/pointing device for use with a home theater setup that still allows you to actually type for extended periods of time, this is the product for you.

    The Guru's Tip:

    Looking for the ultimate HTPC keyboard? Then go for the Logitech K830, which takes all the features of the K400 and adds a whole lot more, including backlighting (perfect for a dark media room!), Bluetooth, and a truly high-end industrial design.

    The Deluxe Wireless Keyboard/Mouse Combo:

    Logitech Wireless Wave Combo

    We've been using the Wave since the day it was released, and frankly, it's a perfect kit for general-purpose PC use. The keyboard is first-rate, with a slight ergonomic curve, a comfortable padded wrist rest, and a number of shortcut keys, including volume, mute, sleep, calculator, and zoom. It's the shape that really sets it apart, though, and once you use it, you probably won't want to go back to a standard keyboard. The mouse offers a subtle ergonomic shape, a scroll wheel, and the all-important front/back buttons.

    The Guru's Tip:

    The mouse included in this combo is actually the very same M510 mouse profiled earlier in this guide. That means you're getting an excellent and very popular mouse plus an advanced keyboard for one great price. If you're just looking for an ergonomic keyboard without the mouse, go for Microsoft's Natural Ergonomic Keyboard 4000.

    The Budget Gaming Combo:

    MasterKeys Lite L Combo RGB Keyboard and Mouse

    If you want to hit the ground running on your gaming PC, but don't have a ton of money to invest in peripherals, the Masterkeys Lite Combo from Cooler Master is the package to go for. With a keyboard that's several steps above your bargain-basement "gaming" models, along with a solid gaming mouse, you'll be all set to keep up with the competition! You even get 5-zone RGB lighting on the keyboard along with a red LED on the mouse scroll wheel for some added bling!

    The Guru's Tip:

    In our opinion, if you're going to spend any more than this on a gaming keyboard, you should do yourself a favor and pick up a mechanical model, like the Corsair twins we profile later in this guide.

    The Mid-Range Gaming Mouse:

    Corsair Harpoon RGB Gaming Mouse

    There are a lot of so-called gaming mice out there, including a number in the $10-$15 range. Folks, avoid those, and step up to a true gaming mouse at a budget-friendly price, the new Harpoon from Corsair, maker of some of the very finest gaming gear on the market. Incorporating high-end features like RGB lighting, an ergonomic grip, on-the-fly DPI adjustment, and a high-quality 6000dpi optical sensor, this gaming mouse is the real deal.

    The Guru's Tip:

    Don't forget, a mouse is only as good as the mousepad you use it on, so consider picking up the budget-priced Corsair MM200 cloth gaming pad to go with your Harpoon!

    The Pro Gaming Mouse:

    Logitech G403 Prodigy Gaming Mouse

    This wired mouse takes the art of gaming to a new level. With a precise, adjustable optical sensor, ultra-slick feet, and a braided core, this mouse will keep you in the game. It also offers on-the-fly sensitivity adjustment, an ultra-light chassis, and a gaming grip that will suit just about everyone.

    The Guru's Tip:

    Roccat Kone

    The only area where the G403 doesn't beat the competition is in RGB lighting. If you'd like an equally-good mouse with a lot more pizzazz, go for the new Roccat Kone EMP, which we reviewed here. You're basically paying for style, but it's honestly just as good as the G403, perhaps even better for those needing its larger grip size.

    The Ultimate Wireless Mouse:

    Logitech G403 Prodigy Wireless Gaming Mouse

    Until recently, the terms "wireless" and "gaming mouse" just didn't fit well together. Sure, you could buy wireless gaming mice, but they just didn't work well in games. All that has changed with the new Logitech G403. Offering an incredibly-responsive wireless connection, an ultra-sensitive optical sensor, and a comfortable, attractive shell, it's worth every penny of its asking price. That's especially true now that it's available for well below its original $100 MSRP. This wireless gaming mouse is truly "The One"!

    The Guru's Tip:

    To learn why we named this our favorite mouse ever, see our full review.

    The Gaming Mouse Pad:

    SteelSeries 4HD

    A mouse is nothing without a great mouse pad, so please do yourself a favor and pick up the time-tested SteelSeries 4HD 11.5" x 9.5" hard gaming pad - we use one and trust us, it's worth every cent! If you need an extra-large mousing surface, go with the SteelSeries 9HD. It's identical to the 4HD, but adds about an inch of extra surface in both directions. 

    The Guru's Tip:

    MM300

    Want a totally different take on the mousing experience? Then pick up the awesome Corsair MM300 Extended Mouse Mat, a cloth surface that will cover your entire work area, meaning you'll never slip off the edge of your mat during the heat of the battle!

    The Typist's Gaming Keyboard:

    Corsair Gaming K70 Lux MX Brown Mechanical Keyboard

    If you're serious about either typing or gaming, there are two things you absolutely must have: mechanical keys and a wired connection. And among many contenders, we believe Corsair does it best with its new K70 Lux model. It looks incredibly professional, has an ultra-compact profile, and its Cherry MX Brown switches are the absolute best if you'll be using your PC for a combination of gaming and typing due to their excellent tactile response.

    The Guru's Tip:

    HyperX

    With the surging popularity of eSports competition, many pro gamers have been looking for high-quality keyboards that are also ultra-portable. Gaming specialist HyperX has the answer: the HyperX Alloy FPS Mechanical Gaming Keyboard. Featuring Cherry MX Blue switches, red backlighting, a low-profile chassis, a carry bag, and most importantly, a detachable cable, there's no better gaming keyboard for taking on the road... or the competition!

    The Ultimate Gaming Keyboard:

    Corsair K70 RGB Rapidfire Keyboard

    If fast-twitch gaming is your thing, and you need serious, no-holds-barred performance, there's nothing better on the market than Corsair's blazing-fast K70 Rapidfire. This model, featuring compact lines and a brushed aluminum faceplate, looks docile enough sitting on your desk, but fire up a game and this thing roars to life. Featuring awesome full RGB per-key lighting, it can put on quite a show, and with short-throw 1.2mm MX Speed switches, it will never let you down in the heat of the battle!

    The Guru's Tip:

    Want to learn more about what makes this keyboard tick? Read our full hands-on review!

    The Home Theater Gaming Solution:

    Roccat Sova Gaming Lapboard

    If you're looking to do some intense keyboard/mouse gaming from the couch, you're going to want to invest in Roccat's Sova. With a built-in keyboard, a wide wrist-rest, and a huge mousing surface, along with a perfectly-balanced feel that will keep your gear right on your lap where it belongs, the Sova is poised to move PC couch gaming into the mainstream. Note that while Roccat markets an upgraded version of this lapboard with mechanical switches, we reviewed it and came away thinking the extra weight made it a bit more awkward than the membrane-based model.

    The Guru's Tip:

    Many have tried (Corsair, Razer, are you listening?), but only one has succeeded. If you want a lapboard, the Sova is the only one to consider.

    The Wireless PC Gamepad:

    Microsoft Xbox One Wireless Controller for Windows

    If you plan to play driving, flying, or third-person adventure games on your desktop PC, or practically any game at all on a home theater PC, you owe it to yourself to pick up the Xbox One Wireless Controller for Windows. Offering built-in compatibility with just about every game that's come out since the dawn of the Xbox 360 in 2005, you're virtually guaranteed a great gaming experience.

    The Guru's Tip:

    Want a slightly lower-cost option? Then go for the wired version of the Xbox One controller. For desktop gaming, it might actually be preferable as it doesn't require batteries.

    The VR Headset:

    HTC Vive

    If you're ready to take the leap into the future of gaming, this is the only headset to consider: the HTC Vive. While it may be surprising that a smartphone company was able to create the ultimate VR headset, it had a lot of backing from Valve, the makers of Steam, as well as some of the best gaming titles in the history of PC gaming. With HTC's hardware smarts and Valve's deep knowledge of what games great, the Vive has become absolutely dominant in the world of VR.

    The Guru's Tip:

    Yes, the Oculus Rift was first, but it's now "last", having giving up its first-mover's advantage by failing to include motion controllers, which are essential to true VR gaming. In fact, most developers aren't even taking the Rift seriously, having moved on to the Vive for all their upcoming high-end titles.