The humble mouse is an oft-undervalued PC peripheral. Many of us are happy to chug along using the basic models that are bundled with our PCs, but there are a number of third-party alternatives that can increase productivity, gaming accuracy and comfort.
If you're on a budget, you might consider buying a mouse with an optical sensor. These use a light-emitting diode (LED) and photodiodes to track the movement of the mouse instead of traditional moving parts. They're less susceptible to damage from everyday wear and tear than old-school ball mice, and they don't need much maintenance. The Saitek 1600dpi Desktop Gaming Mouse is one such device.
While an optical mouse is fine for most needs, demanding gamers should opt for a laser mouse. These use lasers to capture a higher resolution image of the surface they're used on, which can result in a 20x increase in sensitivity, depending on the quality of the laser.
Users seeking the ultimate in freedom and precision should opt for a cordless laser mouse such as the Logitech G7, which has quick-swappable rechargeable battery packs and adjustable sensitivity. Hardcore gamers should also consider the Logitech G5, which has adjustable weight cartridges so you can tweak the feel of the mouse until it feels and reacts perfectly to your movements.
If gaming isn't a priority, you're better off going for a comfortable mouse with a host of buttons that can increase your productivity and multitasking convenience. The Logitech MX610 isn't ideal for people with large hands, but it's otherwise comfortable and has two volume buttons, a mute button, email and IM buttons and two programmable buttons on the side, so you can copy and paste, for instance, without troubling your Ctrl key.