Two Great PC Gaming Mice (On a Budget)

When it comes to PC gaming, sacrifices must always be made. Whether its a nicer CPU for a cheaper motherboard or a smaller case and better power, peripherals are typically first on the chopping block when corners must be cut. So, today we’ll have a look at two great budget gaming mice.

First on the block is the Red Dragon (or Redragon) M601. Two thumb buttons, three DPI settings, and eight little weights that can be freely taken out or left in, offering more physical feedback.

Ringing up at $11.49, this little beauty costs less than a copy of Hard Boiled on DVD. The plastic feels about as cheap as it looks in the hand, and the backlighting is red only, but the ergonomics are pretty good. The side buttons sit comfortably underneath the thumb, and the scroll wheel actuates surprisingly well given the price range. As an all rounder, it’s a great workhorse for gaming. Shooters are buttery smooth, and it does feel good to swap DPI on the fly when needed for tricky turns or flick aiming. I ran this mouse for a little under a year and besides basic finish wear, it still ran like a champ.

The DPI button swaps between 3 intensities, signified by a little red light that gets brighter as the settings go up. I wish it was more clear which setting you’re on at any given time, as the brightness levels aren’t really stark enough to differentiate at a quick glance. The weights, however… I don’t feel any difference between all in and all out. But, who’s to say you wouldn’t?

So, to recap:

  • $11.49
  • Not very sturdy
  • Ergonomic
  • 3 DPI settings (Can be unclear which is active)
  • 8 interchangeable weights, can feel insignificant
  • Great to play games with; sharp and responsive on screen

Next, we have our resident pretty boy – the Zelotes T-80 Big Mac.

The highlight of this little trucker is the color changing LED backlighting; I really wanted a mouse with customizable color, and I’m not kidding when I say this is the single best one you can get for this money. At $8.99, that’s cheaper than some fast food combos, and the T-80 has lasted me 18 months with only minor issues. Let’s dive into some details.

No fancy weights this time – but with five DPI settings switched with the button next to the scroll wheel, you can adjust as needed from moment to moment, or just from game to game in my case. I’m comfortable around 1600 DPI, but it goes down to 1000, and all the way up to 7200.

I’ve now clocked over 300 hours of Rainbow Six: Siege, over 350 hours of Killing Floor 2, 180 hours of The Witcher 3, and 130 of Elite Dangerous since the T-80 joined my desk, so trust me when I say – it’s unbelievably good; staggeringly good, and fun to use, and all costing less than a bottle of sunscreen.

Like I said, I wanted a mouse that could change colors, specifically so that I could choose a color to match my fans or keyboard. I love the LED’s; you can swap the color by holding down the front thumb button, or leave it on ‘none’ and have it scroll through the six colors one by one. I do wish it would remain a solid color rather than the pulse it has, but oh well.

Unfortunately, the T-80 isn’t perfect. The ergonomics seem great at first, but as a guy with big hands, I can tell you this mouse is a little on the small side. If I don’t hold it right, I can jam my pinkie into the mouse pad pretty good and not notice until it’s already sore. The durability is a concern too, the wear is much more noticeable on this one than our crimson starter.

The scroll wheel also isn’t as good, clicking it in can be unresponsive, and because the front thumb button changes the color, you can’t bind any ‘hold’ control to it – it’ll just cycle the color. The latest concern (which will likely be the one that makes me buy a new mouse) is the right mouse button. It takes more force to register as ‘held down’ than it used to, which has gotten me killed in Siege more times than I care to admit. Aiming down sights is pretty important in shooters, as well as the infinite other uses for the good ol’ RMB.

To sum that all up:

Not very sturdy
Lacking ergonomics (better for small hands or those with light grips)
5 DPI settings
Excellent for gameplay
Customizable LED’s

To wrap this all up in a nice tidy bow, both of these little guys are great choices and will absolutely save you money on any PC build and compliment every gaming session. The cost difference is pocket change; so the real differences are easier to pin down.

Zelotes has six colors. M601 is red only.
M601 is more comfortable in the hand.
Zelotes has wider DPI options.
M601 has a better scroll wheel.
Zelotes plays marginally better.
M601 didn’t wear as badly.

Bottom line, both excellent. I prefer the Zelotes, if only for the light show. I am, as we know, easily pleased with bright colors.

If you’re in the market, links are right below, and as always, thanks for your time! Keep up on Twitter and YouTube for more stuff every week!