The beginning of the end of RGB LED gaming mice

, by
Patrick Schmalzried

Logitech is not exactly a niche gaming mouse brand. They probably are the worlds biggest gaming mouse producer and about as mainstream as it can get. That is why when Logitech announces a new flagship gaming mouse it has significant repercussions for the gaming mouse industry as a whole. And just two weeks ago Logitech announced the «Pro X Superlight» in which the RGB LEDs were removed in order to save weight. Is this the beginning of the end of RGB LED gaming mice?

A recent example for Logitech influencing the gaming mouse industry as a whole was when they released their flagship gaming mouse «G Pro Wireless», back in August of 2018. The G Pro Wireless weighed in at a relatively low 80 grams and its wireless technology had relatively low input lag. From one day to the next, wireless gaming mice were no longer a bad joke among PC gamers. Logitechs competitors to this day are busy catching up releasing their own lightweight wireless gaming mice.

In their recent Pro X Superlight announcement Logitech focussed on one thing above all else: low weight. They managed to reduce the 80 grams of the original G Pro Wireless down to 63 grams for the Pro X Superlight (by the way: when 63 grams is superlight, what exactly is 23 grams?). Logitech in part achieved this by removing RGB LEDs. You might think that removing RGB LEDs has no significant influence on the weight of a gaming mouse, because modern RGB LEDs are so small that they do not even weigh one tenth of a gram. However just looking at the weight of RGB LEDs alone does not tell the whole story.

RGB LEDs increase the weight of a gaming mouse in a plethora of small ways that together result in a significant weight increase: RGB LEDs have to be soldered onto something. Thus, the more RGB LEDs you solder onto the printed circuit board (PCB) of a gaming mouse the larger that PCB will be. This increase in PCB size results in far more extra weight than the actual RGB LEDs themselves bring to the table. Also RGB LEDs need to be connected to the MCU of the gaming mouse, and the traces necessary for that further increase the size and thus weight of the PCB. If you are using a lot of RGB LEDs you might need a physically larger MCU to connect all of the RGB LEDs to it. A larger MCU further increases PCB size. Also SMD LEDs require additional PCB components like capacitors and resistors; again, capacitors and resistors do not weigh much by themselves, but they too result in a larger PCB. Last but not least RGB LEDs can result in the need for a bigger and thus heavier battery.

Additionally RGB LEDs can require more plastic parts, like the so-callded diffusor. The diffusor is comparable to window shades. It takes the output of RGB LEDs and makes it look nicer. The diffusor in the G Pro Wireless for example weighs in at 0.4 grams.

All of these aspects together are the reason that adding RGB LEDs to a wireless gaming mouse increases its weight by more than just a tenth of a gram. In fact RGB LEDs will increase the weight of a gaming mouse by several grams, depending on how many RGB LEDs are added. Thus the question should not be: «Why did Logitech remove RGB LEDs in the X Pro Wireless?» The question instead should be: «Why did the original G Pro Wireless have RGB LEDs to begin with?»

It is likely that other gaming mouse companies are now forced to release their flagship wireless gaming mice without RGB LEDs as well, in order to being able to compete on low mouse weight.

Less RGB LEDs will be good for everyone

Not only do RGB LEDs in a gaming mouse not provide any benefit. RGB LEDs will actually hurt your aim, as the weight increase induced by RGB LEDs results in more inertia. The more inertia your gaming mouse has, the more sluggish your aim will be.

There really are no losers when it comes to omitting RGB LEDs in a gaming mouse: the gaming mouse company saves a few Cents per unit and the user will have better aim.

I wonder how the 2022 Pro X Ultralight will look like. Will Logitech dare to kill the side buttons in order to save an additional 3 grams of weight?

As for the beginning of the end of RGB LED gaming mice: as of today the best selling gaming mouse on Amazon still is the Logitech G502 (the gaming mouse with the worlds densest concentration of gimmicky features). I doubt this heavyweight champion will spend many more years at the top though.