CPI vs DPI: Know The Difference Between Mouse CPI and DPI!

Oh, did we just confuse you with the most confusing words out there while buying a mouse? CPI and DPI? Don’t worry, we’ll help you with that. When buying a mouse, whether it be for Windows, Mac, or even your iPad, you must have encountered the term DPI. Everyone gives importance to that and is a major key differentiator while buying one, especially for gamers.

Also, there is a CPI too which is different from DPI and many manufacturers include CPI switch instead of the DPI one. Don’t worry, you have landed on the correct page CPI vs DPI as we will compare both CPI and DPI starting from what they stand for and their purpose.

So, what is CPI?


CPI or Counts Per Inch was introduced along with the mouse as it stands for movement or the steps moved by a mouse per inch traveled. In other words, the Sensitivity of Mouse. Yes, you have heard of this setting in your OS. It is linked to how much a user moves a mouse physically to that of its movement on the screen.

What is DPI?


DPI or Dots Per Inch was termed with the introduction of Printers as it signifies the number of each dot that can be aligned in a line within an inch. To simplify the term, it is nothing but defining the resolution number of the dots aligned in an inch of a line. As stated above, it is also referred to as the resolution of a hard print copy.

By now, you must be very clear that CPI is aligned along with a mouse whereas DPI is used mostly in cases of printing.

So why companies are naming it DPI along with CPI while selling a mouse?

As it is now clear that for mouse, the correct switch technology named should be CPI and not DPI. Before that, let us learn about where DPI is mostly heard. Graphic Designers, illustrators and professional creators use this term while referring to the depth or the quality of the illustrations, and images created when they should be calling it PPI or Pixel Per Inch. No worries, we are still around the main topic CPI vs DPI.

The only purpose of companies using these confusing terms which are not at all interlinked to each other is because DPI was introduced to the general public rather than CPI. It makes the product specifications look familiar to consumers or end customers. This is the only reason that users tend to use the term DPI in most scenarios.

The most prominent place where DPI is a part of the selling point is the market of Gaming mice. Every leading brand endorses this DPI as a differentiating factor while buying one. The DPI switch term in this industry is nothing but the basic CPI switch but as we have discussed earlier, people tend to be more familiar with DPI.

Although, 90% of the industry uses the term DPI instead of CPI, yet many companies use the correct keyword CPI while selling the products. Out of surprise, it was no small brand but SteelSeries Rival 100 Gaming Mouse. This brand has been naming CPI but with different values ranging from 250 to up to 4000.

What is the difference between CPI vs DPI?

Being a user, you all must be clear with all the confusing terms. Also, owning a mouse with a DPI switch is as same as owning one with a CPI switch. You will still find CPI vs DPI articles that are using more technical language calling them different in many parameters but in the end, it is just a CPI switch, and all in all, what a user is dealing with is adjusting the overall sensitivity irrespective of what is the selling point.

The Conclusion: CPI vs DPI

Overall, if compared to a CPI switch with a DPI switch, both are CPI but to make it more relatable to the user, the term DPI is being widely used. So, if you are buying a mouse with CPI switch or DPI switch, one is just dealing with tweaked mouse sensitivity.

Still, have doubts? Do let us know in the comments section below.

A 19 year old geek who works on things that lives on the web.