Optical versus laser
In terms of the sensor there are two main varieties: optical and laser. Both types of sensor use the reflection of light in order to calculate the position and movement of the mouse relative to the surface area. The laser light can determine the surface with more precision than the regular red or infrared light of an optical sensor, but in practice the laser sensor also has to deal with a lot of 'useless' information. This can lead to errors in the tracking, which is the reason why optical sensors are mostly seen as the better choice. A big advantage of laser sensors is that they can be used on certain surfaces that an optical sensor would struggle to work on, such as glass.
Do not flatten the surface!
A gaming mouse can perform extremely well, but requires some help. A solid base in the form of a good mouse pad is very important. Certain mice work better on cloth or plastic mouse pads, but in all cases using a mouse pad is better than not using one at all.
The smooth surface of a mouse pad of course allows you to move your mouse more easily, but also makes it a lot easier for the sensor to offer good tracking. In order to get the most out of your mouse, a mouse pad is necessary.
Therefore we test mice using three different mouse pads: the Fnatic Gear G1 Control XL of polycarbonate and the cloth-based Razer Goliathus and ASUS Sheath. The Goliathus has a rough texture, while the Sheath is a smoother cloth-based mouse pad. This allows you to see what kind of mouse pad is best to use for every mouse.