CPI vs DPI What Is The Basic Difference!


You heard about the gaming mouse that comes with awesome additional features and mind-blowing out-look. It also offers you the best gaming experience when you hit the very mob of the Skyrim.

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So you go out for a gaming mouse to a retailer near to your place. When you are looking for an amazing gaming mouse, you would come across some of the technical terms related to the modern mouse like CPI, DPI etc. And it is the most common topic you have to know about the modern mouse to get the best experience on your work. Sometimes the retailer offers you a mouse and told you that how much CPI vs DPI it related to the item. But if have no idea the technical terms actually mean, then no doubt, the shopkeeper make you fool and get his own profit on it.

Meanwhile, some companies allow you to get a CPI switch instead of DPI switch, and it’s very confusing to the user to understand what it actually means? What is it`s additional features over your PC? How does it work and so much more? Well, why not we wave the confusion off with a cup of coffee, let`s jump over to the distinction between CPI vs DPI.

CPI vs DPI: Have a glance at everything you need to Know

The difference between DPI and CPI is purely theoretical with its point of view. But it also makes an impact to the practical user experience. Practically DPI(Dot Per Inch) is a misnomer when it referring to the mouse sensitivity whereas the CPI(Counts Per Inch) directly attached with the pointing speed sensitivity that the mouse offers to you. Here we walk through a complete knowledge about the topic.

What is CPI? What does it actually means?

Generally, CPI(Counts Per Inch) actually indicates the number of steps the mouse will report with a movement of one inch. So simply it introduces to you the sensitivity of the mouse. Meanwhile, the technical terms sensitivity refers how much your mouse covers on of your display with the physical movement of it. In other words,  You can call it just like the ratio of mouse pointer`s movement over the physical movement of the mouse.

Statistically, a mouse with a CPI settings of 800, allows you to move your pointer 800 pixels on the screen with a single inch physical movement of your mouse.

The majority of the professional gamers are love to use the gaming mouse with  3000 CPI settings or below. So, it’s not too cool with 16000 capabilities of CPI settings.

 What is DPI? What does it actually means?

DPI(Dot Per Inch) actually refers the printing dot density when it related to the printer attached to your PC or the video dot density on your screen. So it determines the number of every single Dots which is placed in a single line within the length of one inch.

Basically, it used to explain the resolution number of dots per inch of a digital print. So DPI is not directly related to the sensitivity of a mouse, rather it indicates the printing resolution or the dot gain in the output of a hard copy print. So the DPI coined with your mouse is not have its relevancy, it actually the referring term comes from the printing world.

Confusion points


CPI vs DPI; this is one of the most worn out and over-hyped terms in the gaming world. We already get the basic concept what they actually mean; now we have to find what is the confusion?

Well, surely you aware about the extra switch on your mouse and probably you gasping why it indicates DPI instead of CPI? Technically the correct word related to the mouse which defined the sensitivity factor of the mouse is CPI. But if you focused on the industry, DPI is widely used instead of CPI. Sometimes the word DPI is used to determine the picture/video quality which is actually referring to PPI (Pixels Per Inch).

The term “Pixels Dots” is very analogous to the “CMYK Dots” of a digital printer, which are the greatest miss-conception and the reason behind the confusion of CPI vs DPI. And unknowingly all of the people use DPI in the place of CPI or PPI. If you ever use a gaming mouse or if you go to buy a new one, surely you may see the DPI switch attached with the mouse.

CPI vs DPI: which one I have to choose?

All right, now you are concern about the confusion. But the present question is which one you have to choose between CPI and DPI? Technically DPI switch attached with a mouse is actually the CPI switch. CPI is directly related to the measurement of the sensitivity of the mouse that I told you already. On the other hand, most of the companies attached a so-called tag name DPI to their product which fairly refers the operation same as the CPI switch.

So when you are out for buying a new gaming mouse you have to short out the sensitivity DPI (read as CPI) that you want to configure with your PC. All of the mouse available on the market comes with an adjustable CPI which is surely a good news. But you can`t be attached all types of a mouse to your computer, it depends on the configuration of your PC and the sensitivity range of your device. You can`t increase your cursor speed without upgrading your device. What we can say for sure, you can get a help from internet to find a suitable sensitivity package including the CPI, DPI & PPI.

A Bit more of CPI vs DPI


Now you know a little bit about the CPI, DPI. So I am going to tell you the deeper information about the technical approaches of CPI vs DPI with an example. Some companies promising you to deliver the mouse along with a better quality switch(like 800DPI). But what they actually do, they scattered a rumor about their product, they don`t help the gamer, actually, they create hype around them. People think they experience the level most features of modern technology. But actually, it is nothing but the smoke in the air.

In other words, there are some people who already know all about the CPI vs DPI sensitivity but ridiculously the love to wipe their mouse all around the screen with a single micro-movement of their mouse. So the choice of perfect CPI sensitivity to your mouse is quite technical as it sounds.

Let`s an example to get the topic quickly.

Suppose you are printing a 200 PPI image at a printing rate of 1000 DPI. Each pixel will consist of 25 Dots (1000 dots/200 pixel = 5 rows of 5 dots per pixel). It really matters to the image because of the higher the Dot/inch (DPI) is greater the tonality and the smoothness of the color. It also needs more ink and bigger time to be printed out. Basically, 150 DPI is said to be the minimum limit for high-quality printing reproduction. Here I make a simple chart of various DPI sensitivity fairly used in the modern industry.

     Industry/ printers         DPI Used                Reviews
           News-paper             85 DPI But the effect is clear and you find every individual Dots detectable.
           Billboards             45 DPI But you can also find it clear because of tropical viewing from very far away
        Dot matrix printers         60 to 90 DPI It comes out with a crystal clear printed paper.
          Inkjet printers        300 to 600 DPI You can`t find the pixel with an open eye.
         Laser printers        600 to 1800 DPI Here the pixel density is very high, depends on the device settings.
For general/average printers            150 DPI I`s the minimum limit for high-quality printing reproduction.


My mouse has the highest CPI/DPI sensitivity –Is it very cool or not???

Meanwhile, higher CPI does not mean a better cursor movement experience at all. Actually, there always exists a co-relation between the mouse comes with a higher CPI factors and the quality of the sensor.
As well as the greater DPI does not the necessity of a high-quality printing. Though there is no standard dot size. It totally depends on the manufacturer. As an example, it may look better at 1200 of DPI settings whereas it looks like perfect at 700 DPI in another manufacturer`s dots. So, higher CPI/DPI is not so cool for all the time.

How does the confusion Concern the user???

In this stage of this article, you already know what the term CPI/DPI actually means. Now you probably wondering about what is the problem that I concern about it? Well, actually it is not your problem. You can smoothly use your mouse as the past. Basically, it is the problems of some manufacturer companies who coined the term DPI to introduce there both of the products, mouse, and printers instead of CPI. They have to know about the basic difference between the CPI and DPI. Finally, you just need to adjust your mouse sensitivity despite of all the mistakes made by the manufacturer.

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Suman Ghosal

Creative Writer at Layerpoint.com, an internet shabby, Science geek who loves to write on technology and modern software productivity.