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CPI vs DPI: Are the terms different?

DPI is a term that you often hear when you look to purchase a new mouse especially for choosing the perfect gaming mouse. However, most  top mouse manufacturing brands provide a CPI switch instead of a DPI Switch. In this article I will provide a detailed guide regarding what is CPI vs DPI, and how important it is while purchasing a gaming mouse. 

CPI vs DPI: What does it stand for?

CPI is the short form for Counts Per Inch. The number of steps taken by the mouse when it moves an inch is called CPI. 

In simple terms, the CPI is a metric used to determine the sensitivity of the mouse.

 CPI basically refers to the sensitivity of the mouse that is used to determine how much distance the mouse covers on the screen related to the physical movement of the mouse.

DPI is the short form for Dots Per Inch, this is a metric that is used to  measure the video dot density or spatial printing. With the help of DPI, you can determine the number of individual dots that can be placed in a line within the span of one inch. 

DPI can also be determined as a metric to determine the resolution number of dots per inch in a digital print. The printing resolution of a hard copy print dot gain can also be measured using DPI.


To sum it up DPI is a term that is mainly used to analyse metrics of the print world, whereas CPI is a term used to determine metrics of your gaming mice.

So how is CPI and DPI interrelated?

If you are using a mouse to scroll further below in this article, by now you must’ve paused to take a look at the switch of your mouse and with a puzzled look you must be thinking why does it say DPI instead of CPI?

Why is DPI used to denote the sensitivity of a mouse instead of CPI?

 DPI is a term that is better known by majority of individuals and hence it is used to describe the sensitivity of your mouse, however, the correct nomenclature is CPI indeed. For instance, DPI is also a term used by graphic designers to represent the depth and/or quality of their images, whereas the correct nomenclature should be PPI (Pixels Per Inch).

It is a known fact that inorder to be more presentable, companies try and emulate terms that are easily relatible by the general public. DPI happens to be a term that almost every individual is aware about. Unfortunately, DPI is overused in describing metrics of a product, which is exactly the case with gaming mice manufacturers.

If you own a gaming mouse or go and check out a gaming mouse you will see that most of them display the term DPI. Do not be confused, when you see this because that DPI switch is actually referring to the CPI switch.

The logitech Steele series is the only gaming mouse series I have come across that uses the term CPI correctly to measure its sensitivity when most of the top mouse companies opting to use the term DPI for measuring sensitivity. 

How Does This Concern Users?

Now that you know what CPI and DPI actually refer to, you’re probably wondering how does it change things. Well, actually, it doesn’t. You can continue using your mouse the same way that you used earlier. Apparently, manufacturers are aware of the differences between the two nomenclatures. Despite that, they’ll continue to stick with the term DPI since it is more prevalent amongst the consumers. In the end, you’re actually adjusting your mouse’s sensitivity only, regardless of what name the company chooses to call it.

DPI SwitchDPI is used to determine mouse sensitivity instead of CPI

CPI vs DPI: Unique yet similar

If you too get confused between CPI vs DPI when you look at your mouse despite of knowing what both metrics denote dont worry you are not alone almost every Gamer or computer expert has also been confused between CPI and DPI somewhere down the line. To clear any confusion, while buying a Mouse both CPI and DPI refers to the same metrics. However, as per Tech experts, the correct nomenclature for describing mouse sensitivity should be CPI as The DPI is originally a technical aspect for an individual printer and has no association with the mouse products. 

Basically, if you alter either the DPI or the CPI of your mouse you will simply be modifying the sensitivity of your mouse according to how the sensitivity function has been featured by the brand of the mouse you are using.

I hope my intake on CPI vs DPI helped in clearing any confusion surrounding CPI and DPI , let me know if you found this article helpful or would like to add more info to it.


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