Spend a few hours looking at gaming mouse today. Here are some thoughts. Even if you are not a gamer, a gaming mouse provides multiple programable buttons and that is a productivity gain. Generally speaking, it has more advanced technology than a non-gaming mouse.
Here's a complete list of gaming mouse from Microsoft:
This is their latest and greatest.
All these mouses have 1 scroll wheel, 3 instant-change DPI buttons, and at least 5 programable buttons. But the X8 has 7 programable buttons, counting the left/right nudge of the scroll wheel (aka tilt).
The X8 is wireless, all the others are wired. The wireless of X8 is actually quite advanced. It uses and comes with one standard AA sized rechargeable battery. It has a magnetic connector, so it snaps onto the mouse when you need to connect the charger, and you can use it as a wired mouse while it is charging. It also features a new blue laser technology, for a 4k DPI tracking. But even if you are a hardcore gamer, any DPI over 2k is basically useless. 〔☛ What's Mouse DPI; Does Mouse DPI Matter in Gaming?〕
The middle 3 red buttons let you change DPI by a single press. They light up. For example, on the X3, the top button is 2000 DPI, the middle 800, the bottom 400.
Changing DPI is a great feature. For gaming, you want fast turning, but when you are aiming at a distant target, you want less sensitivity for precision aiming. This applies for non-gaming work as well, such as working in 3D Modeling Software.
All are shaped for the right hand, except the X3, which is symmetric.
In the end, i bought the Sindewinder X3, on discount, for $20 at a local Fry's Electronics. It is fantastic. The flat cylinder shaped scroll wheel is great, because it is easier to push as a actual button too. (Most non-gaming mouse's wheel is tube shaped and hard to press.) I choose this model because this is the smallest among them, and i have small hands. Also, this is the only among them that is symmetric for either hand. I always use 2 mouses, one for each hand. But i'm buying this mouse for my left hand. When playing combat games, i use left hand for mousing. Also, this is the lightest among them. I prefer mouse as light as possible. Those gaming mouses that comes with attachable weights seem ridiculous to me. Another great feature about this mouse, or perhaps the whole series, is that it is shaped so it is easy to grab and lift. You want it to be easily grabable for quick lifting, sometimes needed. Many mouses come in some oval shape that's comparably less easily grabable.
One thing curious is that the laser at the bottom does not glow. In LED based (non-laser) optical mouses i've used, they shine a red light. On the X3, the buttom doesn't shine at all. (if you peek into the lens carefully, you can however see red light inside.) I find this no-glow interesting and welcome.
Both optical and laser mouse use light technology. Optical mouse uses LED, while laser uses laser. Laser tech can track on more surfaces, at higher frequency.