CPI versus DPI | The Only Guide You Need To Read

Technology can be wacky at times. Most of the time, actually it can get you scratching your head. There are so many things to know and to take into consideration. No wonder it is like that. But then certain things refuse to quit being confusing. Such a technological thing I have most recently come across is the much fussed over CPI vs. DPI.

You might have heard about them or not, but there has always been a lot of ambiguity and controversy revolving around CPI vs. DPI to come to a decision once and for all, which has not happened. Not till now anyway. I’ll tell you all about it, what the terms mean, what the scuffle is about, and all else, but for now, just a hint, these are computer mouse-related terms. 


The pointing device is all-important for the cursor to move around while we’re working. Of course, I don’t know about you, but I cannot imagine working without a mouse. But have you ever wondered what goes behind the scene, how you move it and the cursor moves, and how you can point and select and drag, etc.? 

Well, if you have, then I bet DPI vs. CPI must have crossed your mind at least once, if not more times. If you have not wondered, it is time I jolted awake your curiosity and astonished you with all the wonders of technology.

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The Formal Definitions

Before getting on with the difference between CPI and DPI, it is significant to comprehend what the individual terms account for. So that is how we’re going to start, with CPI first, and then we will go on to covering its counterpart.


CPI is the abbreviation for Counts Per Inch. It means that how much the cursor moves when you move your mouse an inch. That loosely means that CPI converts to the incremental steps your mouse takes when you move it with your hand, about an inch.

It depicts the mouse movements’ sensitivity, which means it indicates how accurately and correctly the mouse senses and picks up signals. That might not be a big deal for us, but it is for people who play high-definition movement-sensitive games for fun or for a living.

See also: 15 Best Free Mouse Mover Software for Windows [2021]

So they prefer high-end mice, and for them, these things make a whole world of difference. Also, another thing that makes having knowledge of CPI versus DPI absolutely necessary is that when shopping for the mice, it can come in handy. It ensures that you buy the right product, the one you might actually like. It also protects you from getting conned into buying something that you would not.


Sometimes the shopkeeper tells you the mouse comes with 1600 DPI, along with several other shiny features overpowering it, and in the actuality, turns out it is 800 DPI, with features that don’t work, or you don’t need, in that case, the device is of little use to you. Now we don’t want all that to happen, so that is why it should interest you to know what CPI and DPI stand for on a mouse.


Now, to DPI, which, when extended, comes out to be Dots Per Inch. Dots? You might be asking yourself, did I read that, right? Well, yes, you did. It means the number of dots that can be covered in an inch of your mouse movement. The term, I must state, is more prominently used in spatial printing. But as you might say, there are no dots on our computer screen, so reading between the lines, we say it means pixels. So, the correct term here would be Pixels per Inch, but then they go on using DPI.

Also read our article on Gaming Mouse vs. Regular mouse. Click here! 

The More, the Merrier?

When discussing CPI vs. DPI, we can’t say it stands. The mouse doesn’t need to work fine when coupled with higher CPI. That is because after a certain point, to increase it, the pixels have to be broken down. This possibly will compromise the quality. So we advise you to not to do just out of whim, and only when necessary. 

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Coming To the Point, How Do They Differ?

That is what I am trying to tell you. They don’t. Is CPI the same as DPI? Yes, it is. Does it matter which one you use? It doesn’t unless you are very, very fussy, or you do need a top-notch sensitive mouse, which we don’t, in our daily lives. So what they call it doesn’t matter, as long as the mouse can point and scroll.

You might have noticed that whenever specifying on the product pack or even when telling product details, they always say DPI, but the apt term, which describes what they are trying to say, is CPI. Why is that?

No significant differences prevail between them both when we are having a chat about CPI versus DPI. CPI is more closely related to the domain, while DPA falls more towards the printing category. But as the masses are more familiar with DPI, it is the sole reason for it use everywhere.

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As revolting and flabbergasting as these topics can be, they can stay with you forever once gotten hold of. Imagine, you’d not be conned by a shopkeeper ever again if you know this. Temptation enough?. Go on then, reread it, try to comprehend it.

Stay tuned for more articles.

See also: 10 Best Free Mouse Clicker Software for Windows

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