What is Angle Snapping on a Mouse?

The term angle snapping appears again and again on gaming mice, whether on the manufacturer’s website or in the accompanying software. But what exactly does it mean and why is it bad for gaming? Here you can find out everything about the topic.

What exactly is angle snapping?

Angle snapping (also known as line straightening, mouse smoothing, angle prediction) is a function of some computer mice. It recognizes when you want to draw a straight line with the mouse and then corrects your mouse movements so that they are actually in a straight line. Angle snapping is bad for gaming and most gaming mice don’t have it or only optionally enable it.

Does my Mouse have Angle Snapping?

Angle snapping is when the mouse sensor tries to predict and smooth out your mouse movement by ignoring a few degrees of movement in a different direction.

To check if your gaming mouse is affected by angle snapping, just open MS-Paint.

Now try to draw a horizontal or vertical straight line. With angle snapping enabled, your line will usually be much straighter because slight movements are ignored. Without it, it will be virtually impossible to draw a perfectly straight line – assuming you have a good gaming mouse without this feature. The following image illustrates it all a bit better:

Angle Snapping vs no Angle Snapping
Angle Snapping vs no Angle Snapping

The bottom lines have been drawn without the feature, while the ones above have Angle Snapping enabled. You can clearly see that the bottom lines have a lot of irregularities, while the ones above are mostly perfectly straight. Mouse smoothing artificially “forces” your mouse pointer into a straight line on the screen, even though your actual movements are not straight at all.

Line straightening can vary in severity depending on the mouse.

What does this mean for gaming?

Many manufacturers go to great lengths to build flawless sensors into their gaming mice. That means without any straightening or adjustment of your mouse movements. So that you can aim pixel-precisely.

However, there are still many (mostly very cheap) gaming mice on the market that have angle-snapping enabled (and it’s not mentioned anywhere). But what does that mean for gaming?

Imagine the following scenario.

You’re playing a shooter and make a quick flick to the right with your mouse because you’ve just seen an enemy’s head there. Now, of course, you want your fine mouse movements to actually register so that your mouse cursor lands on your opponent’s head.

However, if your mouse has angle snapping enabled, the sensor will assume that you want to draw a straight line. Less ideal, because now your movement will be “corrected” to make a straight line. This would cause you to miss your opponent by a few pixels.

If you have the option, turn the function on for fun in your companion software. You will notice a difference like night and day. With angle snapping turned on, I even have a hard time targeting a point on the screen – since the sensor wants to “correct” all the time and wanders itself.

This is a disaster for gaming. No pro gamer plays with it and I can’t imagine that anyone will have better results with it than with raw input.

Is it possible to disable Angle Snapping?

Most modern gaming mice do not have angle snapping, as the sensors used today are all flawless sensors. Meaning they don’t have any performance limiting corrections like smoothing.

However, on mice that still have this feature, it usually can’t be disabled. Because you need a companion software that allows this.

Important! Before buying a gaming mouse, always check the manufacturer’s website to see if your model has the angle snapping problem – or if it can at least be disabled. The information about the sensor should say “no smoothing, filtering” or similar.

However, some manufacturers offer you the possibility to activate a smoothing function via the accompanying software. As you can see in the picture below, this is the case with the mouse from SteelSeries, for example. However, the whole thing is disabled by default – as it should be.

SteelSeries Angle Snapping Setting

However, you shouldn’t come across it even on very cheap gaming mice – check it again before buying, though.

I hope you can now understand why angle snapping is bad for us gamers.