I am going to keep this short and free from claims that a laser mouse is a trillion times faster and more accurate than a boring old cheap optical mouse.
The main difference for almost all of us is the kind of surface on which the mouse will be used.
Laser mice and Microsoft’s Blu-track range will work on 99% of surfaces, including carpet according to Microsoft, and even clear glass, BUT..
An optical mouse is as fussy as a mouse can get, and should you get a cheap mouse mat or a $$$ gaming mouse mat because control can be erratic to say the least.
So, I used to have a Microsoft 5000 mouse, Blu-track, and really good until the scroll wheel decided that playing ball was going to stop, and it worked a treat on my patterned glass mouse mat, which was easy to clean and because of the slightly stippled effect, always allowed for an easy glide.
Then I bought a Logitech MS 705, a really good mouse except for one small problem. It isn’t a laser mouse and will not work on my glass mouse mat. At first, I panicked and looked to buying a gaming mouse pad, but when I saw the prices and reviews where it stated that longevity was not a strong point, I was almost sick.. LOL
Well, ok.. not quite sick but disappointed. As it turns out, the MS 705 works well directly on my keyboard tray.
The moral of the story is simple.
If you run a desktop computer, any mouse will do. You can opt to use a mat, or the desktop tray if it works.
If you are a mobile person and take a laptop around with you, finding the perfect surface for a mouse is not always easy. You are the prime candidate for a LASER mouse..