When you are going to buy a keyboard for your computer setup, the question of wired vs wireless is bound to come up. Once, wireless models were miles behind their wired counterparts in competitive gaming but they have closed that gap a long time ago. Have they been upgraded enough to surpass their rivals?
Wireless technology has been a dark horse for a long time. For making a choice, keep in mind that both have their potential benefits and drawbacks. Once, wired accessories were a no-brainer for reliability and solid performance but wireless devices have caught up for being wire-free and mobile.
Both wired and wireless keyboards have improved a lot over the years. We’re going to break down every parameter these types differ from each other so you can make a better decision when choosing between them.
Wired vs Wireless Keyboards: Main Points of Comparison
Both versions have their admirers and critics. Whether you are doubtful about the reliability of wireless models or just want to cut all the wires, there are a few things you need to know.
Check out these points of comparison between these two types to find out what suits you the best:
Portability and Mobility
Wireless keyboards are definitely better in this case because you can move them up to a distance of 30 feet, which is great if you want to stay at a distance from the laptop or monitor for some reason.
The bigger the distance, the more the risk of latency and disturbance. However, the freedom to move around comes in handy when you need to navigate through presentations or having on-screen meetings with others.
Wired keyboards don’t offer that freedom since they need to be plugged into the computer’s USB port. You can move up to the length of the cord.
Ease of Organization
All those cables of wired keyboards on your desk stick out like a sore thumb. Having wires on the desk mars the overall aesthetic of a workplace and having them on the floor means occasional tripping over. They also take up space, especially if the desk is tiny.
Also, cables add to the visual bulk and weight. When you travel, these devices get tangled up with other items in your suitcase, making it difficult to retrieve them quickly.
Wireless keyboards and other peripherals, on the other hand, allow for a desk space free of visual clutter. No need to worry about getting tangled up with other items in your laptop bag. If you need to work on the go, just retrieve the keyboard from the bag and start working (given you have left the USB dongle plugged into the laptop).
With wireless accessories, any minimalist will love the clutter-free and clean look of their desk and workstation.
Wireless keyboards run off battery power. Some of them use dry cell batteries that need replacement when they run out of charge. Most products these days use rechargeable batteries that you can recharge by plugging into a power source.
While the batteries provide uninterrupted power for long working hours, they will eventually run out of charge. So, it’s quite possible to get stuck with a dead keyboard in the middle of playing a game or doing other work. It will be quite frustrating if you have to deal with it while working on the go.
Using wired keyboards is the only way to avoid this problem. They cannot run out of charge because they are always connected to a power source, i.e. a laptop or computer.
As wireless keyboards work by sending signals back and forth to the computer and those signals can be interrupted or interfered with easily. For this reason, they sometimes yield slower responses than their wired counterparts.
Modern top-grade wireless units don’t have any noticeable lag but they might still not be perfect for those tasks that require complete precision.
As wired keyboards are plugged directly into the computer, there is no signal transmission. So, you don’t need to worry about interference or latency.
Not all but some wireless keyboards are hackable, according to research by Bastille, a cybersecurity company. Hackers can intercept and record whatever you type — passwords, credit card information, and everything else — from up to 250 feet.
Fortunately, this security breach has been found only in some low-end wireless models. Bluetooth units are secure in this regard because they transmit signals in an encrypted data stream.
Wired keyboards are completely safe because you plug them directly into the computer, which requires no signal broadcasting.
The prices of low-end models from both types are quite similar, but the difference grows bigger with the higher-end models. For example, a top-of-the-line wireless gaming keyboard will cost way more than a wired gaming keyboard with the same configurations.
Wireless units cost more for the technology required to keep the accessories wire-free. Also, the expenses of changing batteries will be added to the tally if the device runs on dry cell batteries.
A keyboard is a crucial part of a gaming setup. Any serious gamer would know the value of a keyboard that provides an accurate response since reflex is everything between winning and losing a game.
Wireless Keyboards for Gaming
Normally, these keyboards are used for works that are not demanding about speed and precision. So, they are best for normal office tasks. In a gaming setup, it does nothing more than adding aesthetic. The lack of clutter definitely looks impressive.
However, the mobility and no-wire setup does not make up for interference and lag/latency. If various wireless devices run in the same room, their frequencies are bound to get interfered with by each other. It may rarely happen in top-class products, but serious gamers won’t take that chance.
Latency/lag is another off-putting issue about the wireless models. Split-second reactions are crucial in a game, and latency is very much present in all wireless models except for some top-tier products.
Two more problems with wireless gaming keyboard are the battery power and complex key combinations. These keyboards run on rechargeable or triple-A dry cell batteries, so running out of charge in the middle of playing is the last thing anyone would want. Also, the key combinations of some wireless gaming models are different from the standard key layout.
Wired Keyboards for Gaming
Any professional gamer would prefer wired keyboards due to their excellent precision and super-fast reaction time. In fact, most gaming keyboards in the market feature a wired connection because it ensures fast response and uninterrupted power supply.
Simply, they take out of all downsides of their wireless counterpart in a gaming setting.
The cables should not be too bothersome to the gamers because they stay glued to the desk anyway when playing.
Wired or Wireless: Which One to Pick?
From the above discussion regarding wired vs wireless, it’s evident that both have their advantages and drawbacks. Except for a professional gaming scenario, wireless keyboards sound more convenient, even from an aesthetic point of view. Any minimalist would love the look of a neat, clutter-free workspace.
However, it makes more sense for a serious gamer to go for a wired keyboard. Also, this one seems to be a more reasonable choice if you don’t want to deal with battery changing or time to time recharging. Many high-end wireless units produce minimal or no latency/lag but they are quite expensive compared to the wired ones.
So, choosing between wired and wireless keyboards finally comes down to your personal preference, budget, and workplace convenience.
This table will help you to keep tabs on the pros and cons of wired and wireless keyboards at a glance:
|Wired Keyboards||Wireless Keyboards|
|Portability and Mobility||1. Portable but not without the mess of cables|
2. Not mobile
|1. Portable without any hassle|
2. Mobile up to 30 feet of distance
3. Great for working on the go
|Ease of Organization||1. Cables make workspace look cluttered|
2. Get tangled with other items in a confined space
|1. Create a clutter-free clean looking workstation|
2. No cables mean no tangling up
|Power||1. Need no battery|
2. Uninterrupted power supply
|1. Run on battery power|
2. Need battery changing or recharging
3. Cannot supply uninterrupted power
|Reliability||1. No signal interference |
2. No lag/latency
3. Fast, precise response
|1. Can experience signal interference|
2. Can experience lag/latency
3. Slower responses (occasionally)
|Security||1. Not hackable||1. Some radio frequency (RF) wireless models are hackable|
|Price||1. Budget-friendly||1. More expensive than wired models|
|Gaming||1. Great for gaming due to no lag and fast reaction time||1. Except for high-end models, not good for professional gaming|