Wireless Keyboard vs Wired: Which Should You Buy?

When it comes to choosing between Wireless Keyboard vs Wired, the answer is immediately obvious, isn't it? Wireless keyboards are a newer technology, so that automatically means it's better. And we've just written the shortest article ever.

While it may seem like an obvious answer, the reality is actually more complex than this. Depending on your needs, and what you use your keyboard for, may mean that a wired keyboard will actually be more suitable. So before you take the plunge, here's everything you need to know.

Wireless Keyboard vs Wired

The most immediate difference between a wireless keyboard and a wired one is probably obvious: one has a wire, and one doesn't. A wireless keyboard offers a cleaner, less cluttered look on your desk, very much en flique in a world of minimalism and clean lines.

Wireless keyboards typically connect to your computer via Bluetooth or wireless RF. These two terms are often used interchangeably, but they are different. Most peripherals these days will favour RF over Bluetooth, as it usually offers superior connectivity to Bluetooth.

So now that we've dealt with that fascinating technical bit, let's dig into the strengths and weaknesses of wired and wireless keyboards.

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Wireless Keyboard vs Wired: Pros and Cons

Other than looking 'cool' in comparison to having wires breaking up your flow, are there any other benefits to wireless keyboards over wired? Let's take a look at the pros and cons of each.

wireless keyboard vs wired
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Credit: Steelseries

Wireless Pros

Starting with wireless keyboards, there are several benefits in addition to the way they look. The absence of wires definitely looks nice. But it also offers a huge advantage in terms of flexibility. A cable will typically be around 6 feet long. This means that you are always going to be limited in terms of how far away you can be from your computer.

With a wireless keyboard though, this limitation is instantly removed. Want to sit on a beanbag while you do some typing, like the rebellious upstart you are? Now you can! It doesn't just need to be a beanbag though. The point is, you aren't chained to the desk.

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It also means you have more flexibility over your desk set-up, without cables hampering where you want to put things.

Wireless keyboards are also easier to travel with. Cables won't get tangled or knotted, and starting up work is quicker, as you don't need to find the relevant port on your computer.

Wireless Keyboard Cons

All this is great, but having all that freedom and flexibility comes at a cost.

Most importantly, a wireless connection can be impacted by signal interference. If something else in your vicinity is broadcasting on the same frequency, it can cause issues.

There's also the issue with lag. A wireless connection will always have a slight delay between your input and that information appearing on-screen. Sure, in many cases, this is relatively minor. If you're writing a document, a split second delay in a word appearing isn't a big issue. But if you're a gamer, even the smallest lag can make the difference between winning and losing.

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And finally, there's the issue of charging. A wireless keyboard will either have a rechargeable battery, or a standard alkaline battery set up. Either way, there is always the risk that you're going to run out juice. And if that's midway through completing an important piece of work, you could be in trouble if you forgot to pack a charging cable and/or spare batteries.

Wired Pros

Wired keyboards, while perhaps seen as the more 'traditional' choice, still offer some benefits over a wireless option.

As we saw earlier, wireless keyboards can suffer from signal interference and lag. Neither of these issues effect a wired keyboard, which has a connection direct to your computer. For gamers, or those who require the fastest response times, this is a compelling benefit.

There's also the issue of security. A wired device doesn't carry any risk in comparison to the potential security concerns around wireless connections.

And in direct contrast to a wireless keyboard, a wired keyboard runs off the power from your computer. So you won't have to worry about it suddenly running out of juice.

One other factor that we haven't mentioned is cost. A wired keyboard will often cost less than a wireless equivalent. Plus there are no additional costs for batteries or charging cables. So if the price is a factor, then this may sway you.

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Wired Keyboard Cons

In terms of the drawbacks, most of them won't come as a surprise. While a wireless keyboard is neat and tidy, a wired keyboard can get in the way on your desk. You'll also need to sacrifice at least one USB port to connect it to your computer.

They aren't as portable, and wires do tend to get tangles when in a bag. So if convenience is an issue when you're on the go, this can be a factor worth considering.

wireless keyboard vs wired
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Credit: Keychron

Wireless Keyboard vs Wired: Which Should You Buy?

When it comes down to choosing which one to go for, you probably already have a pretty good idea of which one is going to suit you best. But just in case, here's a summary that may help.

Wired keyboards may suit you better if:

  • You need rapid response time with minimal lag, for example as a competitive gamer.
  • If you are going to be doing lare amounts of work every day, and don't want to run the risk of batteries failing.

While wireless keyboards will be great if:

  • You want to keep clutter and cables to a minimum.
  • If you want more flexibility over where you sit in relation to your computer.
  • Or if you value portability.

For an 'average' user (if such a thing exists) either option will do a great job. There are even some keyboards that can be used wirelessly, or with a cable as well. It really comes down to personal preference. But at least we've given you an idea of the major strengths and weaknesses of each option, to help you make the most informed decision possible.

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