The wireless mouse vs wired debate has been a battle raging for years. And the prevailing orthodoxy has generally been that a wired mouse is more responsive, less laggy, and a better choice for anyone who needs to most reliable option. Gamers spring immediately to mind.
Even the best wireless mice meanwhile, were seemingly only really suitable for people who were more bothered by desk-based ergonomics. If you don't like clutter and want to remove wires from your life, there really is only one option.
But wireless options have continued to progress with the inexorable passing of time. And there are many who would suggest that it's time to review the traditional view on this and see whether it still holds water. So that's exactly what we're going to do. Here's what you need to know about the differences between wireless and wired.
Wireless Mouse vs Wired: Which Is Better?
If you were asking this question a few years ago, the answer was pretty clear: a wired mouse provides a better connection, is less prone to lag and has no concerns over battery life. So far, so simple.
And then in 2016, Logitech released the G900 Chaos Spectrum. This was a wireless mouse that they claimed matched a wired mouse in terms of speed, performance and reliability. In the six years since, other wireless mouse options have arrived that have pushed this even further.
And this has changed the debate somewhat. A wireless mouse is no longer a poor substitute for a wired one. The reality is that either one can be a great option for you. But just what are the pros and cons of each? And is it possible that despite these advancements, a wired mouse will still be a better option for some? Let's find out.
Wireless Mouse vs Wired: Pros and Cons
When it comes to the essence of each type of mouse, the fundamental differences come done to that wire, and what it can do for you. So what are the fundamental benefits and drawbacks of each option?
One of the biggest and most obvious advantages of a wireless mouse is that they are often more comfortable to use. The lack of that wires means that you aren't bogged down by things like resistance or cable drag. These can have a detrimental impact on accuracy.
Back in the day, a wireless mouse was at a major disadvantage when it came to speed. The issues caused by lag meant that if you needed a mouse to provide an instant response to your input, then a wireless mouse wasn't a viable option.
That's all changed now though. Wireless mice can be just as responsive as wired ones. Proprietary wireless solutions such as Lightspeed by Logitech, or Hyperspeed by Razer have all but eradicated those issues with lag and latency.
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Another major benefit of a wireless mouse is that you aren't restricted by the length of the wire. So effectively, you can set yourself up in whatever way is most comfortable. If you use a really large monitor, or maybe even your television, sitting further away could be beneficial.
A wireless mouse can also be much easier to use when you are travelling. You don't have to worry about cables getting tangled in your bag, or getting damaged in transit. The one caveat is that you may need to take a charging cable with you. But at least that can be stored separately.
Finally, a wireless mouse just looks neater and tidier on your desk. Should that be a concern for you.
A big potential issue is the fact that a wireless mouse relies on batteries to work. Many now use a built-in rechargeable battery, which is a slight improvement over traditional AA style batteries. But there is still the risk that your mouse might die in the midst of an important task. While many allow you to charge while using your mouse, that then introduces all the drawbacks of using a wired mouse, which slightly defeats the point.
While prices are much more competitive than they used to be, there is still a tendency for a wireless mouse to be slightly more expensive than a comparable wired alternative. And if you need to pay for additional components such as a charging cable, batteries or a charging dock, then you can add a bit more the cost as well.
Given we've already said that connection problems on a wireless mouse are a thing of the past, it may seem jarring that we still list mention connectivity as a potential drawback. But the reality is that any wireless connection is potentially vulnerable to interference. This is, admittedly, less of an issue than it used to be. But it's still worth being mindful of.
A wired mouse has a physical connection to your computer, removing the risk of interference that comes with a wireless connection. It's also going to be as fast as the vast majority of wireless mice.
It also offers simplicity. Plug your mouse in and off you go. You don't need to worry about a wireless receiver plugging into the computer, or setting up a wireless connection in your settings menu. You also don't need to worry about how much charge is left in your mouse, and whether it's going to die at an inconvenient moment.
As we said above, even though the price differential has narrowed, a wired mouse still tends to be cheaper than a wireless one.
One of the biggest drawbacks of a wired mouse is the fact that it has a wire. And this then limits you in terms of your setup, and how far away from your computer you are able to sit.
It also has the potential to lead to a less comfortable experience, as you battle cable drag. For most people, this may be a relatively minor issue. But if you are a competitive gamer for example, the impact it can have on your accuracy or your response time can literally make the difference between winning and losing.
Lastly, a wired mouse is a bit less convenient when it comes to travelling. If you are on the go a lot, the risk of a tangled cable getting damaged in your bag is raised.
Wireless Mouse vs Wired: Which Should You Buy?
By now, you've probably figured out that there isn't really a clear winner in this contest anymore. Wireless mice have caught up with their wired brethren to the extent that even for serious, professional gamers (who arguably rely on performance more than anyone else) they can easily compete using a wireless mouse.
So for the rest of us, it really comes down to personal preference, as well as things like how much you want to spend, and how a particular mouse feels to use. Either option can offer an excellent experience.