Wires, they’re the bane of minimalism; but they’re usually necessary discomforts, especially for your peripherals like the mouse and keyboard. Wireless peripherals have long been available as cleaner and more organized alternatives, but are they much better now than they were a few years ago?
Depending on how many you have, wireless peripherals might just edge out wired peripherals. The old problem for wireless peripherals is their latency, but thanks to the latest proprietary 2.4G wireless tech from big brands like Logitech and Razer, that issue has been eliminated.
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In fact, both the Lightspeed and the Hyperspeed tech from Logitech and Razer respectively, claim to have a shorter and better latency compared to wired devices. Hence, they’re “faster than wired.” So from that feature alone, you could argue that wireless peripherals are much better now, right?
Well, the answer isn’t as absolute as you’d expect. There are still some glaring weaknesses, and we have to enumerate them one by one for your consideration.
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Wireless Mice, Speakers, & Headsets Still Have Poor Battery Life
The mouse is the bigger offender here compared to the keyboard since it’s a much smaller device and can only allot so much battery space before it becomes too cumbersome. However, even certain keyboard models have poor battery life.
Some of the best mice from both Razer and Logitech even come up short of their advertised battery life, depending on who uses them, especially if they’re on a 2.4G connection. You’re looking at a charging frequency of around several times per week if you use the mouse heavily for eight hours a day or more.
For keyboards, the numbers differ based on the manufacturer. But they generally last longer due to the bigger lithium-ion batteries.
There are mice and keyboards that use dry cell batteries (usually AA or AAA sizes) but those add up to the weight and they often run out in the most unfortunate or urgent moments.
You could just opt to use Bluetooth mode instead of the more power-demanding 2.4G mode, but then latency and precision would suffer a bit– not ideal for gaming. Moreover, Bluetooth and other forms of wireless connections do introduce their own slew of problems…
Bluetooth & Other Wireless Signals Interfere With One Another
The operative words here are “one another,” which means three or more wireless devices connected to your computer that’s relying on either Bluetooth or 2.4G. Their signals can interfere with one another, leading to disconnections, latency issues, and sometimes malfunctions.
It’s worse if they’re all Bluetooth since they might wrestle with one another for a stable connection to the computer, depending on the quality of your Bluetooth module. Bluetooth firmware on the specific wireless device also plays a role here.
But in general, if you have more than two wireless devices (keyboard, mouse, controllers, speakers, webcam, lighting, printers, etc.) then they have a bigger chance of clashing with one another. Even your internet modem and router can join in on the fray, along with your phone.
It has something to do with using the same frequency or band, which is 2.4GHz. Too many devices using that frequency to connect wirelessly can quickly become chaotic; so you’ll end up compromising back to wires for some of these devices.
Wireless Devices Are More Expensive
You’ve probably noticed this already, but some wireless devices have prices that are nearly double that of their wired variants. Some of the mice and headset models for Razer and Logitech devices are notable examples here.
In theory, wired tech should be more expensive since they use more parts for production, but those wires are dirt cheap. Wireless tech is more expensive since the technology they use is newer and is always in the process of improvement.
Companies spend millions or even billions in research and development to perfect and iron out their wireless technology so they have to make back some of it through the higher cost of the wireless devices. Sometimes, they also have to pay licensing fees to agencies that maintain or develop the tech. In some countries, government approval for wireless devices can get in the way.
So the idea that wireless peripherals and devices are “luxury” items is still there, even if there are budget models available.
Wireless Devices Are Still Better in These Aspects
Despite the most common drawbacks for wireless peripherals, they are still miles ahead when compared to their wired counterparts in terms of portability, tech, and design; that is assuming your reference point for comparison is the flagship wireless devices, like the Razer DeathAdder V3 Pro or the Logitech G502 X Plus Lightspeed, for example.
Here’s a good list of advantages you’ll enjoy if you opt for wireless peripherals:
- Cleaner and more minimalist appearance – It can help you feel more organized and in control of your workspace, thus increasing productivity. This can vary from person to person, but it’s certainly easier to clean a wireless workspace.
- Portability – Being able to take your favorite mouse, keyboard, speakers, or headset anywhere without worrying about power sources is quite a godsend if you’re always on the move.
- Better precision – Certain wireless technologies like Logitech’s Lightspeed and Razer’s Hyperspeed provide a shorter latency compared to wired mode, nearly eliminating input lag and giving users better control.
- No intrusive wire – Wires tend to limit your mice’s range of motion, you can even test this out yourself with a wireless mouse; simply plug in the charging cable and you’ll notice it moves more sluggishly if you don’t have a wire bungee.
- They usually have the newest tech and materials – Manufacturers are pouring a lot of effort and capital into their wireless devices, so they usually also bundle them with the latest and greatest tech. Wireless mice and keyboards, in particular, are typically built better and feel more premium.
So if you’re on the fence about shifting to wireless peripherals due to “latency issues” or something similar, don’t be. Just pick anything with the aforementioned tech from Razer and Logitech as those two are the pack-leaders when it comes to wireless tech for consumers.
Wireless peripherals are definitely better now compared to where and what they were several years ago. Sadly, if you’re planning to have an all-wireless setup for everything that’s connected to your computer, you might encounter some frustration due to interference issues.
So for the moment, only go wireless for your most used peripherals, which are usually the mouse or keyboard.