Wireless everything is all the rage right now. However, some people — like me — continue to live the wired life regarding their computer peripherals. A wired keyboard and mouse offer many advantages over their wireless counterparts. Those advantages make them more appealing to some folks who don’t need the features of a wireless peripheral set. Let’s examine these distinguishing characteristics.
Advantages of a Wired Keyboard and Mouse Combination
While some consider the wired peripheral a relic of the past, they continue to provide many unique advantages over wireless ones. In time, we may see this gap close, but for now, the following characteristics are distinguishing features of the wired keyboard and mouse combination.
Wired keyboards and mice are generally considered more reliable than their wireless counterparts. This reliability comes from the lack of moving parts in a wired peripheral. So, wireless ones need to have entirely separate interfacing for their connectivity.
Furthermore, wireless keyboards and mice that use multiple interfaces, such as 2.4 GHz and Bluetooth, will need connections for both options. However, a wired mouse only needs connectivity for the wire. So, more production money can be put into the components. Thus, a wired mouse tends to be more reliable.
What’s more, you don’t have to worry about additional hardware, like dongles, that can easily get lost. While both wired and wireless keyboards and mice offer plug-and-play options, you have more small parts to worry about with a 2.4 GHz wireless keyboard or mouse dongle.
Furthermore, people who have older desktops or laptops may not have Bluetooth capabilities built into their PCs. So, if you don’t have native Bluetooth support, you’ll need to procure a dongle that allows your computer to interface with Bluetooth peripherals.
Wired keyboards and mice shine in performance over wireless ones. To begin, wireless keyboards and mice suffer from input lag. So, the commands the user puts in may take excessive, even noticeable, time to process. For most wireless peripherals, this delay will be negligible. However, even the most hardy of wireless keyboards and mice will start running slowly when interference occurs.
Additionally, wireless keyboards and mice are more susceptible to ghosting, which is when the user inputs a command, but nothing happens. This ghosting issue is especially true for wireless membrane keyboards. They are susceptible to ghosting on both the hardware and connectivity levels, as the rubber layer of the keyboard is less responsive than mechanical switches.
So, wireless keyboards are also subject to interference and more severe input lag because the signal from the keyboard must travel through the air rather than being insulated into a wire. This problem means that wireless keyboards can ghost keypresses on a hardware level by not sending the signal at all and on a software level if the signal is interfered with or lost.
Did you know hackers can enter your computer through your wireless peripherals? Sure, it’s a long shot to assume that a hacker is physically close enough to your computer to access it through a wireless keyboard or mouse, but it’s still possible. Thus, high-security systems will almost always choose wired peripherals as an extra layer of security, even if it’s a very minor security boon.
Another huge factor that differs between wireless and wired keyboards is the price. Corded keyboards tend to be cheaper than cordless ones overall. This price differential comes from many places, but one of the most important differences is the production costs.
To begin, wired keyboards are cheaper to produce than wireless ones. This production cost difference comes from wired technologies not being gated behind licensing the way wireless technologies are. So, if a wireless keyboard wants to offer Bluetooth connectivity, they have to pay for that. However, wired manufacturers can get right to the production line after finishing their designs.
On the whole, wireless keyboards tend to be a “premium” option. Wireless technology is a feature that isn’t entirely standardized. Additionally, there are fewer low-cost options for implementing wireless technology in a smooth and consumer-friendly way. Bluetooth requires additional licensing, 2.4 GHz requires a dongle, and building your own interface is out of the question. You’re kind of stuck.
So, since the technology for wireless keyboards comes at a higher cost-of-entry, the company offloads that additional cost onto the consumer. While the lowest-priced wired keyboard on Amazon is $3.99 with free two-day shipping for Prime members, the equivalent wireless keyboard is a deceptive $5.90 with $20 shipping!
No Battery to Maintain
Another compelling feature of wired mice and keyboards is the lack of batteries. Now, we’re not saying batteries are bad. They’re an excellent and crucial piece of technology that has enabled massive advancements in technology as we know it. However, batteries come with some significant downsides regarding certain hardware types.
Firstly, every battery has a limited number of charge and discharge cycles. Thus, you can only charge and utilize a battery so many times before it stops functioning. However, when a battery in a mouse or keyboard stops working, you usually have to buy a new mouse or keyboard altogether.
Since most wireless mice and keyboards don’t have a wired mode, buying a new unit is the only recourse if the battery won’t charge. However, a lithium-ion battery has an estimated 300–500 discharge cycles before it will stop charging effectively. Since most wireless mice and keyboards last more than a day on a single charge, you’ll usually reach that point after 2–3 years unless you’re a heavy computer user.
However, you can take steps to improve the life of your lithium-ion battery. For instance, roughly every 30 charges, you should let the battery discharge completely and die before charging it again. Doing this prevents the system from developing digital memory. It is when the power gauge indicates the wrong energy storage because the battery hasn’t discharged fully in some time.
Additionally, batteries have what’s known as a discharge curve. It’s a graph that shows the voltage the battery can output based on its depth of discharge (DOD.) Unlike other battery types, lithium-ion batteries excel at a DOD of about 40–50%. However, as the battery discharges, it will output less voltage, making it harder for the battery to supply power to the device.
Thus, wired devices avoid these problems by simply not having a battery in the first place. Wired keyboards do not need to store energy. The power cable supplies the keyboard with the necessary voltage to run the processes. Thus, it has a stable and consistent voltage supplied by the cable.
What Are the Best Wired Keyboard and Mouse Combos You Can Buy?
Keyboard and mouse combos are becoming more popular as they’re quite profitable for companies intent on selling their products simultaneously and building customer loyalty. Let’s examine the best keyboard and mouse combos for you.
Best Overall: Redragon S107
- Up to 3200 DPI and 4000 FPS
- 7 colors, 6 backlight effects, 4 backlight brightness levels
- Compatibility: Windows 10, Windows 8, Windows 7, Windows Vista, or Windows XP, limited macOS keyboard support
The Redragon S107 Gaming Keyboard and Mouse Combo is an excellent buy if you need a marriage of cost and functionality in a wired keyboard and mouse. It features a “mechanical feel,” which is a fancy way of saying, “not actually mechanical but feels better than a membrane.”
This keyboard and mouse combo is a little more expensive than the absolute low end of keyboard-mouse combinations, but it’s still very affordable at around $30 with free shipping for Prime members.
Best Mechanical Combo: Redragon K552-RGB-BA
- The tuned buttons reduce click fatigue
- Up to 7200 DPI, 10G acceleration
- 12 multimedia keys
- Double-shot injection molded keycaps for crystal clear backlighting
If you want a mechanical keyboard that’s both affordable and looks great, the K552-RGB-BA Mechanical Gaming Keyboard and Mouse from Redragon are your go-to. They offer an entry-level mechanical keyboard-mouse combo for a reasonable price.
Now, it is worth noting that this is a tenkeyless keyboard. So, if you use the keypad regularly, you will need a different keyboard. However, people who are looking for an affordable, space-saving mechanical keyboard will love this set.
Best Membrane Keyboard: Logitech MK120
- Can withstand 10 million keystrokes
- Standard layout with full-size F-keys and number pad
- Features a spill-resistant design and a curved space bar
- Compatible with Windows 7, 8, 10, or later
If you’re a heathen who likes membrane keyboards, the Logitech MK120 Wired Keyboard and Mouse Combo are for you. It’s an excellent and affordable membrane keyboard that gives you everything it says on the tin. You’ll get a budget keyboard and mouse with an ergonomic design and plug-and-play functionality. Additionally, it’s spill-resistant, and the mouse is ambidextrous. So, South Paws get their representation in this set.
Best Wired Keyboard and Mouse Combo with Programmable Keys: Redragon S101
- RGB backlit gaming keyboard
- 114 keys
- Up to 3200 DPI, 30G acceleration, and Weight Tuning set
- Comes with a full numeric keypad and a gold-plated corrosion-free USB connector
If you want programmable keys, the Redragon S101 is an excellent budget choice. Additionally, this set comes with the M601 mouse, a nice budget gaming mouse that you can use just by plugging it into your computer.
This keyboard has 10 multimedia keys, which you can pull double-duty with by combining them with the FN key. These keys are totally programmable. They have a default setting, but you can change the function of these keys to do whatever you desire!
Best Low-Cost Combo: Amazon Basics USB Wired Combo
- Works with Windows 2000, XP, Vista, 7, 8, 10 and later
- USB-connected 3-button optical mouse
- The keyboard features 4 function keys
- Up to 1000 DPI
If your only concern is the cost, the Amazon Basics USB Wired Computer Keyboard and Mouse Bundle is an excellent option. It’s got absolutely no frills and no bonuses — just precisely what’s necessary to be qualified as a keyboard and mouse combo.
This keyboard does have a few additional buttons, specifically for multimedia. However, you can’t program the inputs. So, if you aren’t doing anything on your computer that would use them, they’re just bum keys that take up space. However, it’s a $15 keyboard. So, if you’re not complaining, we aren’t either.
The image featured at the top of this post is ©Andrei Kuzmik/Shutterstock.com.