Now it’s time to speak about wireless keyboards. Is it a good replacement for a wired one and are they suitable for gaming? Let’s examine the subject in detail and pick the best keyboard.
When Do You Know It Is Time to Buy a Wireless Keyboard?
- When your brand new Razer device’s wire was mercilessly torn by the chair’s wheel… again.
- When you try to connect your keyboard to the Smart TV and want to stay 4 meters away on the couch, but instead you end up crouching half a meter away as your wire won’t let you get any further.
- When your desk looks like a cable and wire warehouse.
These issues are not the most innocuous ones, are they? While the wired keyboards have tons of advantages (we have recently covered them in our article devoted to picking a gaming keyboard), the trend of enhanced ergonomics have touched upon every field on the gadget market. It is incredibly convenient to carry the device around everywhere and to transport it in a bag without having to untangle any wires later on.
However, some significant nuances can lead to a wireless keyboard not being universally compatible. I’ve found three of such nuances:
- Wireless keyboards need to be recharged regularly
Even if you don’t turn it off for a whole year, you will surely forget to charge it right before a key raid or before your monthly report to your boss is due.
- Wireless keyboards are not always portable enough
Sometimes you see a compact and convenient keyboard which is half as big as its wired counterpart and you instantly understand why it is called wireless. The next time, however, you see a giant and understand that a wire won’t do any harm here.
- A wireless keyboard doesn’t solve most of the wired keyboards’ problems
Neither the amount of simultaneous hits nor the structure of mechanics inside the device changes once you remove the wire. It is not in vain that it is called “wireless” and not “magical”. It looks like that not what the manufacturers’ marketing departments think, though. Somehow they start using more words like “ergonomics” and its derivatives when promoting wireless keyboards.
Renowned manufacturers don’t rush into launching a high-profile wireless gaming keyboard. It is understandable, as the batteries of some wireless analogue of Orion Spark, for example, will only last a fortnight or so.
The most ergonomic type of keyboards among its most ergonomic analogues on the ergonomic keyboard market (am I hired to the marketing department yet?) surely has certain factors to be taken into account. It will surely be handy to those who want to use their keyboard and leave their desk (they can get as far away as transmitter range allows) and will solve the problem of tangled and dusty wires under the table. However, the models which don’t have any special non-slip coating squirm on the table when you tap too hard. Those who want to obtain a product of more or less decent quality will have to invest much.
The Characteristics of a Wireless Keyboard
As we’ve mentioned a wireless keyboard is different from others as it doesn’t have a wire. The rest is the very same, including mechanical (~5% of the assortment) or membrane (~95% of the assortment) switches, the design of the keys and materials.
I’ve elaborated on these points in my guide to choosing the best gaming keyboard, there you’ll be able to find some basic recommendations and hacks which will help you pick any keyboard at all.
As for the disadvantages: it is nearly impossible to find any variety among the supply of wireless keyboards which would entertain a gamer. To compare, know that it won’t be hard to find a wireless gaming mouse.
Types of wireless keyboard connection
There are two of them: via radio transmitter and via Bluetooth.
- Radio Transmitter. The signal is transmitted via radio frequency; it passes through all obstacles so that you can use the keyboard 10 and 20 meters away from your PC. Most models connect that way.
- Bluetooth. The idea is the same, but the distance coverage is only 7-10 meters. It is quite rare.
Wireless keyboards are charged either from the removable battery or by a rechargeable battery.
All of the top gaming models are wired to this day. Modern illumination, info screens, and built-in software will be too much for two regular batteries to handle, you’ll need a nuclear charge from Fallout for that. As you know, we never give up so we’ve found a few options suitable for more or less comfortable game play. But even they are incomparable to the functions and experience of using the wired ones. Another important feature is that often a wireless keyboard is merely designed for connection to various mobile gadgets, like a tablet or a smart phone. Taking that into account, you’ll understand why the design is so compact and minimalistic.
Picking Proper Gaming Wireless Keyboards
Here is an interesting observation: if you tick a wireless box in the section of gaming keyboards even in the largest online store, the widest assortment will turn into the range of a neglected poor little town store. Finding a wireless gaming keyboard is like finding an oasis in the desert. If you try hard enough, you’ll find something. I’ve been able to find two models which I don’t want to even compare. Check them out for yourself.
Mad Catz S.T.R.I.K.E.M Wireless Keyboard
This is the only Mad Catz product in this line. Personally, I am used to massive and overloaded with functions keyboards made by this company. Here we’ve got a 200g case with the device. That’s it. No extra features or perks. S.T.R.I.K.E.M can be connected to both PC and iOs and Android mobile devices via Bluetooth. The gadget is supplied with a stand for 7-9” tablets which fit it perfectly. Larger tablets don’t seem to fit that safely.
The whimsical angular design makes the keyboard visually tidier and more compact, which is a contrast to the usual extraordinary design. You get all of that for ~$25.
First and foremost, this is a device for playing on mobile platforms and Smart TV. It fits the hand well (try holding another Mad Catz product and play it for an hour). There is even a mouse simulation, a minuscule touchpad for one finger and two mouse buttons.
As a rule, I am strictly against adding any extra functions to a gadget, but here this touchpad is of vital importance. At least, that’s what I think. Read all customers’ reviews on Amazon.com and find out what others think.
The switch is not membrane here, it is scissor, hence the low price. The assembly is of high quality so you won’t have any unlikable sensations after switching from the mechanical ones. The keyboard sounds like a laptop one and the tactile perception is the same as well.
You can buy it as a spare keyboard for travelling unless you are put off by its dimensions.
Price: ~$25 Сheck the current price
IOGEAR Kaliber Wireless Gaming Keyboard and Mouse Combo
A great package
The design is remarkable; it clearly copies Razer’s angular style which is especially seen on the mouse. I always think whether the set was named properly. In fact, it’s more like the IOGEAR keyboard is supplied along with the mouse.
The keys are membrane and, unfortunately, they have anti-ghost which blocks the hit if there are over 8 simultaneous hits. The issue that is typical of certain mechanical keyboards is very serious here, and the fault is with the manufacturer and not the USB bus.
In general, if you want to buy a set of a keyboard and a mouse (both are wireless), you can do that for $41. Of course, it will be unsuitable for pro gaming, but if you don’t ask for much, you surely won’t get any unpleasant experience from using Kaliber.
Price: ~$41 Сheck the current price
Further Reading: Picking a Mechanical Gaming Keyboard
The assortment of wireless keyboards isn’t wide, and I tend to believe that wireless technology doesn’t quite suit gaming keyboards. Top mechanical models have too many energy-consuming options so it would be foolish to expect a wide range of devices in this sphere until new, advanced capacitive batteries are available. The Mad Catz Company can be called a flagman here (taking into consideration that its line consists of a single product, which durable and of high quality but is absolutely unsuitable for pro gaming).
That is a good reason for gamers to forget about wireless technology for the time being.
The choice the goods is modest and it consists mostly of counterfeit products of unknown brands. Let me warn you that you can only try using these devices at your own risk.
P.S. Wired mechanical gaming keyboards are still a gamer’s best choice. You can now get acquainted with them in our catalogue in full detail.