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If you are in the market for a new keyboard, getting a wireless one that uses Bluetooth instead of an old USB cable might sound appealing. But if you are a gamer, you might want to think twice. Are Bluetooth keyboards good for gaming?
While a Bluetooth keyboard can be a good piece of hardware, it is not recommended for hardcore gamers due to latency. If you are a casual gamer who would prefer the convenience of a Bluetooth keyboard then a Bluetooth keyboard is not a bad idea at all.
Even expensive, high-end gaming keyboards like the Razer Blackwidow V3 Pro and the Corsair K63 Wireless will have a minor delay over Bluetooth that becomes noticeable enough in fast-paced online games like Call of Duty and League of Legends.
But how bad is the difference in input lag when comparing a wireless keyboard to a wired one? Why do companies market their keyboards as “lag-free” or that the response time is just 1 ms if the delay is still there?
You can learn all that by reading the rest of the article below.
Are Bluetooth Keyboards Good For Gaming?
Response time vs. latency
The response time is the time it takes for your input to be registered by the keyboard.
The latency is how long it takes for the action to be executed and for you to see some action occur on the screen after you have pressed the button.
This is why brands like Logitech, Razer, and Corsair get away with branding their keyboards as having a 1 ms response time or even under that.
Sure, the keyboard can register your keypress very quickly, but that does not matter that much if it takes 80 ms for the keypress to be shown on the screen. So, how bad are Bluetooth keyboards when you set them against their wired counterpart?
Wired keyboards typically have a latency of around 5 ms, whereas Bluetooth keyboards are in the 20-30 ms range, though they can vary significantly.
Thus, Bluetooth gaming keyboards are much better at reducing latency than keyboards that are not strictly oriented toward gamers. Furthermore, the version of Bluetooth that the keyboard uses also impacts the final result.
If you can, you should use a wired keyboard at all times. If the wireless keyboard supports wired mode, which most of them do, it could be a good idea to use it like that by default and only use the wireless mode when you need it.
Truth be told, a wireless keyboard and mouse can make your gaming build look sleek, modern, and minimalist.
But if you are a hardcore gamer, you are inclined to agree that function goes over form, and you should never sacrifice performance just for sleeker esthetics.
And in fast-paced games that need quick key input with minimum delay, wired keyboards are still the best.
Imagine you were in the middle of a team fight in League of Legends or are bursting an enemy in a 2v2 arena in World of Warcraft. You would want to cast the right spell at the right time, and even a 10 ms delay can mean the difference between winning and losing.
Why would you want to be at a disadvantage then?
Are Bluetooth Keyboards Good for Casual single-player games?
But what about those casual single-player games that don’t need precise and lightning-quick reflexes?
If you are a casual gamer who would prefer the convenience of a Bluetooth keyboard and are not extremely sensitive to delay, then a Bluetooth keyboard is not a bad idea at all.
After all, a large percentage of gamers use wireless controllers for gaming, and you don’t hear them complain.
This is a good argument because a difference of 10 ms, 20 ms, or even 50 ms is not something an average human can notice at the end of a day.
Furthermore, certain games have a higher tolerance for delay than others. Examples like League of Legends illustrate how every millisecond counts, but games like Grand Theft Auto V show that a minor delay will not make the game less enjoyable.
On the contrary, if you have a good wireless keyboard and mouse combo, you could lay back on your couch and relax all evening. That is not an option at all with a wired keyboard.
Or, if you have some typing to do, a wireless keyboard will let you get into a comfortable position. With a wired keyboard, wrist pain caused by discomfort is almost a given.
The difference between models
But again, remember that not all Bluetooth keyboards are equal. If you have a limited budget, perhaps getting a wired keyboard will get you more bang for the buck.
On the other hand, cheap wireless keyboards are generally not enjoyable to use at all. They often face the issue of not registering all the keystrokes, or certain combinations of keys don’t work as intended.
If you want a high-quality mechanical gaming keyboard that also has Bluetooth, expect to pay even more than you would for a wired one.
And remember that Bluetooth is still being worked on, and new versions are coming out every few years, which means that your very expensive Bluetooth gaming keyboard may be outdated in just a few years.
You should carefully consider each point to make an informed decision when the time to buy a new keyboard comes.
Pros of Bluetooth Keyboards
Comfort and Convenience
The most important reason why someone wants to buy a Bluetooth keyboard for gaming is the added convenience.
It makes the keyboard mobile, and you could technically use it with multiple computers without having to get behind the computer to get the cable out. This tends to work better on some keyboards than others, though.
But the aforementioned scenario of laying back and enjoying your game from the comfort of your couch instead of having to sit at the desk for a casual gaming session is the most significant benefit.
In addition, you don’t need to buy a separate wireless controller if you have a wireless keyboard. And since you are most likely a PC gamer, you are more used to keyboard and mouse anyways.
Should the time come for you to go somewhere, you can bring the keyboard with you. While you can bring a wired keyboard, wireless keyboards are a bit easier to pack and carry around.
Also, everybody hates it when the cable drags on the floor as you’re carrying the keyboard, so a wireless one eliminates that problem from the get-go.
Another valid reason why many people opt for wireless keyboards is esthetics. Having cables cluttering up your desk gets old fast. Not to mention that the cables are very ugly and can wreak havoc on a modern minimalist build.
So, by going with a wireless keyboard and mouse combo, you can virtually eliminate those pesky wires and only use them when your battery runs out.
But if looks are the only reason why you’re buying a Bluetooth gaming keyboard, think twice.
You could get a keyboard with removable cables and then add a customized USB cable for a different look. You can even get a coiled cable to get that vintage 1960s feel.
Cons of Bluetooth Keyboards
So, the pro of having a convenient, mobile keyboard that you can use from anywhere around the room is a pretty obvious advantage.
But let’s talk about some of the reasons that make Bluetooth keyboards much less popular, especially among gamers.
The first and most significant reason is the added delay. I have already explained the difference between “response time” and “delay”.
Even if the keyboard has an advertised response time of 1 ms, that does not mean that you won’t experience any delay with the keyboard.
Due to current technical limitations, wired keyboards still have a much lower delay than wireless ones.
This makes Bluetooth keyboards unpopular among seasoned veterans. You need every millisecond that you can get in many online games, especially FPS and MOBA games.
Granted, the delay is not very significant, but it is still added delay nonetheless, which is a price too high to pay for many serious gamers.
If you want to learn more about latency and how it affects Bluetooth keyboards, check out this article here:
Speaking of high prices, Bluetooth keyboards tend to be quite a bit more expensive than their wired counterparts. Especially if you are looking for a mechanical keyboard.
Expect to pay $20-$30 more just for the added wireless functionality. After all, wireless keyboards have more hardware that allows for the keyboard to be used in wired and wireless mode, and most of them come with USB dongles to make them work.
If you were already planning to buy an expensive gaming keyboard, then paying a bit extra to get a great mechanical keyboard with Bluetooth is not that bad.
But if you are buying the cheapest Bluetooth keyboard that you can find just so you can use it wirelessly, you are most likely making a huge mistake, and the keyboard won’t deliver.
Another possible disadvantage is that Bluetooth keyboards use the common interface that everything from your microwave to your speaker uses.
This can be problematic as it may cause interference. It can especially become problematic when you are using a Bluetooth mouse.
You don’t have to worry too much, though, as interference is not that common, and you may not experience it often.
However, what you will definitely experience is setting the keyboard up for the first time. Wired keyboards require you to plug them in, and you are good to go.
More expensive keyboards also need software for additional functionality like RGB.
Wireless keyboards need to be paired, which can sometimes give you a headache when Bluetooth acts up.
Speaking of RGB, your wired keyboard can have the lighting on all the time.
Your wireless keyboard may not have them at all, or you may not want to use it as it drains your battery twice as fast compared to just using the keyboard.
And the battery is something that you will have to worry about all the time.
You may want to have the wire at hand just in case, but that sort of ruins the first reason why you got a wireless keyboard in the first place.
Bluetooth keyboards are great because they are very mobile. For example, you can use the keyboard while lying on a sofa across the room. But when it comes to gaming, wired keyboards are still better for a few reasons.
The most important reason why hardcore gamers still use wired keyboards is the added latency.
You don’t want to die because your keystroke took too long to register. But, unfortunately, this can spoil your whole gaming session.
Thankfully, most Bluetooth keyboards allow you to connect a USB cable to them and use them in wired mode.
So if you look at it from that standpoint, a Bluetooth keyboard is just like a regular keyboard with the added feature of being wireless.
And if you are a casual gamer, you may not be bothered by the delay in the first place. You won’t be at a disadvantage in almost all single-player games, and the added delay will not be very noticeable.
So, when buying your next keyboard, remember the advantages and disadvantages and then make a well-informed decision. If you want a keyboard for gaming you can check out Logitech G613 keyboard or Logitech G915 keyboard from Amazon here.
Espen is the Director of ProPairing and has written extensively about Bluetooth devices for years. He is a consumer product expert and has personally tested Bluetooth devices for the last decade.