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We have already sailed into a wireless era with several wireless technologies around us, such as Wi-Fi, RF, and Bluetooth. Wireless and Bluetooth keyboards are used as a wireless replacement for cables, but is a Bluetooth keyboard the same as a wireless keyboard?
Because a Bluetooth keyboard is not wired, it is technically also a wireless device. In terms of product labeling and marketing, however, a wireless keyboard using a USB dongle is commonly referred to as a “wireless keyboard”.
In this article, I have set the two up against each other to see the best.
How is a Bluetooth Keyboard different from a Wireless Keyboard?
A wireless keyboard is available in two types: RF (USB dongle) and Bluetooth.
RF or Radio Frequency keyboards require connecting a USB dongle to your device. It will work with any device with a USB port (USB-A) and are the go-to wireless keyboard if you don’t have Bluetooth on your device.
Next, you have the Bluetooth keyboard. This wireless keyboard has a transmitter that automatically connects to your device, as with all Bluetooth devices. It’s a simple matter of adjusting a few settings and enabling the connectivity for it to work.
Overall, they are both two different options with their own pros and cons. However, I will compare them over several factors to see what they have to offer. It is crucial to prioritize and select a keyboard that meets your needs.
Compairing Bluetooth vs Wireless Keyboard
1. Which Keyboard has the fastest latency- and response time?
Alright, let’s dive into the keyboard world and talk about a crucial aspect: latency. I know it might sound a bit techy, but fear not, I’ll break it down in simple terms for you. Latency is about the time between pressing a key and seeing the action on your screen. And trust me, it matters!
Now, here’s the lowdown on two keyboard contenders:
1. USB-RF – The Speedy Champion When it comes to latency, the USB-RF keyboard takes the crown with its near-zero delay. Yep, that means there’s just a teeny 1 to 10-millisecond gap between your command and the on-screen action. Talk about lightning-fast response times! It’s the go-to choice for tech-savvy folks and professional gamers who can’t afford even the tiniest hiccup in performance.
2. Bluetooth – A Trusty Companion On the other hand, we have Bluetooth keyboards, which clocks in with an average latency of 10 to 15 milliseconds. Not too shabby, right? But wait, there’s more! If you’re willing to splurge a little extra on a high-quality Bluetooth 5.2 Low Energy device, you can bring that latency down to a cool 1.5 milliseconds. Pretty impressive, huh? However, compared to the USB-RF champ, there’s a noticeable difference in speed.
Now, before you worry too much, let me reassure you – for the average user, these subtle variations in latency won’t even be detectable. So, unless you’re a hardcore gamer or working with some ultra-time-sensitive tasks, both Bluetooth and USB-RF keyboards will serve you well, providing a smooth and seamless typing experience.
Which keyboard is best for gaming?
The ultimate question in the gaming realm – which keyboard reigns supreme?
If you’re a pro gamer seeking lightning-fast response times, look no further than the USB-RF keyboard. Its near-zero latency makes it a no-brainer for serious gamers and even professionals in data-driven fields, where every millisecond counts in boosting productivity.
But hold on, for the everyday user, the difference isn’t game-changing enough to sway your decision. Whether you’re crunching numbers or battling foes in a virtual world, fear not – the Bluetooth keyboard holds its own ground just fine. So, if you’re not deep in the high-tech universe, any device will serve you well and ensure a smooth gaming experience.
Remember, choose what suits your gaming style and setup best, and let the gaming adventures begin!
READ MORE!Are Bluetooth Keyboards Good For Gaming?
2. Which keyboard is more compatible with your devices?
Compatibility is key, and every savvy buyer should keep it in mind. For a USB-RF keyboard, you’ll need a trusty USB-A port – those familiar full-size USB ports commonly found on laptops and PCs.
But hold on, times are changing, and USBs are becoming less common. So, if your device is missing that USB-A port, you’ll be stuck with a keyboard that won’t work. Not fun! So, what’s the alternative?
Enter the Bluetooth keyboard, the hero of compatibility! Most devices, including laptops and PCs, embrace Bluetooth connectivity with open arms. Choosing a Bluetooth keyboard means you’re free to use it wherever, whenever you please. It’s like having a versatile friend who effortlessly adapts to any environment. Plus, if you have multiple devices or love to share your keyboard, Bluetooth is a dream come true.
When it comes to compatibility, Bluetooth keyboards emerge as the clear winners. They play nice with all sorts of devices, no pesky ports or extra steps required. Switching from one gadget to another? No problemo! Your Bluetooth keyboard will seamlessly transition and keep typing away. Whether you’re at home, work, or traveling, your trusty Bluetooth companion is ready for action.
Now, keep in mind, the choice ultimately depends on your specific situation. If you mainly use a device with a USB-C connector, a USB-C keyboard is your perfect match. And hey, there are wireless keyboards that work wonders with all your gadgets sporting a USB-A port. But if you anticipate using devices without USB ports, like iPad Pro or some tablets, Bluetooth is the way to go – no doubts about it!
3. Which keyboard has the longest battery life?
Wireless keyboards typically outlast Bluetooth keyboards when it comes to battery life. A Bluetooth keyboard’s battery usually lasts longer. That isn’t the only disadvantage. Bluetooth devices use more power since the stack is managed by software. In other words, it strains the CPU and prevents it from going into power-saving mode.
As a result, your processor consumes more energy. Overall, the power consumption of your gadget will increase. If you use any power consumption meter, you’ll notice that the difference is roughly 30% higher utilization. That could sway your decision in one direction or the other.
In the end, it comes down to what battery size the manufacture has put in the device. A cheap wireless keyboard can use less energy over time but have a shorter battery life due to the battery quality. So consider the battery life stated on the package before buying one.
4. Which keyboard is more affordable?
Price is a highly changeable quality that is heavily influenced by the manufacturer and model of your keyboard. It also relies on the number of options available on your keyboard, such as programmable buttons.
On the other hand, Bluetooth keyboards are often more expensive than wireless keyboards.
5. Which keyboard is easier to use?
Your top priority should be usability. If your laptop already boasts all the necessary connectors, let’s delve into the Bluetooth vs. wireless keyboard debate from a convenience perspective.
Setting up Bluetooth devices can be a bit time-consuming. If you frequently switch between devices, you’ll find yourself diving into your laptop’s settings to reconnect your Bluetooth keyboard each time. While it only takes a few seconds, some folks find it inconvenient, especially if they’re not too tech-savvy.
If simplicity is your jam, then a wireless keyboard is the way to go. Simply plug in the dongle, and voilà, you’re good to go! Your PC will detect the keyboard instantly, so no extra steps needed. It’s a breeze – quick and painless.
Now, let’s talk Bluetooth. It does require a few more steps. First, you turn on the keyboard. Then, hop on your laptop or PC and activate the Bluetooth options. After that, you wait for the devices to pair and sync up.
If you’re using a Bluetooth laptop in addition to a Bluetooth keyboard, it’s even more work. Each time you switch devices, you’ll have to repeat the pairing process.
So, what’s the verdict? If none of the other factors matter much to you, it boils down to what you find most comfortable. For those who primarily use one device and don’t mind tinkering with internal settings, Bluetooth devices can be a fantastic option.
6. Which keyboard is more Durable?
When it comes to durability, how you use your keyboard plays a major role. Many folks prefer leaving the dongle connected to their PC when using a wireless keyboard, and that comes with some benefits.
However, there’s a downside – removing the dongle frequently, especially for device switching or travel, can lead to misplacing it. And let’s face it, losing that tiny dongle can be a real headache, especially if your keyboard and mouse set only comes with one. It’s like being stranded without a lifeline!
To counter this issue, some wireless keyboards come with a nifty storage spot for the dongle, keeping it safe and sound when not in use. Smart move, right?
Now, here’s another thing to consider – repeatedly disconnecting and reattaching the dongle can put stress on your USB port. The more friction your contacts face, the higher the chance of wear and tear. So, unless you’re frequently switching devices, leaving the dongle in place is a safer bet for your USB port’s health.
On the flip side, Bluetooth keyboards don’t deal with these dongle-related concerns. Since they connect digitally, there’s no physical attachment involved. This makes them quite durable in the long run. So, if longevity is a priority for you, a Bluetooth keyboard might be the way to go.
This durability feature strengthens the case for Bluetooth keyboards, especially if you frequently switch between devices. They connect effortlessly to any compatible gadget, and you won’t have to fret about misplacing the dongle or damaging your USB port.
Of course, if you’re careful and confident about keeping track of your dongle, a wireless keyboard can still be a solid choice. And if your primary work happens on one device, a wireless keyboard with the adapter left in place could work wonders.
In the end, it all comes down to your preferences and usage habits. So, choose the keyboard that suits your lifestyle and gives you peace of mind in the long run.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: Is a Bluetooth keyboard the same as a wireless keyboard?
A: Not exactly. While both Bluetooth keyboards and wireless keyboards provide cable-free connectivity, they use different technologies. A wireless keyboard typically uses a USB dongle to connect to the device, while a Bluetooth keyboard establishes a wireless link through Bluetooth technology.
Q: What are the main differences between a Bluetooth keyboard and a wireless keyboard?
A: The key difference lies in the way they connect to devices. A Bluetooth keyboard pairs with devices using Bluetooth technology, making it compatible with a wide range of devices like smartphones, tablets, and laptops. On the other hand, a wireless keyboard usually requires a USB dongle for connectivity and is commonly used with computers and laptops.
Q: Are Bluetooth keyboards and wireless keyboards both compatible with all devices?
A: Bluetooth keyboards offer broader compatibility with various devices, including smartphones, tablets, laptops, and even smart TVs, as long as the device supports Bluetooth connectivity. Wireless keyboards, however, may have limited compatibility and are primarily used with computers, laptops, and devices that have USB-A ports.
Q: Which type of keyboard is better for frequent device switching?
A: For frequent device switching, a Bluetooth keyboard is generally more convenient. Since it connects via Bluetooth technology, you can easily pair it with different devices without needing any additional dongles. This makes it a versatile choice for those who use multiple devices regularly.
Q: How do I choose between a Bluetooth keyboard and a wireless keyboard?
A: Consider your specific needs and usage habits. If you primarily use devices with USB-A ports and do not switch devices often, a wireless keyboard might be suitable. However, if you want broader device compatibility and the convenience of device switching, a Bluetooth keyboard is likely the better option.
In the Bluetooth vs. Wireless keyboard debate, there’s no one-size-fits-all solution. The perfect keyboard for you is the one that aligns perfectly with your needs and preferences. Compatibility with your device and meeting your job requirements are crucial factors to consider. But above all, it should feel comfortable and intuitive to use.
So, if you find that a Bluetooth keyboard checks all the right boxes but somehow doesn’t sit well with you, don’t force it. It’s entirely your call! Remember, the choice is yours to make, and it’s essential to pick the keyboard that sparks joy in your typing experience.
Feel free to explore and experiment – you can even have the best of both worlds by getting one of each and using them for different tasks. Embrace the freedom to choose your favorite, and enjoy the journey of finding the perfect keyboard that brings out the best in your productivity and enjoyment.
Happy keyboard hunting, and may you discover the ideal one that makes typing a delightful breeze! 🎹💻
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.