- 1 Best Wireless Keyboard – Cut the cords and the hassle!
Best Wireless Keyboard – Cut the cords and the hassle!
Nobody likes wires, we now live in a wireless society. Why not add a little freedom to your desk or living room and invest in a wireless keyboard. Wireless isn’t always the best option, or even necessary. If your keyboard doesn’t take frequent holidays from your desk, or you are seeking the best gaming performance on a budget, chances are you should look elsewhere.
Why might I need a wireless keyboard?
I can remember the struggle my father and I had trying to control his media system with a flimsy wireless keyboard and mouse combo. It was an absolute nightmare. While apple tv and google chrome casts have become widely adopted, enthusiasts still seek complete control over there lounge media viewing experience. A core pillar is the user interface, this starts with a frustration-free way to easily control your media computer without sacrificing functionality.
Anyone who spends a decent amount of time behind their desk will appreciate how accustomed we become to our keyboard of choice. Unplugging your wired keyboard multiple times a day as you change locations just isn’t realistic. A wireless keyboard with multiple “dongles” will allow for an effortless typing experience across multiple workstations.
Most people are happy to play their PlayStation or Xbox in there living room. However new lap-keyboard and mouse combos are making PC gaming from your couch a reality. Using a computer for your living room gaming experience allows for totally control, better graphics and a wider selection of games. Best of all you don’t even need to get up to change disks.
The best wireless keyboard for the living room!
Media PC’s are great, with storage so cheap its easy to have a huge media collection on file. Most people will overlook how they plan to control their media libary. Frustrating remotes and poorly designed keyboards take the fun out of movie night. A good wireless keyboard will allow for easy navigation through media lists, make pausing/skipping tracks effortless, and allow for easy web browsing from the couch. Lets take a look at some purpose built devices that make for an effortless media viewing experience.
Logitech K400 plus – Editors Choice
Using a mouse alongside a keyboard on a couch can be difficult. Leather cushions don’t make the best mouse-pads. It makes a lot of sense to include a track pad with the keyboard, its just one less thing to worry about (changing its batteries etc). The K400 plus (or lapboard) has one really cool feature I haven’t seen elsewhere:
Each side of the keyboard is contoured so it can be easily held. You will notice a yellow button in the top left of the keyboard, this serves as a secondary button for your mouse click. This keyboards ergonomic grip makes it easy to navigate the mouse with your right thumb, and click with your left thumb. This is by far the best implementation of a point and click navigation system on a wireless keyboard. This makes “dragging and droping” especially easy, something you may struggle with on a standard track-pad.
A small issue I found with this keyboard was the sharp edges of the key-caps. Over long periods of time this can make the keyboard uncomfortable to type on. The keys offer good tactile feedback for a membrane keyboard and are fairly quiet, so they wont annoy those accompanying you. This is where this keyboard out-shines those horrible media remotes. Nothing is more frustrating than searching for a youtube video using a TV remote (did I mention that this keyboard is compatible with a huge range of smart TV’s).
Unfortunately this keyboard makes it slightly tricky to control (play/pause, next track etc) of your media with the push of a single button. To access these controls you will need to hold the “fN” key and use a combination of the “function” keys. Luckily there are dedicated volume controls out of the box, it would be nice to see a volume wheel on future models.
Luckily, logitech has some great software that allows the function keys to serve as media controls without using the “fN” key. There are also 1 button shortcuts that directly open your music player of choice. This can be fully customized and is a brilliant feature I wish more companies offered.
When have we ever trusted a manufacturer that claims a 10m/33 foot wireless range? Typically depending on your environment you will get a bout 70% of that. Something that definitely helps extend the range is placing the USB dongle (pictured left) in direct view of the keyboard. This is where Logitech’s tiny wireless dongle helps out, due to its small compact size it wont become an eye sore if you need to plug it into the front of your computer. This means it will also easily fit on even the narrowest of smart TV’s.
As this keyboard doesnt have any battery sucking features such as back-lit keys, 2AA batteries (included) will last your around 6-18 months. This is great, there is nothing more frustrating than running out of juice and having no batteries in the house.
I found this keyboard very easy to use, unlike Bluetooth keyboard, there is no pairing process. The keyboard works straight out of the box, you just need to plug in the USB dongle.
This keyboards ease of use and well though out features make it an excellent choice for controlling your living room media set-up. It offers exceptional value for money, however lacks some features such as back-lit keys. After going through so many terrible solutions built to control our media system, I can highly recommend this product. Click here to view updated prices on amazon.com
Great Battery life.
Easy to use.
Makes navigating your computer super easy.
Easy media controls.
Tiny wireless dongle.
Requires software to set-up custom media keys.
Keys can become uncomfortable after long sessions.
Keys are not illuminated.
What about a wireless mechanical keyboard?
There are not many viable wireless mechanical keyboards on the market. This is because they are such a niche product, if you would like to take a look at my favorite wireless mechanical keyboard. I cant think of many uses when a wireless mechanical keyboard would make a significant difference, however if you have deep pockets thats probably not an issue for you.
What about the best wireless keyboard for my home/office?
As previously discussed, wireless keyboard/mouse combos can be ideal for a productivity set-up. Cutting the wires allows you to easily move the same gear between workstations or haul it on the go. The benefit of this is that you can become familiar with your gear and get the best experience from it. One sacrifice you may need to make that of mechanical switches, you would be hard-pressed to find a solid wireless mechanical keyboard to fit your needs. Ridding your desk of cables also has the benefit of a nice tidy work-space, free of clutter.
I will split this part of the review into 2 separate categories. Firstly we will take a look at wireless keyboards designed for the home or office that are not designed to be portable. Secondly we will take a look at some models ideal for productivity on the go.
Logitech K350 Wireless Keyboard
I get it, this keyboard is massive. The picture bellow is probably taking up half of your screen. While the Logitech K350 isn’t suitable to be hauled around, its a steal for anyone frustrated with all the wires cluttering their desk. Best of all, it comes with a wireless mouse for just a few dollars more (keyboard mouse combo on amazon.com).
I’ll keep this review short, this is a rather standard product. The reason why I have chosen this product is due to a number of reasons.
Logitech’s excellent customer service.
The full array of media short-cut keys and productivity shortcuts.
The fairly comfortable wrist rest.
Excellent battery life (10 months in and still going strong)
Logitech’s unified wireless dongle (multiple Logitech devices only require one tiny USB dongle)
Things to consider before purchasing:
This keyboard features a non-standard layout, you may initially find it difficult to adjust to the ergonomic key layout. This keyboard is not mechanical, and may not offer you the absolute best typing experience possible. Other than that, this is an excellent simple product that should fit your needs fine. I know these products last, while it may cost more than the competition today, consider it an investment. You wont be replacing it anytime soon.