Disadvantages of Using a Wireless Keyboard
By David Weedmark
Back in 1983, when IBM released the PCjr with its wireless keyboard, its disadvantages completely outweighed its benefits. The keys were clunky and difficult to use, and its infrared line-of-sight technology meant if you moved the keyboard too far or put a coffee cup in the way, it would disconnect from the computer. Today, wireless computers use Bluetooth or radio technology for wireless keyboards, meaning you don't have to worry about blocking the signal. A variety of designs also means you can usually find a style that is right for you. However, this is not to say they don't have their disadvantages. Know the disadvantages before deciding if a wireless keyboard is the right choice for you.
Wireless keyboards and other wireless devices, such as mice or Wi-Fi routers, can sometimes interfere with each other. Weak batteries or environmental factors often cause this. Interference can happen when the wireless receiver is within 12 inches of a telephone, power supply, monitor or other electrical device or cable. Resting the keyboard on a metal desk or on top of a metal computer case can also result in interference.
Wireless keyboards tend to be somewhat slower than their wired cousins are. Although this isn't a problem for most people, it could cause you some annoyances if you're a particularly fast typist or if you play computer video games that require fast response times on the keyboard. Keystrokes can sometimes lag, meaning a delay between the moment you press the key and the moment that key is registered by the computer. This lag can cause a keystroke to be missed completely.
Setting up a wired keyboard is usually just a matter of opening the box and plugging it into the computer. A wireless keyboard needs to be configured to work with the intended computer, which often involves typing a passcode or pressing buttons to "pair" the keyboard with the computer. This is not a particularly time-consuming task, but it can be an annoyance for those who are not technically inclined.
Wireless keyboards run on batteries, which need to be replaced from time to time. If you use the keyboard often, you may need to replace batteries two or three times each year. While batteries are not particularly expensive, replacing them can be a source of aggravation, particularly if you're in the middle of an important project and run out of batteries. Whether this annoyance or the other disadvantages of using a wireless keyboard outweigh the freedom of not dealing with wires and the clutter they create is a question of personal preference.
A published author and professional speaker, David Weedmark has advised businesses and governments on technology, media and marketing for more than 20 years. He has taught computer science at Algonquin College, has started three successful businesses, and has written hundreds of articles for newspapers and magazines throughout Canada and the United States.