Wired and Wireless Gear

Greetings everybody! Now that I have some free time again, I decided to tackle this topic a bit and post something so that my blog doesn’t become a desert. I know the WD colors post is keeping it afloat but hey, if more than half of your blog’s traffic comes from a single post, then you are doing something wrong!

Anyway, as said, what I’d like to discuss is just wired and wireless peripherals and which is better for your needs. I’m not going to talk much about wired and wireless network connection, because the answer is obvious: get wired connection whenever possible, the reasons why are also obvious.

One may think the same philosophy will also apply for peripherals and gaming gear, so a wired device is always more desirable whenever you can set one up, but in my personal opinion, this is not always the case. I’ll explain further below by exploring each kind’s characteristics.

 

Why wired…


For many gamers and other PC users alike, wired peripherals signal stability, and rightfully so. Here are the pros of going wired:

  • Nary a worry about battery life: And it will also save your wallet in the long term since you never have to buy extra batteries or a charger! Plus, unlike other “economical” electric devices, wired peripherals are by themselves already cheaper anyway. YAY!

    logitech-f710-wireless-gamepad
    The Logitech F710 has one of the longest battery lives in the world. I personally have used it for over a year and only had to charge twice, but it still can’t beat never having to charge! (image courtery Hardware.info)
  • No disconnections whatsoever: Never die because you can’t dodge when you are supposed to do so again!
  • More consistent response rate: Having a more stable signal most of the time, wired peripherals can have a higher and more consistent response rate, theoretically leading to smoother response.
  • More power: It’s not very efficient to go all-out on battery power, is it? Just remember the last time you gamed 4K on your MSI Titan laptop without plugging it in. Thus, having a wired connection also provides a consistent power source, allowing you to have rad RGB keyboards and all that without having to charge your keyboard everyday or two like with the K800, and that one only had white LED (speaking from personal experience).

    IMG_1727
    My K70. It has a very thick cable and two USB plugs. This pic was from when I pugged it in for the first time, so please excuse the rainbow.
  • Sleek cables: Gotta admit, most of the proper gaming peripherals’ cables and plugs can be quite pleasing to the eye!

    IMG_1695
    Image courtesy Meta7 a.k.a. myself
  • Never lose your $%^@*!& receiver then sulk in despair because a replacement is not available in your area: Sorry, that’s just what you say when something personally happened to you.

 

Plus, I’m going to do something strange here, going wireless has many cons, too! You can just invert the above, really:

  • Less smooth experience with more lag: Having to rely on a wireless connection, wireless peripherals can have a less consistent response rate and are also subject to interference.
  • Having to worry about placement of devices: Unlike wired peripherals which will work as long as they are plugged in even if you are dancing along to the music while playing Audiosurf, wireless devices are directional. If your gear is not heading towards the receiver in some form, it won’t work. Plus, cutting the wire, you’ll also have to put your receiver somewhere without much interference from other objects (water, walls, other wireless devices, your friend, your PC, etc.).
  • The more there are, the worse they work: An expansion of the above. It’s common knowledge that wireless signals can kill each other, especially when they are in the same channel. So, if you go with a full wireless set, you may have to expect quite some interference caused by themselves and your neighbors’ wi-fi. Sure having a dual-band or even tri-band product greatly reduces this risk, but still, setting everything to 5.0Ghz may not be the wisest idea.
  • Having to worry about battery life: The K800 needs to be charged everyday or two if you set its white LED to the brightest level, but it just won’t look pretty if you don’t do so. ūüė¶
  • Less power: The best LED any wireless keyboard can put up is white, and not able to change. That, and most wireless devices that can last a week without charging are tiny, decidedly inergonomic Logitech mice… most. (Interestingly enough, most of the ones that don’t fit this description are also Logitech mice!)
  • Losing your @^&*!#^$ receiver then sulking in despair because a replacement is not available in your area: Bah.

 

 

…and why not?


However, there are still reasons for you to use wireless devices, for instance:

  • It’s wireless!

As for the cons of wired peripherals, well:

  • It’s wired: State all the problems you’ve had with wires here… not enough space in your tight carrying bag to put the wires in comfortably, having a trapwire inside your house while your friends are playing PES in the living room, trying to sit a bit farther from the screen just to nearly rip your gamepad out, throwing a tantrum over getting your K70’s thick wire behind the desk and into the PC,¬† having to look at a jungle of wires every time you play, tangling the wires around your body, accidentally¬†choking yourself with the wire, etc. etc.

But, all things considered, the real reason why you may want to go with a wireless device is not because of its pros, but mainly because its cons have been smoothed out a lot in the recent years! Granted, you still stand at the risk of losing your @^&*!#^$ receiver then sulking in despair because a replacement is not available in your area, but at least, recent gaming mice have been a lot more stable (especially the new Logitech G900. That mouse is what inspired me to write this article in the first place.). For instance, the Sensei Wireless and the G900 can both manage a 1000Hz polling rate (meaning the mouse can send data to your PC once every millisecond) reliably, and my personal experience with the Logitech G602 was that it was smooth enough (though not as much as the Roccat Kone Pure I’m using) and didn’t have much interference at all. It was a surprisingly worry-free experience, and if I didn’t lose my¬†@&^#*!$ receiver then sulk in despair because a replacement is not available in my area, I’d have wholeheartedly recommend it to anyone. Not only that, but it could live for like a month without recharging/changing the batteries too!

Oh, and the G900 also sports the PixArt PWM3366, a.k.a. the legendary G502 sensor, despite being a wireless mouse! (It also has a wired mode, though)

 

Screw it, let’s get both!


Of course, if you have money to spare, you can always opt for a product with both a wired mode and a wireless mode, meaning it has a wireless receiver but can also work with a cable. Some notable products of this kind include:

  • The Logitech G900.

    Logitech G900
    One of the best mice I’ve ever seen. Also one of the ugliest mice I’ve ever seen! (image courtesy geekhack.org)
  • The Sensei Wireless.

    Sensei Wireless.jpg
    Image courtesy Amazon
  • And Filco‘s Convertible series! These are mechanical keyboards and not mice, by the way. They are also some of the very few wireless/convertible mechs, together with the sadly discontinued Noppoo Choc Mini 2M. (also, Filco just has a… pretty weird site).

    Filco Majestouch Convertible 2
    Image courtesy keyboardco.com
  • All of them stand at the $150 price range, for some reasons.

 

How the type of peripherals affect the choice


But of course, keyboards are not the same as mice! The type of peripherals you are going for also have a huge impact on whether you should get a wired or wireless one, and also the number of wireless models. For instance, here are a list of peripheral types, from most wireless-friendly to most wired-friendly, in my opinion:

  • On the top of the list are mousepads! Oh don’t worry, there’s a wired mousepad. And it’s also the most expensive mousepad out there.

    Razer Firefly
    BABY I’M PREYING ON YOU TONIGHT~! (image courtesy gamespot)
  • Next up are gamepads! Although the directional nature of wireless gamepads can be bothersome in some situations, it’s still great to have one, because of how often gamepads are moved around. Plus, with a wired gamepad, you stand at the risk of building trapwires or ripping it off of the USB plug.
  • Next on the list are mice! Mice are flung around very often and having the cord cut makes them a lot more portable, so wireless mice can be a nice choice, even gaming ones.
  • The last ones on the wireless-friendly camp are printers. They are stationery, but it’s great to have a wireless one in an office since it can be used for multiple computers at once. Most of the printers nowadays are already wireless ones, though.
  • Going to the wireless-unfriendly camp, we have the keyboards. Sure, if you want a portable keyboard that you’ll also use for work (though that choice is becoming less and less popular nowadays since people are just content with laptop keyboards…), then having a wireless one can be a great thing, but if you want a mech for your battlestation… eh, maybe not.
  • An even less friendly products type is headphones. This may come as a bit surprising for some, but as an audioph I mean music lover, I really don’t like wireless headphones/earphones/headsets much. They decrease the audio quality way too much, and no one wants interference when listening to music… Plus, if, on a beautiful, beautiful sunny day, your wireless earphones come out of your ear while you’re walking like they so often do…

    bragi_the_dash_floating_2x_2
    Just because I like headphones too much, here’s Bragi’s The Dash (official product pic). Now imagine $300 slipping out of your ears while you walk.
  • Another category in the wired-friendly camp is monitors! Even though true wireless monitors have only been made recently, in early 2016, other technologies that can make displays be used wirelessly have been around for a while. However, I don’t see much use in a stationery PC wireless monitor except for maybe graphics designers who rotate their monitors often (note that we are primarily talking about PC peripherals here).
  • Scraping the bottom of the barrel, we have loudspeakers. Wireless loudspeakers have all the audio problems of wireless headphones, but they make even less sense because of their stationery nature. Note that we are not talking about portable Bluetooth speakers or wireless travel speakers here, because they are not quite PC peripherals, and can actually be useful.

 

And… that’s the end of my blog post?! O.o Wow, that must’ve been the shortest post I’ve ever written so far… Anyway, my finals are done and I only have the Graduation Exam left now (soon I won’t be able to give myself the student excuse to write poor articles anymore… *sniff*), so I should be more free to update this blog from now on. So stay tuned if you want more content! ^^ As always, thank you for your support, everyone!

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