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Most mainstream and gaming models offer a 10-key numeric pad, which laptops frequently lack and is a necessity for anyone who needs to tally numbers or enter data into a spreadsheet. So-called “tenkeyless” models slice off the numeric pad in the interest of space savings and keeping your typing and mousing hands closer together. Bear that in mind if you’re looking at gaming keyboards, as tenkeyless models are a recent trend especially in that subclass. If you want to go even smaller, 60 percent keyboards eliminate even more keys. Check out our 60 percent keyboard guide for everything you need to know about the category.
EXTRA FEATURES. Generally speaking, wireless keyboards tend to come with some quality-of-life features, such as dedicated media and macro keys. A few, like Logitech’s high-end keyboards, also come with the ability to connect to multiple devices and swap among them with a single button press. Gaming keyboards will come with the same suite of media and macro perks, and some include customizable RGB lighting and advanced configuration software.
There are also a few features youre unlikely to find. Though a few keyboards on our list come with a wrist rest, its less likely that a wireless keyboard will include one. Also, without a wired connection, it would be impossible for a keyboard to offer USB passthrough ports on the body, so thats not something youll find, either.
Best For Mechanical Keyboard Lovers
- 2.4 GHz and Bluetooth wireless
- Razer mechanical switches
- Dramatically reduced battery life when using RGBs
- Very expensive
Wireless keyboards serve many masters. They’re great if you’re trying to declutter, or like typing with your keyboard on your lap. Mobile productivity hounds who want gear thats ready for travel swear by them, too, and some models let you swap one typing peripheral among desktops, laptops, and tablets. In the vast majority of situations, theres no difference between using a keyboard with a wireless connection and a standard wired one. The only time youll notice is when its time to charge itor when you forget to.
Apart from introducing a couple of new factors that you need to pay attention to , picking out the best wireless keyboard isnt all that different from picking out the best keyboard overall. Hit that link for our best picks across wired and wireless models. But since you’re here, let’s go through the issues specific to wireless keyboards.
Sreega N5901 Mini Handheld Keyboard
- Battery life could be better
- Multimedia keys not customizable
- Scrolling is somewhat finicky
It is no coincidence that the Sreega N5901 Mini Handheld Keyboard has the same model number as the beloved Lenovo N5901. Sreega has manufactured a faithful recreation of this now-defunct mini keyboard, which is so sought after that it now sells secondhand for over its original MSRP. And despite its unconventional ergonomics, the N5901 lends itself well to a variety of uses.
This remotes condensed keyboard has raised keys that are surprisingly easy to navigate, despite their cluttered grid design. This version does not have backlit keys, but you may be lucky enough to find the backlit version online at some point. Punctuation and other characters are left to function commands, while more commonly used characters have their own keys.
Most unique to this keyboard is the use of a mini trackball input instead of a touchpad. This can be pressed to click or paired with large mouse buttons at the bottom of the keyboard.
The N5901 has a row of nine dedicated multimedia macro keys. Sadly, they cannot be customized, but most of the functions youd want bound to button already are. There is even a Ctrl + Alt + Del hotkey.
As for battery life, the N5901 only gets about three months of battery life from two AA batteries. The battery compartment has a handy slot to store the wireless dongle, though, which is always nice.
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Keyboards Touchpad: Microsoft Wireless All In One Keyboard
All-In-One Media Keyboard, Black, Wireless
The third keyboard on our list is the Microsoft Wireless All in One Keyboard which is a great addition when it comes to using your PC while sitting on your couch or far away from your PC. Its wireless so you will have no issues with it.
Microsofts Wireless All-In-One Media Keyboard is a great addition to your home or office. The keyboard connects easily and seamlessly with Windows computers and the integrated multi-touch trackpad allows you to navigate through content quickly and efficiently. Customizable media hotkeys allow you to control your music, videos, and more with ease. And when you need to connect from anywhere within a 10-meter range, it couldnt be easier than with this wireless keyboard. It features an ergonomic design that is comfortable for all-day use.
It allows for greater mobility than wired keyboards. Durable design is ideal for an active lifestyle with spill-resistant technology so you can enjoy the freedom of wireless computing wherever you are at home or on the go.
How To Shop For A Wireless Keyboard
Youre going to use this keyboard every day, so make sure it fits your typing habits and your needs. Heres what to keep in mind as you shop.
Size: A model that will always sit on your desktop can be bigger and heavier, and usually some other advantages some with that. As more of us carry laptops or tablets, however, well look for models that are compact or portable. These will sacrifice some features but be easier to take with you.
Keys: Look for keys that are sculpted and spaced for typing comfort. This is why we encourage trying before buying: Weve had very different experiences with traditional keys vs. chiclet-style vs. flatter key designs, and its surprising how little things like the texture or the amount of dimple will make or break a choice. Most mainstream keyboards use membrane technology, which is adequate for most users, but heavy-duty users and gamers will likely prefer keyboards with mechanical switches . Windows hotkeys, or even programmable keys, are great bonuses, especially for power users.
Adjustability: Some keyboards offer no adjustment for angle or height. Look for models with adjustable legs or feet. We havent included ergonomic models in this round of reviews.
Battery needs: All wireless keyboards use batteries. Check closely for the type and number of batteries you need, and whether a starter set is included. We note the vendors specified battery life in each review.
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The Fundamentals Of Buying A Keyboard
Beyond connectivity and battery life, theres no difference between picking a standard, wired keyboard and a wireless one, though you are picking from a much smaller range of options.
KEY LAYOUT. Most wireless keyboards are full-size, meaning they have 104 keys or more, including a number pad. Most particularly productivity-focused models, use low-profile scissor-switch keys, similar to what youd find in a laptop. This keeps their dimensions slim, making them more portable and helping to maintain the sleek, minimalist look popularized by Apples Magic Keyboard. With that in mind, the best wireless keyboards dont overcommit to that aesthetic so much that the keys feel bunched together too closely. Mechanical keyboards tend to be wired models, more often than not, though there are exceptions.
Bluetooth All In One Touchpad Keyboard Features
- Wireless Bluetooth keyboard & built in touchpad
- Sleek, slim and modern design
- Full size keys for comfortable typing
- Scissor key mechanism for soft-touch keys to minimise typing pressure
- 13 integrated one touch multimedia keys
- Windows, Mac, iOS and Android compatible
- Integrated 4.5″ touchpad
- Touchpad includes gesture controls, including multi finger use
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Roccat Sova Mechanical Gaming Lapboard
- Keyboard is not wireless
- Bulky form factor
The Roccat Sova is an entirely different breed of media keyboard, designed to bring the precision of a PC gaming keyboard to your couch. Rather than slap a mushy membrane keyboard onto a cushioned lap pad, Roccat includes a premium mechanical keyboard in their 12-151-AM. Combine this with a massive built-in mousepad and you have a setup suitable for true keyboard and mouse gaming on the couch.
This is one of the best 2-in-1 keyboards because it actually feels great to type on. each of its LED-illuminated keys has an individual TTC Brown switch beneath them. This gives the keyboard a tactile and responsive click that helps increase your reaction time and reduce key travel. Roccat does make a cheaper membrane version of this keyboard, but it detracts from what makes this keyboard so unique.
Instead of slowing you down with a touchpad, the Sova gives you a generous 10.8 x 9.4-inch mousepad on which you can use any wired or wireless mouse. Unfortunately, a mouse is not included so you will need an extra one handy to fully tap into the Sovas gaming potential. A wired mouse is preferred, as the keyboard includes two USB ports and a wire clip that will help prevent the mouse from sliding off your lap. In addition to needing a mouse, there are two other reasons why this keyboard might be too complicated for some setups.
Run An Input Device Diagnostic Test
Use the HP PC Hardware Diagnostics tool to identify issues with an input device such as a mouse, touchpad, or keybord.
In Windows, search for and open HP PC Hardware Diagnostics for Windows.
If it does not display in the list, go to HP Hardware Diagnostics to download and install the software.
On the Main Menu, select Component Tests.
Select Input Devices, select all the available tests, and then click Run once to start the tests.
If any of the tests fail, write down the 24-digit failure ID code , and then Contact HP Customer Support or service the device.
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Common Bluetooth Driver Problems
If you are having problems with a Bluetooth device, such as the device not being recognized, then it is either a hardware or a software issue.
If the problem is with your Bluetooth hardware then you need to look for obvious damage on the device itself and replace or repair if necessary.
If the problem is with Bluetooth software then it is likely to be a Bluetooth Drivers problem. This essentially means that the Drivers on your computer are not able to recognize or communicate with the Bluetooth device. You will need to update these Drivers or download new Bluetooth Drivers to fix this issue.
Some of the more common Bluetooth problems are:
- Problems sending/ receiving files via Bluetooth
- Transfers interrupted or files corrupted on completion of transfer
- No evidence of files after transfer completion
- Problems transferring pictures from mobile / cellphone to computer
Ilebygo H20 Mini Wireless Keyboard Touchpad Combo
- You can’t use the touchpad and keyboard simultaneously
- Switches to sleep mode quickly
- Weird media hotkey placement
The Ilebygo H20 Mini Wireless Keyboard Touchpad Combo is an interesting all-in-one keyboard design that has a large QWERTY keyboard on one side and an approximately 5.3-inch touchpad on the back side. The benefit of this layout is that you have a larger space to type or navigate with your finger. The downside, however, is that you cannot use the touchpad and the keyboard at the same time.
This is a fair tradeoff, though, as the Ilebeygo keyboard isnt designed to do anything too crazy-complicated. It has a standard keyboard layout with a full function row and some strangely placed media hotkeys. It can be used to easily make searches in a media database or change settings without getting up from the couch. Though this device has physical volume buttons and left/right click buttons, the latter are less useful on the whole. Thats because most users will find it much easier to use the full suite of touch gestures to navigate menus.
The digital keyboard display is backlit with three different brightness settings. It can run for several hours before its top LED display will light up to inform you that its time to recharge. The internal 300 mAh battery recharges via micro USB.
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Flaws But Not Dealbreakers
The Logitech K380 lacks backlit keys, but thats a necessary trade-off to achieve such long battery life. It also lacks a built-in number pad, and its arrow keys are small. If you need a full-size number pad or larger arrow keys, consider a to use with the K380 or check out our larger keyboard picks.
How We Test Wireless Keyboards
It was hands-on all the way with our keyboard testing. We spent at least one full workday typing exclusively on each model we tested, with follow-up time to allow for a learning curve. We assessed the primary typing experience: key design, typing feel, and even noisiness. We also tried the secondary features: hotkeys, switches and dials on multi-platform models, and even the ability to adjust the angle or other comfort characteristics.
We considered the size, weight, and durability of each model against its purposewhether it was designed to be portable or desk-bound, and compact or fully featured. For instance, we balance the versatility of multi-platform models like Logitechs K780 against its performance as an actual keyboard you need to use every day .
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The Best Wireless Keyboards For 2021
Want to work or play without cables getting in the way? Here’s all the advice and deep-dive reviews you need to select the right wireless keyboard.
- Number pad can attach to either side of the keyboard
- Four dedicated macro keys
- Perfectly light ROG RX opto-mechanical switches
- Detachable wrist rest
- Number pad doesnt always feel secure
- Removable end caps for keyboard and number pad are easily lost
- USB passthrough only works in wired mode
- Very expensive
- Controls up to four devices
- Extremely comfortable for fast typing
- As quiet as a mechanical keyboard gets
- Bright backlight
- Pricey, as befits a wireless mechanical board
- Synapse 3 software requires registration, contains ads
- Windows only, not macOS
- Cover doesnt attach to the keyboard
- Armoury Crate offloads some RGB customization to a second app
- Battery indicator housed in the keyboard’s side
- Curved and split ergonomic shape.
- Extra-comfortable wrist rest.
- Front feet provide negative tilt.
- Extended asymmetrical keys make it easier to find your way around.
- Logitech Options and Flow software support.
- Keys feel a little spread out.
- No backlighting.
- USB Type-C and Bluetooth connectivity on a battery-powered keyboard
- Rear DIP switches allow for software-free customization
- Surprisingly comfortable 60-key design
- Steep learning curve from full-size and tenkeyless keyboards
- No 2.4GHz RF wireless connectivity
- Very expensive
Our Pick: Logitech K380 Multi
|Estimated battery life:||24 months|
The comfortable, compact, and inexpensive Logitech K380 Multi-Device Bluetooth Keyboard and K380 for Mac can switch between as many as three paired devices, and multiple Wirecutter staffers have used their K380 keyboards for two years or more without needing to change the batteries. Its round keys take some getting used to, its arrow keys are small, and it lacks backlighting, but despite those flaws the K380 is the best Bluetooth keyboard you can buy, especially at its low price.
The compact Logitech K380 has a layout similar to that of most laptop keyboards. It has all the most frequently used keys, including function and media keys along the top and small arrow keys at the bottom right. It lacks a full-size number pad, but this compact layout takes up much less room on your desk than a full-size keyboard, thus allowing you to place your mouse closer to your body. And the K380 is small and light enough to slip in a bag and take with you, unlike a long full-size keyboard or the heavy Logitech K480.
Logitech says the K380 is compatible with Windows, macOS, Chrome OS, Android tablets and phones, iPads and iPhones, and the Apple TV . We especially appreciate that the company has both Windows and Mac versions of the K380, for people who prefer that their keyboard layout matches their operating system.
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Bluetooth All In One Touchpad Keyboard
The new Bluetooth All in One Touchpad Keyboard offers a complete mouse and keyboard solution in one device. The built in touchpad features multi gesture features including mouse clicks, scroll and zoom. The keyboard itself has soft touch keys through the scissor-key mechanism to minimise typing pressure for maximum keyboard comfort.
Bluetooth Rf Theres More Than One Way To Wireless
Wireless keyboards use two primary technologies to connect to devices: Bluetooth, or a 2.4GHz radio-frequency connection. The latter connects to your device via a USB dongle Bluetooth models assume your host computer supports Bluetooth, or you have your own Bluetooth dongle. Each connection type offers distinct advantages and disadvantages.
In modern keyboards, 2.4GHz RF offers a stable connection and, at times, a near-imperceptible amount of typing lag. No desktop or laptop has built-in support for these keyboards you need that USB dongle. And because a USB dongle is an extra part, you can lose it if you often swap it between systems or carry your keyboard around. Some keyboards have a storage slot for their dongles, which is great, but it’s still a tiny part you need to keep track of. The dongles are often keyed to the specific keyboard you own, so losing one can mean the keyboard is out of commission for good. Models that support a more forgiving RF dongle, like the ones with Logitech’s Unifying technology, can work using a replacement dongle or another device’s dongle. However, these are the exception, not the rule.