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Should You Buy a Wireless Keyboard and Mouse?

written by: Shane Burley•edited by: J. F. Amprimoz•updated: 11/28/2008

When buying a new keyboard and mouse set this holiday season you may want to go with the more traditional set-up instead of the wireless alternative. Why? Lets take a look.

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    Adaptive Technology

    The idea of turning your computer into a wireless adaptive machine is tempting as we make laptops the new standard. What some have called the "mobile revolution" has led many to believe that we should be quickly converting over to entirely wireless technologies, including the mandatory peripherals that we use with our desktop computers. In reality the technology behind things like wireless keyboards and mice has a long way to go before it is ready for balanced use.

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    Wireless keyboard and mice combos are reliant on infrared and radio frequencies that connect the devices to a receiver. The receiver is then plugged into the same ports that the keyboard and mouse are normally plugged into. Usually there is only one receiver for the both of them, which can create a clog in the device and slow down response time. Even if you have a higher level set, you are still looking at a bit of lag at times of heavy activity.

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    Interference, as well as reflectivity of surrounding objects, is a persistent problem. If a reflective surface bounces the keyboard and mouse signal just right, you can end up having a disruption to service. This seems as though it is rare, but it still occurs. This can be a very large problem, especially when you are working with very technical applications.

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    The Mouse

    The mouse stands out from the pair as being the absolutely inferior device. The mouse runs on conventional batteries that you install and have to change regularly. When you are done using your mouse you need to turn it off otherwise it will continue to drain your battery. Likewise, excessive use that comes with things like computer gaming will end up wearing out the batteries even further. A serious computer user can render the power supply empty in a matter of days.

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    Spatial Proximity

    The idea that you can sit far away from your desktop and use the keyboard is exaggerated. Any distance away that would actually be useful in the way of leisure or accessibility would simply be too far for the computer to pick up. You need to be within acceptable range, which most wire attached keyboard and mouse sets do.

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    Stay in One Place

    If you are already working with a desktop computer you might as well go ahead and get good stationary peripherals. The computer itself is not mobile and therefore you have no reason to move too far from the base.