What is a Cordless Keyboard?

Kimberly Thompson

A cordless keyboard is essentially just a regular keyboard that is battery-powered. It sends signals with either infrared or radio waves and doesn’t have any wires or cords to connect it to the computer. Thus, it is sometimes called a wireless keyboard. There are various distinct advantages and disadvantages of wireless models. Freedom, mobility, and connectivity all need to be considered.

A cordless keyboard.
A cordless keyboard.

One advantage to the cordless keyboard is its portability. The type of keyboard will determine how far away from the desktop PC one can move. Keyboards that use radio frequencies, for example, do not require a clear line-of-sight to the computer. This makes radio-frequency keyboards slightly more portable. An additional benefit to the radio version is that they can be operated a further distance away from the computer. Keyboards which use the infrared format, on the other hand, have to be near the computer, which can be almost as restrictive as a corded keyboard.

A computer monitor, mouse, and cordless keyboard.
A computer monitor, mouse, and cordless keyboard.

Another advantage of a cordless keyboard is the absence of a lot of cords cluttering your desktop. It presents a more professional, clean appearance. With this cleaner look, however, comes additional work when configuring it to your computer. Typically, wired keyboards just need to be plugged in to start working; cordless keyboards generally have to be configured first. Configuration usually isn't much of a hassle, however, and most cordless keyboard owners find this type of keyboard well worth it.

If you want a cordless keyboard, your choices are somewhat limited because there are not as many models available. Anything wireless is typically thought of as an advanced feature, so cordless keyboards are typically higher-end models, with many extra “bells and whistles." This makes the price higher than regular corded keyboard models.

There have been some reports of reduced functionality of wireless models. For fast typists, a cordless keyboard may be unable to keep up. There is sometimes a lag in keystrokes, or keystrokes may even be missed altogether. This can be frustrating if it negatively affects productivity. Many cordless keyboard users, however, do not report such problems.

Another downside of cordless keyboards is that they need to have their batteries changed. This can be a nuisance if you are in the middle of a project and don’t have backup batteries. It is also an added expense you do not face with a corded model.

Like all forms of new technology, cordless keyboards have started to replace their standard counterpart. Each user should evaluate the advantages and disadvantages and decide for themselves what features are most important. By examining your own style of computer usage, you can pick the model which will work best for you.

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Discussion Comments


I've used a cordless keyboard for years and I wouldn't go back to a regular one. The battery issue is a small one, since the batteries usually last a long while.

With a wireless keyboard, I can place it anywhere on my computer desk without worrying how or where it is going to attach to the machine. They are so much more convenient than corded keyboards, and offer as many, if not more features. Plus, they're no longer nearly as expensive as they used to be, so going cordless or wireless is much more affordable than it used to be.

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