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[ The PC Guide | Systems and Components Reference Guide | Keyboards | Special Keyboard Features and Accessories ]

Cordless Keyboards

Some manufacturers are now making cordless keyboards. These are like regular keyboards, except instead of having a keyboard cable that runs from the keyboard to the PC, they have no cord. Well now, wasn't that helpful? :^)

In fact, cordless keyboards really are about this simple. The wired interface between the keyboard and the motherboard is replaced with a wireless one. Two transceivers "talk" to each other over a radio link: one is within the keyboard and wired to the keyboard's internal controller, and the other is a separate device that contains a length of keyboard cable and a conventional keyboard connector to attach to the PC. You can think of it this way: the conventional keyboard interface is like the keyboard controller and the motherboard talking to each other on the phone; a cordless keyboard is like them talking to each other using a pair of walkie-talkies. :^)

Other than the different interface, cordless keyboards are pretty much the same as regular ones. In theory, any keyboard layout or style can be made into a cordless model. For business reasons, only a few models are, which means your choices are much more limited if you want a cordless keyboard. They also typically cost about $10 to $20 more than comparable corded models. Furthermore, since "cordlessness" is a high-end feature, they are usually high-end models, making the overall package a bit pricey for a keyboard.

I can see the benefit of a cordless keyboard in certain situations. For example, if you have a PC being used for demos in a conference room, it's very useful to be able to move the keyboard around or have it far away from the PC box. For the typical PC user though, I don't see a whole lot of benefit to the cordless feature. Once again, it's a matter of your needs and wants. Do remember that if it's a matter of the cord being too short, you have another option: a cord extender. Also remember that cordless keyboards use batteries to operate their transceivers, which isn't a big deal but is an added expense and a bit of hassle every few months.

Not surprisingly, cordless keyboards are often used in conjunction with cordless mice, or similar pointing devices. Cordless keyboards and mice are also sometimes sold together in a single "cordless package".

Next: Integrated Peripherals


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