6 Reasons Why You Should NOT Buy a Bluetooth Keyboard
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A Bluetooth keyboard offers a winning combination of portability and cross-device compatibility — but they’re not perfect for everyone. While there are Bluetooth keyboards out there worth buying, you should be aware that they come with trade-offs.

For example, gamers, coders, and writers should use wired keyboards, which tend to offer better reliability, functionality, and security. Should you get one? Here are six reasons why you may want to rethink the Bluetooth keyboard.

1. Durable Keyboards Have Better Value

The keyboard remains one of the few computer components that never goes obsolete. With PS2-to-USB adapters, many mechanical keyboards from thirty years ago remain useful today. And why would you want to use such an old keyboard? For its mechanical switches (how mechanical keyboards work How Does A Mechanical Keyboard Work? [Technology Explained] How Does A Mechanical Keyboard Work? [Technology Explained] For geeks, mechanical keyboards are the holy grail of input devices. They’re relatively rare, they’re expensive, and require some explanation for people to understand them. It’s everything a geek could ask for. If you’re not... Read More ). They feel better and last longer compared to membrane boards.

Long Service Life

Unlike today’s membrane keyboards, a mechanical keyboard offers a combination of durable keycaps along with switches that will last for up to 50-million key presses — and the keys for a mechanical keyboard are usually easier to activate and provide a satisfying crunch when activated.

Easier to Activate for Marathon Typing Sessions

A common membrane keyboard requires around 70 grams of force to actuate while a Gateron mechanical switch only needs 35 grams of force — practically a feather-like touch. Plus, mechanical switches activate when they’re half-pressed, unlike membrane switches which only activate when they’re full-pressed.

This is what a membrane switch looks like:

membrane switch

This is what a Bucking Spring mechanical switch looks like:

6 Reasons Why You Should NOT Buy a Bluetooth Keyboard bucking spring us patent 469x500
Image Credit: U.S. Patent 4,118,611 via Wikipedia.org

As you can see, a membrane switch costs less money because of its reduced complexity compared to a membrane/dome design.

Bluetooth Mechanical Keyboards Aren’t Practical

Mechanical Bluetooth keyboards exist but they aren’t practical, mainly because you lose the portability that makes a Bluetooth keyboard worth getting. For example, the Varmilo VB87M keyboard weighs around 4 pounds, which is more than my entire Dell XPS 13 laptop Dell XPS 13 2015 Review and Giveaway Dell XPS 13 2015 Review and Giveaway The XPS represents the pinnacle of laptop design in 2015, and it's the best bang for your buck out of any laptop we've ever seen in the $800 price range. Read More .

Sure, there are a few excellent options out there, such as the Filco Majestouch Minila. However, the Minila costs a fortune, measures 1.57 inches thick, and weighs 1.5 pounds. The Minila just isn’t all that portable.

Unfortunately, it can’t form a wired connection through a Mini-USB cable, which offsets the fact that it’s one of the few portable Bluetooth mechanical keyboards around. Before buying anything, I advise reading up on what kind of keyboard switch is best Popular Keyboard Technology Compared: Which is Right for You? Popular Keyboard Technology Compared: Which is Right for You? When talking about computer peripherals, the computer keyboard is the unsung hero. Read More for you.

The Kalih Chocolate Low-Profile Mechanical Keyboard Switch

Technology continues changing, though. Cherry-clone manufacturer Kalih announced a new kind of mechanical keyboard switch — the Kalih Chocolate. The Chocolate switch shrinks the profile of a mechanical keyboard from a thickness of 1.5 or 1.6 inches to less than 0.9 inches — a nearly 50% reduction. Keyboards based on the Chocolate weigh an astounding 520 grams.

6 Reasons Why You Should NOT Buy a Bluetooth Keyboard kalih chocloate switch diagram 510x500
Image Credit; Kalih via Amazon

Havit, a keyboard manufacturer, sells a low-profile mechanical keyboard with a profile of 0.9 inches. The Havit HV-KB390L does not include wireless support, though. This is purely a wired device.

Unfortunately, no keyboard with Chocolate switches also includes Bluetooth compatibility. Therefore, if you want an ultra-portable keyboard with mechanical switches, you must continue waiting.

2. You Can’t Trust Manufacturers

Logitech and HTC both claim to sell “mechanical” Bluetooth keyboards, but if you look closely, you’ll find that neither model actually possesses any mechanical switches. It’s a shame because both are, by most standards, high-quality devices.

For example, the Logitech Keys-to-Go model protects its keys using a fabric covering. Here’s a good shot of it:

logitech keys to go bluetooth keyboard

But in marketing speak, the term “mechanical” can refer to anything that adheres to the following definition:

google defined mechanical

It does not mean what you’d expect it to mean, namely that the keyboard actually employs spring resistance with metal actuation points. A tear-down of the HTC Nexus 9 keyboard and the Logitech Keys-to-Go proves that neither offers the mechanical switches that one would expect.

Here’s what Logitech’s Keys-to-Go looks like after removing the fabric covering the keyboard:

keys-to-go dissection

As you can see through the transparent (potentially acrylic) keycaps, there’s a scissors-style membrane switch. Here’s a side-by-side comparison between Logitech’s computer-rendered marketing image (left) and what the switch looks like (right):

logitech keys to go dissection and comparison

The render doesn’t look anything like the production version. Even so, I can say that the Logitech Keys-to-Go keyboard is a fantastic keyboard (link to refurb model), although it still suffers from many of the issues with Bluetooth keyboards, such as an unreplaceable Li-ion battery.

On the positive side, its spill-proof design and portability make it an ideal keyboard for mobile productivity. Right now it retails on Amazon for between $30 and $50.

Logitech Keys-To-Go Ultra-Portable Stand-Alone keyboard for devices with iOS , Android , or Windows, Red (920-006948)(Certified Refurbished) Logitech Keys-To-Go Ultra-Portable Stand-Alone keyboard for devices with iOS , Android , or Windows, Red (920-006948)(Certified Refurbished) Buy Now At Amazon

I should also note that the Logitech’s Keys-to-Go uses Bluetooth 3.0 rather than the more modern Bluetooth 4.0, which is an example of our next issue.

3. Standards Become Obsolete & Insecure

Unlike a wired connection, the Bluetooth wireless protocol rapidly changes over time, which would be fine except that Bluetooth keyboards don’t receive security updates as they age. What’s considered secure today might be easily exploited tomorrow.

For example, the U.S. National Security Agency (NSA) published a best-practices guideline for Bluetooth usage, which notes that older Bluetooth standards that don’t support the Low Energy extension are vulnerable — and that’s pretty much all Bluetooth 3.x keyboards.

There’s a long list of potential security holes and I recommend reading it, along with Kaspersky Lab’s list of Bluetooth security vulnerabilities, which includes Bluejacking and Bluebugging. The reason this issue is so important is that many users type their passwords and logins into a keyboard. If that keyboard’s text input gets sent to a malicious intermediary, you’ve given your logins and passwords to a criminal.

6 Reasons Why You Should NOT Buy a Bluetooth Keyboard plum nano 75 mechanical keyboard 670x494

And that’s why user-upgradeable firmware is a must on all wireless keyboards. A handful of such devices exist that combine Bluetooth, user-upgradeable firmware, and mechanical switches. My favorite of these is the Plum Nano 75. It sports Topre switches, RGB LED backlighting, a compact 75-key form factor, and more — however, its ruinous price of $160 on Ali Express makes it a hard sell to almost anyone but the most diehard wireless keyboard enthusiasts. It does have one feature that very few other keyboards offer: it works when connected to a PC in BIOS mode.

4. No Bluetooth In the BIOS

What’s a Basic Input Output The BIOS Explained: Boot Order, Video Memory, Saving, Resets & Optimum Defaults The BIOS Explained: Boot Order, Video Memory, Saving, Resets & Optimum Defaults Your computer’s BIOS (basic input/output system) is the low-level software that starts when you boot your computer. It performs a POST (power-on self test), initializes your computer’s hardware, and passes control over to the boot... Read More (BIOS) environment? On a PC, and some Mac computers, users can enter a pre-OS boot environment and change basic variables, such as CPU frequency and other settings. Unfortunately, Bluetooth drivers are loaded by the operating system.

Without wired capabilities, it’s impossible for a keyboard to function in a BIOS environment. A handful of Bluetooth keyboards do possess the ability to work over a wired connection in a BIOS environment, but these are almost always expensive mechanical models.

Nowadays, only a few Bluetooth keyboards include both wireless Bluetooth and wired compatibility. Two worth mentioning are the aforementioned Plum Nano 75 and the even better regarded Anne Pro 61-key Bluetooth keyboard. Not only does it work in wired mode for BIOS compatibility, it also avoids the pitfalls of other wireless keyboards. In particular, it has user-upgradeable firmware, a compact 61-key layout, and — of course — works in the BIOS. Unfortunately, it’s still around 1.5 inches thick. Even so, it’s the best combination of features available for a wireless, portable, mechanical keyboard.

Mechanical Keyboard, ANNE Pro Bluetooth 4.0 Wired/Wireless Gaming Keyboard with DIY RGB Backlit & PBT Keycap, 61 Keys, Anti-Ghost, for PC/MAC/iPad/Smartphone/Laptop – Black (Red Switch) Mechanical Keyboard, ANNE Pro Bluetooth 4.0 Wired/Wireless Gaming Keyboard with DIY RGB Backlit & PBT Keycap, 61 Keys, Anti-Ghost, for PC/MAC/iPad/Smartphone/Laptop – Black (Red Switch) Buy Now At Amazon $89.99

The Anne Pro also offers three kinds of switches, RGB backlighting, and light weight. Out of all the keyboards mentioned in this article, the Anne Pro offers the most for the money.

lofree Dot Bluetooth Mechanical Keyboard

There’s a ray of hope for writers who hate wires. A Bluetooth keyboard that beats down the BIOS issue is the lofree. Unlike other keyboards, the lofree can pair with a computer using either Bluetooth or USB — which means it functions in BIOS. At $90, though, you might think twice about picking one up.

6 Reasons Why You Should NOT Buy a Bluetooth Keyboard lofree dot keyboard

It offers a lot more than just USB functionality. The lofree also includes LED backlighting, a portable and compact layout, compatibility with all major operating systems, and a slim profile (for a mechanical keyboard). Overall, it’s a winner if you need Bluetooth compatibility and occasionally need to use it in BIOS. On the downside, users report that the novel typewriter layout makes it difficult to type on. Considering that the typing experience comes first when buying a mechanical keyboard, you might want to skip this one.

Why You Need Wires and Wireless in the Same Device

More or less, the Bluetooth standard is messy and fragmented. The same problem also plagues Linux where 4.0 modules fail to function properly. Compared to a wired connection, Bluetooth suffers from substantial compatibility issues.

5. Bluetooth Has Pairing Issues

This is Bluetooth’s biggest problem, and a quick scan of customer reviews of Bluetooth keyboards shows countless complaints about compatibility issues.

For example, the latest version of Ubuntu doesn’t work with Bluetooth 4.0 devices… and Windows 7 isn’t compatible with Bluetooth 4.0… and versions of Android older than 4.3 Jelly Bean won’t support Bluetooth’s Low Energy extension. Overall, Bluetooth’s compatibility issues can spoil the main advantage offered by Bluetooth keyboards in the first place.

With any luck, we’ll see some WiFi-Direct keyboards in the future (difference between WiFi-Direct and Bluetooth The Differences Between Bluetooth 4.0 and Wi-Fi Direct You Need To Know The Differences Between Bluetooth 4.0 and Wi-Fi Direct You Need To Know If you take a peek into the future, it's hard not to envision an always-on society that features a multitude of connected devices that work in unison to make your life more convenient. Read More ). WiFi-Direct requires a WiFi-Direct compatible wireless card, but that’s okay because most modern Android devices are compatible. The problem is that good WiFi-Direct keyboards are hard to find.

6. That Battery Won’t Last Forever

In fact, a Bluetooth keyboard’s battery might not even last a few years. All Lithium-ion (Li-ion) batteries fail over time (three ways to ruin a battery How a Battery Works and 3 Ways You Can Ruin It How a Battery Works and 3 Ways You Can Ruin It The modern battery is featured in so many of our favourite technologies that you could almost be forgiven for not spending time learning about their workings. Read More ), and the more discharge-charge cycles it goes through, the faster its battery chemistry loses coherency.

Furthermore, while a seldom-charged Li-ion battery can last a long time, most are not user-replaceable. If it does fail, you’ve got to discard the entire keyboard unless you have soldering skills (learn how to solder Beginner's Electronics: 10 Skills You Need to Know Beginner's Electronics: 10 Skills You Need to Know Many of us have never even touched a soldering iron - but making things can incredibly rewarding. Here's ten of the most basic DIY electronics skills to help you get started. Read More ). Bluetooth keyboards with replaceable batteries do exist, but they’re uncommon and few stand out.

One exception is the Logitech K480:

Logitech K380 Multi-Device Bluetooth Keyboard – Windows, Mac, Chrome OS, Android, iPad, iPhone, Apple TV Compatible – with FLOW Cross-Computer Control and Easy-Switch up to 3 Devices – Dark Grey Logitech K380 Multi-Device Bluetooth Keyboard – Windows, Mac, Chrome OS, Android, iPad, iPhone, Apple TV Compatible – with FLOW Cross-Computer Control and Easy-Switch up to 3 Devices – Dark Grey Buy Now At Amazon $29.98

logitech k480

The K480 offers a solid combination of a slender form factor, multi-device compatibility, and replaceable AAA batteries. Unfortunately, it still suffers from the majority of issues plaguing Bluetooth keyboards — namely that it doesn’t have user-upgradeable firmware, it has mushy membrane key switches, and might not fit in your purse or satchel.

Should You Buy a Bluetooth Keyboard?

There’s no perfect Bluetooth keyboard solution, so you’ve got to either compromise or not buy a keyboard.

One surprising note is that micro-mechanical keyboard switches do exist. Aside from the Chocolate switches, a company called TTC sells switches with a height of 7.1mm, a suitable size for ultra-portable keyboards. It’s also a third the size of Kalih’s Chocolate switches. I’m hoping that Logitech adopts the technology for use in a Keys-to-Go successor. Another great application would be an Anne Pro version a razor-thin profile and AAA-battery support.

If you absolutely must buy a Bluetooth keyboard, my advice is to either go cheap or get the Anne Pro 61-key keyboard. The Anne Pro offers both USB and Bluetooth connectivity and a compact form factor — for under $100. At its price point, the Anne Pro ranks among the best portable Bluetooth keyboards on today’s market. Unfortunately, its thickness may limit how you carry it around. Those looking for a slim keyboard for use with a smartphone or tablet, the Keys-to-Go board ranks among the best out there. Just keep in mind that without replaceable batteries, Keys-to-Go will eventually get thrown away. And its Bluetooth 3.0 standard is already insecure and susceptible to hacking.

If you don’t need wireless capabilities, invest in a solid wired mechanical keyboard 5 Heavy Duty Mechanical Keyboards For The Hardcore Gamer 5 Heavy Duty Mechanical Keyboards For The Hardcore Gamer We’ve made quite a song-and-dance about mechanical keyboards here at MakeUseOf, and now that more and more manufacturers are jumping on the bandwagon they’re no longer specialised bits of kit reserved for the upper echelons... Read More , and if you need it for a mobile device, consider buying a USB On-the-Go What Is USB OTG? 5 Cool Ways to Use It on Android What Is USB OTG? 5 Cool Ways to Use It on Android USB OTG allows you to connect any USB device to your Android smartphone or tablet. There are so many possibilities! Read More (OTG) cable (make sure your device is compatible with OTG cables, although most Androids are).

Does anyone else have buyer’s remorse after buying a Bluetooth keyboard? Tell us about it in the comments down below!

Originally published October 2016.

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  1. JOhn Noller
    February 4, 2018 at 4:52 am

    The artile to which I'm resonding seems to be from 2016. I hope the article is still being actively red and discussed but given it's date I'll be brief.

    I just recently decided to switch over to a mechanical keyboard for writing at home, where no one else will hear my typing, to get better tactile resonse from my keyboard. I've been using a jicrosoft natural ergonomic keyboard and love its feel and layout but I've been droping and occsionally transposing too many letters when I type. I hope the tactile response will give me better feedback.

    I also need to write a lot taking notes in a classroom or library and there I can't use a mechanical keyboard because they are noisy (at least the ones using cherry blue are noisy). So I have purchased a couple of BT keyboards fto use with my mobile devices, android and ios. I also am plnning to try out the $20 Siig mini keyboard with my android tablet & an OTG cable; that keyboard is more spacious than any BT keyboard I've found while sufficiently compact to carry with me.

    Your article does not comment at all on noise and wehther there is any current mechanical keyboard that can be used when people are around. I've read that Cherry browns are quieter than the Cherry blues that seem to be ommon at this point in the market (at least as reflected on Amazon). Any thoughts on a mechanical keyboard I can use in these "populated" situations? I have no interest in gaming, only writing and note taking.

    • Kannon Yamada
      February 5, 2018 at 5:53 am

      Hi, thanks for the comment!

      There have been lines of "silenced" switches. In the past, it was common to use rubber o-rings on mechanical switches as a silencing mechanism. These dampen the sound produced, but are by no means silent. Cherry (and probably other companies) have released a line of switch designed for quiet operation. I believe these are called Cherry MX Silent (+color).

      https://www.amazon.com/ThreeBulls-120Pcs-Dampeners-Keyboards-Dampers/dp/B01N75JL0F

      And there's also customizable caps that turn the entire upper section of a keyboard switch into rubber. I can't remember the name of these, but they are supposed to be even more quiet than the standard red switches.

      My understanding is that out of the most common switches out there, the most quiet ones are the red series and Gateron Clear switches. You can silence them even further by adding 0-rings. Regarding the keyboard itself, really any one with the right switch technology will do.

      https://www.amazon.com/ThreeBulls-120Pcs-Dampeners-Keyboards-Dampers/dp/B01N75JL0F

    • Simon Liu
      June 11, 2018 at 5:26 am

      The plum keyboard mentioned in the article is now available at their own website at nizkeyboard.com I got an 84 key 45g for like $130 and it's the quietest non membrane keyboard I've ever used. I really like how light it is, very little fatigue for marathon typing sessions.

  2. John S
    December 29, 2017 at 12:51 pm

    I have a K480 for my iPad and while its a OK keyboard It suffers from connection issues at times. Mostly involving deleting pairing and re pairing device. Not a big deal, but I have yet to find any Bluetooth connection that does not suffer from issues from time to time. I am not a fan of Bluetooth for much of anything. Even considered a wired keyboard for iPad that connects to lightning connector. Just for the sake of better connectivity.

    • Kannon Yamada
      December 29, 2017 at 6:09 pm

      Those connection issues are usually related to antenna design, channel saturation, and other reasons. Basically, the metal unibody of some electronics can cause connection issues because the metal interferes with the Bluetooth signal. They're supposed to be designed in a way that reduces the connection problems, but in my experience metal devices suffer from far more issues compared to plastic devices.

  3. g.m.nelson
    December 25, 2017 at 8:19 pm

    I used a compact (foldable) BT keyboard with my smartphone while my primary computer was in the shop and it worked fine once pairing and keyboard layout options were setup correctly. later on when I wanted to use my phone to move files between thumb drives I found out that my android 6 Sony Experia does NOT have OTG support, the USB port only works for charging and file operations with the computer (no USB host operations).

  4. Rob
    December 21, 2017 at 4:19 pm

    I use for ages a bluetooth Apple mechanical Bluetooth keyboard. On 4 AA batteries it works as a charm for more then a year (I already never switched it off, but since the switch failed on me I just shorted the switch)

  5. Rusty
    December 1, 2017 at 1:22 am

    I'm going to have to say, not Seagate they don't last at all. Bad option.
    If you're going SSD use Crucial
    If you're going HHD use WD

    • Kannon Y
      December 1, 2017 at 4:38 am

      I think you may have scrolled into my article by accident. This is about Bluetooth keyboards.

      That said, Backblaze's quantitative analysis shows that it all depends on the drive. Consumer drives are in general almost as reliable (they're actually slightly more reliable) as commercial/enterprise drives. Some lines of Seagate drive actually hve very good reliability. And some had (notoriously their 1TB drives from 2007) horrendous reliability.

      • ITGuy
        January 12, 2018 at 2:19 pm

        Hey Kannon, have you ever used any enterprise grade drives? There is a reason for enterprise drive out there, consumer drives and enterprise drives cannot be compared next to each other, they fall in different category.

        For example, the endurance life in the SSD might be 150TB for consumer SSD, but depends on the type of the enterprise SSD (write intensive, read intensive...etc), you can have over 500TB or even more than that for endurance.

        As for HDD, seagate is getting better, but they still have some little issues here and there, their enterprise drivers are actually pretty had, had over 100 of seagate enterprise drivers and none of them failed. On the other hand, I bought 3 Baracuda Pro (consumer grade), 2 of them failed within 5 days in RAID 5.
        So if the money is not a issue, go for enterprise drives, sometime the $ difference between consumer and enterprise is not that big

        • Kannon Y
          January 18, 2018 at 5:08 pm

          Hi, thanks for the comment. Your comment is for the previous article, not this article. :-) Just to let readers know.

          I have a friend who specializes in server components and he agrees with you that enterprise drives are more reliable. However, Backblaze's study IIRC found that the most reliable drive was a HGST model which I believe is a consumer-class drive.

          https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00H4IIOVS

          https://www.backblaze.com/blog/hard-drive-failure-rates-q3-2017/

  6. p
    November 19, 2017 at 7:36 pm

    What year are you living in.

    I honestly dont think you have ever used a blutooth device.

    • Kannon Yamada
      November 19, 2017 at 7:38 pm

      There was a huge security vulnerability discovered in Bluetooth devices and smartphones with Bluetooth.

      • ITGuy
        January 12, 2018 at 2:11 pm

        The BlueBorne can be patched to fix, so yes there is a huge security issue, but can be easily fixed with patch, so your comment is no accurate at all.

        • Kannon Y
          January 18, 2018 at 5:12 pm

          It wasn't just BlueBorne, there were many other Bluetooth exploits that were discovered (and are continued to be discovered). I linked to just a few of them in the article. Many security experts believe Bluetooth to be so vulnerable that they recommend leaving Bluetooth turned off whenever you travel.

          What really compounds this problem is that most devices that have the issue NEVER receive a firmware update.

  7. Mechanicx
    November 15, 2017 at 6:41 pm

    The Filco Majestouch Convertible 2 just prove all your points mute! What a shit article!

  8. watcher
    April 4, 2017 at 6:05 am

    Kannon,

    I've just been using a USB dongle wireless keyboard and mouse for at least 6 years now. I still have a bluetooth mouse that I used to use and it would freeze for microseconds occasionally and really irritate me. For my needs, the USB wireless keyboard and mouse fit the bill because I can use it in POST and the BIOS! :)

    • Kannon Y
      April 4, 2017 at 4:01 pm

      Hello, thank you for the comment.

      The freezing is often caused by a poor connection, interference, or some other connection issue. I've found that using an external dongle is a better option, particularly if one uses an extension cable. For some reason, dongles have better connection when they're slightly further away from the chassis of the computer.

  9. hausjam
    November 9, 2016 at 9:49 pm

    Mechanical keyboards are very trendy, and extremely overrated. I game just as well on a wireless chiclet keyboard as I do on an old school Cherry switch keyboard. And type much faster as well.

    As far as bluetooth goes, they used to be lousy. But have gotten much better lately.

    Best of both worlds: Logitech K780. It can quickly switch between three paired devices, be they bluetooth, or RF unifying receivers. Even has a built in stand for my phone. Awesome. If it wasn't missing some dedicated keys (prtscn, pg up, pg dn, home, end) it would be perfect.

    • rths s
      December 1, 2016 at 11:00 pm

      It's not mechanical, how is it the best of both worlds if it isnt a mechanical bluetooth keyboard.

  10. Gene Pavlovsky
    October 31, 2016 at 10:40 am

    I was considering getting a BT keyboard, but you've made some very good points and now I have serious doubts about that. I was surprised to find out that most BT keyboards use non-replaceable Li-Ion batteries rather than replaceable 1.5 V batteries, like most BT mice do. Having fixed non-user-replaceable Li-Ion batteries in more and more devices these days is an alarming trend, Greenpeace really ought to fight this kind of idea.

    I'd like to make a clarification, though, about one point you mentioned: Windows 7 doesn't have native Bluetooth 4.0 drivers, but it doesn't mean you can't use a BT4.0 module in Windows 7. I have a BT4.0 internal module in my laptop, as well as a BT4.0 USB dongle (ASUS USB-BT400), both use Broadcom chipsets and therefore Broadcom WIDCOMM drivers. I have a Microsoft Bluetooth Mobile Mouse 3600, it is a BLE device and didn't work with BT3.0 module I've had in my laptop before. Microsoft says Windows 8+ is required for this mouse. But using the Broadcom drivers on Windows 7, I'm able to pair and use this mouse without problems.

    P.S. I have a Lenovo Thinkpad X220 which originally came with a BT 3.0 internal module (replaceable). I bought the MS Bluetooth Mobile Mouse 3600 and was surprised that my laptop can't see it at all (while a recent-model Android smartphone can). The next model of Thinkpad, X230, offered a BT4.0 internal module, it fits in the same slot on the motherboard (under the palmrest where the right palm usually is). I bought that from eBay (really cheap from China), plugged it in, installed most recent drivers from Broadcom, and it works. Note: Thinkpad's BIOS use whitelisting for extension cards you can connect, I have a modded whitelist-removed BIOS (obtained from bios-mods.com), I had no problems, but I suspect it might refuse to boot with the standard BIOS.

  11. jonathan mars
    October 11, 2016 at 6:31 pm

    Ya know, I mostly agree with your points here. I feel like a lot of people spend a surprising amount of money on bluetooth keyboards, for anything above $50 you really should be investing in something that will last you longer, like a decent mechanical keyboard.

    I think people should still buy them if they have a use for them, but in the case of something that will go obsolete, maybe do $30 max. Unless the user is really more into a mobile OS.

    I do have to mention, the image you used as an example for a membrane keyboard isn't the most universal image you could have used, as that is the scissor switch variant. There is a membrane at the center, but 99% of membrane switches do not have the plastic pieces that stabilize the keys. These are mostly used on laptops, and as you showed in the tear-down, some other very thin keyboards.

    The logitech scissor switch keyboards actually last a very long time from my experience, I've been using one of their backlit ones at my work for about 4 years now. Compare that to the first regular membrane keyboard my work provided me that felt awful and broke in a year, and I would say that I feel that scissor switches are the "middle ground" between regular membrane and mechanical. If one is going to spend more than $30 for a membrane keyboard, they should at least end up with scissor switches.

    • Kannon Y
      October 12, 2016 at 3:01 pm

      Thanks for the comment Jonathan! I should have mentioned that scissors style switches are superior to pure membrane. I didn't know that Logitech's switch technology was any better than their competitors. In general, keyboards tend to last a long time, even with heavy use. I think that the problem with many membranes is that they slowly become unusable over time compared to mechs.

  12. Peter Frank
    October 3, 2016 at 10:53 pm

    Too much emphasis in this article on "mechanical keyboards". To be technically correct, both spring and membrane style keyboards are mechanical keyboards. The author obviously has a strong preference for old-style metal spring based keyboards.

    Back in the day, when all keyboards used metal springs, some were great and some were lousy. All depended on quality of build. The same is true today. I am typing right now on a keyboard that uses rubber membrane. It is a high quality keyboard with good response and keystroke travel that any touch typist would appreciate.

    Bottom line is get a good quality keyboard. If you prefer springs, get springs. If not, just get a good modern keyboard. The rubber membrane keyboards are less expensive to produce and more common, so equal quality spring keyboard will cost a lot more (conversely, equivalent quality rubber membrane will cost less).

    • Kannon Yamada
      October 3, 2016 at 11:14 pm

      Hi Peter, thanks for the comment!

      I made the point clear in the article that membranes ARE mechanical kinds of switches, but only in dictionary terms. The term "mechanical keyboard" has become an umbrella category to refer to pretty much any kind of keyboard that's not membrane based, with the exception of soft keyboards and holographic keyboards.

      You make a great point about keyboard quality -- even some membranes are high-quality devices. My experiences with membranes and mechanicals is this: even a high-quality membrane isn't as good as a low quality mechanical. You've got to pick a switch that conforms to your typing style.

    • rths s
      December 1, 2016 at 11:03 pm

      He's right, the mechanical keyboard is a very well established sub section of keyboards which is often used as mis advertisement to draw people in.

  13. Anonymous
    June 14, 2016 at 2:55 am

    Chris is douche.. I hope he knows That.

  14. Repiano
    May 16, 2016 at 10:01 am

    Not all wireless keyboards are Bluetooth!

    • Kannon Yamada
      May 16, 2016 at 4:36 pm

      That's true. Bluetooth compatibility has been a big selling point for modern keyboards because they can work across multiple devices, including smartphones, tablets, and PCs, without requiring a dongle. So a lot of people have been buying them expecting them to function identically to wireless keyboards. But they are very different beasts on a functional level.

  15. John
    May 16, 2016 at 12:19 am

    http://www.amazon.com/Microsoft-L5V-00001-Ergonomic-Desktop-Keyboard/dp/B00CYX54C0 is awesome! Never had any issues whatsoever that you mention.

  16. jonen560ti
    April 7, 2016 at 2:46 pm

    i think this article should be called "6 reasons to not replace a USB keyboard with a bluetooth one" these reasons seem to only apply to people who think a bluetooth keyboard can replace a wired one.

    • JP
      August 1, 2016 at 3:17 pm

      Agreed. As in a lot of people's cases, we used wired keyboards for our PC but I have a bluetooth one that I can carry with me for my tablet.

      • rths s
        December 1, 2016 at 11:04 pm

        +1

      • TheMonk
        March 11, 2017 at 8:18 pm

        Ha Ha. Unless you planning to use both at the same time.
        For gaming, I agree, the bluetooth keyboard is useless. However, for almost everything else, the arguments in the article don't hold much weight. Bluetooth has come a long way. I have been using bluetooth keyboard for the last few years, mostly for intensive software development and general documentation. None of the arguments presented above are relevant to me. For gaming, the wired keyboard make sense, but only due to responsiveness.

        • Kannon Y
          April 1, 2017 at 10:17 pm

          Thanks for the comment!

          Regarding Bluetooth keyboards, you can't access a POST environment with Bluetooth. If you're doing a lot of software development, perhaps you don't need to access the POST environment. But lets say you one day need to switch HPET or hyperthreading off -- you can't do that with a Bluetooth (unless it comes with a dongle).

  17. Chris Hansen
    April 6, 2016 at 4:28 pm

    I have two different Bluetooth keyboards and both of them use AA batteries, the batteries last between 60-180 days (depends on use) and they both have a short stroke and are easier to type on than my mechanical keyboard.

    One is a 30$ (purchased four years ago) Windows BT keyboard that I use with my iPad and occasionally my windows desktop. The other is a 60$ Apple keyboard I bought to work with my Mac. The Apple keyboard is by far the superior keyboard to type on by far of any keyboard I've had (I type about 80 wpm and I type a lot for work).

    I think the assumption in the article that I should buy a keyboard to last for the ages is incorrect. I've worked on or with computers since about 1982 and everything has changed; keyboard adapters have changed three times since then. The newer membrane style keyboards are more spill resistant as well; I've had more keyboards ruined by liquid than ever wore out.

    The author appears to have an agenda and then found information to support that agenda rather than the more balanced approach of a question and supporting research. Perhaps a good journalism school would help, or at least a decent editor.

    • Kannon Yamada
      April 8, 2016 at 7:20 am

      Hi Chris, thanks for the criticism. You make a good point about how the data is cherry-picked. Even an opinion piece should ideally present as balanced a viewpoint as possible. I didn't intend to discourage everyone from buying a Bluetooth keyboard. I just wanted to warn buyers that no perfect solution exists and then recommend models based on those needs.

      If all you need is a disposable board for typing on the go, then BT is an ideal connection standard. But if you need something more, nothing beats a mechanical switch. I measured the actuation force of a membrane board and it's around 70 grams to get it to actuate. A Gateron clear switch, for example, requires only 35 grams of force. So for typing, gaming, and marathon writing sessions a mech with light switches is unbeatable (but for the aforementioned reasons, there's not even a perfect mech Bluetooth keyboard).

      BTW, I did go to journalism school, but not a particularly good one. :-(

      • Tim J
        February 16, 2017 at 7:13 pm

        Kannon,
        I admire the way you handle criticism and are responsive to your commenters.

        Kudos to you!

        • Kannon
          February 17, 2017 at 9:37 am

          Hey Tim, thanks for the positive comment!

          As a writer, my boss isn't my editor -- it's the audience. Every comment is a chance for growth, learning, and self-reflection.

          Can you imagine a world in which the employees tell the boss off for giving them criticism? (Some people might really enjoy that kind of world!)

          Thanks again Tim!

    • rths s
      December 1, 2016 at 11:06 pm

      Reading through, i thought the exact same thing.
      He may not have meant it but it "seemed" biased.

  18. Otto Vanluchene
    April 6, 2016 at 7:57 am

    You could of course have both... I use the wireless one when my pc is connected to my TV.
    And a normal wired keyboard when sitting at my desk. Best of both worlds.

    • Kannon Yamada
      April 6, 2016 at 8:18 am

      That's a pretty good solution! Thanks Otto.

  19. Mark
    April 6, 2016 at 3:23 am

    What a garbage article. Useless people passing themselves off as experts. Get a job; stop talking your nonsense.

    • Kannon Yamada
      April 6, 2016 at 8:18 am

      Your feedback is appreciated. If you have any corrections please let me know.

  20. npete
    April 6, 2016 at 2:54 am

    Yeah this is a serious opinion piece. I have been using laptops since 1998. I get a new keyboard every time I replace my laptop since they come included. I use a bluetooth keyboard to interact with my latptop when in is on my standing desk or with my iPad when I am writing something long. I've now had a bluetooth keyboard longer than I've had my current laptop. It is still useful. Battery still holds a charge and everything. Not sure what the author's point is, beyond the idea that he doesn't like Bluetooth keyboards. Guess I fell for the clickbait.

    • Kannon Yamada
      April 6, 2016 at 8:17 am

      The title is clickbaity. I'm sorry about that.

      Li-ion batteries if charged infrequently can last a really long time. The battery chemistry by itself does break down without going through charge/discharge cycles, but it can last years without requiring replacement. The point should have been that there's no perfect Bluetooth solution out there for everyone. Although there are suitable Bluetooth solutions for some individuals.

      Can I ask what model of Bluetooth keyboard you're using?

  21. Chris Collins
    April 5, 2016 at 8:39 pm

    I'm not totally understanding the why having a bluetooth keyboard is bad. Most of this article is saying that if you can't get a true mechanical keyboard...don't bother with a keyboard. At least that was my take away.

    When I think bluetooth keyboard, I think of something to toss in my bag and I can use it for my phone or tablet when more than a sentence or two is required. A desktop keyboard isn't supposed to be portable. Laptops already have keyboards, so 99% of bluetooth keyboards are marketed to the smartphone/tablet users.

    Who is this article geared towards?

    • Kannon Yamada
      April 6, 2016 at 8:13 am

      Thanks for the feedback, Chris! I need to rewrite the beginning of the article to better encapsulate the argument that there's no perfect Bluetooth keyboard solution. Even today's best Bluetooth keyboards have shortcomings that not everyone would feel comfortable with. If it's mechanical, it's not portable. If it's portable, it uses membrane switches (even though portable mechanical switches exist). If it's Bluetooth, it won't ever receive a firmware update for security problems... and so on. It's not clear whether or not some Bluetooth keyboards are appropriate if you're willing to accept the trade-offs. I'm going to rewrite the introduction and conclusion to better highlight that point.

      As a writer, I've failed in not properly targeting my reading audience. Getting comments like yours is instrumental to becoming better. Thanks again.

      • Chris Collins
        April 6, 2016 at 10:04 am

        Thank for the reply.

        I use a bluetooth keyboard for travelling when it's just my tablet or phone. Laptop keyboard for laptop of course, and wireless keyboard for desktop with a couple wired backups if that one goes out. I also have another wireless that I attach to the Xbox when searching for movies and such on Netflix, Hulu, and whatever else. It's a much better solution than the controller.

        Yes, there are trade-offs, but the majority of users have the wireless keyboard (with a distinction between RF keyboards with dongles and actual bluetooth). I use an actual bluetooth for the tablet or phone because it will sync between the two without the need of a dedicated port. The RF for when I'm home or at work and have the extra port for the dongle.

        There are a lot of wireless options when it comes to keyboards and mice and they make for a neater, less cluttered work area. Gamers and coders (to name a couple) usually prefer wired mechanical keyboards because of what they do. However, the majority of us are used to using membrane keyboards because that's primarily what we have on our laptops and BT tablet keyboards.

        If your article was geared more toward the heavy gamer, coder, novel writing author, or other individual that uses a keyboard in a more permanent position and excessively in comparison to the blogger or social media consumer, then it would make more sense.

        Bluetooth keyboard > on screen keyboard in situations where more than a few lines are required, i.e. emails, short blog posts, comments on an article. Whereas talk to text > any keyboard for quick reply text messages, twitter posts, short FB post.

        I do agree that true cramped BT keyboards are a pain for extended use, but I do keep one in my bag for those occasions where I'll whip out my table to reply to an email or whatever and not have to fire up my laptop.