Wireless Keyboard and Mouse Review
Why Buy a Wireless Keyboard and Mouse Combo?
The top performers in our review are Logitech Wireless Wave Combo MK550, the Gold Award winner; Microsoft Wireless Comfort Desktop 5050, the Silver Award winner; and Anker Wireless Mouse & Keyboard Combo, the Bronze Award winner. Here’s more on choosing a keyboard and mouse combo to meet your needs, along with detail on how we arrived at our ranking of 10 wireless keyboard and mouse combos.
Your keyboard and mouse enable you to browse, navigate and create within your computer's programs. You might not think to upgrade your keyboard and mouse, but wouldn't you want the two things you touch the most on your computer to be at optimal performance? You'd be surprised how badly a worn-out keyboard and mouse can hinder your ability to operate your computer.
Wireless keyboard and mouse combos are a great way to upgrade your peripherals. Although wired peripherals continue to be an option, they are becoming outdated in today's wireless world. If you're still wrestling with your old corded accessories, you're probably discovering that a wireless keyboard and mouse combo is what you need to accomplish 21st century tasks – from delivering an important presentation, to dominating in online gaming, to accessing home entertainment and media applications in the comfort of your own living room. With a wireless mouse and keyboard, you can get rid of bulky cords that clutter up your workspace and keep you trapped at your desk. When you go wireless you'll have a tidy workspace and the freedom to roam as you wish.
There are many keyboard options out in the world. If you find yourself wanting a keyboard made specifically for gaming, our gaming keyboard reviews compare the best keyboards in the gaming category. Pairing it with a gaming mouse will give you the ultimate setup to dominate in your online gaming. Many of them are backlit wireless keyboard and mouse combos. We have many articles on computer peripherals if you are looking for more information on this subject.
Wireless Keyboard and Mouse Combos: What to Look For
When you're looking for the best wireless keyboard and mouse combo, it's important to remember you're purchasing a paired set. Since you won't have the option to mix and match these computer peripherals, both the keyboard and mouse should have the features and design elements you want.
The comfort of a keyboard and mouse is subjective. Some people prefer a wavy keyboard or one that splits the keys up into definitive left and right sections for each hand. Some prefer a standard keyboard with the rows in straight lines. Most wireless mouse and keyboard combos come in standard layouts, but we also reviewed a couple different styles for users who prefer those.
Keep in mind that key layout and sizes are not always the same from keyboard to keyboard. Almost always, it will take some getting used to – a week of use should do the trick.
The wireless mouse should be comfortable to use as well. There are three main grips for a mouse – palm, fingertip and claw. Mice with a large arch are palm grips – your palm generally rests on the arch. Fingertip mice are shaped so only your fingertips touch the mouse. They are generally slender, highly portable devices. Claw grips are shaped so the heel of your palm rests on the back of the mouse. This leaves your fingers hovering over the buttons like a claw.
Key switches are the mechanisms under the keys that send the signal from the keyboard to the computer. To the average user, key switches are an afterthought, but the type of key switch directly affects the feel, performance and longevity of your keyboard.
There are three main types of key switches – dome, scissor and mechanical. Rubber-dome, or silicon, key switches are exactly what they sound like – little rubber domes under the keys. These switches make the impact of the key feel soft as you press down and are quiet compared to mechanical switches. The key also has to be pressed down all the way in order for the keystroke to register. For the speed-demon typists, this can lead to fewer words per minute. However, the main problem with rubber-dome keys is longevity. Over time, the soft rubber dome starts to become brittle and will eventually lead to failure.
Scissor switches are synonymous with laptop keyboards and the like – the low-profile chiclet keys. Given the low profile, the key doesn't have to be pressed completely for the key to fire, resulting in speedier typing for most. They also tend to have a longer life than dome key switches.
Most typists consider mechanical switches to have the best key switch design. Mechanical switches come in a handful of different forms – Cherry MX, Black, Red, etc. These spring-loaded switches are more responsive and don't need to be pressed as far as domed switches, which allows for faster typing speeds. The responsiveness can be a blessing and a curse. It can lead to faster typing speeds but more errors due to the sensitivity. Also, mechanical keys can be noisier than the other two switch styles.
In most of the models we reviewed have silicon, rubber dome switches. Only the HP Keyboard and Mouse combo features a scissor key design. This means that these keyboards will not be as responsive as gaming keyboards, but they will be much quieter and softer upon impact.
Ideally, a wireless mouse works best on a wood desktop surface, but since there are no wires attached, it is easy to move your keyboard and mouse around to different surfaces. Students often find themselves working on a carpeted floor while a traveling business professional might be using their leg as a mousepad. A wireless mouse that is responsive on any type of surface is ideal.
Wireless Keyboards and Mouse Combos: What We Tested, What We Found
We put our keyboards through a handful of tests to bring you not only the best-performing keyboard and mouse available, but also the most comfortable and versatile.
Since a keyboard and mouse are the computer parts you touch the most, you should make sure they are comfortable. We understand that comfort is subjective, so for this test we had a dozen of our reviewers use each keyboard and mouse for an extended period of time to gauge which ones are most comfortable. We then averaged out all the data and graded each keyboard and mouse accordingly.
Mouse Surface Accuracy Test
A wood or laminate desktop is the ideal surface for a mouse. But the traveling business professional or the average college student might not always have a desk handy. We tested each mouse on a handful of different surfaces: wood, laminate, glass, marble, carpet and denim. Each mouse was used to trace a test pattern. Anytime the mouse lagged, jumped or stopped responding, we noted the error. We tested each mouse five times to minimize discrepancies during the test. After the tests were completed, we averaged out the number of lags, jumps and stops that occurred during every test and graded each mouse based on its performance.
One thing to note about this test is that our carpet is low-profile, high-traffic carpet. It is by no means plush or soft. Depending on what type of carpet you are operating on, the results may vary.
Wireless Keyboard and Mouse Combos: Our Verdict
After all of our testing was said and done, three wireless keyboard and mouse combinations triumphed. You can expect these wireless combinations to be more comfortable, reliable and feature-filled than the keyboard and mouse that came with your desktop or laptop.
The Logitech Wireless Wave Combo MK550 is our Top Ten Reviews Gold Award winner. This is one of the only wireless ergonomic keyboard and mouse combos that we reviewed in our lineup. This combination boasts a 36-month battery life on the keyboard and 24 months on the mouse – both are among the longest in our lineup. Our reviewers, even ones not used to the ergonomic design found this keyboard and mouse to be comfortable. The mouse also had the best surface testing score in our comparison. It is a little bit wider and heavier than most units we reviewed, but as far as comfort and reliability go, this is the best wireless keyboard and mouse.
The Microsoft Wireless Comfort Desktop 5050 is our Top Ten Reviews Silver Award winner. This keyboard is the only other ergonomic design in our lineup, and our reviewers felt both the mouse and keyboard were among the most comfortable to use. The mouse was responsive on all surfaces we tested on except for glass. This keyboard is also on the wider and heavier side, but if being comfortable while you type is one of your main priorities, this keyboard is among the best.
Our Top Ten Reviews Bronze Award winner is the Anker Wireless Mouse & Keyboard Combo. Anker is certainly less recognizable than Microsoft or Logitech, but this combo boasts an ultra-responsive mouse that excelled on all surfaces. Our reviewers also found the mouse to be one of the most comfortable to use. The two-month battery life on the keyboard is a bit subpar, and this is the only keyboard we tested that didn't include batteries with the purchase. While it's certainly not the most well-known name, Anker has manufactured a great keyboard that is less expensive than its top-tier competition.