USB-RF vs. Bluetooth for Mice and Keyboards: Which Is Better?

Microsoft Wedge Bluetooth mouse next to a Logitech M720 RF mouse.Josh Hendrickson

When you buy a wireless mouse or keyboard, you can choose between Bluetooth or wireless devices that communicate via a USB dongle via Radio Frequency (RF). In our experience, USB-RF has less latency, but Bluetooth has advantages.

Which one is faster?

Latency is critical with any keyboard or mouse. You want your input to be reflected on the screen as quickly as possible, especially if you play games that depend on jerk reflexes, such as first-person shooter games.

According to Razer, USB-RF offers lower latency. The company told us that Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) devices can reach a latency of 1.3 ms, USB-RF at 1 ms. Razer's spokesman even explained to us that the difference in speed is why they only offer USB-RF devices. The company focuses on games, so it makes sense to choose the fastest option.

Logitech promises a similar wireless speed of 1 ms with its Lightspeed Mouse, but it uses an exclusive form of communication at 2.4 GHz. according to The edgeThis meant fewer interference problems than those encountered with other wireless mice (such as Razer) that use the standard form of 2.4 GHz communication.

Which is the most compatible?

Apple Magic Keyboard 2 with Numpad.Apple prefers Bluetooth for its keyboard and wireless mouse. Apple

Latency is not everything. USB-RF mice require a USB dongle, and not all devices have these standard USB ports (also called USB-A).

Bluetooth is more compatible with more devices because you can use its devices with devices that do not have USB-A ports. As USB-C continues to grow, it becomes more and more complicated to own a wireless RF mouse or keyboard. You can buy a USB-C mousebut what do you do when your laptop only has USB-C ports and your desktop does not? You can either get a adapter (which is one more part to lose) or a mouse that comes with USB-C and USB-A.

Regarding the keyboards, we have not found any USB-C wireless option at any renowned manufacturer.

A Bluetooth device does not have this problem; it's completely wireless. Even if your desktop does not have Bluetooth, you can solve this problem with Bluetooth dongle. And since he stays attached to your desk, you will not have to worry about losing him.

Some devices, such as the iPad Pro, have no traditional USB ports at all, and either support or start to support the mouse. If you want to use a mouse on a tablet, a Bluetooth model will probably work better. Even tablets with USB ports, such as Surface Pro, typically work with Bluetooth devices.

What is the easiest to configure?

Microsoft wireless sculpture, ergonomic keyboard, numeric keypad and mouse.Microsoft

Devices using a wireless dongle are clearly winning. You plug in the dongle and the operating system must detect the new device and add the driver automatically. In general, you are operational in just a few seconds. A key can also connect a keyboard and mouse if they are purchased together or, in some cases, from the same manufacturer.

A Bluetooth mouse or keyboard, on the other hand, requires several steps. First, you put everything in pairing mode, then wait for your laptop or tablet to speak with your mouse or keyboard. You must associate the mouse and keyboard individually if you have both. And when you go to the next device, you will have to start the whole process again.

After initial setup, Bluetooth takes the crown for ease of continuous access. Ready to switch from your PC to your tablet on the move? Take your tablet and keyboard or mouse far enough away from your PC to lose the connection. The keyboard or mouse should automatically associate with your tablet. Otherwise, you can disable Bluetooth on your PC to force the process.

With a USB-RF device, you must remove the dongle from your PC and plug it into the next device you want to use. If you travel, it's easy to lose. Sometimes there is a place in the mouse to store a dongle, but that is not always the case. And keyboard mouse combos, like the Microsoft Sculpt Ergonomic Keyboard and Mouse Set, are permanently associated with a single dongle. If you lose it or it fails, you must replace the full game.

Choose both

Logitech M720 Triathalon mouse with dongle.The Logitech M720 Triathalon Mouse can connect via RF or Bluetooth. Josh Hendrickson

If you are not sure what you need now or what you may need in the future, you can choose both! Logitech offers keyboards and mice, such as K375s Keyboard and Triathalon Mouse M720, Which are Bluetooth and RF compatible. Some mice even have a dedicated button to switch more easily between paired devices.

Similarly, you can connect RAtheris Wireless Mouse from Azer either via a USB dongle or Bluetooth.

A mouse or keyboard that is capable of both RF and Bluetooth means you can use your devices with all your devices without having to unplug a dongle. Connect the dongle to a device (preferably a non-Bluetooth enabled device) and connect your mouse or keyboard via Bluetooth to the rest.

Do not forget that when using the Bluetooth connection, you will not get the lower latency speeds of the USB-RF. Similarly, when you connect via USB-RF, you lose the benefits of Bluetooth.

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