Graphic Design | Reviews

Wired vs wireless mouse: which one should you buy?

At some point, we all thought that wireless devices would replace all wired electronics. But the wired mouse has held it’s ground and seems to be here to stay.

The difference between the two starts with the obvious. The wired mouse transmits it’s data to your computer via a cord that connects to a USB port. A wireless mouse uses Radio Frequency (RF) technology like 2.4G or bluetooth to send data to your computer through a transmitter and receiver, like your phone does.

So which one is better for you to buy? The wireless mouse is better for most people. It is more convenient as it’s easier to carry around. There’s no need to worry about the cable getting entangled or getting damaged as you would with a wired mouse. But your needs may be different and the wired mouse may be suited for you. Read on to discover how the wired mouse compares to the wireless mouse and the advantages and disadvantages of both.

Are wired mice faster?

They used to be, but not anymore. The wireless mice in the market are just as fast as wired mice. Any difference in response rate between a wired mouse and wireless mouse in the same price bracket is imperceptible. It’s literally down to 2 milliseconds of latency and in some experiments, like this one by Linus Tech tips on youtube the wireless mouse gets the upper hand being a single millisecond faster. But again, the latency difference is humanly imperceptible and won’t affect your work or competitive gaming.

Many gamers will swear that wired mice are faster. It’s been debunked that there is barely any difference and that it is a misconception. However, wireless mice in the lower price ranges (under $50) will not be as fast as the high perfomance gaming wired and wireless mice in the higher price ranges. In the Linus Tech experiment, the latency for the lower end Logitech MX Anywhere 2 wireless was double that of the more expensive Logitech G703 wireless. Compare popular mice in the market both wired and wireless from most expensive to cheapest and their respective average latency in the table below. Data from Linus Tech experiment.

2.4G vs bluetooth

One important point is that wireless mice use either 2.4G connection technology or Bluetooth. 2.4G is better for gaming as it is more stable against interference but needs a USB dongle receiver that comes in the package. Bluetooth mice are great for office and daily use and don’t need a receiver, since your computer has Bluetooth (if it does).

Bluetooth data frequency is capped at 133Hz which means 2.4G mice are slightly more responsive and accurate, with some going transmitting at 1000Hz like the Razer Viper Ultimate.

Which is more expensive? wired or wireless

Wireless mice are generally more expensive than wired mice, although the price differences now are not as wide as they used to be. The difference in price is due to the different technologies, and the transmitter and receiver in wireless mice cost more in manufacture than a cord for wired mice.

Many wireless mice don’t have rechargeable batteries and need you to replace them occasionally. These types of wireless mice are usually cheaper to buy than rechargeable ones, but over time the cost of replacing batteries adds up. You don’t need to do any maintenance on wired mice, just don’t bend or stretch the cable.

Which is more durable/lasts longer?

The cord in wired mouses is a weak point, as I’m sure you’ve probably experienced.

On the other hand, if you have a 2.4G wireless mouse and you lose the dongle/receiver, you’ll have to get a replacement of the specific mouse from the manufacturer, that is, if they sell them separately. Some brands like Logitech have dongles that can be used with a number of their devices, so they maybe easier to replace.

Other than the points stated above, both wired and wireless mice suffer from the same issues, like driver problems, physical damage and malfunctioning after falling, sensor failure etc.

The durability of the mouse also depends on the brand and the price. Cheaper mice are built with cheaper shells and sensors while more expensive mice, e.g for gaming are built to take hits and anger fits.

Read The Best Mouse for photoshop and photo-editing+ top 5 list

Portability and convenience

The wireless mouse takes this one. Just don’t misplace the dongle. Wired mice are less convenient because the wire could get tangled, it could twist, stretch, and get damaged in transit, and they take up more space on your desk. Certainly not practical for tiny school or library desks. And if you’re at home on your wide desk, competing in the Fortnite finals, you don’t want that cable snagging on your Redbull can and costing you millions of dollars. Rare situation but still.

Note that wireless mice that need recharging, recharge over USB cable like the Apple Magic 2, so you might still need to carry around a cable, just not while connected to the mouse.

Wired mice can be considered more convenient considering the fact that you won’t suddenly need to charge them while you’re mid-game or project. Wireless mice like the Apple Magic 2 can’t be used as you charge them. However, there are wireless mice that will go for months without needing battery changes or recharging. In addition, some wireless mice like the Logitech G700 switch to cable data transmission as you charge so you barely miss a beat.

Do wireless mice get interference?

Yes. This interference often comes from USB 3.0 devices connected to the same computer as your mouse dongle. The interference may cause lag, skipping inputs or the mouse could disconnect. WiFi and other Bluetooth signals might also cause this.

The best thing to do if you experience this is to insert your mouse’s dongle into the furthest port from the USB port causing the interference. You may also use a USB extender cable to keep the two as far from each other as you can. In the case of Wi-Fi or Bluetooth signals causing the interference, try and keep the responsible devices a distance away from your mouse. However, Interference is rarely an issue, and with 2.4G wireless mice, you probably won’t encounter this problem.

Which mice look better: Wired or wireless?

Looks are purely a matter of preference. I find that wireless mice are more appealing. They are designed to look more modern and minimalist. I’m sure there’s someone out there that likes a good wire. Preference.

Note that there are brands that offer the same “model” of mouse with the same design in wired, 2.4G and Bluetooth options. So in that case, they all look the same if you ignore the cable.

Advantages and disadvantages of wired mice

Pros

  • Not affected by interference.
  • No need for receiver.
  • Little to no maintenance.
  • Environmentally friendly (no batteries to dispose of)
  • Cheaper

Cons

  • Wire entanglement.
  • Wire damage risk (cutting or fraying)
  • occupy more space due to cable

Advantages and disadvantages of wireless mice

Pros

  • More portable.
  • No cable so no tangling.
  • Some models allow multiple device pairing.
  • Minimalist designs available are appealing.
  • More options in the market now.

Cons

  • Need charging or battery replacement.
  • More expensive.
  • Might experience interference.
  • Dongle/receiver misplacement risk.

Read The Best Mouse for photoshop and photo-editing+ top 5 list

Conclusion

Contrary to popular belief, there is no perceptible difference between wired and wireless mice, especially in the high performance gaming price range. If charging and replacing batteries bothers you get a wireless mouse. If you don’t want the hassle of tangling cables, get a wired mouse. To help you pick the best one for you or gift a friend, here’s a good top 5 list with shopping links. I hope this article has helped you understand the difference between a wired and wireless mouse and helped you know which one is best for your needs. Thanks for reading!

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