In search of Bluetooth input for a couch gaming system

Although my Xbox 360 has seen plenty of action over the last year, my gaming PC has sat largely unused. That’s not so much a knock against the PC as it is a reflection of where it sits—in my home office, which is otherwise known as The Benchmarking Sweatshop. After spending countless hours in here testing hardware and hacking together reviews, this is the last place I want to be when I have downtime to enjoy. And so my gaming system has gathered dust, broken out only a few times over the last year to polish off Portal and Call of Duty 4.

My Xbox has remained an active gaming system because it resides in the living room, is connected to a 42″ plasma perfectly placed opposite a comfortable couch, and lies far from the stacks hardware that demand attention in my office. This is a prime gaming location, and with shooters like Left 4 Dead and Mirror’s Edge on the horizon, I’ve decided to move my gaming PC into the living room. Why struggle with awkward shooter controls on a console when I can enjoy all the precision and customization options of a keyboard and mouse?


Ah yes, the keyboard and mouse. The only problem with moving my gaming system into the living room is that I’m going to need a good wireless keyboard and mouse. I don’t want to rely on IR or RF—not that I have pro-gamer reflexes that demand extreme controller responsiveness, I’d just rather not have to deal with range and connectivity issues—so I’m looking into Bluetooth solutions. They’re not cheap, and quality reviews seem to be few and far between, so I’m putting a call out to the TR community. Have you used any of the Bluetooth keyboards and mice on the market, and if so, are any particularly well-suited to a living room gaming system?


For what it’s worth, I’ve been eyeing Microsoft’s Wireless Entertainment Desktop because the company’s mice tend to fit my hand well. The 7000 also seems to be one of the cheapest options available. Any suggestions?

Comments closed
    • Vrock
    • 11 years ago

    Want Bluetooth gaming? Get a PS3.

    • Jon
    • 11 years ago

    So Geoff what did you decide on?

    • blitzy
    • 11 years ago

    did that phantom lapboard ever eventuate? or did it evaporate like their console idea?

    • rodidas
    • 11 years ago

    I am Using the Logitech Dinovo Edge keyboard (bluetooth) and Logitech Mx Revolution mouse (not bluetooth) and get absolutely no issues with responsiveness and i am an avid gamer to say the least. I have only heard good things about my DiNovo, especially in regards to using it for controlling an entertainment system from the couch (hence good range).

    They are both High quality products, but pretty pricey.

    I think the question no one has asked it is what do you intend to rest the keyboard, let alone mouse, on in order to be comfortable, and at the same time be able to game properly?

      • mongoosesRawesome
      • 11 years ago

      Yea, where/how to sit has always been my problem. For games that support a gamepad, i’ve always been much more comfortable on my PC.

        • elpresidente
        • 11 years ago

        oops, wrong post

    • Convert
    • 11 years ago

    I was in the same boat, I ended up with a Logitech MX5000 setup. The mouse gets choppy if I am too far away but the keyboard keeps working. I was able to move the receiver a little closer but given the distance (8-10 feet) I would have thought it could handle it. In fact IIRC the tag at the store claimed something like 30ft which was twice what others were stating. Considering I have 4 sets of the MX5000 I would say that claim was bogus, especially since such a claim is absent from the website.

    I wanted the Microsoft setup you are looking at but I had just installed the TV and no one had the MS setup in my area so I settled with the MX5000 since it was $100 after a IR.

    The real catch is finding a mousing surface. I would be curious if there is anything out there that will fit over an arm rest. I ended up having to make my own out of wood and while it looks great I would rather have something plastic that looks like it’s meant for the job.

    • Jon
    • 11 years ago

    Where will you put the keyboard and mouse if you’re going to be sitting on a couch? Have you got a ghetto solution such as a tray or do you have some more elegant solution?

    Personally, I use a Logitech Dinovo Mini to control my PVR from the couch….but it’s not for gaming unless you find the idea of fragging with a tiny dinky keyboard appealing.

    • deruberhanyok
    • 11 years ago

    Geoff,

    A few weeks ago I got myself a Logitech diNovo Media Desktop Laser. I was looking for the same thing as you though for a different reason (new kitten attacking keyboard and mouse cables) and had pretty much the same requirements (bluetooth, gaming capable). This has a nice keyboard, separate number pad “media keyboard” and a slightly altered version of the MX1000 bluetooth laser mouse.

    I was considering one of Apple’s previous wireless pro keyboards, a bluetooth dongle and some kind of mouse (though I wasn’t sure which one because Logitech, for some reason, doesn’t seem to have lots of separately available bluetooth mice). Eventually I found a ridiculously good deal on the above set – $130 with a $50 MIR bringing the price to $80 (about what I’d probably be paying for a good wireless mouse) and so I bought it. I believe the $130 is the regular price at the store I bought it from – I won’t name names but I found it on TR’s pricegrabber thing.

    I’ve been very pleasantly surprised by it so far. With some pretty heavy gaming recently, maybe 4-5 hours a day, the battery indicator’s LED lights show 2 of 3 after 4 days (the software reads it as “good” remaining life) and I’m thinking it could probably go a week without needing a charge. One of my main concerns with the set was not being able to easily replace the battery but I don’t think this will be a problem.

    The keyboard is also much better than I expected for gaming. The keys are thin, like laptop keyboards, but there’s a resistance to them that feels much more like a regular keyboard. It didn’t take me long to get used to that at all. And the media pad thing has actually been pretty useful for me if for no other reason than being able to adjust song volume if I’m sitting away from the desk reading or napping. ๐Ÿ™‚

    I have some odd sync issues with the keyboard on boot occasionally but I think that may be a result of my using it to select Windows from GRUB instead of booting to Ubuntu.

    I don’t know if there’s a place that has done a review – I mostly bought mine because the price was too good to pass up – but I can recommend it as a good set. If there’s a store in your area that has one on display you might want to check it out and see what you think of the keyboard, as I imagine its design will be the make or break aspect for most due to the slim keys.

    Matt

    [edit] just thought to mention – I had some weird lag when the bluetooth dongle was plugged directly in to my system, maybe it was getting interference from somewhere. Using the included extension cable and dock thingy for it to place the adapter away from the case fixed the problems. Just something to keep in mind with whatever sort of wireless solution you get (though I’m a big proponent of bluetooth as a standard for this sort of thing).

    • lestrade
    • 11 years ago

    I’ve used Microsoft Wireless Entertainment Desktop 8000 for gaming for a few months now. I have big hands, and both the mouse and the keyboard feel comfortable. I haven’t noticed increased lag vs. a wired kb/mouse but then again, fast-paced fps games aren’t really my thing. Once set up, the connection has been reliable (I use 64-bit Vista Home Premium with the latest IntelliPoint/IntelliType software).

    Only gripes I can think of are the missing numberpad, which I’d like to use when doing my online banking, and the fact that bluetooth only works in Windows so whenever I need to go to the BIOS or do other “low-level stuff”, I need to connect a wired keyboard.

    • floodo1
    • 11 years ago

    im sure this is no help, but if you’re up for trying things (aka I have no idea how well this would work) I’d look into the Apple bluetooth keyboard, specifically because its so small. No number pad = tiny ๐Ÿ™‚

    • fpsduck
    • 11 years ago

    I’ve never tried gaming with Bluetooth keyboard + mouse yet.
    But as a RF wireless Microsoft keyboard user,
    I can experience some lag
    when using WASD keys in some moments but not often.

    I’m not sure if Bluetooth have better response in gaming than RF.

    • Corrado
    • 11 years ago

    I have a laptop Logitech bluetooth laser mouse. It works very well, and I’m on month #3 on the original single AA battery. I’d imagine their desktop bluetooth mice are pretty much the same thing in a larger form factor.

    • pikaporeon
    • 11 years ago

    Ive heard good things about the logitech G7 but it’s not bluetooth.

      • Stijn
      • 11 years ago

      The range is indeed quite good, but I don’t have exact data.

        • Applecrusher
        • 11 years ago

        I have a G7 and by the time i cant see where the mouse is on teh screen, it starts to jitter around.. mind you i use a 27 inch screen..

    • Usacomp2k3
    • 11 years ago

    The first wireless keyboard/mouse I got was a Microsoft Wireless Desktop. It had a range of at least 30 feet and worked great. Then I got the Logitech MX duo, and it worked reliably at up to 20 ft away for gaming. I guess what I’m saying is that I wouldn’t be too stuck on bluetooth, because as you say, it’s more expensive.

    Have you considered putting in a 30-ft USB extension cord to reach to your couch, and then just plug your kb/mouse in there? You could even do something like the G15 that has USB ports on it so you can daisy-chain the mouse through that.

    • ssidbroadcast
    • 11 years ago

    I’m all for using the latest tech-specs, but saying that RF has range issues?? I remember my friend had the RF-based Wavebird controller for his gamecube. He could literally go upstairs and sit on the can and the controller would still respond–forget the fact that he was running into walls/falling into bottomless pits and such.

      • Dissonance
      • 11 years ago

      And yet my RF-based Remote Wonder II is considerably less reliable the further it gets from the receiver. Of course, I’m sure some Bluetooth devices have their share of problems, too.

        • ssidbroadcast
        • 11 years ago

        Yeah IIRC blue-tooth doesn’t go through walls/has a _[

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