Accessory Best portable wireless (Bluetooth?) mouse, keyboard, headphones, gamepad? Travel-oriented.

EdZ

Virtual Realist
May 11, 2015
1,578
2,107
Bluetooth is heavily preferred, I want to avoid dongles and cables. That said, I don't want to have to deal with frustrating input lag (over ~30ms?) if I can avoid it.

  • For 'headphones', I'd really like an in-ear solution. It's a much smaller footprint for travel and I also honestly prefer the aesthetic if I'm going to use them in public. Noise cancelling is a desirable, if it works well. Being able to charge the device conveniently (phone charger) is also a big plus.
I use the Sony SBH-80 as my 'out and about' headphones. The Comply 200 series (e.g. T-200) will fit on them even though it's not 'officially' listed as compatibly by Comply, and those give great passive isolation. The battery is on a neck-loop so it's very light to wear, and charging is via micro-USB. It also has full discrete controls - play/pause, forwards, backwards, volume up and down, and voicedial/Google Now/Siri button - which lots of newer bluetooth headphones lack (requiring you fartarse around with button press combinations or 'hold for 5 seconds' nonsense). I haven't measured the lag during gaming, but for music playback there is no obvious delay between pausing the music and audio ceasing.
 

Soul_Est

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Feb 12, 2016
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As eluded to in a couple other threads, I picked up my Obins Anne Pro and am putting it through its paces. I also tested out the Bluetooth on it and it works very well for me under Linux and Android. In fact, this entire post was written using the Anne Pro in Bluetooth mode. There are a few things that should be noted about the keyboard.
  • There is an included Bluetooth 4.0 USB adapter. Obins recommends that you use the internal Bluetooth 4.0 in your machine if it has it.
  • The keyboard can only have its layout, RGB LED colours, and macros modified via either the official Android or iOS apps or via an open source Windows program
  • Macros do not work at the moment at the firmware level
  • The keyboard's 800 mAh battery can keep the keyboard going for a long time on Bluetooth with the LEDs turned off
  • The stabilizers are a bit rattle-y. I am used to the sound as part of the keyboard sound
  • The keyboard needs to connected to a computer with the included USB cable for about an hour before first use
  • LED profiles are not saved to the keyboard
  • Only four keyboard layouts can be saved to the Anne Pro, three of which are default layouts that cannot be deleted
  • You do not know which of your created layouts are saved to the Anne Pro
  • The keyboard does have its quirks which the /r/AnnePro community have compiled in their wiki
That is the what I have come up with so far. If you have any other questions, please let me know.
 
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zovc

King of Cable Management
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Jan 5, 2017
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Thanks for the writeup!

The laptop came in, I did go with a refurbished GS63VR-001, I got it through Newegg for ~$1,100. My initial impressions are that both the display and battery are better than I had set my expectations to, I'm wondering if one or both of those were the part that got refurbished? The viewing angles and brightness of the display seem pretty good to me, though I don't think I have a very discerning eye for that sort of thing. I don't notice any bleeding or any colors that look drastically off. The battery is good for around 4 hours of web browsing. (That is, while downloading a file and/or watching a youtube video all via WiFi.) The system seems stable with a -0.160V undervolt in Intel XTU and my temperatures look a lot better diong that, almost 10C under Dolphin's benchmark and PCMark's creative workflow test. I'm happy with my temperatures at this point, but I might still put some of this Thermal Grizzly Cryonaut I picked up on there--I was originally planning to replace the display but it doesn't seem like it's worth it unless I can upgrade either the resolution or the refresh rate, this one is pretty nice to me. (So far?)

I'm really unhappy with MSI's software, it doesn't seem to work for controlling fans besides using their Auto profile or putting things on full blast, I tried creating a custom profile and the fans didn't respond at all. I dislike that I can't seem to turn the LED on the badge off (on the "lid" of the laptop), and it's kind of lame that I can't seem to make the RGB LEDs "remember" what color I set them to. Instead, I have to run SteelSeries' software (or MSI's software) every time Windows boots, prior to that the keyboard is its default red color. But the machine itself seems pretty powerful. I haven't put it through any gaming paces yet, but I'm optimistic for the mobile GTX 1060. I'm hoping to have Skyrim modded out by the end of the week, and I'll probably play it, League of Legends, and a few other random Steam games a lot this coming week since I'm going out-of-state for training and will be spending my downtime in a hotel in middle-of-nowhere New Jersey.

Anyways, this isn't supposed to be so much about the laptop so let's segue into what this thread is supposed to be focused on:

I bought a PS4 controller with some Best Buy store credit I had and they price matched Amazon so it only cost ~$41.
  • I have been scratching my head over PS4 controllers acting very strangely over Bluetooth with every adapter I've tried--super high latency and terrible battery life. I wanted to see if maybe my controllers were old and finnicky and perhaps on some strangely incompatible firmware. I've tried at least three different Bluetooth adapters on different computers and installations of Windows (and Linux!) and have not had success. Sometimes pairing seems impossible, and the times I do get the controllers to pair, they don't behave well.
  • This new controller along with the new laptop (and a fresh install of Windows) was sort of a "clean slate test." This new controller has a light bar on the touchpad that's visible from the "face" of the controller, none of my other controllers have that. So it does seem like a newer model? Anyways, it was sold to me at rock-bottom 0% charge and took a LONG time to charge up, but once it had a charge it paired with Windows 10 and DS4Windows over Bluetooh no problem. I haven't done much fooling around or testing with it, but the touchpad was working as a trackpad no problem, and DS4Windows' light bar customization was working properly.
  • So, I'm able to go with my (PC) controller of choice!
I'm trying to get the rest of this stuff ordered by Tuesday at the latest to make sure it's in in time for the weekend where I need to get packed and depart.

Can't decide if I want to "rough it" with the GS63VR's keyboard for this trip or not. It's honestly a great keyboard, but being a part of the laptop gives it not the best ergonomics. I definitely want a mouse for the trip (though I can just bring my desktop's mouse on such a long, sedentary trip), as the GS63VR's trackpad isn't great. I'm having a really hard time deciding what Bluetooth IEMs to go with. The Roost laptop stand seems really nice for how easy it is to pack so I'm leaning towards it. Still haven't figured out if I should just order a few more of the MSI power brick or if I can get away with a smaller one when I'm on the go. Having a cable on both ends of an AC-DC power supply feels so dated, but it's still the predominant design...
 

Soul_Est

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Feb 12, 2016
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You are most welcome @zovc ! I'm glad that you got the controllers working the way you wanted. I find that the Bluetooth controller that the computer has often ends up being responsible for most if not all compatibility issues. Broadcom and Intel units are generally fine. CSR units cause many issues.
 
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zovc

King of Cable Management
Original poster
Jan 5, 2017
852
603
First day of travel update:

I brought my Roccat Nyth, but I didn't bring a mousepad and this hotel's desk has a marble desktop. RIP. I also decided to give the Logitech MX Anywhere (original, the 2 only seems to offer new colors and their software), and it's getting the job done. My hands are long and spidery and the mouse isn't comfortable to rest my palm on but I can use it okay in a claw grip. I brought my Teamwolf "CIY" tenkeyless keyboard with hot-swappable mechanical switches and one of them popped off in my checked luggage, but ` still works fine. My Steelseries Wireless H headphones also survived checked luggage. The MSI GS63VR's brick is pretty cumbersome but it was never an issue, just a hassle to take out and put up. I really wish there was an alternative with a retractable cord or something to help with the cable clutter.

The MX Anywhere seems pretty nice and at ~$50 I doubt there is much genuine competition. I don't like that clicking the scroll wheel isn't "middle mouse button", rather there's a button under the mousewheel that gives that function. Personally not a fan of the free-spinning scroll wheel, but most people seem to like it. YMMV. I haven't played with Logitech's software (it doesn't look like Windows 10 has installed it automatically) to see if I can make the buttons/macros to my liking so that could be a saving grace. But the device itself is built nicely, Bluetooth pairing was super easy and the mouse works fine from across my hotel room, probably ~12 feet. I'm having a bit of a hard time dialing in my mouse sensitivity for playing League of Legends comfortably, but I also think this hotel's desk and chair are making it hard for me to get comfortable so I don't want to come down too hard on the mouse just yet. The tracking does feel responsive and nice, I suspect any non-competitive gamer would be fine using the mouse as long as they were comfortable with the size. Being a non-competitive gamer I can't really comment on just how precise or responsive the mouse is, though. I don't notice any lag.

The PS4 controller has been GREAT so far. Given the good experience with the mouse (and the headset, actually), I'm inclined to think this might have something to do with my laptop's Bluetooth controller being nice, but the controller has worked flawlessly. The touchpad obviously wasn't made to be used as a mouse in Windows, and it's so sensitive that when trying to click the pad I move the mouse far from whatever I was trying to click on--good luck double clicking... There are some solutions I am considering but I haven't fooled with trying any of them. I could either play with DS4's sensitivity settings (and maybe there's an option to make it 'predict' clicking to make that easier) or map a button on the controller to "left mouse button." But, the controller lasted through about two hours of gameplay so far no problem and even when DS4 told me it was experiencing latency, I didn't really feel it, granted I was playing Dungeon of the Endless which is pretty much a turn based game. I've tested the controller in Skyrim prior to leaving for the trip and it controls exactly as I'd expect. The build quality of the controller is nice enough that I'm not super worried about having the controller (and the mouse) in my bag's front pocket for easy access. That said, I do take care when setting my bag down.

I have mixed feelings about the Roost laptop stand. It's a good design, but it feels really cheap for the ~$80 pricepoint. It's, like, basically four pieces of plastic. That's oversimplifying it, but honestly it feels cheap for how expensive it is. It gets the job done and is sturdy, though I feel like the angles it offers are very "steep" and I don't think any of them would be especially comfortable for using the laptop's keyboard. Definitely, though, the portability is great and you do save a lot of desk space by using the stand's footprint rather than the laptop's. I wonder if a larger laptop would be unstable on the stand (mine's in the 15.6" category), but my laptop is comfortable up there. The height of the stand is good, I was very comfortable playing an hour of Dungeon of the Endless (with my PS4 controller) while waiting at the airport.

I also got a ~$15 pair of Bluetooth earbuds off of amazon that were rated highly. The brand is Tair Accessory, I used the headset yesterday while I was getting packed and it worked excellently, I made a call while I was getting my paperwork and things sorted out for my flights and the person on the other end said they couldn't tell I was on a headset. This was while literally bustling around my workplace and moving things around, so I thought that was a pretty good sign. The headset stayed in no problem! Today, however, the earbuds won't stay in at all, and I'm not sure what's changed. But they're a real hassle, unfortunately. I'm also not sure what I did wrong (and the manual leaves a lot to be desired), but now the headset talks to me in Chinese. Haha. I probably used the headset from what should have been a full charge, and after probably ~4-6 hours of on-time mostly listening to music I got a beeping which I'm pretty sure indicates low battery, I'm not too impressed with that. That said, the sound quality (and apparently the microphone) are definitely adequate, it should come as no surprise that the bass leaves a lot to be desired. Listening to more "poppy" music and vocal-based music was enjoyable, but listening to songs that had quieter sections with a bass part were pretty silent. I'm kind of taking for granted this is the experience I'll have to settle for unless I want to invest in something like the Sony or Shure IEMs mentioned by some of the folks in here, or just break down and get a pair of proper Bluetooth headphones.
 

Soul_Est

SFF Guru
SFFn Staff
Feb 12, 2016
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First day of travel update:

I brought my Roccat Nyth, but I didn't bring a mousepad and this hotel's desk has a marble desktop. RIP. I also decided to give the Logitech MX Anywhere (original, the 2 only seems to offer new colors and their software), and it's getting the job done. My hands are long and spidery and the mouse isn't comfortable to rest my palm on but I can use it okay in a claw grip. I brought my Teamwolf "CIY" tenkeyless keyboard with hot-swappable mechanical switches and one of them popped off in my checked luggage, but ` still works fine. My Steelseries Wireless H headphones also survived checked luggage. The MSI GS63VR's brick is pretty cumbersome but it was never an issue, just a hassle to take out and put up. I really wish there was an alternative with a retractable cord or something to help with the cable clutter.

The MX Anywhere seems pretty nice and at ~$50 I doubt there is much genuine competition. I don't like that clicking the scroll wheel isn't "middle mouse button", rather there's a button under the mousewheel that gives that function. Personally not a fan of the free-spinning scroll wheel, but most people seem to like it. YMMV. I haven't played with Logitech's software (it doesn't look like Windows 10 has installed it automatically) to see if I can make the buttons/macros to my liking so that could be a saving grace. But the device itself is built nicely, Bluetooth pairing was super easy and the mouse works fine from across my hotel room, probably ~12 feet. I'm having a bit of a hard time dialing in my mouse sensitivity for playing League of Legends comfortably, but I also think this hotel's desk and chair are making it hard for me to get comfortable so I don't want to come down too hard on the mouse just yet. The tracking does feel responsive and nice, I suspect any non-competitive gamer would be fine using the mouse as long as they were comfortable with the size. Being a non-competitive gamer I can't really comment on just how precise or responsive the mouse is, though. I don't notice any lag.

The PS4 controller has been GREAT so far. Given the good experience with the mouse (and the headset, actually), I'm inclined to think this might have something to do with my laptop's Bluetooth controller being nice, but the controller has worked flawlessly. The touchpad obviously wasn't made to be used as a mouse in Windows, and it's so sensitive that when trying to click the pad I move the mouse far from whatever I was trying to click on--good luck double clicking... There are some solutions I am considering but I haven't fooled with trying any of them. I could either play with DS4's sensitivity settings (and maybe there's an option to make it 'predict' clicking to make that easier) or map a button on the controller to "left mouse button." But, the controller lasted through about two hours of gameplay so far no problem and even when DS4 told me it was experiencing latency, I didn't really feel it, granted I was playing Dungeon of the Endless which is pretty much a turn based game. I've tested the controller in Skyrim prior to leaving for the trip and it controls exactly as I'd expect. The build quality of the controller is nice enough that I'm not super worried about having the controller (and the mouse) in my bag's front pocket for easy access. That said, I do take care when setting my bag down.

I have mixed feelings about the Roost laptop stand. It's a good design, but it feels really cheap for the ~$80 pricepoint. It's, like, basically four pieces of plastic. That's oversimplifying it, but honestly it feels cheap for how expensive it is. It gets the job done and is sturdy, though I feel like the angles it offers are very "steep" and I don't think any of them would be especially comfortable for using the laptop's keyboard. Definitely, though, the portability is great and you do save a lot of desk space by using the stand's footprint rather than the laptop's. I wonder if a larger laptop would be unstable on the stand (mine's in the 15.6" category), but my laptop is comfortable up there. The height of the stand is good, I was very comfortable playing an hour of Dungeon of the Endless (with my PS4 controller) while waiting at the airport.

I also got a ~$15 pair of Bluetooth earbuds off of amazon that were rated highly. The brand is Tair Accessory, I used the headset yesterday while I was getting packed and it worked excellently, I made a call while I was getting my paperwork and things sorted out for my flights and the person on the other end said they couldn't tell I was on a headset. This was while literally bustling around my workplace and moving things around, so I thought that was a pretty good sign. The headset stayed in no problem! Today, however, the earbuds won't stay in at all, and I'm not sure what's changed. But they're a real hassle, unfortunately. I'm also not sure what I did wrong (and the manual leaves a lot to be desired), but now the headset talks to me in Chinese. Haha. I probably used the headset from what should have been a full charge, and after probably ~4-6 hours of on-time mostly listening to music I got a beeping which I'm pretty sure indicates low battery, I'm not too impressed with that. That said, the sound quality (and apparently the microphone) are definitely adequate, it should come as no surprise that the bass leaves a lot to be desired. Listening to more "poppy" music and vocal-based music was enjoyable, but listening to songs that had quieter sections with a bass part were pretty silent. I'm kind of taking for granted this is the experience I'll have to settle for unless I want to invest in something like the Sony or Shure IEMs mentioned by some of the folks in here, or just break down and get a pair of proper Bluetooth headphones.
Glad to read on how your portable setup has worked out for you. I do have a few counter points to offer however:
  • The MX Anywhere is a portable mouse meant for regular to high productivity and not gaming. For that, using the Roccat Nyth on an thick piece of paper or a thin piece of cardboard would work more in your favour.
  • Laptop stands are meant to elevate the screen to a more ergonomic height for working. You are meant to use a separate keyboard and mouse with them.
  • You could get a cheaper to more expensive pair of wired in-ears like the KZ ZS5, TFZ Exclusive (1, 3, 5, King), Kinera (BD005, H3), etc. There are many with various sound signatures that will suit you. I own the KZ ZS5 currently. Great sound but the 5.45 mm nozzles are slightly uncomfortable.
  • If you could link to the Bluetooth earbuds that you got, that would be great. As for what to get next, a good to great pair of Bluetooth headphones (with aptX) would be your best bet. Costly though.
Edit: laptop -> mouse
 
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zovc

King of Cable Management
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Jan 5, 2017
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  • Yeah, the Roccat Nyth would certainly be better (and what I'm used to) for gaming, but it's not portable like the MX Anywhere. Because the Anywhere worked out so nicely in my favor for this trip I might try to return it and get its big brother.
  • Yeah, with my external keyboard, it's quite a comfortable experience using the laptop. I think my expectation was a little off with the Roost, maybe. I was thinking it would at its lowest raise the laptop just a little and put it on an incline for using the keyboard of the laptop, then it would have higher adjustments that would be more like its actual intended use. As it is, I feel like the lowest height is already pretty high, at this current desk (with a janky chair) the other heights would definitely be too high and I'm 6'0".
  • Regarding wired headphones/earbuds/etc, I just can't do them anymore after getting used to my SteelSeries Wireless H headphones. I know it's kind of a silly gripe, but headphone cables can actually be extremely cumbersome at times. Especially when you're putting bags on and setting them down and looking around and whatnot.
  • Strange thing, the link from my order is down, but the exact same earbuds from the same manufacturer/store name are able to be found through searching... It's these. And for whatever it's worth, the song that was noticeably poor sounding was Wrong by Everything but the Girl, the intro is pretty quiet and it's mostly synth bass and on those earbuds it was pretty much just silence. Granted I was in an airport, so there was a fair bit of commotion going on. Speaking of which... the claimed noise cancellation was pretty much nonexistent.
 

jtd871

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Jun 22, 2015
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+1 on laptop stands re @Soul_Est. I have 2 ea. 3M LX550 and they are awesome, but not really portable (they do disassemble a bit). I used one with my MSI GT70-based 17-inch DTR and it raised the screen height up an amazing amount (I'm 6'6"), but required separate mouse/KB to be practical (I did use the integrated KB/trackpad in a pinch, but would not work for actual productivity).
 
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