After recently vowing that I would never try to type a message on a game pad again, I went looking for the perfect keyboard to compliment my Playstation 3.
There are hundreds of keyboards to choose from and most of them won’t work with the PS3, so I decided to add an article about PS3 compatible keyboards and the awesome one I went with.
Bluetooth or USB?
If you are wondering what’s compatible, you should know that you can get both USB and Bluetooth keyboards for your PS3. Bluetooth has the advantage of not taking up a USB port for a transmitter. However, Bluetooth tends to cost more than USB. Logitech makes one of the most popular PS3 Bluetooth keyboards out there for about $60.
When I narrowed down my choice between 2 keyboards, one was Bluetooth and one was USB. The popular Bluetooth contender was the 18.4 inch wide Logitech PS3 Cordless MediaBoard Pro. While this would have been my go to piece for Bluetooth, I also desired a keyboard to use with my HTPC that sits next to the PS3 (and also runs the PS3 Media Server App :)).
The Logitech keyboard comes with no Bluetooth dongle, making it useless with my PC without purchasing a separate dongle. The USB solution could be swapped back and forth between HTPC and PS3 with no problem.
There are 2 pitfalls to watch out for if you want to go looking for your own USB keyboard for your PS3. The first is that you cannot get a keyboard that simply has a green USB adapter on it. Of course, if you get a wireless USB keyboard, it wont matter.
The second thing to watch out for is a keyboard that requires drivers. You obviously can’t install any drivers for it on your PS3, so try to avoid anything that lists a disc in it’s package contents.
The perfect USB keyboard
After passing by the $100 niche keyboards, including the absurdly priced Logitech diNovo Mini, I happened by chance upon this beauty and am pleased to share it with you. I quickly put back the $20 dollar no-name brands that I was debating.
This is the Microsoft Arc keyboard for PS3, Xbox360, and PC. It is a sleek piano black glossy keyboard, measuring only 12 inches wide and a perfect companion for the Playstation 3. Not only does it share the look of your PS3 (similar to the Bluetooth Logitech), it also shares the same width as the PS3.
The Arc Keyboard by Microsoft
Named for its curved surface, the Arc presents itself as a sexy and high quality peripheral that performs wonderfully among a plethora of other wireless devices in the same room. It sits perfectly in your lap, thanks to a width that is 50% narrower than the MediaBoard Pro, and does not get in your way when you need to operate the controller.
As you can see from the photos above, the Arc has a very small USB transmitter that fits magnetically underneath the keyboard so you never have to worry about losing it. It is very discrete when plugged in, unlike some cheaper models that have a large stick that resembles a USB flash drive. It works instantly, just plug in the little transmitter and you are good to go.
If you also enjoy using your PS3 media capabilities, the Arc made browsing through video and pictures easy with its 4-way directional pad. The unit also comes complete with a black MS logo cloth protective sleeve.
Of course, you might expect such a nice looking piece to carry a high price. This would be true if you bought it in an electronics store, which is where I found it. It was priced at $60 originally. Luckily, I checked Amazon first and found that it was under $40 brand new! Unfortunately, the major retailer couldn’t go under $50 so you should check out the link to the right to get yours.
A Solid Recommendation
I don’t plug products that I don’t use, and this is no exception. As I said before, if Bluetooth was a deciding factor, I would have gone for the MediaBoard Pro. I’m sure I would have eventually found some use for the touch-pad, but the 18.4 full-size keyboard width was a turn off.
While neither keyboard fully simulates the PS3 controller, that’s not the reason you’d want one. Some buyers have commented that the MediaBoard should have had L/R type keys for zooming or playback since it has 4 keys marked with the Playstation controller shapes. You can still accomplish any task using either keyboard and the pop-up menu, though.
I sit about 12 feet from the PS3. There are additionally 2 PCs and another wireless mouse, keyboard, and router next to it. Even with all the other wireless activity, the Arc has never dropped a keystroke (except when I forget to turn it on). It has a nifty on/off function key along with a battery status indicator for it’s 2 AAA batteries (included).
The Arc is, without a doubt, a Solid Recommendation.