The 6 Best Keyboard And Mouse Adapters For Gaming Consoles
This wiki has been updated 17 times since it was first published in January of 2019. Consoles are known for their simplicity and ease of use, but many players find they fall short when it comes to aiming accuracy and reaction time. If you've been trained to use a keyboard and mouse, or simply want to increase your level of control over that of a gamepad, pick up one of these adapters, most of which should be compatible with nearly any modern gaming console. When users buy our independently chosen editorial selections, we may earn commissions to help fund the Wiki.
November 13, 2020:
Console keyboard and mouse adapters are definitely a niche product, so the market is relatively slow-moving when it comes to new model releases. Case in point, the Xim Apex was released in 2018 but is still one of the best models you can get. However, this time around we were able to refresh our list with two brand new selections, namely the IOGear KeyMander 2 and the GameSir VX2 AimSwitch.
We used to feature the original IOGear KeyMander on our list, but given that the new IOGear KeyMander 2 provides a ton of new features and doesn't cost any more there isn't much reason to consider the older model. Perhaps the most important difference between the new and old devices is that the KeyMander 2 doesn't have to be plugged into a PC in order to operate, but there are also many other improvements such as support for higher DPI settings, wireless settings adjustment via Bluetooth, and a simplified process for key binding and macro recording. The other main advantage this choice offers over less recent models is native Nintendo Switch support, however it's worth noting that options like the Xim Apex can work with the Switch if combined with one of many products that allow you to use a PlayStation or Xbox controller with a Switch. Since these adapters pretend to be the aforementioned controllers this is a decent enough workaround, however such an arrangement increases costs, setup time, and input lag.
The GameSir VX2 AimSwitch is another recent option that solves many different problems at a relatively affordable price. Since it includes everything you need to bring keyboard and mouse controls to your console gaming experience it's a great option for people who don't already have a gaming keyboard or those who would simply like to avoid constantly moving their peripherals back and forth between their console and their computer. Not to mention it's PC compatible, so it kills two birds with one stone if you're already in the market for a one-handed gaming keyboard anyway. Setup is relatively simple and consists of plugging the wireless dongle into your PlayStation 4, Xbox One, or Nintendo Switch, although users that are interested in customization will find many tweakable settings on the companion phone app. Most USB mice are compatible with the VX2 AimSwitch, so you're not locked into using the included mouse if you find that it's not the best fit for you.
The companies behind both of the aforementioned choices have announced that they will be releasing updates in the future in order to make them compatible with next gen consoles like the Xbox Series X and PS5, but with so many consoles and games coming with built-in mouse and keyboard support these days you might be wondering why a device like this is even necessary. There is one critical advantage to these adapters, and that is customizability. Whereas a console might offer limited keybinding adjustment for a controller it recognizes as a keyboard, these adapters basically pretend that your keyboard and mouse are a normal gamepad. This means that you can bind one key to multiple functions, create long automatic macro sequences, activate turbo button presses, and whatever else the software behind your particular adapter will allow.
February 05, 2019:
First of all, we're not going to sit here and tell you that there's a right or wrong way to play games. Microsoft and Epic Games might try to do so, but that's on them, and you'll likely only experience their scorn if you try to gain an unfair advantage over gamepad users, by way of recoil compensation, rapid fire macros, or similar "cheat-like" behavior in competitive, online titles. With that said, Xim's products are by far the most popular adapters, and for good reasons: they're widely compatible with vast selections of keyboards and mice (mouses? meces?), they introduce almost no additional input lag, and they give you as good, and likely better control over your crosshairs and character movement. The only downside is they can be a little pricey. ConsoleTuner's first-gen model is about half the price of the Xims, on average, and both it as well as their second-gen variant boast exceptional versatility by means of programming and customized hotkeys. IOGear's is a viable choice, too, especially if you've tried out another brand or two, and haven't gotten them to work. The same is true of the Sniper, although it's awfully costly. And generally speaking, it's important to make sure that the adapter's firmware, as well as any installation drivers or applications, are fully updated to the newest versions, otherwise you'll probably end up frustrated and unable to get the thing to work. And when it comes to competitive games on official platforms (Fortnite and PUBG, we're looking at you), there's no telling what will happen if the publisher suddenly decides it doesn't want you competing using whatever they deem to be an unfair advantage. But for the most part, as long as you're not actively trying to cheat, you should be fine. Because dishonesty is never okay (unless you're EA or Bethesda, apparently).