Connecting a Bluetooth / USB keyboard and mouse to a Nexus 7 tablet

For a while I’ve been wondering about using bluetooth and USB devices such as a keyboard, mouse, webcam etc with my Nexus 7 tablet.

I especially became curious when I noticed cheap broken Nexus 7 tablets on ebay, where people had broken / cracked their screen and the digitiser no-longer or partially worked. It made me wonder if the owners of these broken devices could still gain some benefit from a broken Nexus 7, as long as it was safe to use the tablets.

Well I don’t have a broken Nexus 7, and neither do I intend on buying one, but I decided to hook up two different types of mouses and a keyboard to see what can be achieved via bluetooth and USB.

Nexus 7 OTG cable

So on ebay I brought a cheap ‘Nexus 7 OTG cable’, which allows me to connected standard sized USB cabled devices to the Nexus 7. Then I did the following….

Full sized Logitech bluetooth keyboard and mouse

Rather than playing around with Nexus 7’s own bluetooth hardware, I connected a Logitech bluetooth dongle to the Nexus 7, and et voilĂ  the keyboard and mouse worked straight away.

bluetooth keyboard and mouse

A mouse pointer appeared on the screen, and I was able to easily use the Nexus 7 with both devices.

USB mouse

Next I decided to connect a USB mouse, but it didn’t work when I plugged it in.

USB mouse connected to Nexus 7

So I powered down the Nexus 7, and then switched back on with the USB mouse already connected to the OTG cable. Upon a fresh boot the USB mouse worked without a problem.

Conclusion

I found both the bluetooth and USB connections responsive and easy to use via the OTG cable. Though I found ‘looking down’ on the Nexus 7 tiresome and if I had the intention of doing this regularly, I would invest in a stand for the tablet.

I know you can buy bluetooth and usb keyboards specifically for the Nexus 7, as well as stands for the tablet, but I don’t currently have the requirement for these devices.

I intend on testing other devices via the OTG cable, so please expect more blog posts on the topic in the future.

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