The Gyration Air Mouse with MotionSense functions both as a traditional mouse but, as its name suggests, also lets you control your presentations during business meetings by serving as a pointer. You can even launch apps with the flick of a wrist. Traveling professionals will love the innovative features that Gyration brings to the table, but may grimace at its $99.99 price.
At 3.8 x 2.2 x 1.5 inches, the Air Mouse is about half the size of a standard mouse, so it’s perfect for tossing in your laptop bag for business trips without worrying about space. It has a matte black and gray exterior with a shiny gunmetal colored top. Six buttons are on the top of the device: the scroll wheel, left- and right-click buttons, side-scrolling buttons, and the MotionSense controller for activating flick commands. You can tuck the USB dongle into the rear of the device for easy storage. Underneath the mouse is a small laser sensor, an on/off switch, and another button for toggling into and out of presentation mode.
Using the Air Mouse on a desktop was decent, but on a high-resolution display, the mouse’s sensitivity was too low for our tastes, even with the settings set to high. Also, the mouse didn’t glide as smoothly across our desk as others, such as the Logitech V550 Nano.
Double-clicking the underside button activates Presentation mode, which lets you navigate your desktop by moving the Air Mouse in midair; you can also press and hold this button to activate the same feature. We needed about ten minutes to get used to it, but overall it worked very well, with good sensitivity; standing 10 feet from our computer, we felt like we were controlling a Nintendo Wii with the wireless nunchuck. Gyration claims that the mouse will work up to 100 feet away from a computer without line-of-sight (although we wonder who would use the mouse without needing to see the computer screen). Even with a clear path to our laptop, the Air Mouse stopped working 65 feet away, but that’s still a pretty remarkable range.
The included GyroTools software, which comes on a CD, lets you designate quick-launch application shortcuts. That means that you can hold down the MotionSense button on the top of the mouse and move it in one of eight 45-degree angles within a 360-degree circle to launch a user-defined action. Swiping the mouse at a 45-degree angle for example, launches the browser, while swiping it at a 270-degree angle will launch your e-mail or perform a shortcut, such as copy/paste, or navigate to the next slide. These shortcuts require little movement; we were able to get the mouse to launch our e-mail with a 3-inch flick of the wrist. The software is very innovative, but it did take some time remembering which shortcuts we had assigned to each action; we launched our Web browser a few times when we meant to open our e-mail.
The Gyration Air Mouse with MotionSense is easy to control, both on the desk and off, but in standard desktop mode the device wasn’t as smooth as other mice. Also, we would have preferred it supported a higher sensitivity of movement for larger, high-resolution displays. Overall though, we enjoyed using the Air Mouse: It’s worth the splurge if you want a combination mini-mouse–and–presentation tool.