Using a gyroscopic mouse is a lot like driving a stick shift. It's like second nature to those who do, while everyone else is either scared away or has a steep learning curve ahead of them. That said, we've been using gyroscopic mice regularly for more than five years, and anyone with persistent hand and arm pain caused by poor ergonomics or repetitive motion will likely find some relief with a device like the $99 Gyration Air Mouse, which is held in the hand like a remote control--a much more natural position for the wrist. The genius part is that most gyroscopic mice automatically switch over to regular optical mouse mode when you place them on a flat surface.
Gyration's standard mouse, the Gyration Go, has been a favorite (and remained largely unchanged) for years. This new version is a travel mouse take on it, squeezing down to about two-thirds the size of the Gyration Go.
For added ease of transit, the RF receiver now slides into a handy slot on the back of the mouse, although we're disappointed that the receiver is an old-fashioned bulky USB stick, rather than the super-slim receivers that only stick out a few millimeters from the USB port we've seen recently in mice such as the Logitech V550.
Gyration has actually done a travel mouse before--it was the tiny Gyrotransport model, which was essentially a handheld remote useful for PowerPoint presentations, and lacking the traditional on-desk function of an optical mouse. While the new Air mouse is more full-featured than the Gyrotransport, and smaller than the bulky Gyration Go, it disappointingly lacks the solid build quality we've come to expect from Gyration. The Air Mouse feels flimsy and insubstantial, and it literally rattles in your hand. The clacky mouse buttons feel loose, and worst of all, the optical tracking feels a tiny bit sluggish when used in the nongyroscopic mode.
When picked up, the in-air tracking is fine, and we liked that a trigger button on the underside and any of the three function buttons on the top would all activate the cursor (it's frozen by default unless you have a trigger button depressed, although you can engage a free mode by double-clicking the trigger button).
Also worth a look is Logitech's excellent MX Air, essentially a sleek mainstream makeover of the Gyration concept, offering great built-in multimedia controls and an especially comfortable ergonomic curved design.