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Gyration Pro Gyrotransport review: Gyration Pro Gyrotransport

Gyroscopic mice such as the Gyration Pro Gyrotransport are an acquired taste but one that dedicated users swear by.

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Dan Ackerman
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Dan Ackerman

Editorial Director / Computers and Gaming

Dan Ackerman leads CNET's coverage of computers and gaming hardware. A New York native and former radio DJ, he's also a semi-regular TV talking head and the author of "The Tetris Effect" (Hachette/PublicAffairs), a non-fiction gaming and business history book that has earned rave reviews from the New York Times, Fortune, LA Review of Books, and many other publications. "Upends the standard Silicon Valley, Steve Jobs/Mark Zuckerberg technology-creation myth... the story shines." -- The New York Times

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Measuring 1.25 inches wide, 2.5 inches long, and about 1 inch deep, the Gyrotransport is held in the hand with the forefinger resting underneath and the thumb on top. When activated, the mouse pointer effortlessly follows your hand movements across the screen. Unlike the Nintendo Wii control, for example, the gyroscope is only concerned with the device's orientation, not its relative location to a screen or receiver. Additionally, the RF receiver, housed in a USB key, requires no direct line of sight and claims a 100-foot range. The USB key also includes 1GB of storage--useful for bringing a multimedia presentation into a meeting, loading it up via the USB key, and controlling the show from a distance with the Gyrotransport.

7.7

Gyration Pro Gyrotransport

The Good

Small size; RF receiver includes 1GB USB key; useful software for adding macros.

The Bad

No optical sensor for traditional mousing; expensive.

The Bottom Line

Gyroscopic mice such as the Gyration Pro Gyrotransport are an acquired taste but one that dedicated users swear by.
After years of ergonomically incorrect computer use, many people suffer from a tennis-elbow-like condition sometimes called "mouse arm," causing pain in the wrist and forearm. One solution is a gyroscopic mouse, held in the hand like a remote control, which is a much more natural position for the wrist. A company called Gyration has carved out a unique niche with its line of gyroscopic input devices. The tiny $199 Gyrotransport is a good (although expensive) alternative to the traditional travel-size optical mouse, and while primarily intended for controlling things such as PowerPoint presentations, is also useful for home theater PCs and multimedia laptops.

Installation didn't require any special drivers, just standard Windows device installation. Because Windows recognizes the Gyrotransport as a mouse, an RF receiver, and a USB storage device, several runs through the new hardware wizard are required.

Controlling the cursor is accomplished by moving your wrist. The required motion is subtle, but it can be adjusted, just like with any other mouse, from the Windows control panel, to allow for increased or decreased sensitivity in mouse movement. By default, the mouse cursor won't move unless your thumb is holding down an activation button on the top of the mouse. Press the thumb button, move the cursor where you want it, then release the button to keep the cursor in place while you click the left or right mouse buttons, which are also thumb controlled and located on the top of the Gyrotransport. It may sound complicated, but as a long-time gyroscopic mouse user, it's actually very intuitive after a day or two of practice. Freeform control is also available by double-clicking the thumb button.

For casual computing, or controlling multimedia software, the Gyrotransport works as well as a traditional optical mouse and is especially suited for couch-based Media Center controls, as it requires no mousing surface. For applications requiring extrafine control, such as gaming and Photoshop editing, it's less successful. Controlling the mouse pointer can be awkward at first and requires a day or two of practice to feel natural. It's an acquired taste to be sure, but fans of gyroscopic input devices swear by them.

The USB-key RF receiver comes preloaded with Gyration's GyroTools software, which lets you assign macros (called Swipes) to various mouse movements, activated by pressing a second, smaller button on the top of the mouse. For example, you can program the Gyrotransport to raise or lower the audio volume when you press the thumb button and move the mouse up and down or to move forward or backward in a document with a flick of the wrist.

Some of Gyration's products, such as the Gyration Ultra GT Cordless Air Mouse, have a more common mouse form factor and include an optical sensor that kicks in when the mouse is placed on a flat surface for traditional mouse control. The Gyrotransport lacks that optical feature, which may prevent it from becoming your principal mouse.

7.7

Gyration Pro Gyrotransport

Score Breakdown

Setup 8Features 8Support 7
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