Gyration Rechargeable Wireless Air Mouse Elite (Black) review: Gyration Rechargeable Wireless Air Mouse Elite (Black)
Gyration is back with its latest effort, the Air Mouse Elite. After several iterations to refine its design, the Air Mouse Elite takes on a new shape, button layout, and full compatibility with Mac and Windows operating systems. The $80 pointing device sacrifices build quality for its low price, however, and the plastic housing feels less robust than previous models. We appreciate its ease of use and cool factor, but with companies like Logitech releasing touch-sensitive models like the MX Air designed for a home theater environment, the Gyration lineup feels outgunned. If you're the kind of person whose technology must be state of the art, the $149 Logitech is an excellent, albeit pricey, option, but the $80 Gyration Go Air Optical does just fine without as much flair.
Gyration gives you the option of using the Air Mouse Elite either on a flat tabletop or in the air with motion control. With its wireless 2.4GHz RF technology, the mouse comes with a separate USB receiver that plugs into any available USB port on your computer, although unlike previous models, the manufacturer adds no extra space on the dongle to use it as a storage key.
Despite a lack of paper instructions in the box, the mouse is easy to install with the MotionTools software compatible with both Mac and Windows operating systems. Simply plug the USB dock into another open port for the initial charge, plug in the RF receiver, and press the connect buttons on both pieces. With the magic of plug-and-play technology, the two devices will automatically sync and you'll be ready to mouse in less than 5 minutes. As with any mousing peripheral, you can adjust the tracking sensitivity in the Control Panel settings.
The Air Mouse Elite measures 1.5 inches tall by 2.3 inches wide by 4.5 inches deep. It fits comfortably in your hand with your thumb placed on top of the scroll wheel and your pointer finger touching the trigger on the bottom, but the build quality lacks the heft of previous models, making us question its durability. Regardless, the mouse is easy to hold ambidextrously and glides smoothly across a flat surface, should you decide to use it on a table as a traditional pointer.
The top of the mouse has two buttons on either side of a notched scroll wheel just like you'd see on any other mouse, but just underneath the wheel is a convex gesture button with three shallow media buttons wrapped around it.
Using the MotionTools software, you can customize these buttons to perform almost any function within a set number of predefined applications with a simple press and wrist flick, although we found the size and shape of the flat buttons difficult to distinguish without looking down at them, and hesitate to recommend this mouse to those with larger fingers.
Additionally, though the MotionTools software already has a comprehensive set of tools for Windows, Internet browsers, media players, and presentations, we hope that the future versions will include the ability to customize any software program.
As it stands, however, the Air Mouse Elite works better than dedicated PowerPoint/laser pointer combination devices like the Targus Wireless Presenter. The Gyration Mouse has an extended range of 100 feet that allows you to move around a room more freely, as opposed to the Targus' limited 30-foot range. Also, the buttons on the Targus can only control slideshow-specific software like PowerPoint and only work with Windows 2000, XP, and Vista operating systems. The Gyration Air Mouse Elite benefits from multiple-use cases and user-specific macros that work just as well in a home theater environment as they do in the office.
Though the motion control is easy to set up and customize commands, it took us a few days of constant use to hone our accuracy with the pointer. For first-time gyroscopic mouse users, we recommend spending equal amount of time with the device, making sure you control the movement of the cursor with your wrist instead of your whole arm.
Gyration continues to impress us with its two-year limited warranty against defects, setting it apart from the one-year standard for most mice. Phone support is available Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. ET, and on weekends from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. ET. Finally, additional information is available on the Web site by way of user forums, FAQs, and troubleshooting tips.