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Gyration Wireless Air Mouse review: Gyration Wireless Air Mouse

Gyration Wireless Air Mouse

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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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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-air-mouse-laser-3-buttons-wireless-2-4-ghz-usb-wireless-receiver.jpg
6.0

Gyration Wireless Air Mouse

The Good

Travel-size gyroscopic mouse; works as a regular optical mouse as well.

The Bad

Not as comfortable to use as previous Gyration mice; feels cheap and insubstantial; occasionally spotty response.

The Bottom Line

Gyration's new travel version of its excellent gyroscopic mouse falls a bit short, but anyone with wrist or arm pain should seriously consider something from the company's line.

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.

gyration-air-mouse-laser-3-buttons-wireless-2-4-ghz-usb-wireless-receiver.jpg
6.0

Gyration Wireless Air Mouse

Score Breakdown

Design 5Features 7Performance 0