Gyration Air Mouse Elite
Airborne remote rodent
Review Gyration’s accelerometer technology forms the backbone of the Nintendo Wii’s Remote that supports gesture recognition, so with sort of pedigree, I was expecting big things from the manufacturer’s latest peripheral, the Air Mouse Elite. It's a wireless mouse that also functions as a remote control for your PC and whole lot more.
Remote desktop? Gyration's Air Mouse Elite
At first glance the Elite looks like an ordinary desktop mouse with its ergonomic design and scroll wheel wedged between its standard dual control buttons. Yet, when I picked the Elite up, my index finger naturally curled itself around its top-mounted trigger button that transforms the mouse into a wireless PC controller.
The Elite communicates with wirelessly 2.4GHz RF USB receiver that supports Windows, Mac OS X and Linux. However, sophisticated tasks – beyond basic in air mousery and desktop use – rely on the MotionTools software being installed, which is Windows-only.
Depressing Elite’s trigger button enables you to move the PC’s cursor across the screen simply by waving the mouse in any direction – just like using the Wii’s Remote. Switching between Firefox tabs, selecting hyperlinks and even writing this review while using the Elite as an airborne mouse was extremely easy and required relatively no user training time.
While in Airborne mode, on-screen selections are made by pressing your thumb down on the Elite’s topside right button. I never experienced cursor drift – a common problem with wireless mice – or lag time between physical and cursor movements. Indeed, Airbourne mode really makes Elite stand out during presentations because picking the mouse up and ‘waving’ your PC’s cursor across to the next slide just feels so natural and effortless.
Airborne navigation is also handy when watching films on a laptop in bed, I discovered, because movies can be paused with only the slightest of wrist movements. Elite also has three programmable media buttons that let you access, say, Firefox’s Bookmarks folder or call-up PowerPoint’s highlighter tool just by clicking one button.
Dumb, dumb, dumb
When are people going to wake up and realize that "touch" and "gesture" based interfaces for all but hand held devices is STUPID? Wasn't the industrial revolution about replacing muscle power with machines?
Isn't waving your arms around to use a computer like, um, tiring? I'll twiddle my fingers on a four-inch screen or a touchpad, no problem, but on a f**king full-size monitor? An outrageous number of people have clearly started smoking some really good weezee and drinking Kool-Aid at the same time.
Imagine the scene in 20 years' time when the world is dominated by Wii-type controllers and multi-touch screens:
DR EVIL: "Riiiight... today we are going to introduce an IT revolution... I've invented this new device that I like to call a "mouse"... using this "mouse" which is a small hand-held controller that stays on a flat surface, the user can manipulate a "pointer" on the monitor and make it travel huge distances on screen with just a tiny movement of the hand on the "mouse"... no more large arm movements across the monitor or nasty fingerprints. Quite breathtaking I think."
NUMBER TWO: "Um, Dr Evil... That's already been done."
DR EVIL: "Riiight. How about this. We replace the virtual keyboard on computer monitors with something I'll call a "hardware" keyboard. This "hardware" keyboard will be a separate item with finger-sized, spring-loaded plastic keys that will keep the monitor clean, provide improved tactile feedback and allow the monitor surface and keyboard to be at separate angles to combine an optimal viewing AND typing experience."
NUMBER TWO: "That too, has already been done."
DR EVIL. "Shit. OK, let's just find an old CRT TV set, buy a Commodore 64 on eBay and hide in the bedroom."
Gotta have one of these...
...just as soon as they're down to £4.95 in Tescos....
£90 for a mouse. Really...?
Might as well buy a Wii if you want to wave plastic in the air.
I had a much older gyration mouse keyboard combo and it was pretty good till the gyro bit of the mouse packed in.
I replaced it with a newer version and it is pretty crap. The mouse looks knackered after a year with silver paint on the plastic you can scratch with a finger nail, the rubberized coating on other parts is scratched and peeling away, the 'tyre' on the mouse wheel skids because grease from the bearings wicked underneath it.
The mouse is a pain in the arse. There is an IR emitter and sensor in the nose which detects when it is on a surface. The sensor is way too sensitive and not properly screened from the emitter. It will detect a finger from about 3 inches so when you straighten you index finger to not operate the underside 'air' button the sensor sees it and switches to surface mode. A bit of dirt or fluff in the emitter hole reflects enough IR onto the sensor to make it even more sensitive or keep it in surface mode.
Poor design and poor build quality, I hope this mega expensive elite version is better.
and what about the batteries?
Do they still use those really naff NiCd non-standard batteries? I used 1 for about a year on my HCPC, but when the second set of batteries died, I gave up and went for a mini keyboard with a built in mouse pad. wireless keyboard with mouse pad cost (much) less than a single replacement battery and uses AAA cells which last for ages
-Paris, 'cos she knows what to do when the batteries run out