The humble computer mouse has undergone a number of changes in the last year or so. First it lost its ball, to be replaced by an LED and optical sensor, which effectively takes pictures of the desk to tell it how it’s moving. Then it lost its tail, to acquire a couple of batteries and a wireless link to your PC. With the introduction of the Gyration Ultra, it makes a third transformation.
If you imagine a slimmed-down, black, Microsoft mouse with a slot cut across its underside, you’re getting something near the size and shape of the Gyration Ultra. It’s easy to grasp, even for those with comparatively small hands, though it might prove uncomfortable for those with large hands who do a lot of exacting DTP or graphics work. Because it transmits data at a relatively high 80Hz, its pointer action is very smooth.
The Gyration Ultra uses a wireless link to a small, eight-channel transmitter which plugs into any available USB socket. Windows XP recognises the device immediately and it requires no separate drivers to get it running, making it very easy to install.
Lift a conventional mouse off the desk and it struggles – nothing to roll its ball over and nothing to picture for comparison. Not so with the Gyration Ultra, which switches modes to use its internal, vibration-free gyroscope to sense motion from your wrist. In this ‘free air’ mode, your index finger fits in the indent under the mouse and you operate its buttons with your thumb, much like a TV remote control. Your finger presses an activation button whenever you want the mouse to engage the screen pointer.
Even in mid-air, the mouse is still very sensitive and with only a little practice you can navigate your way around a Windows desktop, operate DVD movie software or run a PowerPoint presentation, without ever having to return it to the desk. It’s the ideal tool for anybody who uses their PC for leisure as well as work – you can even lean back and use it to play games. It’s exceptionally well made and has a wireless range of around eight metres.
The Gyration Ultra comes in at around £40 more than cordless optical mice from Logitech or Microsoft, but remember that this mouse includes a rechargeable NiMH battery pack, so you should never need to buy batteries for it. For an extra £20 you can add a compact, light-action, cordless keyboard, too.
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