Manufacturers have come up with some pretty strange peripherals in their quest to cater to specific needs. One of the more interesting of these is Gyration's Air Mouse range. Similar to the Wii-mote with MotionPlus from Nintendo's popular Wii console, they contain gyroscopes, allowing movements in the air to be translated into actions on your computer. This makes it ideal for presentations, as a media remote, or for playing mouse-based games in new and fun ways.
Awesome as the potential for this is, we were impressed but not completely won over by Gyration's previous efforts: the mobile Air Mouse with MotionSense and somewhat flawed Air Mouse GO Plus. Let's see if the new Air Mouse Elite can convince us completely.
First of all it's worth pointing out that the Elite is primarily a desktop peripheral, lacking the compact dimensions, integrated dongle, removable batteries and carrying pouch of the Air Mouse with MotionSense. To an extent it's more like an evolution of the GO Plus, in that it's a larger unit with its own charging station.
As usual it comes well packaged with a quick-start guide and driver CD. The mouse itself is the most attractive Gyration has yet brought to market. It looks more stylish than previous efforts thanks to a piano-black top with silver trim and chromed buttons. Gyration has done an excellent job of making fingerprints as invisible as they can be on glossy plastic, and they're never noticeable enough to be distracting.
The weighted base acts as a charging station, and sports the same finish as the mouse: glossy black body with silver trim. It's well-built, compact and stylish, and slotting the mouse in to charge is child's play. In a nice touch, the charging cable terminates in a USB plug, so when not using the provided USB-to-socket adapter you can simply plug the station into an available port on your PC or laptop.
Our one criticism is that the base itself doesn't use a USB connector but rather takes a semi-proprietary rounded socket, presenting difficulties if you lose the supplied cable. While on the topic of charging, another minor concern is that – unlike some wireless rechargeable mice which use replaceable NiMH AA or AAA batteries – the Air Mouse Elite uses a non-replaceable lithium battery, leading to possible performance-loss after a few years.
Meanwhile the matt black 2.4GHz RF dongle is a diminutive 32mm and sports a tiny blue LED for syncing. It doesn't come pre-synchronised (because it can also be used with a new Gyration wireless keyboard), but pressing easily-accessible buttons on the mouse and dongle quickly rectified this. Overall, the Elite is easy on the eye and easy to set up.