- Review Price: £88.96
You’ve heard of the Wii. The reason I can make this statement with such unflinching surety is that you’re reading this sentence. Which means that even if you have been living under a rock for the past two years, you at least have an Internet connection. And even if you’ve only come across people referring to ‘the new Nintendo’, they’re actually talking about the Wii.
Not to say that vast amounts of people wouldn’t equally recognise the PlayStation or Xbox brands, but ‘that white thing with the part you can wave around’ is definitely more popular. The important question is why. Its graphics, sound and game catalogue are all inferior to its competitors’, and it can’t play high definition media or stream data between devices. No, the reason is ‘the part you can wave around’; otherwise known as the Wiimote.
You can wave it around and have stuff happen on the screen because it is in essence a gyroscopic interfacing controller. But contrary to what many people might think, Nintendo wasn’t there first to create such a device. Instead, that honour goes to a company appropriately called Gyration. In fact, Gyration is actually the unknown mastermind behind the Wiimote’s very gyroscopic system.
Which is relevant because today, I’m looking at the Gyration Gyroscopic Media Center PC Universal Remote Control and Compact Keyboard Suite – from now on referred to as the Gyration Media Set. This nifty combo consists of a compact wireless keyboard and the star of the show; the not so compact gyroscopic media remote. There are no drivers included, for the simple reason that neither peripheral needs any. Thus installation is a simple as one could hope: in true plug and play fashion, you simply plug it in, press the buttons to connect each device through RF, and you’re ready to go.
Let’s start with the keyboard, hopefully saving the best for last. It is definitely the smallest example of a ‘sofa’ (wireless media) keyboard I have come across, around the same size as on a 12in laptop. Build quality is very solid, with no signs of flex or creak. In terms of layout, few compromises have been made when it comes to the actual standard keys, with the only concessions being that the number pad is integrated into the letter keys, and the media keys are small and crowded.
Mostly though, the keyboard is actually quite usable. Key response is a bit on the soft side, almost to the extent of being mushy. Travel also feels somewhat inadequate, especially compared to the similarly low-profile Razer Lycosa. But that’s not exactly a fair comparison, as the Gyration model is not only far cheaper, but not marketed as a product particularly suitable for lengthy typing sessions. What it is, is a compact, wireless product that’s easy to hold with one hand, for typing filenames, short emails and messages.