Evaluation: Desktop, Mid-Air Usage

Desktop Surface Performance
The Gyration Ultra GT mouse functions well as a wireless desktop mouse for general usage but don’t expect it to replace your traditional optical mouse for precise applications or 3D gaming purposes.

In comparing the Gyration Ultra GT to the Logitech MX510 by drawing lines in Paintshop Pro, I found that the differences barely noticeable at 85Hz refresh. But at 100Hz, the Ultra GT was a little twitchy and seemed to have less resolution than the MX510. When compared to the Microsoft Wheel Mouse Optical at 100Hz, I found the Gyration Ultra GT roughly the same.

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After playing games with the Gyration Ultra GT, I found that the resolution of the mouse played a larger role than it did with general 2D desktop usage. In today’s 3D games, what is displayed on the screen is dependent upon the movements of the mouse. If that mouse has poor resolution, it is reflected by jerky and stuttering images on the display.

With that said, after using the Gyration Ultra GT in various games, I found that playing intensive 3D games like first-person shooters demonstrate the Gyration’s gaming limitations the best. In Doom 3 and Battlefield 1942, the images on the screen weren’t completely smooth (looks like frames were being skipped) even though FPS was reporting over 60FPS. It is possible to use the Ultra GT in FPS games but if you are playing competitively, you will probably opt for a mouse with better resolution.

With this said, the Ultra GT is more suited for business and casual users. It’s great as a mouse for everyday activity including some non-serious gaming and it’s a liberating feeling to not constantly pull on a mouse cable to get extra slack.

Mid-Air Performance
The Gyration Ultra GT’s ability to control the mouse pointer while in the air is the reason you will buy this mouse. By activating the trigger and moving your hand, it is reasonably easy to manipulate your cursor but getting proficient at using the mouse is another matter (more on this later).

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The most relevant applications for using the mouse in the air are for presentations and in home theatre environments. The Ultra GT easily controls a computer for PowerPoint slideshows but best of al the gyroscope technology gives you full mouse functionality so you can also demonstrate things like software and navigate webpages. This is something traditional presentation devices fail at performing well if at all – their pointing control is either too slow or limited to just forward/back and scroll up/down.

In the home theatre, the Gyration Ultra GT is a godsend. The Ultra GT works conveniently like any other remote control and additionally it controls your computer. Because it is wireless, you no longer need to run mouse extension cables across the floor and because you can use it in the air, you don’t need to find a proxy mousing surface (the arm of your sofa wasn’t meant to be a mouse pad ;).

I tested Doom 3 using the mouse while in the air and found it amusing as it feels like you really are using a weapon to shoot the screen (like a phaser from Star Trek). As fun as that sounds, the mouse movements aren’t accurate as the motions tend to ‘sweep/drift’ which makes targeting very difficult. Also your arm gets tired after holding the mouse up for extended periods.

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Doom 3 as you’ve never seen it before.

Using the Gyration Ultra GT in the air to control a computer 12 feet away is an amazing sensation. I was able to sweep the mouse across my display and launch applications from my couch and control my DVDs. Unlike some other mid-air pointing devices, the Gyration Ultra GT is very responsive and easy to use.

However, I found that getting precise movements on the mouse tricky at times, especially for targeting small items like small icons/buttons. At high resolutions navigating menus could be a challenge since they are smaller and will often close when the mouse moves off of them. To make things easier, I would consider using a lower resolution if necessary or increasing the desktop font size.

Proper posturing of the mouse is important for performance since moving your whole arm or body while activating the mouse will cause unintended mouse movement. Gyration documents their recommended posture very well though you don’t need to follow it too strictly. I found resting my elbow on an armrest the easiest to get accurate movements on the screen.

Performing tasks like group selections and drag-and-drop actions can be tricky as it requires you to coordinate wrist movements along with button and trigger presses and releases. This gets a little easier with practice though not entirely as convenient as using a typical desktop mouse or keyboard. The GyroTools will simplify some of these tasks by allowing you to use macro movements for actions like Cut and Pasting. I recommend practicing by playing Solitaire or using the mouse in the air when doing word processing.

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My lovely assistant hones her mousing skills.

I think some people may be discouraged or disappointed at first by the tricky movement and performance, but if you persevere with some practice, you will find the conveniences of using the mouse without a surface very practical in the right environment.

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