Evaluation: Battery Life, Range, Software

Battery Life
The battery life on the Gyration Ultra GT is very good and lasted about 24 hours over 3 business days before it depleted. When the battery runs low (20% of capacity according to the documentation), the green status LED on the mouse will blink. However, if you’re using the mouse, you won’t see it because your hand will cover the LED. I wish there was some onscreen indication that the battery is running low or some sort of audible beep from the mouse.

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Mouse in the charger.

Charging takes over 9 hours to complete and Gyration recommends charging the mouse every night. Since the battery is nickel-metal hydride, you can charge the battery as often as you feel and not worry about any memory effects.

It’s worth noting that Gyration sells extra battery packs including a pack that uses standard AAA batteries.

Range Performance
The range on the Gyration Ultra GT is very good. I was able to control the mouse accurately and smoothly up to 20 feet. But from unobstructed 20 to 28 feet, the mouse would register intermittently causing the mouse pointer to stutter or stall when attempting to move across the screen. At 28 and higher, the mouse stopped moving entirely and the receiver stopped acknowledging transmissions.

0-20′ Excellent usability and response.
20-28′ Intermittant stalls and stutters. Gets worse farther away.
28′ + Mouse and receiver are out of range. Mouse pointer doesn’t move.

Gyration advertises 30′ range and it comes very close to that with 28′ in my tests. The optimal range is 0-20′ which should be enough for most of you. The Profressional model of the mouse has 100′ range which is something worth considering if you are doing presentations on a large stage/room.

I found the range superior to many wireless pointing devices on the market. Most wireless solutions have very short optimal ranges or have receivers with poor performance. The Gyration Ultra GT did not suffer from transmission problems and worked flawlessly from a distance (up to 20 feet).

Bundled Sofware
The bundled GyroTools v7.1 software is an optional piece that I strongly recommend installing to improve your experience with the Gyration Ultra GT. Using GyroTools, you can configure mouse swipes, clicks, shakes, and even on-screen hotspots to execute actions. This flexibility has a lot of potential since any of these ‘movement macros’ can be bound to custom keystrokes or applications on your drive.

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Since some of the in-air actions are complex (i.e. performing a group select and copying it), using some of GyroTools’ motion macros will help immensely.

When doing a presentation, you can map key shortcuts to certain movements to give the illusion of seamless transitions between items. For example you can quickly switch from your PowerPoint slide to a browser by double right-click and switch back to the slide by doing a right-click swipe. Your audience won’t even realize your switching programs.

Since I like using the Gyration Ultra GT with my HTPC, I have mapped DVD controls to swipes so I don’t have to use the controller bars anymore. On my TV, there is also some overscan which makes closing clipped windows difficult. I overcame this by using GyroTools’ hotspot feature. All I have to do now is navigate to the top-right corner and the window closes automatically.

There is a lot of potential with this software and I encourage Gyration users to give it a try.

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