This is a unique product. Not only does it function as a conventional desktop mouse, but it’s also a wireless, programmable pointer system that can be used to control a Keynote presentation on your Mac from a distance.
Since the day, literally, that Keynote was introduced at Macworld, I have used it for presentations. Steve Jobs gave everyone at the Keynote a free copy and I was giving a breakout session later that day. I took my PowerPoint slide show and switched it to Keynote and never looked back. Every month I use Keynote at least twice and always am grateful to have it.
The only problem with it is that I am tied to the podium in order to change slides. A timed slide show doesn’t work for me. I got all excited when a couple of iPhone apps came out that were supposed to change slides from a distance, but they never worked well enough.
The Air Mouse Elite by Gyration does work, and at last I am free to walk around as I speak.
Air Mouse Elite
The product consists of the mouse, a desktop charging cradle and USB cable, 2.4 GHz USB Receiver and Motion Tools software which also contains a quick start guide. The charging cradle will always let you know the charged status of the mouse with colored bars visible on the top of the mouse when it is plugged in. The MSRP is US$79.99 although I found it on-line at prices ranging from US$46 to US$74.
Air Mouse Elite in charging cradle
Using the product
Before you can start using the Air Mouse Elite you must charge it, and since it is Bluetooth and works wirelessly, pair it with your computer, and learn to use it. Don’t think for a minute that you can set it up in the morning and do a picture perfect presentation right after lunch. It won’t happen. The charging cradle will plug directly into your Mac or into a good hub. The Air Mouse Elite will serve you well, but you’ll need to get comfortable with the options and the wrist movements.
The software that accompanies the product contains the Motion Tools setup. It is easy to use in that it walks you through the process. The Motion Tools allow you to program the buttons on the top of the mouse to perform specific tasks. As an example I have one set to be a laser pointer, another set to highlight words on the slide while I am talking, and a third set to point to objects or words as needed. You use wrist movements to move the mouse on the screen or to change slides when using the mouse in the in-air mode. To change any of the options you simply open the Motion Tools again and make different choices.
The left and right mouse buttons work as you would expect on any mouse when you are using it in desktop mode.
The Air Mouse Elite did not work with PowerPoint when I tried it with my copy of that app. (I keep it around to demonstrate the superiority of Keynote.) Nor did the special effects work with any of the applications, other than Keynote, that I tried.
You can make the tools associated with the Air Mouse Elite as complicated or as simple as you need to do your job or meet your needs. For me, I am totally pleased to be able to move around the front of the room while chairing a meeting and to be able to use the pointer and highlighting components when teaching a class. For those who need more, The Air Mouse Elite offers more. My suggestion is that you give yourself a couple of hours of quiet time to set it up and practice using it. Then practice using it again.
It’s not a small mouse. It’s about 5 inches long and 1.5 inches high at the deepest point. When in air mode you hold it as if you were shaking hands rather than the usual mouse hold that most of us are accustomed to. My hands are small with short fingers, but once I figured the whole thing out, I had no problem operating the mouse in air mode.
Do I recommend it?
I do. If you have a need for an air type mouse then this one works well. It also works equally well in desktop mode. It charges quickly and can be turned off when not in use. The added features add a great deal to the usability of the product and justify the price.