Gyration Media Center and PC Suite
At a Glance
If you have your PC connected to your TV, you'll love Gyration's Media Center and PC Universal Remote Control and Compact Keyboard Suite. If you don't, you'll find this $170 (street) wireless product expensive and of limited use.
The black and silver universal remote control has all the buttons you need to control your PC, TV, receiver, and DVD player. (The 50-page manual gives remote codes for oodles of major home-theater devices.) The remote has a gyroscope inside to detect movement; it communicates with a USB-connected RF receiver, which plugs into a PC running Windows XP Media Center or Windows Vista Ultimate or Premium. Inserting the USB dongle automatically prompts your PC to download and install the drivers you need. I found installation easy on a Toshiba Satellite P105 notebook running Vista Home Premium, although getting the remote and the dongle to recognize each other took a few tries at pressing each device's connect button.
Once I got going, the remote was so cool to use. Preset buttons let me easily find music, photos, and stored videos, as well as play DVDs. A button in the middle, when pressed twice, transforms the remote into a mouse (surrounding buttons become left- and right-click buttons) that I could control with rotation and movement of my wrist. Gyration Media says that the remote has a 100-foot range, and during my hands-on tests a coworker told me that it was still working when I walked about 40 feet away with walls in between. I found that the device's wrist-motion mouse-type movement worked well to cover large screen areas (like a TV connected to a PC), but not as much for doing e-mail, for example, on a smaller screen.
You can use the compact, 88-key keyboard to navigate through text screens. I found that it also had ample range, though less than that of the remote control.
The Gyration remote and keyboard combo impressed me. If your PC is regularly hooked up to your TV or home-theater system, this package is useful.