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Sunday, October 7, 2007

MX Air , actually half mouse and half remote control.

Logitech has created a computer mouse called the MX Air that’s actually half mouse and half remote control.

The MX Air is made to be used “on the desk” or “in the air.” It works like a regular, wireless mouse when you push it on a flat surface.

But, it also works like a combination laser pointer and video remote controller when you wave it in the air and point it towards your TV.

It is made to let you control – from near or far - the latest breed of multimedia Windows PCs. Especially new media computer units which require placement close to those shiny, flat-screens, high-definition televisions.

The MX Air looks like many other modern wireless laser mice. It’s black and steel colored with stealth backlighting that quietly appears when you move the mouse. There are also a lot of extra control buttons that you normally don’t find on a mouse.

On top is a very large, touch-sensitive scrolling bar that runs down the middle. On either side are the left and right “click” buttons. And below the scroll there are buttons for ‘Back’. ‘Select’, ‘Play/Pause’ and ‘Volume so you can take charge of your computer’s digital audio and video media.

The secret weapon inside is called Freespace Motion Control technology. It translates raw sensor data into precise on-screen interactions by using a combination of micro-electromechanical sensors (tiny motors), digital signal processing and radio-frequency technologies. That means it can accurately interpret the mouse’s movements regardless of its orientation.

The MX Air wirelessly connects to your computer via a USB dongle, which looks like a very small memory stick. The wireless radio controller has a range of 30 feet. It’s powered by a rechargeable lithium-ion battery which should be good for up to five days use per charge.

Of course, good looks and promises don’t always translate into a better user experience. In this instance I’ve had mixed results.

When used as a wireless mouse on a flat surface, the MX Air is a great performer – once you adjust it properly. Right out of the box I found the controls to be very twitchy until all the motions were slowed down almost to their minimum settings. The scroll bar seems to move way too quickly whatever settings I choose. It took a few tries to get most everything set to my liking.

Logitech’s MX Air has a suggested retail price of $149.99.

I found the mouse to be somewhat less endearing when used “in the air”. The cursor is larger and easier to see in this mode, but its motions are somewhat more difficult to control. I found that it takes a little time to get used to using the MX Air across the room – but really like the idea of having only one device control everything that a Windows Media Center mouse and remote control needs to do.

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