By Terry Currier
They call it the Phaser Mouse, because it looks like a phaser from Star Trek. The IOGEAR RF Wireless Mouse (GMR322R) is used for doing presentations. Hooking it up to the USB or PS/2 port it becomes a wireless mouse that you can use to control the computer from up to 5o feet away. It uses radio frequency (RF) waves to link the Phaser to the base you plugged into the computer. It has three buttons on the top with the left corresponding to the mouseís left and the right corresponding to the mouseís right button.
The center activates the laser pointer. It is a strong light, the only thing that would have made it better is an attachment to make the red dot become an arrow. Iíve picked up cheapie laser pointers (not as bright though) at the swap meet with different attachments including making it look like an arrow. The red dot is just small. Any way I can tell you that my kitten just loves chasing that red dot, even up a wall. On the top is a track ball for controlling the direction of the curser. On the bottom is a trigger which activates the left mouse button (used to forward a slide in PowerPoint.)
That said how does it work? Just great, Iíve tested it from a far distance no problem. Even more impressive Iíve put it on my notebook in my computer room and walk down the hall with walls in-between and the base unit still received the signal. Which means the presenter does not have to worry about being in direct line of sight for it to work. They can be away from the computer, even behind people in the audience and it will still work. I found it to be comfortable in my hand and easy to use.
It is powered by two AAA batteries. Works with Windows 98, 98SE, 2000, ME, and XP. It comes with a 3 year warranty. Checking on pricegrabber.com the price ranges from $51-$70. If you do presentations this is something that make you look more professional. Allowing you to move around on the stage without having to stand next to the computer.
By the way if you want to compare it with others, you can look at the RemotePoint Navigator it also uses radio frequency and works up to 50 feet away. It comes with a one year warranty and cost $150.
Winners is a member of the Association of Personal Computer User Groups (APCUG) is an international, platform-independent, nonprofit corporation (incorporated in Washington, DC) devoted to helping user groups throughout the world. Almost 400 user groups are members of APCUG. http://www.apcug.net/