SpaceNavigator - time to throw away your mouse?

First Look
SpaceNavigator - time to throw away your mouse?
Rating
Overall:

The most curious thing about 3DConnexion's new joystick-like device isn't that it reminds us of old rotatable arcade controllers. No, it's meant for CAD, but also among the list of suggested apps is Second Life.

Price
Price: $100
> Pricing info
The SpaceNavigator and larger big daddy the SpaceExplorer are essentially a chunky joystick you use to navigate in ways an ordinary mouse can't. Instead of just panning up, down, left, and right, the SpaceNavigator moves in "3D" , by tilting, rotating, pressing in/out, and shifting left/right and up/down.

This is not a plasticky gimmic. The design is classy - in particular we were impressed by the heavy base on the smaller circular SpaceNavigator, which tips 700grams and feeling like a lead weight. The controller has a textured black, rubberized plastic which gives the right amount of feel for fine-touch jobs - pressing forward or rotating the joystick and there's a spring-like feel, with the controller snapping smartly back into place when you let it go. The SpaceExplorer is the larger version, with a smooth wrist pad, and button pad.

Would we throw out our regular mouse for this? We're not sure - it's a damn fine way to rotate photos and 3D models. It's not really meant for panning around the Windows desktop though - we couldn't get the device to work outside of specific apps, and until Windows goes completely 3D (please no), there's probably not much point.
My mouse is better than yours...the 3DConnexion SpaceExplorer
My mouse is better than yours...the 3DConnexion SpaceExplorer

There is, however, interesting potential for 3D mice as a secondary gaming device - the people at 3Dconnexion are pushing it as a Second Life controller, but we can see it also being useful in FPS games, either as a quick way to rotate your view, or look up and around at the sky, or for extreme fine-touch aiming.

See more about:  spacenavigator  |  spaceexplorer  |  3dconnexion
 
 
Comments: 3
CADUser
1 July 2008
Hello William, thanks for the review of these 3DConnexion 3D Mouse items.

The 3D mouses you have here the SpaceNavigator and SpaceExplorer are primarily dedicated to the industrial design 3D CAD/CAM market as well as more recent software such as Google Earth, Adobe 3D, and for some gaming, Second Life. The intentional purpose of these 3D mouses is to increase productivity for full time engineers and designers using these items every day as unlike the current mouse, it has the freedom of utilising the 6 axis of 3D rotation.

This is a "Two" hand operation, and the people at 3DConnexion recommend using this with the left hand and using the right hand (For right handed people) with the traditional mouse. It’s purpose is not to replace the current style of mouse design, but to compliment it in combination. 3DConnexion state that you can reduce the mouse clicks and keyboard entry by up to 50% & increase productivity up by 30%.

The current engineering design market globally, and especially in Australia where designers are on top rates, it makes sense to shorten the time spent to get those design documents out.

This left hand, right hand sequence apparently takes up to four weeks to master, and the SpaceExplorer model having full programmable buttons can also have ready access to custom commands as well.

There is a software development kit (SDK) on their website that developers can download and configure to drive just about anything from video editing software to even surgical robots. Several Australian and overseas companies have been including drivers in their software to support the 3DConnexion hardware including AutoDesk, Bentley, and Solidworks.

Further information is available on the Australian 3DConnexion website http://3dconnexion.com.au

Thank you!

CAD User.



Comment made about the PC Authority article:
SpaceNavigator - time to throw away your mouse??
The most curious thing about 3DConnexion's new joystick-like device isn't that it reminds us of old rotatable arcade controllers. No, it's meant for CAD, but also among the list of suggested apps is Second Life.

What do you think? Join the discussion.
madcad
18 February 2009
The site I bought my SpaceExplorer from http://tip.com.au, had great customer service and were prompt on delivery.
fish
8 June 2010
Hello everyone in Australian!

To give Australian users easier access to the 3Dconnexion 3D mouse products, you can get these items online at http://tip.com.au

This is the Australian distributor and you can have them shipped overnight via express post. Hope this assist in being able to get them to your desktop faster!
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