SpaceNavigator - time to throw away your mouse?

First Look
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.

3D Networks
> Product website
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

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