3DConnexion Space Navigator

Peripherals

Testing

Test Rig

Processor

Intel C2Q Q9450 Quad Core 2.66GHz

Motherboard

Gigabyte S-Series GA-73PVM-S2H

Graphics Card

XFX 8600GT

Memory

Corsair XMS2 PC6400 (2x 1GB)

Hard Drive

Hitachi HDT7250 (250GB)

OS

Windows XP Pro 32bit

Power Supply

NOX Apex 700W

Methodology

Mouse mats and other peripherals fall into an interesting category for testing, as your opinion on them tends to be very personal, as the mat, mouse or keyboard has to be right for you, beyond having the specifications to do what you want with it. Therefore these reviews can be highly subjective so as always, please make sure to test a peripheral for yourself before you buy it.

However with that said, our testing methods involves using the mouse over a prolonged period to test its comfort, ease and use and overall performance.

One other issue with testing 3Dmice and peripherals is that, although there are many applications that are compatible with the product, most of them are expensive 3D modeling software or special 3D programs which I unfortunately do not have access to. Therefore, for testing I will have to use applications such as Google Earth.

The applications used for testing were:

  • Photoshop CS2
  • Google Earth

Results

Applications

The thing that I really like about the mouse is that you can operate it with your left hand and so you can be using both the 3D mouse and a normal rodent simultaneously which is really very useful. First up, I downloaded Google Earth and set about getting to grasp with the different movements.

To begin with the device felt very foreign and I couldn’t get to grips with the movements and kept zooming when I wanted to pan and vice versa. However, after an hour or so of tinkering with the 3DxWare Control Panel adjusting the speeds and how each individual movements works, I began to get to grips with the squat joystick.

Once I was able to properly utilise the features, I found the mouse so much more useful. You can change the angle, pan and zoom simultaneously in order to adjust the position of where you are looking at. I set about trying to find my house and by using just the 3D mouse, I was able to locate it very quickly.

One of
he things I really like about the mouse is that you can set the speeds of each different movement separately as I found that to start off with some speeds were far too slow – like the zooming – and some were about right and so I could set each individual feature to suit me perfectly.

For Photoshop CS2, the device again was pretty useful and although with just 2D images you can only move around the photo, it was still useful and made editing photos much quicker than just using a generic mouse. The macros that you can set the buttons to though were very useful here though as I could set them to do the auto-levels without having to use the keyboards shortcuts which takes longer.

There was one slight problem however with the weight, when zooming out you needs to lift the joystick up and the Space Navigator is on the verge of lifting up – if it was a little heavier it would be a lot better.

Comfort

The Space Navigator, I must say, is really very comfy – the soft rubber material it is crafted from is smooth and soft to the touch and your hand seems to just mould around the UFO design!

Durability

The 3D mouse looks to be very well made and I couldn’t see any obvious flaws that might cause it to ware. The SE version does come with a two year warranty but at an increased price.

Cost

The PE version that I tested (which is exactly the same as the SE version except from the warranty – the PE can only get help through the online forums whereas the more expensive SE gets a full commercial license and much more support) retails at $59 which is really very reasonable. However, the SE Space Navigator is much more at $99 which seems a lot more considering only the warranty package is different.

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Last modified: February 15, 2011

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