3Dconnexion SpaceNavigator Review

The mouse is one of the most important innovations in computing in the past 50 years. It enabled computing to move past the boundaries of typed commands in to an interactive GUI environment. The mouse allows you to control your computer on a 2D plane moving forward, back, left, right and diagonally across a flat surface. So what about up, down and rotational movements?

This is where 3Dconnexion comes in. Their line of 3D mice called SpaceNavigators allows you to control 3D applications without having to use the keyboard at all. Architects, engineers, 3D artists, geologists and especially gamers have an array of applications that are beginning to support and even promote the SpaceNavigator as a sensible choice.

On first glance, the SpaceNavigator is one solidly constructed device. It is weighty in order to keep it from sliding across the desk during normal use. It has durable construction with a brushed steel base and rubberized control knob.  I can say that after thousands upon thousands of hours of heavy usage, the SpaceNavigator still looks and functions exactly as it did when it first arrived.

It works well with Google Earth, Photoshop, AutoCAD, Second Life and many other supported applications. In Second Life, the SpaceNavigator is used extensively by Treet.TV to control panning cameras as well as by residents to fly around sims and shop without having to walk their avatar around.

Control is smooth and very sensitive. Don’t expect to be instantly accustomed to how it moves as the difference between a slow crawl and zipping across the virtual plane is very slight. With some practice, the SpaceNavigator is the perfect tool for the job. Smooth pans around specific focus points are made possible by the use of a 3D mouse. Whether you’re exploring virtual spaces or filming your own machinima, there is no doubt that having one of these on your desk will change the way you work.

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