SpaceNavigator - A Review
Originally Posted by Appletom
I'd do a Venn Diagram, but I haven't a clue how to as a message, instead I'll split intro three categories: Pros, Cons, and Both (good and bad)
-Fantastic at what it's designed to do: move around a 3D environment. With the ability to move on all it's axises simultaneously (pan, zoom, tilt, etc) it's absolutely fantastic and something only mouse user's can dream of. Plus, looking at small 3D models, which is almost impossible with a mouse, even using the alt key, is fantastically easy and enjoyable with the SpaceNavigator. Actually, looking at anything 3D is fantastic, be it New York City, the Ocean floor, or Mount Everest.
-Incredibly customizable. Your different sensitivity settings (as well as whether or not you want an axis inverted) can be saved. I have a "slow" and a "fast" version saved and switching between them is really easy. The two buttons on the mouse have a ton of features which they can be set to. I'd leave the right one as "3DxWare Panel" for easy settings changes, but the left one you can set as almost anything, I have mine set as "Reset North".
-Independent Movement: You can still manipulate your 3D program while using another program. For example, I'm typing in Firefox with the Firefox window active, but moving my 3D mouse still moves the view in Google Earth. Personally I think this is a fantastic feature, especially for people with dual monitors. There's so many possibilities. For one, two people can now use one computer (two monitors would help). One person uses the computer as they normally would (mouse and keyboard), the other person uses the 3D mouse to manipulate the 3D program. For another, if you're giving a lecture or something, you can present your powerpoint in one window and still manipulate Google Earth in the other without having to switch between windows. The only bad part of this is that you can still manipulate your 3D environment when that window is minimized. So if you accidentally hit your mouse you won't notice the effects until you maximize your 3D program again. But this is still one of my favorite features.
-Heavy. This mouse isn't light. First time I picked it up I was completely shocked. But I guess if it's so much of an issue for you, buy the portable version>.
-Single direction movement. If you're just moving along one axis, the mouse is still better. It's hard to move in just one direction with the SpaceNavigator. You can activate single axis movement and even turn off other axises (I have roll disabled for Google Earth), but using the mouse for single axis motion is just simpler.
-Overtilt. You can tilt your view past 180 degrees and it gets quite confusing.
-Button clicks. The buttons (Not including when your button is set to 3DxWare Panel) only work when your 3D environement is the active window. Even, for example, if you are on the "My Places" sidebar (within Google Earth) the buttons still don't work. Not a big problem, but it's still there.
Both: Installation was relatively simple, with one small problem. When asked whether I wanted to update to the newest version, when I hit yes the installer just kind of...died. It sat there, doing nothing. I had to unplug it then replug it in. Once I had installed the "old" version, I could manually click update, which worked fine. However, why offer updating during install when that feature is broken/does nothing?
Also, when you install it, it offers you the normal install or the custom install. Looking at the custom install, there's like 10+ plugins, a bunch of addins, and an extension. Makes me wonder whether I need to install new plugins/addins for additional 3d programs, or if it's automatic?
Thing's i'd like to see: wireless. It's made by logitech, and I already have a wireless mouse and keyboard by them, so having the 3D mouse wireless would help, especially since I have a small desk that's quite cluttered.
Summary: A must have. Makes moving around a 3D environment fantastic (Google Earth atleast, I haven't tried any other programs), viewing anything 3D phenomenal, and the few problems it has are insignificant to it's positive features.