The benefits of adopting a 3D mouse and using a two-handed workflow are clear: a better connection to your designs, increased productivity and a more comfortable workflow all top the list.
However, not all 3D mice are created equal. As Ricky Grove over at Renderosity.com points out: “Each [3D mouse] product is designed for a specific kind of user and work environment.”
With different types of 3D mice out there, which one is right for you?
To help you decide, this post breaks down some available reviews of the 3Dconnexion SpaceMouse Pro. The SpaceMouse Pro is part of 3Dconnexion’s professional line of 3D mice. It has 15 programmable buttons and an on-screen-display that provides a convenient visual reminder of the commands assigned to the four dedicated function keys.
Is the SpaceMouse Pro the right tool for your job? Check out what the pros are saying about it:
3D Navigation and Ergonomics
The SpaceMouse Pro is built with a controller cap that operates on six axes—called “six degrees of freedom” navigation.
As Ricky Grove at Renderosity says:
“The SpaceMouse Pro isn't intended to be a replacement for your mouse. It's primarily used in conjunction with your keyboard. Your main mouse is on the right side and the 3D mouse is on the left side of your keyboard (if you are right-handed). The distinctive controller cap sits in the center of the SpaceMouse Pro and is the tool that allows you to move 360 degrees within your scene.”
Getting used to this new style of navigation takes some time. As Amazon reviewer Shaye Alba notes:
“There was a learning curve, of course; you have to take the time to map all the buttons to the commands that make sense in the programs you use, then you have to figure out the thresholds that feel right to you. It’s well worth the effort though, and once you have a rhythm down, you will rue all the hours you spent navigating your 3D applications without it.”
Once you get the hang of it, using the device is both comfortable and intuitive, says Josh Mings over at SolidSmack:
“The styling of the SpaceMouse Pro is excellent. The shape is great and the wrist pad is comfy, but the buttons and their layout are not only stylish, but comfortably superior in accessibility.”
Productivity in CAD Software
3D mice have been reported to increase productivity. According to this independent study, 3D mice users report average productivity gains of 21%.
Can the SpaceMouse Pro specifically deliver productivity gains? Reviewers over at Little Details Count think so:
“You become more productive by using the programmable keys. You also become totally immersed and connected with your 3D model.”
“The SpaceMouse is a little expensive, but it more than makes up for the cost in increased productivity in both Autodesk Inventor and SolidWorks. A definite ‘must’ for any parametric modeler.”
“If faster designs mean more money [for you], this is perfect for you. […] In my experience, this device is worth every penny…”
It is important to check that the SpaceMouse Pro is compatible with your design software before purchasing. Over at Only a Model, J. Ben Deaton notes:
“The SpaceMouse Pro is compatible with a number of commercial products in the FEA, CAD, and structural engineering space. The full list of supported software includes household names such as Abaqus, ANSYS, the full Autodesk line (AutoCAD / Revit / etc.), the Bentley line, and the list goes on.”
In most cases, 3Dconnexion needs the creators of each software package to integrate 3D mouse support, so check out this list of compatible software as you consider 3D mouse options.
Full Review List
We hope you find these SpaceMouse Pro reviews helpful as you assess whether it’s the right device for you. See below for a full list of the SpaceMouse Pro reviews in this post.
- Renderosity — 3Dconnexion’s SpaceMouse Pro Review
- Amazon Customer Reviews — 3Dconnexion SpaceMouse Pro
- SolidSmack — 3Dconnexion SpaceMouse Pro [Review]
- Little Details Count — The SpaceMouse Pro
- Only a Model — Review of the SpaceMouse Pro 3D Mouse
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