The New SpaceMouse Wireless from 3Dconnexion

"With a 3D mouse users can pan, zoom and rotate as if they’re holding the model in their hand or fly like a helicopter through three-dimensional worlds. It’s a level of control that’s simply not possible with a traditional mouse and keyboard."
-3Dconnexion.com

 

 

The world's first wireless 3D mouse is now available from 3Dconnexion. SpaceMouse Wireless is the company's newest 3D mouse and it's close to a perfect piece of hardware. The new wireless 3D mouse does everything you need it to do if you are working in any field of 3D technology. SpaceMouse Wireless is beautifully designed, is easily customized and has an excellent long-lasting lithium-ion battery.

I've had several weeks to use SpaceMouse Wireless and couldn't be more pleased. Here is my report on the new device.

What's New

It's a bit surprising that wireless technology hasn't made it to the 3D mouse until now, but I'm not complaining because 3Dconnexion has done an excellent job integrating 2.4 GHz wireless technology with its SpaceMouse hardware and software. Some of the new elements in that technology are:

  • A specifically optimized transmission protocol for the 3Dconnexion 6DoF (six-degrees of freedom) sensor to ensure real-time control (no latency or delay).
  • A specifically optimized transceiver and antenna design for a reliable connection (stable even in busy electrical environments).
  • Human hand presence detection for extended battery life (power consumption reduced in idle use).
  • Auto-zeroing so SpaceMouse Wireless can be switched on in any position without causing sensor calibration issues.
  • Multi 3Dconnexion device support (unlimited devices sharing the same USB receiver).

What all of this optimization translates to is a smoothly functioning, long-lasting wireless device that frees you from USB cords to enable you to work faster and create more easily in your 3D application of choice.

 

 

Using SpaceMouse Wireless

I've always felt that the packaging of an item is an indication of how detail-oriented a company is. 3Dconnexion really did a good job assembling the new wireless 3D SpaceMouse. Right from the moment you open the box you get an impression of quality. Everything is neatly laid out and perfectly protected from shipping mishaps. And the small box that contains the CD and USB cable has the quick-start guide printed on the cover. Smart thinking, 3Dconnexion!

I was surprised at how heavy the device was. Most of the weight (just under 1 lb) is in its brushed steel base, which makes sense as you want a very sturdy foundation for the delicate adjustments made with the large rubber knob on top.

There are two large buttons conveniently placed on either side of the central knob, along with a small “on-off” switch. I also like the blue light under the main knob. It adds a nice 'alive' look to the device in addition to making it easy to find if you are operating in dim light.

Installation was very easy. I turned the device on, plugged it in with the included USB cable and placed the installation CD in my DVD tray on my PC. During the installation process, the application indicated there was a newer driver for the device and took me to the download page. Once the software was installed and my PC recognized the device, I replaced the USB cable with the included mini-USB plug, then re-started my machine. Overall, it took me about 10 minutes to a fully-functioning, updated wireless 3D mouse sitting on the opposite side of my keyboard from my regular mouse.

 

 

It takes a bit to orient yourself to using a 3D mouse if you never have before and 3Dconnexioon provides a nifty application to train your knowledge and skill. The basic idea being that you control 6-degrees of movement (forward/back, up/down, left/right, pitch, yaw, roll ) with your SpaceMouse, while your standard mouse does the point and click. Pressing either of the two buttons on the SpaceMouse brings up a circular menu on your monitor screen which has 4 pie-shaped sections that are completely customizable.

I tried out the wireless SpaceMouse in Adobe Photoshop CC, Maya 2014, Modo 701 and the virtual world of Second Life. The 3D mouse worked flawlessly and I was able to speed up my interactions with these applications significantly. Second Life, in particular, was a lot of fun because the wireless SpaceMouse allows you to move your point-of-view smoothly while flying with any of the virtual worlds contained within Second Life.

3Dconnexion supports hundreds of applications with its 3D Mouse technology and they are constantly adding new ones. You can find out which applications are supported here.

Conclusion

The new wireless SpaceMouse from 3Dconnexion is a remarkable feat of engineering and technology. The device and its packaging is aesthetically pleasing and it functions to near perfection in every application I tested it in. I love how easy it is to add to your workflow. The SpaceMouse's rechargeable battery lasts nearly a month and it automatically charges while you are using the device.

The support at 3Dconnexion.com is excellent and the community is supportive and helpful. I found answers to a few questions simply by looking through the FAQ and searching the forums. Everything about the wireless 3D SpaceMouse and 3Dconnexion is classy and smart. Reviewing this device has been a distinct pleasure.

The wireless 3D SpaceMouse is currently available for $129 (USD) and it's worth every penny. You can purchase it directly from the 3Dconnexion online shop or from quality retailers both online and realworld. The wireless SpaceMouse comes with a nice 2-year warranty.

You can read more about the new wireless mouse here and check out the requirements at the 3Dconnexion website. I'm delighted to report that the 3D SpaceMouse is available for Windows, OS X and Linux operating platforms.

The wireless 3D SpaceMouse receives my highest recommendation. If you work/play in any 3D related field, this wireless 3D mouse should be on your desktop. It will save you time and effort. Plus, it's fun to use!

Notes

My thanks to 3Dconnexion for providing the wireless 3D SpaceMouse for review. Particular thanks go to John Moseley for his support and encouragement.


Ricky Grove [gToon], Staff Columnist with the Renderosity Front Page News. Ricky Grove is a bookstore clerk at the best bookstore in Los Angeles, the Iliad Bookshop. He's also an actor and machinima filmmaker. He lives with author, Lisa Morton, and three very individual cats. Ricky is into Hong Kong films, FPS shooters, experimental anything and reading, reading, reading. You can catch his blog here.

 

 

 


December 3, 2013

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