Peter James Morton reviews the Space Mouse Pro trialling it to great effect in the latest of our hardware labs.
First off, this is the first time I’ve ever used a 3D mouse and the first time writing a product review.
Using the left hand for anything more than pressing the Ctrl, shift, Tab or esc keys was totally a new experience for me. I’d liken this change to using your left foot in a car for anything other than the clutch. With a bit of practice the problem eased however.
I trialled the mouse in multiple software programmes using the same building model. The software I used included Autodesk Revit Architecture 2014, Navisworks Manage 2014, 3DsMax 2014 and BIM 360 Glue.
My first impression was not great. I opened my Revit and performed a few simple navigation routines. The navigation was very clunky and was not as responsive as I had expected. The model opened was not particularly complex, so I was left a little disappointed by the mouse’s performance. However the mouse did perform well within the family creation environment (smaller geometry).
The building model was then opened in Navisworks, which was noticeably more fluid in its navigation and was more like how I was expecting. The navigation still had a little bit of geometry regeneration lag, but nothing too major.
I then opened it up in 3DsMax and although the website says that 3DsMax is supported, I was unable to navigate within the software. Whether this was just a problem with my install of 3DsMax, I’m not sure.
Finally, I ‘glued’ the model to BIM 360 Glue. WOW!!! The navigation was so smooth and fluid, super responsive and had zero geometry regeneration lag.
I’ve scored each software out of 5 for ease of navigation.
The Space Mouse Pro comes with 6 Degrees-of-Freedom (DoF), which gives you full control to navigate within your model. The mouse boasts 15 soft touch programmable function keys, all of which are within easy reach, albeit the pinky does have to do a bit of extra work to hit the Shift and CTRL keys.
The mouse looks great, the sleek matt black with blue lighting under the ‘puck’ give the mouse a very futuristic look.
As stated at the beginning of the review, this was the first time I had ever laid hands on a 3D mouse. It did take me a good few hours to get used to the navigation controls on the puck and its sensitivity – but the mouse was comfortable even after several hours of constant use.
Great piece of hardware and would definitely recommend, however for my uses the SpaceNavigator would probably be the most appropriate product. The programmable keys on this would more than likely remain un-programmed.
By Peter James Morton, BIM.Technologies BIM Trainer/Instructor.