Review: 3D mouse

Hey guys, and welcome to another blog post, I know this was slightly delayed due to unforseen circumstances but here it is!

A few days ago I recieved a mouse I ordered from amazon, a space navigator from 3DConnexion
Price was about $136 NZD to order and have it shipped to New Zealand, so not the most expensive mouse, There are a few more in the range, but they seem a little over priced so this is the one I got.

Ok so why a 3D mouse?
well I was told a 3D mouse would revolutionize the 3D experience and make the workload a lot easier, and well this is sometimes true, sometimes not, depending on what your doing.

So lets get into the review, I will be rating out of 10 for each section, with a final rating at the bottom.
I will also mention 5 is my base rating, I then add or deduct points, for example if it exceeds my expectations it may get a 10, if it was a disappointment it may get a 2, or if it is something that works but does not stand out it gets a 5.
So lets start.

1. Packaging

Ok this is something I am very critical of in products, because not many stand out, they kind of blend in.
Seeing as I purchased this online and not in a store I didn’t see the box until it arrived, so they have no use for a fancy box. Nevertheless they should have put some style into it.
To be honest, if this was on a shelf with numerous other mice, I would barely notice it, there is no real design flair here.
It is a box with a picture on it, and some info on the back, which I just noticed now isn’t information, it is the line that convinces you to buy it, in a layout that looks like warning messages in three languages.
So it’s fair to say I am not impressed with the packaging, yes it’s simple, and works, and blends in with every other product.
So in short, the packaging works, easy to open and simple. So is deserving of a 5/10 from me.
They didn’t exactly “break the mould” with this one.

2. Quality

Alright something that I find extremely important in products is quality, how well it is made to stand up to conditions.
The mouse is quite heavy, feels about 500grams, compared to about 50grams for regular mice.
Now this may seem very heavy, but it needs it, as part of the functions is to pull up on the mouse, I still find myself lifting it up.
It also has a very nice metal finish which I like, and the controls feel very smooth and sturdy, plus that blue light is fantastic.
So I’ll give the quality a 9/10
Is excellent quality, can only fault it on the base collects a lot of dust and can cause it to slide around.

3. Installation

Installation? what’s that?
as soon as I plugged it in, I was like ok where did I put that disk, knocked the mouse and my model moved, it worked without even closing blender.
Now when I did put the cd in, I was quickly notified that a newer software version was available, great work.
I hate instaling software only for it to say it needs to uninstall and install a newer version.
So I clicked to grab the new version and it took it from there installing I assume the drivers, and the control panel.
So what could they have done better?
Nothing I can think of, 10/10 for this one, great job.

4. Interface

So let’s look at the interface, this includes the physical buttons, and the software.
We will start with the physical buttons, they are very conveniently placed on the left and right of the mouse away from the knob, which makes them easy to access.
These buttons correspond to an in-program dialog, and the second opens up the console, but these can be configured to whatever you want.
Personally I would have liked a couple more buttons as there is plenty of room, but it works fine with the two it has.
Also the knob, this is the most important part. This bit will pan left and right, zoom in and out, also rotates and moves in all directions. a little tricky to get used to at first until you realize you are controlling the rotation of the camera, not the scene, when you figure that out it becomes a very natural feel.
So what about the software?
It comes with a few good things, the best one being a trainer, to help you get a feel for the mouse, as well as a puzzle which can also help to refine your skills.
When I first got the 3D mouse it took a few minutes to complete these three challenges, I can now do it in 6 seconds after owning it a couple of days. so this software really does help.
There is also other things like photo viewers and collage stuff, but I haven’t played with them yet.
The software also allows you to change what the buttons do, invert any axis, change the sensitivity of any axis or globally, so overall the software gets a big tick from me.
9/10 for interface.

5. Usefullness

So how useful is this piece of equipment, is it really necessary?
Well I have been using it for a few days now and it mostly sits there doing nothing.
So I will be rating this from my point of view, but this depends on what you do with it.
For modelling, It is almost untouched as it is quicker to use the mouse.
For sculpting it feels almost essential as it removes all requirement for the keyboard
For texture painting it makes work feel a lot more natural.
And for showing off your model it’s great.
But pretty much useless for anything else in 3D

So from my point of view, I give it a 7/10
It is great, but unless it had a couple more buttons it will not be much use for anything other than sculpting or texture painting.


Ok so we have come to the end of this review.
Hopefully I have helped you make your decision, I know some of you will dis-agree, Which is fine, we each have our own opinions and this is mine.
final rating calculates to be 40/50, which calculates to:
Good work 3D Connexion
And the final verdict, If you do sculpting or texture work, this is going to be an essential part of your computer, If not, then you may never use it.
Now I know the 3D mouse can be used in other software such as games and photoshop, but I am just referring to 3D software here.

If you want to get one of these check out their website:

Let me know what you think of this review
Got a 3D mouse?
How have you found it?

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  • Clipping Path Service

    I heard for first time this 3D mouse. Its interface is really fascinated me a lot.

  • Josh

    Hi Alex, we use this in our simulator product at the company I work for. We just use it to view machine models in a customer/user friendly way. Aside from that, I can’t see it beating a wacom or similar for that natural sculpting/texture painting feeling. Also, how the heck does the 3DConnexion eliminate the use of a keyboard while sculpting? :)

    • alextelford

      Hi Josh,
      I actually use this in combination with a tablet, due to the buttons on the tablet there is little need for a keyboard