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Monday, February 24, 2014

A Review - My Experience with My SpaceMouse Wireless

“The wireless telegraph is not difficult to understand. The ordinary telegraph is like a very long cat. You pull the tail in New York, and it meows in Los Angeles. The wireless is the same, only without the cat.”
Albert Einstein

*****************************EDIT 10-Mar-2014************************************

It appears that I have to perform the metaphorical act of eating crow.  However, I'm also happy to do so.  In my review, I stated that there wasn't a way to customize the buttons per mode in the 3Dconnexion SpaceMouse Wireless.

Thanks to this excellent post by Scott Moyse at Design and Motion, I've been proven guilty of "not looking deep enough".  There is in fact a way to do it!  And I encourage all to check that out!  I know I plan on it! 

My deepest apologies to anyone that I might have mislead.  I do feel a bit sheepish now that I can plainly see what I overlooked! 

And by the way, crow....  It tastes like chicken!

A few months ago, I received my 3Dconnexion SpaceMouse Wireless.  And after having an opportunity to give it a good long trial, I'm ready to give it a review.

Having used wired 3Dconnexion devices for years, I'm quite used to them, and a huge fan of them.  I don't use Autodesk Inventor or Autodesk Showcase without it.

As always, I have to put in that disclaimer!  I didn't get compensated in any way for this.  I was just given a SpaceMouse Wireless, and then the freedom to use it as I always have.  Aside from the 3Dconnexion device, I was free to formulate my own opinions. 

First impressions

Out of the box, my SpaceMouse Wireless had the familiar heft that I've grown accustom to out of 3Dconnexion products.  They've never felt cheap to me.  There's a comfortable sturdiness to it.

Two buttons are placed in the "3 & 9 o'clock" positions.  Something I'm used to.

It reminded me of the SpaceNavigator's I've used in the past.  Just without the wire.  So I went ahead, charged it up, installed the driver, and gave it a test drive!

Here it is!  A handsome little devil!

Taking it for a spin

"Cutting the wire" is new for me.  So I wondered, how is it going to perform?  My biggest concern was lag without the wire.  Would it be as quick as the wired version?

I'm glad to say that if there was any slowdown, it was imperceptible to me.  It works just like the wired versions I use.  Performance was great.

Taking my SpaceMouse Wireless for a drive
One of the other things I wondered about was the battery life.  How would it be?  Would it be like my cell phone that only lasts a few hours of heavy use?

I'm pleased to say that the battery life is excellent. I don't use it every day for 8 hours, so I got a couple of months of use out of it.  Heavy users will see less time between charges, of course.

But even then, the charging cable doubles as a data cable, so even if the batter runs dead, the SpaceMouse Wireless will still work just fine as a "SpaceMouse Wired"

But there are a couple of things that I would put on the "wish list".

I do wish the driver provided the ability to program the buttons to perform different functions in different modes of Inventor.  For example, let it do one set of functions in a sketch mode, another in a 3D part mode, yet another in an assembly mode, and so on.

Another thing I would like is some sort of case that would make it easier to carry both the SpaceMouse Wireless and the antennae.

There is a small cardboard case that works nicely, but something, even aftermarket, would be a welcome addition. 

The antennae and charging cable in it's box.

Overall Impressions

The liked!
  • Performance is just like the wired devices!
  • Battery life is excellent!
I didn't like as much!
  • A better carrying case for both the SpaceMouse Wireless and antennae would be nice
  • Having the ability to program the buttons to do different functions in different modes of Inventor would be a great addition.
In Conclusion

I liked the SpaceMouse Wireless a lot.  I use it constantly, and have every intention of continuing to do so.  Sure, I think there are improvements that could be made with regard to the driver, and to the carrying case, but I tend to use my device for the orbiting functions, and less for the button functionality.

Naturally, many will have there own thoughts and ideas.  And these are just a few of mine!

 *****************************EDIT 26-Feb-2014************************************

I found out this morning that there may be a way to edit the contextual menus for the SpaceMouse Wireless.  Previously, I didn't think there was a way (and stated this in my review).

I'm currently revisiting this to find what the process is.  I'll post an update once I find out what it is!


1 comment:

  1. Thanks for the mention Jon. Chicken is damn good, so crow sounds quite palatable. We've all missed things in our past, no need to worry.