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4.7 out of 5 stars
4.7 out of 5 stars
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on 21 September 2014

I purchased this Space Navigator 3D mouse to see how it would help with my work in the Solidworks CAD program.
Overall I am very pleased with it.

The 3D mouse does nothing more in the cad program that the normal mouse will do, but it does it all a lot easier and faster,
and it is possible to use both mice together.

Each of the two programmable buttons can be set up to perform any one of many chosen tasks within the cad program, which is quite useful.

After a few hours practice it becomes natural to use, just like the normal mouse did.
I would not want to be without it now.

It was in Google Earth that I found the 3D mouse to be the most fun.

Once the mouse is configured correctly it allows you to zoom in and out of valleys,
smoothly fly around in several directions and rotate, all at the same time,
circle mountains, just as if you were piloting a UFO spaceship on a visit to Earth.
Certainly cannot do any of this with a normal mouse.

The programmable buttons on the side work in Google Earth also.
I have set the left button to rotate the view to north when looking down at an angle,
and the right button to looking straight down, and at the same time resetting the north view back to north.

There are a whole list of button action possibilities to choose from, unfortunately there are only two buttons.
The next version of this 3D mouse really needs to have six buttons, that would be really useful.

The Navigator has six super-bright blue LED lamps inside, which can eventually become distracting,
it is not possible to dim the lights down, but fortunately they can be turned off as the default setting in the mouse control panel.

The mouse is quite heavy, the soft rubber coated knobbly is set into a solid block of shiny magnetic stainless steel.

Initially this mass is sufficient to prevent the mouse from sliding along the desk when moving sideways, forwards - backwards,
but when dust on the desk top eventually collects under the soft rubber ring on the base, the mouse begins to slide on the desk until a quick clean.

It is also possible to lift the mouse up off the desk, another 0.5 Kg mass in the base would be useful.

I consider the mouse to be worth the cost, for the CAD work, but a bit of an expensive toy just for Google Earth !
I think that the mouse can also be used in some first-person shooter games, I expect that game developers will start writing drivers for these mice soon.

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on 12 December 2009
Nice heavy weight feels robust, will not roll off the desk. Adds a smoother level of control. I am not sufficiently experienced to see if it is of major benefit. But feels good so far. The main problem is the software installer which is inadequate for a reasonably expensive kit. For example you have to install the drivers, then install the ruby script and folders into Sketchup plugin file. Other programs like Vray install themselves directly into Sketchup why not this? None of the installation procedure is made clear or is obvious in literature or on the website, which leads to instant disappointment and frustration. Having emailed tech support twice and had no response is a little disappointing. However an amount of research and trial and error corrected this, the process from opening the box to getting the damned thing to work was 2 hours. I am not a super computer geek so the installation problem is not obvious to me. However it appears to be a nice piece of kit, and gets good reviews from other Sketchup users, only time will tell if it benefits me!
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on 1 November 2011
I love the idea and the quality of the item but have not spent enough time with it to be able to control it properly. This may be something as simple as being right handed and having the Space Navigator worked by my left hand.

It's not a replacement for a mouse, it just controls the view, and there are two buttons on it (with 3D modelling programs these are set to zoom extents and a little pop up menu, but both are also assignable to other commands, either preset or you can create your own). You cannot select items with it, just change the view.

It connects to your computer via a cable, it would be better if it was wireless.

Whether it will be any use for you will depend on how you work. If like me you use a lot of keyboard shortcuts rather than clicking on toolbar icons, you'll constantly be moving your hand back and forth and losing any productivity gains. If you normally just click away with your mouse, your other hand will be free for navigation and it will probably work quite well for you.

If your 3D software already has good view adjustment tools that you can work quickly, you probably don't need it, except maybe for quickly setting up views for things like animations, though you do have to invest the time in teaching your hand how much to move and in what direction.

The other thing is that it behaves differently in different bits of software. This is how it's supposed to be, and you can of course modify the behaviour to be the same, and it creates separate profiles for each program, which sounds like a good idea, but when you find a way you like it working, you don't seem to just be able to copy those setting over to be used for everything, which would be good.

Definitely download the beta drivers for this, much better than the released driver.

There are some 3D programs that it doesn't work with (eg BricsCAD, which needs better 3D navigation), so check it works with your intended software.

In terms of the feel / feedback you get from the item, you might find that the notebook version suits you getter - it has a much lighter touch.

Overall, I'm glad I bought it but don't use it much. If you do buy one, bank on spending quite a while training your hand to use it. No instant productivity gains here.
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on 17 February 2016
I use a Mac with Windows10 in boot-camp so I was keen to use this item for both Mac & Windows.

So far it has worked a treat on both.

I bought it mainly to use on Autodesk Inventor 2016 running on Windows 10. After installing the drivers it worked 100% out of the box with Inventor.
I took to the device like a duck to water. It is SO easy to control a 3D object compared to using the mouse/keyboard.
It really give you the chance to view/examine your 3d model in ways you couldn't be bothered to or didn't know how to with the mouse.
With a decent processor (depending on the complexity of the model) the movement is really fluid.

It also needed to work with Cinema 4D on the Mac, which again it did perfectly out of the box.

I had heard of people using this with Google Earth but didn't know what the fuss was about, so I gave it a try. The only hiccup here was I needed to use a legacy driver as apparently Google are supplying Google Earth with outdated code so it needs a previous driver.
This was easy to find and install and didn't break anything else.
Using this with Google Earth is amazing. The control you have with the map, flying over the landscape is fantastic. Every movement you need is here. I've never bothered with Google Earth before really but now I can't stop using it.

The device is quite heavy but in reality it needs to be heavier or ideally screwed down. If you have the speed set wrong you tend to push the device further than you can, trying to go faster and this can slip on the desk.

I have read that some people complain it can only do one movement at a time. This is what I found the first time I used it when I was in Google Earth. This is wrong and is probably because you have it sent in Dominant mode. This is where the main movement you are making takes precedent over all other movements. So, if you are moving forwards then also turn to the right, the forward movement stops and it spins to the right. Turn off the dominant mode and try again and you can make gradual turns while are you are moving forwards or climbing etc.

I don't have the space on my desk for the larger version with the extra buttons, but that wouldn't really fit with my way of working anyway so I do not feel I have bought the cheaper option.

Buy one, you'll love it.
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on 2 December 2015
Simply outstanding engineering that should be commended.

I own a number of input devices, including top end RaZor and MS mice, but nothing comes close to the build quality of the SpaceNavigator. At first the tutorial, though comprehensive, threw me a bit but once I overcame that it what an input device. It is sensitive but not overly and has helped no end when working in 3D modelling software.

If your a professional 3D artist and don't own one then buy one now, if your a hobbyist like myself again buy one now, for everyone else do check compatibility with your software as it doesn't just work with everything but if you have supported software you'll never look back.
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on 16 November 2015
The best thing you can add to AutoCAD Inventor. (Or any other 3d CAD)
We were issued these where I work and we got so used to them I had trouble going back to the old way of image manipulation in my home office. Hence my purchase.

These are heavy bits of kit thanks to their solid steel base. They do not move around the desk in normal use.
After a few weeks of use, if the desk gets dusty or greasy they may start to slip. Simply give the base a quick wipe with a screen cleaner and the same for the patch of desk where it rests and you're good to go for a few more weeks. Not a fault of the navigator, just tardy housekeeping on my part.

I can vouch for the operation of this device on Windows 7, 8.1 and 10. Installed on all of these OS's with no issues or conflicts.
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on 19 December 2015
I use CAD software all the time and this product is an amazing tool for improving your efficiency and quality of work. It also makes the prolonged use of such software less tiring, since the workload is splitted between your two hands, instead of doing everything with the mouse. It has a learning curve before you can fully benefit from it's use; the first 2 days feel a bit weird, but once you get used to the controls everything becomes easy.
Besides CAD software, i've used this for street view at google maps and works like a charm.
It's only disadvantage is the price. I think that if you use 3d software for work, then this is a definately must for you, but if you only use 3d software at home, just to have fun, i believe it's a bit pricy for what you get.
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on 5 May 2014
I bought this to use with Sketch up and am very glad I did. It is very strange when you start using it and you will be glad of the return button on the right side of the base as you will get in a mess at first. Use the tutorials that come with it and learn to use SMALL movement and you will get the hang of it. I found the more I thought about it the more I don't go where I expected, but after a while you find yourself moving around without thinking which is what you want.
It is well made and heavy (needed as you "lift" the knob to track upwards.
It saves me lots of toeing and frowing to the menu bar as I work and gets me into places that were difficult before. I went for the corded one as I spend up to 8 hours on desktop PC at a time working and didn't want to keep recharging.
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on 11 January 2011
I bought this largely for smoothly navigating in 3D environments whilst shooting video sequences. It is fantastic, within a few minutes I was able to move my 'camera' position smoothly through 3D environments in virtual worlds like Second Life and OpenSim in ways that just aren't possible using the keyboard, or in fact any other input device I've tried. Love it.
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on 10 April 2015
Without this plugged in I literally feel like I've lost an arm. Once properly setup this is invaluable particularly in software like inventor where you have to use the silly cube top right to navigate. It's made cad a pleasure.
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