3Dconnexion SpaceNavigator PE

3Dconnexion SpaceNavigator PE

Learning to use the SpaceNavigator takes a little longer than polishing off an ice cream cone.


There’s no denying that the mouse changed the face of computing, and that it’s still an excellent input device - for 2D navigation. Enter the world of 3D modeling and landscapes, and suddenly, the mouse just can’t cut it, and you’re left with using key combinations or onscreen controls that lack fluidity. That’s where the SpaceNavigator comes in. It’s a 3D controller knob that lets you move along an X-, Y-, and Z-axis smoothly, with little to no hesitation.


Plug the SpaceNavigator into a USB port, install the software drivers, fire up a compatible app, and you should find that the device works immediately. You can twist the knob to rotate, push and pull it for zoom, or tilt it to tilt a landscape. The knob feels sturdy enough to take a lot of use, and the base is heavy so it doesn’t slide around. It takes a lot of practice to use the SpaceNavigator and to learn its nuances, however. Tweaking the sensitivity settings in the device’s control panel helps.


The SpaceNavigator is certainly a niche device. It’s compatible with fewer than 10 apps: Adobe Photoshop CS3, Apple QuickTime VR, AutoDesSys form-Z, Autodesk Maya, e frontier Poser, Google Earth, and Google SketchUp. Unfortunately, you can’t use it as a jog wheel for audio software, and you can’t use it to control any app besides those mentioned. The SpaceNavigator comes with a pair of buttons, but you don’t have a lot of flexibility in programming them. 3Dconnexion has a software toolkit for developers to create their own SpaceNavigator drivers, if you’re up to the task of writing a driver.


The bottom line. 3D artists and Google Earth enthusiasts will find the SpaceNavigator an extremely useful and affordable input device.


COMPANY: 3Dconnexion

CONTACT: www.3dconnexion.com

PRICE: $59

REQUIREMENTS: Mac OS 10.4.6 or later, USB

Sturdy and well designed. Affordable.

Small list of compatible apps. Takes practice to master.





+ Add a Comment




Leslie Ayers

Contrary to incorrect popular usage, the term is "just deserts" (not "just desserts").



I've had my navigator for about a month and I can't imagine going back to a mouse/trackball in Google Earth/Skethup. It makes working with those two apps a much richer experience.

I do agree with the review that it takes time to get used to it. I put all the settings at the least sensitive at first but within hours of using it you're ready to up the sensitivity.

I consider mine to be more of a gadget than a necessity but the price is small and the quality is excellent. I wouldn't want to be without one again and if you frequently use many or even a few of the program which support it I would say it is a must have. You can't even imagine how much more productive you can be with it.

I use it with my Kensington Expert Mouse trackball which has 6 programable buttons so my hands rarely need to go over to the keyboard. So after hours of working you can save a lot of time by not having to move your hands between devices.

And personally I hope they become popular enough that more and more apps will support the device. I know I could have lots of fun throughout my day using it. So come and join the party, its only just beginning.

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