Logitech 3D Connexion SpaceNavigator Personal Edition Review.

The computer mouse suddenly looks old hat thanks to 3D Connexion’s SpaceNavigator 3D navigation device. Best4Reviews puts it to the test and finds out what it's like to use.

The SpaceNavigator looks and feels tough and the heavy stabilising metal base and rubberised grip on the large bulbous controller feels very nice to use. The USB cable sticking out of the base must be plugged into a spare USB port on your PC and the software needs to be installed as well to get full support.

The SpaceNavigator is essentially a 3D mouse for use with Google Earth, Microsoft Virtual Earth, SketchUp and Photoshop (including CS3), there’s support for NASA World Wind and all leading 3D design and CAD applications, making it very flexible indeed. Designed as an adjunct to standard mouse and/or graphics tablets it helps to quickly move around 3D applications and software environments.

The large rubberised knob floats above the metal base on a sprung pivot, it rotates (only slightly, about half a centimeter) clockwise and anticlockwise where it to turn the image on screen, it moves up and down for zooming in and out of an image on your PC’s screen and it can be rocked to initiate panning around your images.

Supported PC systems include Windows XP, 2000 and Vista, Mac OS X and Linux operating systems, so everyone can join in the fun. ‘Cos that’s what it is, fun to use, that is once you get round the way it operates (it just feels odd at first after a “normal” mouse) but quickly becomes intuitive and very useful indeed.

The install comes with a neat “how to” screen that runs you through the using the thing and you get some demos to try out too. For any graphics or architect professional, the SpaceNavigator is sure to be useful but even for flying round in Google Earth it makes the whole process fun and quick.

There’s plenty of tweakablity in the software preferences and calibration systems so you can control the SpaceNavigator’s behavior getting it to run how you like it or perhaps more pertinently, how you find it more natural to use and you can adjust it’s sensitivity so you can adjust all aspects of the motion in any axis.

Two side buttons on the shiny black rim of the top pf the metal supporting “doughnut” can be configured or customised for just about any program you wish to use the SpaceNavigator with making it extremely flexible to use indeed.

The 3D Connexion Space Navigator Personal Edition is easy to use and set up and with practice and some tweaks in the system’s preferences, it quickly becomes natural and intuitive to use. I can’t help thinking it may not be for everyone and that the price might put some off. But those that do like it will have bags of fun with it and it will quickly become and indispensable tool. No bad thing in my book.