SolidBox Product Reviews: 3Dconnexion’s SpaceMouse Wireless

SpaceMouse Pro Wireless

When building the perfect CAD workstation, there’s one ingredient that we practically insist upon no matter how hard your solid models push your machine. This ingredient is a 3Dconnexion device. These devices range in price and capabilities, but even the entry level SpaceNavigator will help take your CAD modeling to the next level.

These products are intuitive to use within SolidWorks, and they enhance your workflow tremendously. We also love the form factors of each 3Dconnexion device, with smooth, clean lines and a high-end feel. Now we have an even more streamlined option, with the introduction of the SpaceMouse Wireless.

Until now, 3Dconnexion devices were hard wired to your computer through the USB port. This is still the case with other models, but with the introduction of the SpaceMouse Wireless, it’s only a matter of time before the entire product line has a wireless option.

The SpaceMouse Wireless still plugs in through any USB port on your workstation, but the annoying length of wire has been eliminated. This is accomplished through the use of a USB dongle that transmits a 2.4 GHz signal that communicates with the puck. This signal is powerful enough to use the SpaceMouse Wireless from great distances. During our testing, we were able to use the device from more than 20 feet away from the receiver. The only limiting factor in our test was the size of our lab, and we feel confident that the device would work flawlessly with even greater distances. This makes it the perfect device for the conference room. The SpaceMouse Wireless can be passed around a fairly large room so your whole team can be involved in the discussion about aspects of an assembly.

So far, the battery life of the SpaceMouse Wireless has impressed the entire SolidBox team. We’ve yet to reach the end of the first full charge, and our test device has seen multiple hours of rigorous use. The SpaceMouse Wireless uses an internal Lithium-ion polymer battery that recharges by plugging the backup cable into the mini-USB port on the device, and plugging the other end into the computer. It’s a simple, elegant solution, and a welcome feature that eliminates the need for a Costco sized package of AA batteries.

The puck portion of the SpaceMouse Wireless falls right in line with 3Dconnexion’s gorgeous designs. The brushed aluminum base is sturdy and feels planted under-hand. No matter what the surface: glass, wood, even a wire rack, the SpaceMouse Wireless stays put and never wanders. The controls have a nice sensitivity that allows for a light touch, opposed to a death grip. These are all things we’ve come to expect from 3Dconnexion, but worth noting.

Although we don’t have any issues with the SpaceMouse Wireless utilizing a USB dongle, some users may find it annoying. We’d like to see a Bluetooth option in the future to eliminate the need for any physical connection to the computer. However, this is a minor gripe, which gives you an idea about how hard we had to look for flaws in this product.  Our testing period will be ongoing, and we will be sure to report back with any issues we encounter after spending a few more months with the SpaceMouse Wireless.

The Bottom Line

The bottom line is that the SpaceMouse Wireless is an impressive device that takes one more cable out of the equation. It has everything we love about 3Dconnexion’s products with a new twist. If you’ve never tried a 3Dconnexion device while modeling in SolidWorks, this is an affordable, yet value-saturated product that we’re sure you’ll love. As with all 3Dconnexion devices, our recommendation is that you spend a solid 2-3 hours forcing yourself to use it in your modeling. As with all new additions to any workflow, there is a “break-old-habits-to-create-new-ones” period for a device that utilizes your left hand.

To watch 3Dconnexion’s promotional video for the SpaceMouse Wireless, click here.