When you’re mixing the sweet cream of CAD geometry on the screen like a dairyman on a mission from God, that intense look on your face is enough to make your boss step back for fear of being sucked into the vat of your frothy CAD skills. And then you hear that gasp, the one when they see you driving it all with a 3D mouse. But maybe you don’t have a 3D mouse and you’re still churnin’ NURBS. Well, now may be the time to check out the 3Dconnexion SpaceMouse Enterprise. We’re taking a look at this new model manipulating device today. It’s fit with buttons galore, intelligent function keys, a new high-res, contextual LCD screen and the claim that it’s “Built for Top Engineering Performance”…Sounds like the tattoo you got on your belly before junior year midterms doesn’t it? Enough jibber jabber. Let’s have a look shall we?

OVERVIEW

3Dconnexion release SpaceMouse Enterprise April 2016, and promptly plopped it in the post, sending it over to get our grubby hands on. Our last review of a 3Dconnexion device was the CadMouse, a departure from the puck and buttons to serve as a complementary device should you be blessed with more than one appendage flopping about your upper torso. But it was even further back that we reviewed the SpaceMouse Pro after its release in October 2011. Phew! Quite a few years for a sibling to be birthed from the womb of the 3Dconnexion design lab and into our loving arms. And a particular amount of joy to see this symmetrical looking fella too.

Now, you may be shuffling the memory bank, recalling another 3D mouse with a LCD screen. That would be the SpacePilot Pro–the buttonlicious predecessor to the SpaceMouse line. If you’re still using one of those or a SpaceMouse Pro, you’ll notice some similarities with the SpaceMouse Enterprise, but a lot of differences too. I’ll hit on those below. At 1.76 lbs, the SpaceMouse Enterprise weighs in right between the others, combining the best of each device in a sleek, new package. Though lacking custom color options (and a snack tray), it includes more buttons, a more functional LCD display and smoother control.

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SPECS

  • Sensor: 3Dconnexion six-degrees-of-freedom (6DoF) sensor
  • LCD: High resolution Function Key assignment visualization
  • 31 programmable keys:
    • 12 Function Keys (contextual to software)
    • 10 QuickView Keys (Top/Bottom, Left/Right, Front/Back, 90° Rotation Clockwise/Counter Clockwise, ISO1/ISO2, Rotation Toggle, Fit, 3 Custom View Keys)
    • 8 Keyboard Modifiers (Control, Alt, Shift, Escape, Enter, Space, Delete, Tab)
    • 1 Menu Key
  • Dimensions: 9.8″ x 6.1″ x 2.3″ (249 x 154 x 58mm)
  • Weight: 1.76 lbs (800g)
  • OS Support: Windows, Mac OS X (coming soon)
  • Software: 3DxWare (Driver Download)
  • Warrenty: 3+1 (three years plus one year with product registration)
  • Price: $359 ($399 bundled with CadMouse/Pad)

HIGHLIGHTS

Design – It weighs only 1.76 pounds, but you would think more. The SpaceMouse Enterprise is solid device with the attention to materials and ergonomics 3Dconnexion has become known for. The button action is just right and the LCD display is positioned to be easily viewed and readable under different light conditions.

Function Key LCD – As you switch between software the LCD screen above the Function Keys switches to display the functions assigned for that program. Yes, I said assigned. You can program these keys (and all of the others) for each individual piece of software you use. The LCD isn’t touch-enabled, but after asking 3Dconnexion about this and seeing how it functions, the deliberate press and physical feedback of the keys, makes more sense. Quicker access to brightness control or a sleep mode would be greatly preferred.

Sensor – I’m not sure what improvements they make to the sensors over the years (more energy cats and puppy laughs per square millimeter, I’m sure), but the difference in the SpaceMouse Enterprise control is very apparent. The action of the puck not only feels more fluid, but the timing of the movement and responsiveness of the viewing feels tighter.

Programmable Keys – If you were disappointed with the number of programmable keys on the SpaceMouse Pro (only 15!!?!), 3Dconnexion has gone back to the number they gave us with the SpacePilot–31 keys in total, baby. However, the SpaceMouse Enterprise has more physical keys making it all the more easy to access commands. Each is programmable with the ability to pull from a list of presets or enter your own keyboard shortcuts.

Comfort – Depending on how you position your hand using a previous 3D mouse, this may take just a little adjustment. Previously, I positioned my plam further back with fingertips around the puck, but with the SpaceMouse Enterprise, I’ve place my palm higher on the device to access the function keys with less hand movement. It’s still super comfy and doesn’t put any strain on the wrist.

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CONCLUSION

Although I’m still waiting for 3Dconnexion to develop a touchscreen keyboard with a puck in the middle and intravenous coffee supply line, the SpaceMouse Enterprise gets pretty close. Together with the CadMouse, the duo provides more programmable key options than I previously complained about needing and the smoother model viewing makes the control and presentation of content much more enjoyable.

My two favorite features continue to be what 3Dconnexion has provided throughout the years in their line of 3D mice–software specific programmable keys and incredibly smooth view control. Those improve with the SpaceMouse Enterprise and provide an unmatched experience when working in 3D software, and even across other applications.

There are two options you’ll want to be aware of, the SpaceMouse Enterprise ($359) and the SpaceMouse Enterprise Kit ($399), which comes with the CadMouse and CadMouse Pad. With the CadMouse and the CadMouse Pad at $99 and $29, respectively, it’s easy to see that the kit is a better deal, especially if you already need a new mouse.

I’m interested to hear from you now. How you think it compares to other 3Dconnexion devices and what you like about it. Is it the best 3D mouse yet?

Author

Josh is co-founder of EvD Media. He engineers and designs, is the Director of Marketing for Luxion, is CSWP certified for SolidWorks training and support and excels at falling awkwardly. He is editor of SolidSmack.com and co-host of EngineerVsDesigner.com, a weekly podcast about design, engineering and what makes it all happen.