This time last year, I got a chance to play with the SpaceNavigator made by a subsidiary of Logitech called 3DConnexion. The SpaceNavigator introduces a third dimension to navigation and proved to be a very effective gadget for applications such as Google Earth, Photoshop and CAD software. Using a three axis system, the joystick-like device allows you to manipulate your view on-screen in a way that isn’t possible using just a mouse.
The revised Notebook edition of the SpaceNavigator is a more compact version of the model released last year and comes with a soft carrying case so you can now take this device with you, wherever you go.
Just like the previous model, the functionality remains the same using a USB connection, it offers the ability to move left and right, up and down, twist, tilt, and pull and push. At the side are a couple of shortcut buttons that can be customised using the supplied driver software.
SpaceNavigator works with a whole host of applications including the most recent addition of Second Life. However, the driver is not universal and the SpaceNavigator does not work with any application so it’s worth checking the site first for compatibility before you get your wallet out. Drivers are included for all major operating systems including Windows, OSX, Linux and Unix.
I’ve been testing the SpaceNavigator out with fun applications such as Google Earth and the experience is completely different to when you’re using a mouse for navigation. Likewise for Photoshop, I’m able to zoom, pan and rotate images on the fly – a real productivity booster.
3DConnexion have further improved on the winning formula with the addition of the Notebook edition for those on the move. Driver support has also been massively improved with many more applications now compatible on the Mac platform, which was a completely different story just 12 months ago. Whilst there is a price premium to pay for the smaller model, for those who don’t need the portability, the full size model is still available (review available here)