rocksolid review: 3dconnexion spacepilot pro

Today 3DConnexion launched a new product touted as the “most powerful 3D mouse ever”, the SpacePilot PRO.  Here is the official press release from 3DConnexion.

spacepilot pro

3Dconnexion Launches Its Most Powerful 3D Mouse Ever: the SpacePilot PRO

Integrated Color LCD Workflow Assistant, QuickView Navigation Technology,and Intelligent Function Keys Save Time and Reduce Interruptions

FREMONT, Calif. – April 16, 2009 – To meet the rigorous demands of design engineers working in powerful 3D applications, 3Dconnexion today announced the new SpacePilot™ PRO. The company’s flagship 3D mouse is designed to deliver advanced control of 3D models, easier access to the power of professional 3D applications, fewer interruptions in the design workflow, and superior comfort. Specifically, the SpacePilot PRO features a new color LCD Workflow Assistant, second-generation QuickView Navigation technology, Intelligent Function keys, and an improved design for enhanced comfort and control.

“3Dconnexion’s 3D mice have rewritten the rules on the way design engineers and professionals interact with 3D environments,” said Dieter Neujahr, president of 3Dconnexion. “Our new SpacePilot PRO builds on our market-leading industry experience, delivering the most powerful 3D mouse we’ve ever made. It enables increased performance that ultimately results in better designs, created in less time.”

The SpacePilot PRO 3D mouse provides the highest level of performance features ever available from 3Dconnexion, including:

LCD Workflow Assistant: The color LCD lists function-key assignments and provides at-a-glance access to Microsoft® Outlook® e-mail, calendar and task lists, allowing professionals to access important information for a fully integrated design experience with fewer distractions. Through 3Dconnexion’s open software architecture, the workflow assistant can be further customized to meet the needs of individuals, companies and software vendors.

Advanced MCAD Navigation: Five new dual-function QuickView Navigation keys
improve error detection, design review, and design presentation by providing one-touch access to the following views: top and bottom, right and left, front and back, two isometric views, and 90-degree view rotation of any view either clockwise or counter-clockwise – for a total of 32 views. A short press activates a key’s primary view command, while pressing and holding a key activates a secondary view command. In addition, new Navigation Setting keys offer simplified and customizable control, allowing professionals to turn pan-and-zoom, rotation and one-axis control on or off, making it easier to define navigation settings for certain work modes.

Intelligent Function Keys: Five new fully customizable, dual-function keys offer immediate, one-touch access to 10 frequently used commands within any supported 3D application. The SpacePilot PRO automatically detects the active application and assigns appropriate function keys – whether default or customized. The color LCD denotes the function key assignments and application mode so engineers can easily identify commands and design states.

Superior Comfort: The SpacePilot PRO has a new sculpted, soft-coated wrist rest that positions the hand in relation to the controller cap to support a balanced workflow. The micro-precision six-degrees-of-freedom sensor allows for fingertip control with minimal effort from the arm, wrist and hand, while frequently used commands are conveniently positioned at your fingertips. The intuitive and symmetrical layout of the function keys makes the device usable with either hand.

About 3Dconnexion 3D Mice

Unlike traditional mice confined to motion on one flat plane, 3Dconnexion 3D mice enable design engineers to move in all three dimensions simultaneously, using six-degrees–of-freedom sensor technology. By gently lifting, pressing and turning the controller cap, design engineers can easily pan, zoom and rotate without stopping to select commands. Using a 3D mouse together with a traditional mouse engages both hands into a balanced and cooperative work style.

3Dconnexion provides advanced and affordable 3D mice that are supported by more than 130 of today’s leading and powerful 3D applications, including Autodesk InventorTM, SolidWorksTM, CATIATM, Pro/ENGINEERTM, NXTM and Solid EdgeTM. For a complete list of applications supported by 3Dconnexion, visit

Compatibility, Pricing and Availability

The SpacePilot PRO is backed by a three-year warranty, and is currently available at a suggested retail price of $499. The SpacePilot PRO is supported by Windows XP, Windows Vista®, Sun Solaris 8 (SPARC), Sun Solaris 10 (x86), and Linux® (Redhat Enterprise Linux WS 4, SuSE 9.3 or later). Linux and Solaris support workflow assistant function key assignments only.

The entire 3Dconnexion product line, including the Professional Series with the SpacePilot™ (MSRP $399) and SpaceExplorer™ (MSRP $299), and the Standard Series with the SpaceNavigator (MSRP $99) and SpaceNavigator for Notebooks (MSRP $129), are available from professional CAD resellers and major online resellers including CDW, Insight, PC Connection, and PC Mall. For a complete list of resellers or to buy directly, visit

About 3Dconnexion, a Logitech Company
3Dconnexion, a wholly owned subsidiary of Logitech (SIX: LOGN) (Nasdaq: LOGI), is the leading provider of 3D mice for 3D design and visualization. 3Dconnexion devices support today’s most popular and powerful 3D applications by offering users a more intuitive and natural way to interact with computer-generated 3D content. 3Dconnexion’s award-winning 3D mice serve a wide variety of industries and are used by 3D designers, animators and artists worldwide. 3Dconnexion is headquartered in Fremont, Calif. with European headquarters in Seefeld, Germany and offices worldwide. For more information, visit

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© 2009 3Dconnexion. All rights reserved. 3Dconnexion, the 3Dconnexion logo, and other 3Dconnexion marks are owned by 3Dconnexion and may be registered. All other trademarks are the property of their respective owners.

My Personal Review

I have had the distinct pleasure of using this product for the last day and a half and let me tell you what, it is an amazing new product that 3DConnexion is releasing.  As you have already read above this product offers some great features and there are a few that I wanted to point out and expand on for you.

The 1st thing that I really liked about this product was the 10 fully programmable (5 dual function) keys that it offers.  I am personally a huge proponent of having keyboard shortcuts and probably 90% of mine are on the left hand side of my keyboard.  Because of this I have always struggled getting into a good workflow going using a 3D Mouse.  However, the SpacePilot PRO relieves some of this pain for me.  I can now program 10 of my keyboard shortcuts right into the 3D Mouse and my hand will RARELY have to leave the SpacePilot PRO during my daily design processes.  This is a huge selling point for me and I would imagine for some of you that have moved to a 3DConnexion supported 3D modeling program from a program like AutoCAD.

The next thing that I wanted to touch on was the overall comfort of this product.  When you first open the package you see how big the 3D Mouse is and might be a little taken back by it, however, as soon as you start using it you forget the size and you get caught up in just how normal it feels to keep your hand on the SpacePilot PRO.  This covers everything from the extra comfort in the wrist resting area to the “joystick”.  This all in all is a very comfortable product to use and greatly aids in your daily designs because of this.

The last thing that I really wanted to write about was the LCD Workflow Assistant.  Now the integration with Microsoft Outlook Email, Calendar and Tasks are all great features but the one thing that really stood out for me was the ability to see all of the functions that you have mapped to the 5 dual function keys.  Now as time goes on you may get a feel for what all of your keys do but you have to remember that you have 10 commands programmed for working in assemblies, 10 for working in parts, and 10 more for working in drawings.  This is 30 commands that you are trying to remember as you go through your design process.  The ability of having a quick access guide to what your keys are programmed for is a huge benefit, especially when the guide is on a LCD screen right at your fingertips.

My Closing Remarks

In closing I want to say that I would highly encourage any SolidWorks (or other 3D CAD user for that matter) user that is in the market for a 3D Mouse to check out this product.  The initial price tag on it might be kind of eye brow raising but I think that the return of investment on it would be quick.  It is a great new product that will be the envy of the CAD community for a long time to come.  You will be able to buy this product at major online resellers such as Amazon,, CDW, Dell, and PC Mall or directly at

6 thoughts on “rocksolid review: 3dconnexion spacepilot pro

  1. what about customization on the LCD? did ya play around with it?

    anything you didn’t like?

    great coverage man. I’ll get something up later on.

    1. hey josh!

      i have not had a good chance to customize anything other than solidworks commands on it yet but i plan too. all in all it is a really nice product. it is taking some time getting used to it because of all the buttons but i am getting there. tough to know where to put my fingers, etc.

      thanks for the comment and also great job on your post!

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