Wednesday, June 10, 2015

I'm in love with my new 3D Connexion CAD Mouse!!!!

My new 3D Connexion CAD Mouse arrived today!!!! In a nutshell, after using it for just a couple hours, I'm never going to use another mouse again! The single biggest win for this device? A dedicated middle mouse button for panning in viewports.

After I unboxed it (nice packaging too), I downloaded the driver, installed, plugged the mouse in and found a reboot is required. One of the first things I noticed after unboxing it is the USB cord. It is advertised as a braided cord, however in person, looks more like a rope to me and seems out of place on a typical office desk. I like it though! Its cord length should be long enough to head under the desk for those that like their computers out of sight. Its lightweight too, it feels lighter than it should for having that metallic type finish around the base of it.

Once my reboot completed, I immediately sensed a noticeable change in on screen movement of the mouse cursor. It's hard to describe really, more my perception than anything, however it does seem easier to point to a specific object. The buttons seem easier to click and my initial reaction on the middle/right buttons is that it is going to take some getting used to - especially with finger placement (more on this in a moment). The size of the mouse is on par with the Logitech M/N M-U0007, only wider in the mid-body and toward the front. The Logitech mouse allows most of my hand to rest on it with my pinky finger and half of my ring finger hanging off. The old Dell mouse I had been using (M/N M-BAC-DEL5) is even narrower than both the Logitech and CAD Mouse, resulting in half my hand resting on the mouse and 2 fingers hanging off. The wider CAD Mouse design resulted in the whole width of my hand resting on the CAD Mouse and only my pinky finger hangs off the side of it which is just enough to grip it adequately.

The Gesture button does take some effort to click due to its placement on the mouse, yet offers immediate shortcuts in general Windows interface and typical MS Office apps. Things like opening your default browser, copy/paste, top/bottom of page, etc. are all found on the Gesture menu. The cool thing is that it only takes one click to use - click the Gesture button, then slide your mouse in the direction of the command you want which will then activate it without clicking. When the Windows Desktop has focus, Gesture button can access the CAD Mouse properties.

Always one to explore configurations, I found I needed to make an immediate change to default settings. I'm not sure why the CAD Mouse precision defaulted to a Sensor Polling Rate of 250Hz when product is advertised as capable of 1000Hz sampling. After adjusting this to 1000Hz, I felt I needed to increase my default speed settings slightly to match the enhanced sampling rate.

Now that I felt I had a handle on the settings of the CAD Mouse, I decided to give it a shot in Revit.  I noticed the Gesture button has different application specific gestures - I need to look into these more after getting more accustomed to the mouse. Zooming with the scroll wheel is grippy from any non-ergonomic angle and immediately noticeable on how easy it is to scroll. One thing with recent mouse design that drives me bonkers is their tendency to have the ability to roll the wheel left/right in addition to forward/backward. This has been disastrous in my opinion to having a scroll wheel work well as a Pan tool. After 5 minutes using it in Revit, OH MY GOODNESS I DON’T HAVE TO PAN WITH A WHEEL ANYMORE!!!!!!!!!!!!! Getting used to middle mouse button for Pan should take about 5 minutes or less… I can't describe how great it is to be freed from using a wheel to Pan and just use a regular button. It takes me back in time more years than I care to admit, when mouse design was simpler and not driven to appeal to the masses of internet users.

The icing on the cake, so to speak is that I also got the CAD Mouse Pad from 3D Connexion along with the mouse. This is a great, high quality mouse pad. Its also BIG - almost 3 times as big as my old mouse pad (approximate dimensions: old 7.5"x7.75"@58sqin & new 9.75"x13.75"@134sqin). I'm sure they intended it to be placed long side facing me (think widescreen), but then it gets in the way of where I have my laptop docked so I've got it oriented vertically (think vertical video syndrome). Either way, its still way bigger than my last mouse pad - RIP CAD Monkey. The surface provides a seemingly friction-less surface and has a nice rigidness to it which could allow me to mouse on the sofa if I wanted to.

In summary, the two things I love the most on this CAD Mouse are the extra grippy scroll wheel & the dedicated middle mouse button. I do wish it had a wireless option and that the Gesture button wasn't so far back on the device. Otherwise, everything else is just an added bonus that adds up to something more that the sum of its parts. I look forward to using it in more applications too such as AutoCAD & 3ds Max. I have to admit that I was skeptical about it based on its price at first. Now after having spent some time with it, I have to say I would easily justify its cost. I've attached some of my pictures I took to this post, for more info such as detailed specs, pricing and more, head on over to: 

CAD Mouse

CAD Mouse Pad