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Sunday, February 14, 2016

Product Review: The 3Dconnexion CadMouse

About a year and a half ago, I reviewed the 3Dconnexion SpaceMouse Pro. I loved the device, giving it an A+. My only nit to pick was that I was hoping to use it to replace my traditional mouse, which, while technically possible, would be impractical. Enter the 3Dconnexion CadMouse – which is being marketed as "the first mouse for CAD professionals". Because 3Dconnexion's other devices are intended as second-hand devices, it makes sense that they would release a mouse of their own design for use as a primary input device.

Software Design

To get started, I downloaded and installed the latest 3DxWare driver. I then plugged the device into a USB port and was off to the races.

Of course, the 3DxWare software allows you to configure your mouse exactly as you like. The software is easy and intuitive to use.

Software design grade: A+

Hardware Design

Like the SpaceMouse Pro, the industrial design of the CadMouse is impeccable. The quality is outstanding, from the build quality all the way down to the packaging.


The "feet" slide more smoothly than with a typical mouse, and the mouse features a stainless steel lower bezel that adds durability without adding undue weight.


The CadMouse has a scroll wheel and a dedicated middle mouse button. As one would expect, you may use the scroll wheel to zoom in and out on your design with precision, but there are also QuickZoom buttons positioned near your thumb.


Lastly, there's a "gesture" button that opens an application or environment-specific radial menu so you can access your most-used commands quickly. The command is activated when you move the cursor completely through the graphic.


Hardware design grade: A+

Ergonomics

My hand took to the CadMouse like a duck to water. The device felt natural to me from the get go. The mouse slopes gently with the hand, and my palm rests just right with my fingers positioned optimally over the buttons.




Ergonomics grade: A+

Optional Mouse Pad

3dconnexion also offers a CadMouse Pad. It's unlike any mousepad you've ever used before, and in a good way. It has a large surface area, is very thin, and it's uniquely textured surface helps the CadMouse to be even more accurate and precise than without the Pad.


Value

The CadMouse retails for 99.00 USD. While you'd probably be hard pressed to find another mouse costing as much on Amazon, you'd also have a hard time finding one as thoughtfully designed, or one that offers the sheer utility with an eye towards design applications that the CadMouse does.

Value grade: A

Conclusion

The CadMouse took a bit of getting used to; I wasn't used to having a scroll wheel and a middle mouse button, and, early on, I would accidently push the QuickZoom buttons when positioning my thumb. I adapted quickly though, and using the CadMouse became second nature.

While you don't have to have another 3Dconnexion product to use the CadMouse, I absolutely love using mine in conjunction with the SpaceMouse Pro. For one thing, it's great having access to radial menus from each device, and so with each hand.

While the CadMouse may seem expensive at first blush, the build quality and attention to detail make it worth the cost.

For the kind of intensive use that CAD and BIM users require from a mouse, the additional features and solid build quality make the CadMouse a must-have.



There's more information available on the 3Dconnexion website.

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