3Dconnexion, a legend in the CAD user community, has recently updated its CadMouse product range. Al Dean takes a look at what’s on offer if you’re in the market for a customisable, three-button input device
Considering the amount of time we spend using workstations these days, it always amazes me how few real options there are for professionals who need a proper mouse.
At first glance, the options seem to fall into one of three categories: the crappy mouse that came with your computer five years ago; a Logitech product (its MX mice are great and very popular); or something plucked from the gaming world, with day-glo orange lights and a name like Baztardz.
But these are not, in fact, the only options out there. A few years ago, 3Dconnexion, a company well-known in the CAD world, decided it would extend its range beyond 3D motion controller devices and offer a mouse squarely aimed at professionals. And thus, the 3Dconnexion CadMouse was born.
The CadMouse range came with a couple of differentiators; above all, the addition of a proper third mouse button.
While many mice include a middle button located underneath the scroll wheel, 3Dconnexion took the decision to separate the two and make the mouse more usable in the process. That means no more accidentally catching the button while you’re scrolling or zooming in or out – and no accidental zooming when you’re trying to rotate your model.
3Dconnexion CadMouse – Larger devices
While the range of CadMouse products has expanded in the last year or so, the most recent update has really fleshed things out considerably.
At the top end of the range is the CadMouse Pro Wireless. This brings together the full gamut of what these devices offer – customisable buttons, CAD-integrated at a driver level – in a full-size wireless model. Wireless connectivity is via Bluetooth or USB dongle (or indeed, via the Micro USB cable if you need to charge while using it). The CadMouse Pro Wireless is available in both left- and right-hand models, at £107.
The next step down is the CadMouse Pro, which takes the form factor of the CadMouse Pro Wireless, but does away with wireless connectivity. This is good if you’re looking for a mouse that will be permanently connected to your workstation, or have security concerns around Bluetooth, or just need to save a few quid. This costs £89.
3Dconnexion CadMouse – Smaller devices
Alongside these larger devices, 3DConnexion has also updated its smaller products, which are suitable for those who prefer less of a ‘chunk’ in the hand or something a little more portable. Following the same form factor but on a smaller scale, the CadMouse Compact devices now come in both wired and wireless formats (but no left-hand options, I’m afraid), priced at £80 and £89 respectively.
Regardless of which device you choose, the portable devices or their larger counterparts, you’re guaranteed the build quality for which 3Dconnexion is known.
Personally speaking, I’ve never really seen the need to overly customise a mouse to specific tasks, but the option is there should you want it. And if you’re using one of these mice in combination with a 3Dconnexion SpaceMouse motion controllers, you’ll have a full suite of customisation options to fully enable a two-handed approach.
The new additions to the CADmouse range flesh out the lower end of the portfolio nicely, and it’s good to see a range that can comfortably accommodate most user budgets and requirements.