Sandio 3D O2 Gaming Mouse

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Product: Sandio 3D O2 Mouse
Provided By: Sandio Technologies
Price: $79.99USD MSRP

Introduction:

I was very excited to review this item from the first time I saw it. A 3D mouse looked pretty cool to me, and I was very interested in seeing how they actually made it 3 dimensional.

Before this product came to me, I hadn’t heard of this company, so before we get started, here is a brief summary of the company.

 

Sandio Technologies is a 3D input technologies solutions provider. Our objective is to support our clients through the process equipping their 2D-enabled devices (such as mice, keyboards, joysticks...etc) with 3D capabilities. Sandio's 3D input chip enables these 2D devices to experience transition and rotation along the x, y and z axes. The device can now access both 2D and 3D functions, allowing for six degrees of freedom (6DOF) operations.

 

 Box Profile
Box Profile
 Sandio O2 Info
Sandio O2 Info

 

Specifications:

Seeing how this is a fairly new concept and product to the general population, there is quite the load of information on this product ranging from exact specifications to numerous features. So feast your eyes on an entire page of marketing information.

Short version -

  • - PC Compatible
  • - USB Port
  • - System Requirement: Windows® XP, Windows® Vista
  • - Dimensions: 3.5 in(L) * 9 in(W) * &.9 in(H)
  • - Resolution: 400/800/1600/2000dpi
  • - Data Package: 16 ultra-throughput bits
  • - Cable Length: 80 inches


 

Long version -

Mouse Type

6DOF Laser Gaming Mouse

IC

Avago A6010/CY7C63413

Resolution

400/800/1600/2000 dpi

Data Packet

16 bits

Conductive

Cable 

Port Type

USB

Cable Length (mm)

2000 ±30 mm   ;   78.7 + 1.2 in

Switch Life       

3,500,000 cycles

Supply Voltage

DC 4.75V~~5.25V

Operation Temperature   

0°C ~ 40°C

Storage Temperature

15o to 60o

Storage Humidity

90% RH or less

Dimension (mm)

90 mm (L) * 230 mm (W)* 200 mm (H)  3.5 in (L) * 9 in (W)* 7.9 in (H)

Weight           

177 + 10 g

Warranty        

One Year

Certification   

CE FCC    FDS  BSMI  C-tick

Laser Certification

FDS   IEC60825 (Class One)


Features:

Designed for RPG and RTS Games

 

- Gain an Unfair Advantage

- Navigate Freely in 3D Worlds

- Up to 16 Programmable Keys

- More than 40 Pre-Configured Popular RPG, RTS and FPS Games

 

Enhance Your Total 3D Experience

 

- Walk, fly and turn freely in Second Life

- Fly Through Google Earth and Microsoft Virtual Earth

- 6DOF Operation with Ease on Google Sketchup

 

Others

- Removable Ergonomical Wrist Support

- Award-Winning Laser Sensor

- Change DPI On the Fly during Game Play

- Both audible and visual DPI adjustment confirmation

Benefits:

Benefits of Using the Sandio 3D Mouse

Google SketchUp

- Increase productivity

- No need to switch between menu and objects to change views or rotate objects

Google Earth & Microsoft Virtual Earth

- Enjoy flying easily through the 3D landscape using only your mouse

- Users are no longer confined to only using the on-screen navigation tabs to change camera angles

Second Life

- Experience more flexibility and control

- Use the 3D mouse to navigate, while accessing your hotkeys on the keyboard

- OR use the keyboard to navigate, while assigning hotkeys to the mouse

- Up to 16 additional commands

- Completely customizable: Modify the keys to fit your 2nd Life preferences

Games

First Person Shooters (FPS)

- Use the Sandio Game O2 for navigation and the keyboard for hot keys. You can free the left hand for game commands instead of switching between navigation and hot keys.

- OR use the keyboard to navigate while using the 3D mouse buttons for hot keys.

- Communicate better with teammates

- Invent new moves and duplicate them easier

- Up to 16 customizable commands at your fingertips

- Adapt the mouse to your gaming style!

- Fully Customizable: Save and load your game profiles at any time

 

Real Time Strategy (RTS)

- Gain significant time advantages

- Rapidly and effectively execute hot keys

- Intuitively control camera angles and views

- Manage your units more efficiently

- Up to 16 programmable buttons

- Fully Customizable: Save and load your game profiles at any time

Role Playing Games (RPG) & Massively Multiplayer Online RPG (MMORPG)

- Improve navigation

- Map important commands to 3D Mouse buttons

- More accurate execution of commands

- Ergonomic design for comfort during longer gaming sessions

- Effortlessly and Intuitively manipulate camera views

- Up to 16 additional easily accessible commands

- Your imagination is the limit of how you tailor the mouse to fit your gaming needs!

- Fully Customizable: Save and load your game profiles at any time

 

First Impressions:

Below is a list of items included in this package.

  • Mouse
  • Wrist support fin
  • 2x manual
  • Driver CD

 Opening Box
Opening Box
6 Degrees of Freedom
6 Degrees of Freedom

 

Before I go any further I'd like to take a moment to say that I was very impressed with the box that the Sandio 3D O2 mouse came in. It had a nice design, and was held closed by a couple of magnets that were easy enough to pull apart but also held the box closed adequately. The lid opened up to reveal the Sandio Tech mouse and its removable wrist support fin in a nice display.

 In The Box
In The Box
Mouse Profile
Mouse Profile

 

To get at the mouse, the hard plastic cover is held down only by 2 pieces of tape at the front and back making it easy to access, open and get at the mouse itself. On a side note the outside of the box was also packed full with features, specifications, and random information pertaining to the gem inside.

 Manual and Software
Manual and Software
Wrist Rest
Wrist Rest


I'm used to big ol' mice like my Logitech G5 mouse so the switch from that to the Sandio Tech mouse was not a problem, but going down, everything else will seem quite small, even the G5. However for those who like the low profile mice like the Razor mouse Zeus recently reviewed (over here) a big mouse may be a stretch that could take some time to get used to.

Beside Logitech G5 Even with the advantage of being used to large mice, when I first placed my hand over the mouse it felt weird. Instead of my thumb and forefinger resting on the smooth side of the mouse, they came in contact with 2 rubbery pads on top of the two side joysticks.  It forced me to use all five of my precious fingers to reach the three joysticks and both regular mouse buttons. Also, instead of my pointer finger reaching the scroll button, the middle finger that rested on top of the top joystick took that job.

At 80 inches I found the cord to be more than long enough for my needs and plenty long enough to reach even the hardest of places with a comfortable slack on the mouse. The removable wrist support was an added bonus as well, I usually kept it off, but for those worried about carpal tunnel syndrome the wrist support fin is a necessity.

First plugged in, the mouse lights up like a Christmas tree, a soft blue glow is very noticeable behind each joystick and the DPI setting's color visual adds to the array with one of three colors of its own. This display stays on even when the computer is off, and even though it is a soft glow, it acts like a “night light” and could get annoying for one who is a total darkness sleeper. Unfortunately I was not able to get any pictures to display the light but I can tell you it is there.

Testing - Different Pads As mentioned above, the DPI setting has a color visual through the scroll wheel to represent four different DPI settings. The lowest DPI setting (400) had no color, just a regular blank scroll wheel. The next DPI setting (800) was red, 1200 had blue, and 2000 got purple. Interestingly enough, purple is the combination of red and blue, and if you look closely enough at the purple you can actually see the red and blue color separated from each other just off to the side of the purple color. I thought that was neat.

One more thing I'd like to mention is during my testing period, I tried this mouse out with several different materials:

  • Normal table surface
  • Steel Series Steel Pad 5L
  • Steel Series I-2 Experience glass mousepad.

 

All of these materials worked well except for the glass mouse pad. For some odd reason, it found the glass very hard to track on. If I moved the mouse very slowly over the glass it would track OK, but as soon as I moved it any faster than a snail's pace, it would skip and the mouse pointer would not move at all.


Software Setup:

I'm not exactly sure where to start with the software, basically a CD was supplied in the box containing drivers for the mouse as well as a program to customize your joystick key bindings and other various options for the mouse.

Software - Input Management
Software - Input Management

 

Upon starting this program, I was presented with an impressive list of preset profiles ready for use. The list included most of the popular games in use today, but those that aren't in the list I could create easily by clicking the “new” button and typing the label I wanted the new profile to be under. Loading profiles I found equally easy. After I hit the “load” button 2 seconds was all it took to activate my profile, and the window was conveniently minimized. Also, instead of going through the entire list of profiles (which could get quite long), there is a favorite box in which profiles can be transferred, which then can be found easily and quickly.

Software - 3D Setup
Software - 3D Setup
Software - 3D Setup
Software - 3D Setup

 

This program offers quite an impressive amount of customizable key bindings for the mouse. Not only does it have one direction (I.e. Up, down, left, right) key bindings available for each individual joystick, it also has multiple joystick key bindings. So pushing up on the left joystick and down on the right joystick and vice versa, as well as pushing forward one the left joystick and backwards on the right joystick also vice versa, could potentially have a key set to that movement. Adding this all up makes a total of 16 potential key bindings, which makes for a great increase in readily available shortcut keys.

 

 Software - 3D Applications
Software - 3D Applications

 

The program also offers some links to drivers needed for online applications, such as Second Life and Google Earth, just in case the automatic driver fails to initialize. But strangely enough, it doesn't provide one for Google Sketchup, we will see how well this turned out later.

Software - Cube Rotation
Software - Cube Rotation

 

Another cool little program is the “Cube Rotation Sample,” this nifty little program let me play around in a 3D environment using the default controls Sandio Tech has set up. This handy little program helped me get accustomed to the 3D environment controls that are in Google Sketchup.

On the last page we'll test out the mouse and see how it holds up.


Testing:

Before we begin with some real testing, I'd like to mention that when I first got my hands on this mouse it took me quite a while to finalize the key binding settings for each game. While the pre-set configurations did provide a good outline, they were far from personalized to my particular settings.

My favorite part in reviewing any item is the game testing. For this I figured I’d fire up some of those good ol’ games and play around with them a bit. I thoroughly customized my settings for UT3, CoD4, Supreme Commander, and Dark Star One, as I figured these provided the most diverse and current range of game types available to me.

As I was reading up about this product I noticed that it said I could play a game using only the mouse thanks to the joysticks provide on the mouse. I decided to test this theory, so I customized my key bindings for CoD4 so that I would be able to do that. When I first set my settings I set the middle joystick to be my movement center - eg. Left, right, forward, backward - logical, right? It turns out that when the joystick is pressed in between any 2 directions, it cuts out and does nothing. It apparently cannot combine two keys at once. This was very odd and unexpected because with the 3D cube rotation program the diagonal directions worked perfectly. Anyways, this hampered my ability to move very well, so I used the middle joystick to move left and right appropriately and the left joystick to move forward and backward appropriately. Surprisingly, this turned out pretty well, and I was able to combine two keys of different joysticks to go in a diagonal direction such as backwards and left very well.

After finalizing my key bindings for CoD4, it went great. I was actually able to complete the last three quarters of the game using only the mouse on normal difficulty. There were parts of the campaign I knew I could not complete on higher difficulties because of lack of a controller I was used to *cough* keyboard *cough*. For casual play, however, I could relax quite comfortably while playing my favorite game, but as for competing professionally or online, a great amount of coordination is required to play with only this mouse.

I tried to do the same in UT3 as I did in CoD4, but this attempt failed miserably. Although both games are in the same genre, each provide a different level of gameplay from each other. Dodging in UT3 was near to impossible with the joysticks, and my attempts at creating a one click dodge with a joystick, which would have been really cool, turned out just as horrible. The one thing that redeems this mouse while UT3 is in play is the endless possibilities with key binding. The many guns featured in this game won't switch themselves and the joysticks provide a great slot for them to place themselves to be ready at any time.

Supreme Commander was successful as well. The key binding for the mouse offered just about complete control over the game. The one thing that was upsetting was that shift didn't work when bound. To me the shift key is an essential part of an RTS game because it offers a quick 5 unit build queue. The joystick key binding didn't quite seem to be able to master this key.

I chose Dark Star One  because I wanted a free flight 3D environment to test out the yaw and roll key binding options. These key binding options could technically be used for other purposes, but the way they are set up screamed for 3D use. So I fired her up, went on a couple of missions, fooled around a bit, and it actually worked pretty well, it added a little more option to this particular game that would have been hard to achieve otherwise.

Google Sketchup is next on the list, I downloaded the program and installed it, but when I tried to use the mouse in it, I had an awful time trying to get the plug-in to actually load for the program. It said it was an auto-loading thing, and they gave me no manual files, even the link it gave me for the documentation for the plug-in was bad, when I clicked it, the software came up with an “open file error” message. I even went to their site and downloaded the latest drivers, and still nothing. Nevertheless I went ahead and created a profile with key bindings for Google Sketchup. I bound the pan, move, rotate, push/pull to joysticks and it worked alright, I did have a little trouble remembering where I bound all the separate keys to, but as long as I remembered what they were, it did save some time.

Also during this time, I found the multiple DPI settings came in quite handy, especially when making delicate small movements with the mouse. Normally I like high sensitivity, but with a quick switch to low DPI, I could select a picture right down to the pixel in paint, or snipe with perfect accuracy.

 

Conclusion:

This definitely was a very sweet mouse, although it can't hold it's own in some games, in others you will find yourself like a god. If you want a good relaxing hour of gameplay, customizable joysticks make using only the mouse a good way to accomplish that goal. In 3D applications the 3D feature is made more accessible. Tracking was good for the most part, and the fast switching multiple DPI levels came in handy from time to time. Wrist support is available for those that like it and also removable for those who don't want it. The software is nice for profile making and editing. If you ask me, 80$ would be a fair price to pay for this product.

 

Glass is a mousepad material to stay away from, and the enormous size is something customers should take into consideration. Although the constant colorful light display can get quite annoying, for some it may be easy to hide and ignore. The key binding also doesn't combine 2 keys on the same joystick, this doesn't affect the RTS genre, but it does make it much harder to play FPS games fluently. There were also several problems with the auto-loading drivers and plug-in.

Pros:

  • Excellent tracking
  • 3 customizable joysticks
  • Fast switching multiple DPI levels
  • Optional wrist support
  • Easy software to use
  • Only mouse use is relaxing

 

Cons:

  • Enormous size
  • Continual light display
  • Doesn't track on glass
  • Sketchup plug-in don't auto-load
  • 2 directions on same joystick impossible to combine with key binding

 

Overall, the Sandio O2 scores pretty well, but due to some software issues we can't give it a "Top Pick".

BCCRating

 

I'd like to thank Sandio for sending over this mouse to review.  Please feel free to post your comments or questions in the forum at the "Comments" link below.