The mouse test bench 1.0 has some new tests aimed at helping users, including a 3D shape tool. In our previous test bench, users were limited to viewing photos, and sometimes that meant not seeing parts or certain aspects of it. We purchased the ARTEC Space Spider 3D scanner and built a 3D tool to view models of the mice we review. You can use the tool to view a complete view of the mouse and see where all the buttons and the sensor are located. You can also compare two mice with our 3D tool, and insiders can compare up to seven mice at once.
One of the most important parts of a mouse is its shape and how well it sits in your hand. It may be difficult when purchasing a mouse online to decide which one to get without ever seeing or feeling it in person. Our 3D tool is aimed at helping you see the entire mouse, and even though nothing beats seeing the real thing, this helps you view it in ways you won't get with pictures.
You can view the mouse three different ways in our 3D tool:
You can compare mice side-by-side or stacked onto each other, which makes it easier to see which one is bigger. You can rotate the models on any axis, and there are also options to view them from the top, sides, front, back, or bottom.
The 3D scanner we purchased is the ARTEC Space Spider. We use sticky tack to hold the mouse in place on a rotating table and the scanner placed next to it. We take a 360-degree scan of the mouse, and then we flip the mouse so that the end that was in the sticky tack is now facing up. We take a second 360-degree scan, and in the ARTEC Studio 15 software, we align both models so that it creates one full model. We put the finishing touches by applying the textures and make sure the model is representative of the product, then we export the file to the review.
There are some limitations to this process. It may be difficult to tell which parts are rubber or plastic just using the 3D model, but we do have other pictures throughout the review where it's more obvious. Some mice, such as the Razer Naga Trinity, come with multiple side panels that include different button layouts. We only take a scan of the side panels that most users would use, so in the Naga Trinity's case, we scanned it with the 12-button side panel.
The 3D scanner tool adds a unique element to our mouse reviews. Considering how critical a mouse's shape is, users need to see a full view that we can't provide through photos. Although this test doesn't affect any of the review results because shape is a personal preference, it offers a special view of the mouse you're considering buying and it helps you compare multiple mice.