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Our Mouse Design Tests
3D Shape Tool

Updated

We introduced our 3D shape tool test along with a host of new tests as part of our first update to mouse test bench 1.0. Previously, our reviews were limited to photographs, and this meant that sometimes certain aspects of a mouse were hard to see.

You can use this 3D tool to more intuitively understand, examine, and compare any mice in our database. We've since added new alignment tools, and if you're a member of our insider program, you can compare up to seven mice simultaneously.

Test results

When It Matters

One of the most important parts of a mouse is its shape and how well it sits in your hand. When shopping for a mouse online, it can be challenging to choose one that will suit you best without the opportunity to see and feel the mouse in your hand. Our 3D tool can help you examine the entire mouse in detail, and even though nothing beats seeing the real thing, it's sure to give you as comprehensive an idea as possible.

Using our 3D tool, you can view each mouse in three different ways:

  • Textured: This is the most accurate model, visually, and will give you a good idea about its colors, designs, and textures. Note that if a mouse has RGB lighting, we turn it off while creating our scan.
  • Solid: A more simplistic view; the 3D tool overlays a solid color coating so you won't see the colors and design. It's a great way to view the mouse when you want to focus on the shape.
  • Outline: This mode displays a pure outline of the mouse. It's an ideal overlay to use when you'd like to compare the sizes of different mice.

You can compare mice side-by-side or stacked directly onto each other, making it easier to see size and shape differences. You can also rotate the models on any axis, and there are new options to view and align them from the top, sides, front, back, and bottom.

Our tests

3D Model

The 3D scanner we purchased is the ARTEC Space Spider. We use sticky tack to hold the mouse in place on a rotating table with the scanner placed next to it. We take a 360-degree scan of the mouse and then flip the mouse so that the end that was in the sticky tack is now facing up. We then take a second 360-degree scan, and using the ARTEC Studio 15 software, we align and stitch together both models to create a single, complete model. We then add the finishing touches by applying textures and doing a final inspection to make sure the model is accurate. Then we export the file to our review.

Note that there are some limitations to this process:

  • It can be challenging to differentiate between certain materials like rubber or plastic when using the 3D model alone. However, we include supplementary photographs and note the materials throughout our reviews.
  • Also, sometimes, specific materials and textures are hard for our scanner to pick up because they reflect light in a certain way. In these cases, we may apply an aerosol spray that leaves white specks on the reflective material, making it more opaque and easier to scan. For an idea of what this looks like, we used this technique in our 3D scan of the Endgame Gear XM1r. This scan is also a good example as there are some lighting artifacts from the scanning process that appear as a series of white flower-like shapes in a line on the palm rest, but these aren't visible in real life and are only a product of the reflectivity of the material on the palm rest.
  • Some mice like the Razer Naga Trinity come with multiple modular pieces. In the case of the Naga Trinity, this includes multiple side panels with different button layouts. When confronted with these situations, we only take a scan of the side panels that we feel users are most likely to use, so for the Naga Trinity, we scanned it with the 12-button side panel.
  • In some rare cases, the scanner tool can struggle to accurately capture depth. For example, because of the open-bottom design of the Pulsar Xlite Wireless, we found it was necessary to apply masking tape to the open spaces on the underside of the mouse. In this and all cases where we've had to adjust our methodology to achieve an accurate scan, we'll always note it in our review.
ARTEC Space Spider 3D scanner
ARTEC Space Spider
Tester scans a mouse
Tester scans a mouse

Conclusion

Ultimately, your shape preferences are a very personal thing.

The 3D Shape tool's model doesn't affect any of the score results, but it does offer a more in-depth way for you to study each mouse and compare it to any of the mice we've already reviewed. Considering how critical a mouse's shape is, this test is intended to provide you with enough information to make an informed decision and buy the mouse that's right for you.

Discussions