SmartNav first impressions

Here you can talk about SmartNav and related products and issues not covered by other forums.
kalorvoe
Posts: 55
Joined: Sun Jun 29, 2008 7:21 pm

SmartNav first impressions

Post by kalorvoe » Sun Jan 11, 2009 3:30 pm

Okay, after nagging you guys for weeks about FPS and a few other things, I finally got a SmartNav 4 in my hot little hands.
First impressions?

Background: I've suffered with tendonitis/RSI/tennis elbow/etc for five years. It's cost me priceless things I'll never get back (like lifting my little children). I haven't been able to stop and let my arms heal or we'd lose our house, so I've had to work with the pain. I've tried all kinds of things that have helped to some degree (the best are ergo keyboards and Workrave resting software), but I am still experiencing pain in whichever arm I use my trackball in.


Review:

The SmartNav IS all it's cracked up to be. I'm a software developer, and if any developers out there are wondering how well they can use it in a dev environment, just drop all your fears. I can easily get the little plus-minus boxes to expand and shrink regions in Visual Studio, and I've only been using the thing a little while. I also use dual monitors and I'm finding the smartnav faster than a trackball (on top of the time saved by not reaching for it).

In spite of neck exercises over the last couple of weeks to prepare, I did experience some stiffness in the neck, but as you'll see elsewhere in these forums, it's a newbie thing. you start out using your head like a joystick, but over time you stop thinking about it and the cursor just seems to go where you want it to. Plus your neck muscles learn to compnsate, I guess.

I'm hitting F12 every few minutes because my centering keeps shifting with use, but I suspect that's a matter of finding the right speed. I'll play with settings until I get it right.

I've tried it with Half-Life 2 and was absolutely useless. Couldn't hit someone at point blank range on easy mode. That was when I first started using it though, and I'm improving rapidly at it (no, I'm not a hopeless player. I'm actually pretty good with a mouse. Well, was). I'll compile tips as I learn (eg when your centering drifts in-game you can't recenter, but you can if you hit escape and do it at the menu), and release them here when I can play it well.

Minor gripes:

-The three-point grips don't fit all that well on either my monitor at home (its top is a little smooth) or where my dual monitors meet. The four point crab style grips of the trackir would probably give me more options.
-Sure, I ordered a TrackHat with the SmartNav, but I still thought that at least one reflective dot would have been in the box.
-Nitpick: the smartnav logo in the setup and deployment wizard is scaled up so much that it's blocky. While this is an extremely professional product, it just takes the edge of the professionalism at the time when the user is forming their first impression.

So my mouse arm is now free of pain, because there isn't a mouse arm. I was also a bit apprehensive what the guys at work would think, but I just won the "cool factor" prize around here :)

Five stars!

kalorvoe
Posts: 55
Joined: Sun Jun 29, 2008 7:21 pm

Re: SmartNav first impressions

Post by kalorvoe » Sun Jan 11, 2009 3:53 pm

Just found the easy way to eliminate all the recentering. If the mouse pointer is too far to the left, all you have to do is look at the left edge of your screen! ie use the edges of the screen to "push" the pointer back to where you want it.

You need to be using "Relative", not "Absolute" positioning.

kalorvoe
Posts: 55
Joined: Sun Jun 29, 2008 7:21 pm

Re: SmartNav first impressions

Post by kalorvoe » Sun Jan 11, 2009 3:56 pm

heads up (dada-boom) for Workrave users. Your head is never at rest, so when it's time to stop using the computer, Workrave thinks you're still working.

kalorvoe
Posts: 55
Joined: Sun Jun 29, 2008 7:21 pm

Re: SmartNav first impressions

Post by kalorvoe » Sun Jan 11, 2009 5:36 pm

When MSN popped up a little notification that I had a new hotmail message, the mouse pointer froze. It still responded to the trackball but not the smartnav. 15 seconds or so later it was ok.

kalorvoe
Posts: 55
Joined: Sun Jun 29, 2008 7:21 pm

Re: SmartNav first impressions

Post by kalorvoe » Sun Jan 11, 2009 11:00 pm

It's now the end of the first day at work with the smartnav. I'd envisioned only using it for an hour or two to rest my neck, but I've handled using it the whole day!

I did get a little RSI pain from using the left windows key so much (to click), but I just remapped it to pad + to use my right hand for a while (pedals arrive during the week, so no worries long term).

Great productivity and my workmates are all jealous as hell. A great product, I wish I'd bought it years ago.

VincentG
Posts: 7728
Joined: Mon Jul 17, 2006 5:00 am
Location: Corvallis, Oregon

Re: SmartNav first impressions

Post by VincentG » Mon Jan 12, 2009 12:19 pm

Thanks for the feedback, and please let us know about any other tips/tricks you come up with.

natekh09
Posts: 24
Joined: Wed Jan 07, 2009 10:32 pm
Location: missouri usa

Re: SmartNav first impressions

Post by natekh09 » Thu Jan 15, 2009 11:14 pm

ok for u no-handers. there are other devices to operate games like h-l2, farcry2, quake4 and so on. they provide a speech-click inside smartnav if u baught the feature. to be honest, the smartnav4 and 3 ( yes i still got 3 as a backup) works perfectly, besides the curser moves when i hit my click hotkey in some shooter games, there is work-arounds to this. yes the neck does get stiff overtime but u havto tune the software for your movements and needs, no offence KalorVoe but i had smartnav over 4 to 5 yrs,

kalorvoe
Posts: 55
Joined: Sun Jun 29, 2008 7:21 pm

Re: SmartNav first impressions

Post by kalorvoe » Wed Jul 15, 2009 4:51 pm

Far be it from me to claim a monopoly on helping people, natekh. Advise away :)

I've also found that footpedals can be tricky because when you press with your foot you tend to move your head. The FragPedals I have use solid-state buttons (ie the button doesn't press down), which can alleviate this.

Also I don't know if this actually helps, but when I'm trying to click on something really tiny I tend to hold my breath. Maybe I've just done too much shooting :)

dkehler
Posts: 72
Joined: Thu Dec 07, 2006 1:34 pm

Re: SmartNav first impressions

Post by dkehler » Sat Jul 18, 2009 11:42 am

[quote=KalorVoe]Far be it from me to claim a monopoly on helping people, natekh. Advise away :)

I've also found that footpedals can be tricky because when you press with your foot you tend to move your head. The FragPedals I have use solid-state buttons (ie the button doesn't press down), which can alleviate this.

Also I don't know if this actually helps, but when I'm trying to click on something really tiny I tend to hold my breath. Maybe I've just done too much shooting :) [/quote]
I can totally understand holding your breath. Breathing certainly does move the mouse cursor, so that's not a surprise at all to me.

One thing that I have used in conjunction with the SmartNav to play FPS type games is the Neural Impulse Actuator by OCZ. Simply affix a reflective dot to the headband and you are good to go.

tony3010
Posts: 3
Joined: Tue Dec 02, 2008 1:44 am

Re: SmartNav first impressions

Post by tony3010 » Fri Aug 07, 2009 6:05 pm

[quote=KalorVoe]I've tried it with Half-Life 2 ...[/quote]

Did it work with Half-life 2 just out of the box?

For some reason whenever I use my SmartNav mouse with Half-life 2 it gets extremely jerky (one frame every few seconds). Must be something to do with the mouse driver. I'm running this on a brand-new gaming laptop, so when I'm not using SmartNav it runs just fine on the highest settings.

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