I've been programming for close to 10 years (focusing on 3d graphics) and have been modeling in 3d for the past couple of years. On thing I've noticed is how inadequate the 2d mouse is for doing any kind of 3d work. I've wanted a SpaceBall/Mouse for quite some time (back since they added support for Descent) but I could never afford to spend $300 or more on a controller. I'm so glad you guys at 3dConnection have brought out the SpaceNavigator at an affordable price for the consumer market. I've finally got to see it in action myself and there is no going back. No question, the best peripheral of all time.
I honestly do not understand how I ever modeled in 3d without one of these 3d input devices. The camera just moves around silky smooth, exactly how you want it. I've struggled with the camera control in both max and maya for so long, I would have never thought there was such a simple solution. This controller is absolutely essential for any type of realtime 3d work. The SpaceNavigator is for 3d what the Wacom tablet is to 2d. It is honestly the best $60 I've ever spent on a PC peripheral. Not only does it work as advertised, but it also does increase productivity. Its not just the marketing, its the real deal.
If you are reading this and you don't yet have one, please, stop reading and proceed to click the "buy now" button. The SpaceNavigator is worth every penny and more for $59 or $99 even. This thing will pay for itself in only a week. You will not regret the purchase. Amazing product.