Once you get used to using it & programming the buttons to your most used commands you'll wonder why didn't I do this earlier. Most people once they get used to using one of the 3D controllers will go nuts when they have to use someone elses computer that doesn't have one. I do agree that the button layout on the Spacepilot both original & new is not the most ergonomic of the layouts they have especially for those with large hands but still beats trying to locate the keys on the keyboard.
Also keep in mind that you can generate your own key combination commands in the 3DConnexion Control panel if the ones that come with the programs you use aren't enough.
Here is the button mapping I settled on (some are still in process):
3- Shaded with edges
4- View planes
5- View temp axes
4-Filter suface badies
5-Filter solid bodies
R: Normal To
I line my spacepilot up right next to my keyboard so I don't feel it's necessary to use alt, control, and shift on the pilot. But I do find the ESC pilot key a major time saver.