Adjust Your OS X Mouse & Trackpad with CursorSense

good
key review info
application features
  • get the ideal cursor movement
  • (7 more, see all...)

While it is possible to adjust cursor movement via the tracking speed in the mouse and trackpad pref-panes in the OS X System Preferences, many users have difficulties finding an ideal setting. CursorSense aims to fill this void by adjusting cursor acceleration and speed, allowing users to move the cursor just like they’d move their hand. The solution is particularly helpful for drawing, and all mice and trackpads are supported.


The looks

Being a preferences pane application, CursorSense features a single-window interface where you can control everything. All the gauges and knobs are there for your tweaking pleasure, and you get a couple of help menus that do a really great job at explaining what every control does.

For example, the Speed Adjustment Help menu includes standard values for certain types of usage. It explains how bigger values for Acceleration are good for moving the cursor over a long distance, for users working on a big Thunderbolt display, or a 27-inch iMac.

For people who use their Mac to draw stuff, setting Acceleration to 0 will make the cursor movement flat. This is just one of the many tips included with the documentation.

The Acceleration and Speed cursors are placed right smack in the middle, enabling you to make a good idea about what the most important element of the application is. If you know what you’re using it for, these two sliders are the only things you need to worry about.

Underneath the Acceleration and Speed sliders, you have the highly-useful “Restore System Defaults” button (in case you mess something up), a tick box to disable Acceleration/Speed, and a lock to prevent any accidental input while you’re working to tweak something else.

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A cleverly-designed graph gives you visual feedback of the changes you’re making on the fly (a preview function), and underneath it there is a “Favorite Settings” pane where you can set default values for multiple devices.

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The controls, however, could use a bit more color for a clearer distinction of what each one does.

The works

As I mentioned above, if you’re grabbing CursorSense to finally rid OS X of the mouse acceleration, you’re probably going to start moving those sliders before you even notice all the other controls. But don’t be too anxious. Although there’s a handy CMD+Z undo function, you really want to get the best experience out of CursorSense.

Here’s one scenario.

If you’re a Windows user picking up on a Mac for the first time, you’ll probably notice something different about the way the mouse cursor moves about. While Windows uses speed to adjust the cursor movement, OS X uses acceleration. Don’t ask why. Apple just wanted to “think different.” Apparently, for most of the company’s fan base, it works like a charm.

Here’s what you need to do. Just set the Acceleration to 0.01 in CursorSense, and you’ll be able to use Speed to adjust the cursor movement to approximate the experience in Microsoft’s operating system. Slide it to where it feels most comfortable and start enjoying OS X.

For people who use a Magic Trackpad or their MacBook’s built-in trackpad to draw, CursorSense will fell like a gift from the heavens (maybe more so if Plentycom Systems dropped the price a bit).

OS X’s acceleration may be useful in many situations, but drawing and gaming certainly aren’t those situations. For these users, setting Acceleration to 0 will allow them to adjust their cursor’s movement for an optimum experience.

Sure enough, there are applications that can benefit from more acceleration. CursorSense works just as well for that, enabling you to enhance Acceleration, leaving Speed in a trail of dust, if you will.

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The Good

Creatives who depend on their mice and trackpads to put bread on the table will undoubtedly welcome the arrival of CursorSense on the scene. Acting like a native OS X preference pane, it makes tweaking Speed and Acceleration a breeze. Not to mention that you can set default options for multiple devices. It also supports virtually any point-and-click device, and its interface couldn’t be more straightforward (including the comprehensive help menus).

The Bad

You can’t say a lot of negative stuff about such a useful utility, but if there’s one thing that clearly needs some tweaking, it’s the price. Plentycom Systems charges $12.99 USD (€10) for a piece of software that does much of what other solutions offer for free. Granted, its extensive set of features justifies the need for a price tag, but I’d suggest a single-digit fee for this app.

The truth

Pref-pane apps generally have a lot more to offer than meets the eye, and this is clearly the case with CursorSense. While the developers could throw in more color to make the controls a tad more visible, the undisputed usefulness of CursorSense makes up for any minor drawback one may find in the long run.
user interface 3
features 3
ease of use 3
pricing / value 1


final rating 3
Editor's review
good
 
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