When it comes to consumer input devices for the Mac, the Kensington Turbo Mouse Pro — called a mouse though it is in fact a trackball — is the definition of quality, and quantity. With multiple programmable buttons, this input device is well worth considering if you spend a lot of time using a mouse or trackball. But it doesn’t come cheap.
The Turbo Mouse Pro features a large trackball but its most noticeable features are its many buttons: four fully programmable buttons surround the trackball, a fully programmable scroll wheel is centered above the ball, and six semi-programmable “easy launch” buttons lay across the top of the device. Every single button can be customized in the Kensington MouseWorks Control Panel.
The four main buttons and the scroll wheel button are fully programmable to perform specific actions, ranging from the standard clicking and double-clicking, to inserting a block of text or launching programs and menu items. Furthermore, through the included MouseWorks software, users can assign additional functions to combinations of buttons. In combination, the buttons can be set to perform various system-wide tasks and customized tasks within specified applications. For example, the upper right button can be set to double-click system wide, control-click in Microsoft Word, and drag in Adobe Photoshop. The MouseWorks software also allows users to set scrolling speed and cursor movement settings for specific programs.
In addition to programming buttons, Kensington’s MouseWorks software offers numerous system-wide features. Users can adjust cursor accelerations for general, fast, and slow mouse movement and button click speed. A rest reminder aids in preventing repetitive stress injuries by alerting users to the duration they have been using the mouse continuously.
The six function buttons across the top of the Turbo Mouse Pro are new to this Pro version. Each button can be programmed to open a program, file, or Web address. But, unlike the main buttons, none of these six function buttons can be programmed to perform functions within specific applications. These buttons are nice for quickly launching commonly used applications; they add pizzazz but not a great deal more functionality.
The additional row of buttons makes the Kensington Turbo Mouse Pro the ultimate programmable input device. But, the device has grown quite large, to the point where it now sports a sizable footprint. If desktop real estate is at a premium, or if you have small hands, this probably isn’t the device for you.
The Kensington Turbo Mouse Pro comes with beta software for Mac OS X but, as of press time, the drivers did not yet function with OS X 10.1.
Macworld’s Buying Advice
The Kensington Turbo Mouse Pro is well made and comes with excellent software. Users who perform many repetitive tasks with an input device, or who must use their input device for extended periods of time, will certainly benefit from investing in this product, if size or cost is not an issue.
The Kensington Turbo Mouse Pro