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iStat Menus 3 review

Verdict:

A capable system monitoring tool, with plenty of features.

Review Date: 21 May 2010

Price when reviewed: (about

Reviewed By: Giles Turnbull

Our Rating 5 stars out of 5

Bjango's iStat Menus has long been one of the most popular system monitoring tools. This update is a significant one, most obviously because you now have to pay a small fee. That's not the only big change, though. With this version, iStat Menus is now an application in its own right, and no longer a preference pane.

For newcomers, its behaviour can seem a bit odd. When you quit the application, all the system monitoring widgets it puts in your menu bar remain in sight. To remove widgets, it's necessary to reopen the application and deactivate them from there.

The variety and scope of the widgets is impressive. Having all of them active and showing in your menu bar is overkill, and likely to get in the way on smaller screens. However, each widget offers so much useful information that you might find the price of the app worth paying just to keep one or two in regular use.

Take the CPU Activity widget, for example. If your Mac runs a multi-core processor, you can choose to have the widget display activity for each core separately or to group them together. There are five different icons the widget can display and you decide which ones are visible, in what order they appear, and in some cases how wide they should be.

Then there's the Date & Time widget. It comes with an optional Fuzzy Clock (one that displays text such as 'ten past eight' instead of '8:10'), can show multiple world clocks, and even the phase of the moon. Other features include the Sensors widget, which can tell you how hot your computer's getting at core points in its case.

iStat Menus offers incredible flexibility for a bargain price. If you want to keep an eye on your machine's performance, buy it.

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