|Mad Catz M.O.U.S.9 Gaming Mouse|
|Reviews - Featured Reviews: Input Devices|
|Written by David Ramsey|
|Monday, 06 May 2013|
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Did I say "included software"? Silly me. This is the second decade of the 21st century, and distributing software on physical media makes as much sense as toggling bootstrap code into your computer with binary switches. Instead, you download the latest iteration of the software from Mad Catz' web site.
I have to admit, though, that it's nice software. Mad Catz provides both Mac and Windows versions, and they look and function identically, with the only noticeable difference being some OS-specific functions in the "Shortcuts" panel. The software uses a simple drag and drop interface to assign functions to each of the 10 programmable mouse buttons: you drag items out of the panel on the right, and drop them in the box pointing to the mouse button you want to assign the function to.
At the right of the window are four tabs: Shortcuts, Keys, Favorites, and Custom. The first tab has a list of general and platform-specific functions. For example, on the Mac software, you have OS X-specific functions like "Dashboard" and "Expose", while the Windows version of the software has Windows-specific functions like "Instant Switcher" (to switch between running programs). The Keys panel is a simple list of every character you can type; if you want multi-key sequences, you use the Custom tab to define them. Below, I define a custom command to press Left Command + F1 on my Mac keyboard, which I've defined to invoke a Photoshop macro to run auto brightness, auto color, and auto contrast on an image.
You can assign any picture to your custom command by clicking the "Browse" button at the lower left of the window, or use the default "Mad Catz slashes".
Any standard function, key stroke, or custom command can be moved into the Favorites tab by right-clicking on it and selecting "Add to Favorites". Groups of mouse button definitions can be defined as "Profiles", which are visible when you click the arrow icon at the left side of the window:
...and you can link a profile to a specific application by right-clicking on the profile name and selecting the application you want it to apply to. On the Mac, this feature doesn't work as designed: you'll initially be taken to the Applications folder, but it will appear to be empty. Navigating up to the root level of the disk, and then back down to Applications, will make the applications appear. If you need to go into a folder inside Applications, as you might when assigning profiles to a Microsoft Office application, you'll need do the same thing again: move up a level, then back down. So the sequence to assign a profile to Word would be:
The Settings button at the top of the window takes you to a screen that shows the remaining battery life, and lets you adjust the precision aim button (if you haven't defined it for something else), and assign specific actions to the left and right tilt of the mouse wheel (again, if you haven't defined other functions for those actions.) Under OS X, there's also a shortcut button to the OS X Mouse Settings.
Last, the Support tab provides a quick way, via links to Mad Catz' web site, to get driver updates, download profiles, and other information.
So how is the mouse to use? I describe my experiences with the Mad Catz M.O.U.S.9 in the final section.