A month ago, when I needed to get a new laptop for work, I switched from a MacBook Pro to a Dell XPS 9750, saving £100’s of pounds for what on paper is an almost identical laptop. Except it isn’t. Dell’s XPS is astonishingly good, and it’s a priviledge to own one, but I’ve become an Apple devotee over the years and can’t change it. My days are spent programming for Windows so I need a fast PC development environment and therefore the XPS makes sense. With the MBP I need to use VMWare Fusion or Parallels, and Apple are really pushing my (and other people’s) limits by charging so much money for memory and SSD upgrades. So I went for the XPS.
Of all the little things I miss, 3 finger dragging is way up there. To be fair, the XPS’s trackpad is one of the best out there for Windows laptops, and with Windows 10 there is a double-tap to drag gesture which is fantastic. But the trackpad is too small and two taps (versus a single 3-finger drag) are one tap too many.
After a bit of Googling, I found Magic Utilities, a company that make drivers and utilities for Apple wireless keyboards, the magic mouse, and the Magic Trackpad. When I used Windows as a virtual machine on the MBP I got used to a particular mapping of the Alt and Cmd keys; the keyboard utility app lets me restore these mapping. Also, I’ve just discovered that the Eject key now becomes delete, although my fingers have 5 years of muscle memory which means that delete = Function + Backspace.
(Now, with the Apple keyboard, the function and control keys are where they should be IMO! There are loads of people asking Dell whether it’s possible to swap these keys on the Dell keyboards but it really can’t be done.)
Apple’s wireless Magic Trackpad performs terribly on Windows 10 by default. There are few (if any) gestures, and the whole feel of the cursor on the screen is terrible. Magic Utilities Trackpad app changes this completely:
Now I can scroll, drag, single-finder tap, and not a mechanical click in sight.
I’ve now bought a one year licence after trialling this for a couple of weeks without any problems. Now I work with the XPS lid closed and just the wireless mouse and keyboard in front of an external 4K monitor.
For the odd occasional where I might work 12 hours a day the little things, both positive and negative, soon accumulate, so the ~£20 cost of this bundle is really a bargain.
Now if I could just find a similar utility to turn Windows 10 into Mac OS… 😀