Review: Desktop Stopwatch is accurate but Spartan in the exteme | Download Product Review - CNET

Review: Desktop Stopwatch is accurate but Spartan in the exteme

This portable desktop stopwatch is super-compact but also super-basic.

A desktop stopwatch is something many PC users will need at some point or another--some regularly--so UT Bay's Desktop Stopwatch caught our attention. It's a super-compact, totally portable stopwatch app that can time intervals down to centiseconds (tenths of a second), a level of precision that many similar tools can't match. Unfortunately, Desktop Stopwatch lacks many of the options its competitors offer, such as countdown mode and interface options like numeral size and color. However, its total portability, very small size (68K), and centiseconds option will suit many users' needs, if not all their wants.

Desktop Stopwatch downloads as an uncompressed executable file, and it's portable, so the program opened immediately. Desktop Stopwatch's timer display has green numerals displaying hours, minutes, and seconds, with centiseconds displayed in smaller numerals beneath the seconds counter. The tool has four buttons: Start, Stop, Reset, and Hide. Right-clicking the interface brought up a menu with the app's only options, Hide Stopwatch and Hide Centiseconds, plus Online Help, though with a broken Web link. By default, Desktop Stopwatch is always on top, though we could drag its compact interface anywhere on the desktop. Clicking "Hide" sent the clock display to the system tray; clicking the program's system tray app restored it.

We clicked "Start," and Desktop Stopwatch started counting the interval. Pressing "Stop" stopped the count. But that's all Desktop Stopwatch does. We couldn't copy the data to the clipboard, for instance; nor is there a log file to record timings. We tried Desktop Stopwatch with and without the small centiseconds counter active, but there's little difference: The extra display is unobtrusive, though we appreciate the option. But once we'd started and stopped Desktop Stopwatch, turned the Centiseconds counter on and off, and hidden and recalled the clock display, we'd pretty much exhausted its bag of tricks. If you're looking for the cyber version of a very basic but accurate stopwatch, Desktop Stopwatch belongs on your short list. But we recommend trying some of the other freeware stopwatch apps available to download, many of which offer additional, useful capabilities and far more options than it does.

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