Colossus — A brief review


About a month ago, when I upgraded to Mac OS X 10.11 El Capitan, I found out that one of my favourite system/network monitoring tool, MenuMeters, was not compatible with the latest version of Mac OS X. I had been using MenuMeters since Mac OS X 10.4 Tiger, mostly for monitoring network throughput because my wireless home network has been experiencing periods of high instability. Having the ability to just glance at the menubar and see the network activity and throughput is quite handy, and once you get accustomed to a monitoring tool such as MenuMeters, you can’t fathom being without one.

So I immediately looked for alternatives, and the first two solutions that were recommended to me — as mentioned in my previous article — were iStat Menus 5 by Bjango, and Colossus by Sparkfield. Later mentions included Monity by Lukasz Kulis, and MenuBar Stats 2 by Fabrice Leyne. And finally, I was notified by email that Yuji Tachikawa has written a port of MenuMeters to work under Mac OS X 10.11.

As I wrote previously, I quickly opted for iStat Menus because I’m already familiar with Bjango’s products, and I appreciate the high level of customisation iStat Menus provides. Then, a few days after publishing my article, Saxby Brown at Sparkfield, developer of Colossus, contacted me and kindly provided me with a copy of the app. The least I can do is talking about it a bit more.

I have used Colossus for the past couple of weeks, sometimes instead of iStat Menus, sometimes along with it. I think that Colossus is a very nice application that does its job quite well. If you don’t need all the features and customisation options provided by iStat Menus, you should consider Colossus as a valid and more affordable alternative. Brown said to me: I know that iStat Menus has more features but I tried to keep Colossus clean and simple, and I’d say he’s done a good job in that department.

Colossus can display information about CPU, memory, network, battery and storage. You can customise what kind of information you want displayed on the menubar, and more, by entering the Preferences panel:

Colossus Preferences 1

At the top, in the Menubar Widgets area, you can see a preview of how the widgets you choose will look in the menubar. The Add Widget drop-down menu lets you choose which kind of widget you want on the menubar, and how it should display the data:

Colossus Preferences 2

If you’re feeling minimalist, with Colossus you can even choose to remove all widgets from the menubar, and just have the Dock icon display two different sets of data in a more fuzzy, analogue way. Just choose from the drop-down menus in the Dock Icon area of the Preferences.

One last feature worth noting is Clean Memory, a quick way to free and release unused memory.

Once you have everything set up, no matter which widgets you chose to have in the menubar, when you click on any one of them, you’ll see a comprehensive info window listing all data Colossus is monitoring (see the screenshots on Colossus’ website for an example).

I’ll say it again, if you’re looking for a solid replacement to MenuMeters that works seamlessly under Mac OS X 10.11, you should definitely check out Colossus.

Colossus is available on the Mac App Store at the very reasonable price of $3.99.

The Author

Writer. Translator. Mac consultant. Enthusiast photographer. • If you like what I write, please consider supporting my writing by purchasing my short stories, Minigrooves or by making a donation. Thank you!