Windows only: Shareware app Enso is an application launcher and extensible command interface designed to help you perform more actions quickly and easily from the comfort of your keyboard.
To begin with, let's make the obvious comparison. Enso is intended to be a Quicksilver-like application for Windows. For starters, it's an app launcher. We've seen plenty of those for Windows, though, most notably Launchy. It's the functionality beyond app launching that should make Enso stand out over its Windows competitors. So how does it stack up?
Enso can perform calculations, manipulate text and windows, and spellcheck in any app. After reading all kinds of Enso press, and after watching the demo video on their homepage, I was eager to try it out (after all, I'm a rabid Quicksilver lover). Unfortunately I wasn't thrilled with the results.
For anyone who's actually delved into Quicksilver, Enso, quite frankly, sucks. Here's why:
Problem 1: The Caps Lock hotkey Invoking launchers with a hotkey is great. Enso takes over your Caps Lock key, meaning that not only does Caps Lock no longer work (which isn't terrible), but you actually have to hold down Caps Lock while you type commands. Suddenly you're a nine-fingered typist (apparently a, z, and q aren't that important?). Since Enso has absolutely no settings configurations, you can't do anything about it.
Problem 2: It's expensive The Enso Launcher and Enso Spellcheck and Dictionary apps are two different programs, requiring two different licenses. Launcher costs $25, Words costs $40. While they don't do everything that the Enso prodcuts do, Launchy, Colibri, or SlickRun are all great launchers with a bit of added functionality - and they're all freeware. There's less in the freeware realm for universal spellchecking, but there are available options.
Problem 3: Enso is somewhat one-dimensional While this is certainly up for debate, I found the Enso interface to be limiting. It's attractive enough, to be sure, but it doesn't provide you with an overarching framework for understanding how to operate with the tool. Enso operates exclusively with commands, meaning that there's no subject-action-object type interface provided by a truly powerful tool like Quicksilver. Additionally, Enso doesn't let you navigate your filesystem from its command line, meaning that if you are manipulating or performing actions with a file, you have to go through all the regular navigation work to do it (as opposed to Quicksilver).
The only thing I really liked about Enso was the "go" command, which indexes every window and tab (even Firefox tabs) and lets you go directly to it. So you'd press and hold Caps Lock, type
go lifehacker, then release Caps Lock, and - if Lifehacker is open somewhere on your computer - you should be taken to that window/tab.
The upshot is, I'm not impressed. If there's something I'm missing, let me know, but this is one app that's not worth anyone's money yet.