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Parallels Toolbox review: Kitchen sink package

Parallels Toolbox review: Kitchen sink package

Parallels Toolbox

Parallels Toolbox is packed with features. While you may not actually use all of them (over 30 and counting), there will come a time where you need just one specific feature, and you're thankful that it's included. Want to download videos from the internet? Check. Want to create a QR code? Check. Want to record a window? Check. The list goes on. If you need the tools and will use them often? Perfect. If not, you're just wasting money.

Quick features

  • Over 30 tools
  • For either Mac or Windows (with same and different tools for each OS)
  • Yearly subscription, or bundled with Parallels Desktop Pro Edition

While Toolbox is great, there are some drawbacks. For one, it's not a buy once, use forever, product. Much like newer software these days, it uses a subscription model, at about S$32 a year. That's not too bad if you frequently use all of the Toolbox's features. But if you're only using some of them once in a while, it may not be worth it. The software does come bundled if you're getting Parallels Desktop Pro Edition (that's a S$160 a year subscription). There's also three months of free access if you're getting the standard edition. Another drawback is that it's pretty much locked to one computer, so you can't get this on your PC, and then use it for your Mac. It's a different story if you're using it with Parallels Desktop Pro Edition though, since your Windows virtual machine will also have the Toolbox.

Parallels Toolbox
So many tools…
Screenshot by Aloysius Low/Can Buy or Not

Otherwise, Parallels Toolbox is handy. There's a built-in unit coverter, which covers just about everything from distances to weight to even currency. Some features, such as Screenshot Page, are Mac only, which is a bummer. You'll have to do that manually on Windows. On the other hand, some tools, such as Measure Colour, are Windows only — letting you quickly pick out colors to use in say, Adobe Photoshop. One tool that's useful for both OSes is Hide Desktop, which hides all your Desktop icons for a cleaner look for when you're letting someone else peek at your computer.

Parallels Toolbox
Screenshot by Aloysius Low/Can Buy or Not

There are a ton of other features, and Parallels regularly adds more products to the package when it inevitably updates its main Parallels Desktop version. I do like Parallels Toolbox and all the cool tools it has, but I find it difficult to justify paying a yearly subscription. In the three weeks since I've installed a review copy, I've mostly used it three times — to download a video, to record an online meeting, and to extract an archive. Most of the other features were tested while reviewing. Honestly, I'd prefer a pay once, then pay a bit more to add new features (if I need them) model.

See Also
PC accessories

Parallels Toolbox is handy, for sure. if you think you will need most of the tools, go ahead and grab it. Otherwise, you should give it a whirl with the seven-day trial first. Get it from the Parallels website here.

Note: Review copy provided by Parallels.

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Great software tools, but it really depends on whether your usage.

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