Being some of the most used apps today, torrent clients allow transferring of Linux distributions, podcasts, and more from one computer to another. With over five popular clients on the Mac platform alone, it’s hard to choose what app to use. Today I’ll be showing you which client prevails.
Note: Torrent clients should only be used to download legal files, such as Linux distributions, video podcasts, or other free and legal content.
BitTorrent, the original torrent client, has been around for years. However, it’s criticized for being underfeatured, and is known for slow speeds in both downloading torrents and starting the app. Since BitTorrent is PowerPC only and not a Universal Binary, slowdowns are expected on Intel Macs. If you’re on a PowerPC, speeds will improve, but features will still remain a rarity. BitTorrent is as basic as a torrent client gets.
Pros: The original.
Cons: Almost featureless, not a Universal Binary, dated UI, slow.
Transmission is a simple, lightweight torrent client that has few features, but is known for it’s blazing speed. The app shows download and upload speeds in the dock icon, auto-forwards network ports to ensure fast downloads, auto-deletes .torrent files, and adds new .torrent files to the download list when downloaded to a specified folder. Transmission also has a ‘Schedule Speed’ feature, where the torrent will download/upload faster or slower at certain times to save bandwith. And best of all, it’s free and open source.
Pros: Simple and lightweight, a solid yet basic feature list.
Cons: Only at version 0.7, may be buggy.
3. Tomato Torrent
Tomato Torrent is one of the simplest clients on the Mac. Think of Tomato Torrent as a Universal Binary, updated version of BitTorrent. It’s extremely simple and has few features, and displays each torrent download in a seperate window, which can a bit messy.
Pros: Universal Binary, open source, light RAM usage.
Cons: Each download is displayed in a seperate window, few features.
Azureus is a Java based cross-platform torrent client, and is known for it’s abundance of features. Although slow due to it’s Java backend, Azureus downloads torrents lightning fast. Azureus is the only Mac torrent client that features Selective Downloading, so the user can choose to download certain files in the torrent and not the whole package. The UI is a radical change from other torrent clients, in that Azureus’ shows legal, ready to download P2P content in the ‘Content’ section. This section of legal downloads is similar to the iTunes Store, and one can search and choose what they want to download. Content includes movie trailers, TV show clips, video podcasts, and more. An alternative interface similar to ones from previous versions of Azureus is available as well. Azureus comes shipped with tons of features, including security options, logging options, and a handful of plugins. Azureus’ features are never limited, as one can download plugins for the app online. Plugins can add features such as improved security options and RSS feeds for torrents.
Pros: Endless options/features, legal content readily available, open source
Cons: Slow, Java, hogs ram, takes up large ammount of screen space.
The newest edition to torrent clients on the Mac, Xtorrent is the latest creation from David Watanabe. Known for the eye candy in his apps, David designed Xtorrent around simplicity and elegance, yet loaded it with useful features and time saving options. Xtorrent can search for torrents via any search engine, can subscribe to RSS feeds for torrents, can organize searches and feeds into folders, automatically loads torrents, and can show download speeds in the dock icon. The UI is fantastic, reflecting NewsFire’s and Acquisition’s interface. The only downside to Xtorrent is it’s price, going for $18.99. Check out our brief Xtorrent Review.
Pros: Stunning UI, just the right amount of features, RSS torrent feeds, built in search, folders and organization.
Cons: No customizable toolbar, a rather large price tag for a torrent client.
Conclusion: Get Xtorrent. Sorry, but we love the RSS feeds, the built in search, and the folders. These three features really make torrent downloading feel a bit more organized and put together. The search feature saves time, and the RSS feeds help keep you up to date on your favourite torrents.
However, if you don’t have the money, go with Transmission. It’s simple and quick and has a good amount of features to keep you happy.
There are tons of other torrent clients, but not all of them are stable or full featured enough for review. Opera and Acquisition download torrents on the side, but aren’t full featured clients. Another worthy mention is BitRocket, an upcoming torrent client. However, BitRocket is in it’s alpha stage and isn’t ready for primetime use.