BitRocket, Xtorrent, Tomato Torrent, BitTyrant, Bits on Wheels. These are some of the torrent clients for OS X. But let’s be honest, they probably don’t sound familiar to you because they’re outshone by the two gargantuas of the torrent world, Vuze (formerly known as Azureus) and Transmission, a lightweight but very capable torrent client.
Prior to switching to a Mac, Azureus has always been my torrent client of choice on my Windows PC. At that time, there weren’t many other clients for it to compete with and even though it was heavy on memory usage, I’d still prefer it over ABC or BitLord. Yes, it was that long ago.
After I got my hands on my first Mac, I was hoping to seek comfort in the soft familiar bosom of Azureus but I found myself sorely disappointed. I was running Tiger on a Mac Mini with 1GB of memory, so imagine what would happen if I opened Azureus, iTunes and Safari at the same time. Spinning Beachball galore. So, I turned to Transmission.
Back then, Transmission was still a young child yet to be nurtured. It was buggy and I had to depend on nightly builds to get the most of the application. What made matters worse, Transmission was not allowed on most torrent sites which kept a record of their user ratio. So, I had to revert back to Azureus and suffer the endless wrath of the beachball.
A lot has happened since then. uTorrent debuted as a lightweight torrent client for Windows and has been hugely successful. Azureus is now known as Vuze due to its “legal” content. And Transmission is finally usable – actually it is more than just that, it turned out to be pretty darn great.
A few months ago, I was reading about how good Transmission has become. A lot of Mac users were trying to use Transmission to trump Vuze and the other way around. I decide to investigate this myself and see how transmission compares vs. Vuze.
Finally, a Transmission I can depend on. It has been smooth sailing so far. Compared to Vuze, Transmission is so much quicker to launch, much lighter to run and causes less strain on my Mac. Previously, my MacBook would run a little slower every time a torrent completes and Vuze starts to verify the downloaded data. Transmission doesn’t even have that feature – a blessing in disguise. Nevertheless, my downloaded data is always perfectly spot on.
Then uTorrent comes along, with its strong Windows pedigree, hoping to penetrate into the Mac torrent world. Has it succeeded? Not quite.
With all the devoted Transmission fans, it is not easy for this New Kid On The Block to instantly change the minds of those who have helped Transmission become what it is today. Based on uTorrent’s marketing campaign: Lightweight, Feature rich and High Performance; being vague is not going to help it to supersede Transmission. One could also use those exact words to describe Transmission, so what’s the difference? What is the main defining quality of uTorrent that will make the committed Transmission users to switch over? As far as I can see, there is none.
uTorrent for Mac is currently in beta, which means that it is still under heavy development. It is not as “Feature rich” as they make it sound, a quick sift through its preferences reveal nothing spectacular. It is almost identical to Transmission. Have a look at their settings below: Transmission is on the left, uTorrent is on the right.
Transmission vs uTorrent (Settings Menu)
Compared with its Windows brethren, uTorrent for Mac isn’t even capable of selective file downloading from torrents with multiple files; and doesn’t include support for RSS feeds. Futhermore, it is Leopard only, a big turn off since most of the users who are looking forward to this application would probably be running it on older machines.
So, the answer is No. uTorrent is not a viable option for Transmission. At least not yet. But if you still want to give it a chance, you may download it here. Let us know what is missing from uTorrent and whether or not you’d switch over from Transmission.