Apple Snow Leopard Reviews A Mixed Bag

While many reviewers agree that Apple released an operating system that adds some new features at an attractive price, the debate over whether Apple's Snow Leopard is a full-fledged operating system or a "service pack" remains.

Snow Leopard, which is expected to be available Friday for $29, is heralded as the lowest-price Mac OS in eight years. Apple has said that Snow Leopard promises to boost speed, increase disk space and add a host of new features.

Some reviewers praised Snow Leopard for its affordability and updates.

"The result is a Mac OS X update unlike any in recent memory, one that boosts speeds, reclaims disk space, tweaks dozens of features and lays the groundwork for a new generation of computers that feature 64-bit multicore microprocessors, ultrapowerful graphics processors and massive amounts of memory," wrote Macworld in its five-page, mostly glowing Snow Leopard review. "These features, combined with the low upgrade price, make Snow Leopard the biggest no-brainer of an upgrade since Mac OS X 10.1. (And that upgrade, the aged among us will recall, was completely free.)"

Sponsored post

Still, Macworld lamented that Snow Leopard is "a collection of feature tweaks and upgrades, as well as under-the-hood modifications that might not pay off for users immediately. But the price of upgrading is so low that I've really got to recommend it for all but the most casual, low-impact Mac users. If you've got a 32-bit Intel Mac (that is, one powered by a Core Solo or Core Duo processor), the benefit of this upgrade will be a little less."

A snapshot of reviews from around the Internet and the Blogosphere reveal that Snow Leopard is a mixed bag. Some reviews griped about Snow Leopard working on only Intel Macs. Others said Snow Leopard's speediness was worth every penny (all 2,900, if you're keeping count). And still others claimed Snow Leopard wasn't fast enough.

Fudzilla blogger Nick Farrell claims Apple shipped early editions of Snow Leopard to its BFFs in a bid to sway the reviews.

"Apple has sent out copies of its Snow Leopard service pack to its mates ... in the hope of scoring good reviews," Farrell wrote. "Apple has a list of half a dozen or so fanboys it sends stuff to and makes sure that people who have written nasty stuff about it in the past never get a whiff of anything. This way you can be assured that the reviewers are all Apple users who have little experience of other systems and will write nice things."

The best features available in Apple Snow Leopard, or Mac OS X 10.6, have been a part of Microsoft Windows for years, Farrell contends, calling Apple's Snow Leopard updates "minimal changes."

Still, over at Engadget, Joshua Topolsky praised Snow Leopard's swiftness, noting that running the 64-bit Mac OS X means applications can access massive amounts of RAM and other tasks can go faster. Additionally, the Finder has been re-written in Cocoa, something Macheads have been demanding since version 10.0; there's a new version of QuickTime; and now there's support for Exchange in Mail, iCal and Address Book, he wrote.

"It's hard to explain how dramatically improved the Finder is now," Topolsky wrote. "The Cocoa rewrite has simply made things better: opening folders with thousands of items is instantaneous and scrolling is just as fast; network connections are snappier; and everything hums about with essentially zero lag ... It's hard not to look at how well Snow Leopard integrates with Exchange and see exactly why Microsoft decided to kill Entourage and bring a proper version of Outlook to the Mac ... until then, we think OS X users who need Exchange will be pretty happy."

And in its lengthy review, CNET shrugged it's shoulders, highlighting the good and the bad, coming to the conclusion that the latest Mac OS X version is a good move for some, and not for others. Like Engadget, CNET recommended Snow Leopard for Mac users seeking Exchange support.

"Overall, we think that Snow Leopard did almost everything Apple says it set out to do: it refined and enhanced Leopard to make it easier to use," CNET wrote. "Though the system performs well in everyday use, many of our tests indicate it is slightly slower than the older version of Leopard in more intensive application processes. Still, we highly recommend upgrading for all the new features and Microsoft Exchange support."