Full Snow Leopard 10.6 Review (With pictures!)

Discussion in 'macOS' started by Pickleman77, Aug 25, 2009.

  1. Pickleman77 macrumors member

    Pickleman77

    Joined:
    Dec 26, 2007
    #1

    Snow Leopard Review!




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    Hey everyone! Been using 10A432 for the past few days, and upon seeing that it is definitely the GM build, I decided it was time to do a review. Note that while the OS I'm using was obtained through nontraditional methods, I have the actual disk pre-ordered and ready to go. Anyways, on to the review!

    First Impressions

    Upon finishing my installation, I was greeted with the exact same welcome movie as the one in Leopard. Not too big of a deal, but the intro movies have always been one of my favorite parts of a new OS X installation, so I was a bit disappointed. As the recognizable movie played, I noticed that the colors overall seemed deeper, with much darker blacks than I had remembered. It actually looks really nice and much less washed out than previous versions. This is due to the increase in gamma from 1.8 to 2.2, the Apple website told me. For the most part, though, the overall foundation of the OS seemed familiar, which is not much of a bad thing. After using 10.6 for a few of my everyday tasks such as e-mail, browsing the web, and going through Finder, I noticed a significant increase in speed, but not in anything in particular. Everything just seemed to be faster, and I'm not quite sure why.


    QuickTime X

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    One of the first features I tried out was the all new QuickTime X. Upon launching the application, I instantly tried out the screen recording function. The interface is basically a window with a red button to start recording, which is all you need to do to get into the action. After you press it, the window disappears, and it seems as though nothing is happening, except for a stop button in the menu bar. There didn't seem to be any slowdown while I used it, which I thought was very impressive. Then there's the audio recording which definitely beats using GarageBand for simple voice recording, but is a little too simple to contain any key features. Videos seemed to play back well, and the new interface proved to be elegant and useful when watching movies. Controls were there when they were needed, and gone when they weren't. Video quality also seemed better than it did in Leopard, which is either because of the gamma change or OpenCL, or possibly both. Either way, QuickTime X blows 7 out of the water, and may even replace VLC for most of my video-watching needs.


    Finder, Dock, and Stacks



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    Finder has improved quite a bit since last time around. Rewritten in Cocoa, it's now blazing fast and sports a few new features. First and foremost, my favorite addition of all was the easy navigation in stacks. No longer will clicking a folder in grid mode open a new window. Instead, it instantly switches to the contents of the folder within the grid view. To go back, there's a little back button on the top left corner (pictured above). One other thing I noticed was that right clicking anything in the dock brings up an HUD-style menu with the same options available in Leopard. I've always kind of been a fan of HUD in OS X, but I wish Apple could have either made all right-click menus look like this, or none at all. It seems a little out of place, but it's nothing that bothers me too much.

    Finder has a new slider bar on the bottom left corner for resizing thumbnails. I don't really care about it, but it's nice, I guess. Zooming icons can also be controlled by pinching, which I like, because multitouch gestures are always fun. Also, when you drag to create a selection box, it fades away quickly when you let go, which I also though was a nice little touch. Overall, even though the app was totally rewritten, it feels like the same old Finder I know and love.

    Exposé



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    Exposé has been improved a bit as well. Windows now have titles under them when being displayed in Exposé, which is helpful if you can't see the window completely. Also, it can be enabled for individual applications, as well. To do this, all you have to do his hold down the mouse button on the application of your choice in the dock. I'm fine with just using Exposé for all my windows at once, but this could be helpful if you're one of those people with tons of windows open at one time with a bunch of different apps.


    Other Stuff



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    Snow Leopard is more about the under-the-hood refinements, so it's a bit difficult to review. There are a couple more features I felt were worth noting, though. First of all, many of the main apps (Finder, Safari, iChat, and Mail to name a few) are 64-bit! This is good news, but the kernel still remains 32-bit which is a bit disappointing. iChat Theater resolutions have been upped to 640x480, which is a nice addition. Also, video chatting only requires 300kbps, a third of what it required before. There's also a nice "Put Back" function that was supplied in OS 9 which made a return in Snow Leopard, which I'm sure will be useful in many cases. Also, the Chinese handwriting recognition is really cool. I don't speak Chinese, but it was kind of fun to use it to doodle on my trackpad. :)

    The Verdict



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    Overall, Snow Leopard is a solid addition to OS X. Although most features are performance tweaks like Grand Central Dispatch and OpenCL, there are a few new features that make the 10.6 a pleasure to use. From what I've heard, the new performance features will reveal themselves more as time goes on and as developers put the new features to work. At 30 dollars, there's really no reason not to upgrade from Leopard.
     
  2. zerostar macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Apr 28, 2008
    Location:
    South Florida
    #2
    Good review! I agree 100% :) Thanks for taking the time to write this up! :apple:
     
  3. cpnotebook80 macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Feb 4, 2007
    Location:
    Toronto
    #3
    I too installed SL on macbookpro 13" tonite
    It seems fine with few adjustments here and there that i notice.
    One thing to note is 64 bit.
    If you click on activity monitor, it will show you the apps and processes and whether it is 64bit which is cool.
    however, hope that adobe photoshop cs4 releases 64 bit!

    PS i did a geekbench 32bit score
    my score didnt change much went from 3150 to 3217 in 32bit mode.
     
  4. Pickleman77 thread starter macrumors member

    Pickleman77

    Joined:
    Dec 26, 2007
    #4
    Ah, yeah, 64-bit support is nice, but it's kind of disappointing the kernel isn't. Oh well. I'll add that in.
     
  5. cpnotebook80 macrumors 6502a

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    Toronto
    #5
    i just tired the geekbench 64bit on my mbp and WHOW
    it jumped to 3566
    :eek:
     
  6. zerostar macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Apr 28, 2008
    Location:
    South Florida
    #6
    I had the same experience. Seems that booting with 64bit kernel didn't speed up anything at all, but running (some) apps in 64bit gave them quite the the boot-to-the-butt in performance! So Apple made this work very well (with or without 64bit kernel, who cares) and I am so glad I upgraded to an iMac C2D....

    Now only if OpenCL/H.264 gets working on my HD2600 ;)
     
  7. cpnotebook80 macrumors 6502a

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    Feb 4, 2007
    Location:
    Toronto
    #7
    the safari versions is 4.0.3 and very fast compared to the leopard version.
    i never usually used it mostly firefox, but stuff seems to be speeding along.
     
  8. Pickleman77 thread starter macrumors member

    Pickleman77

    Joined:
    Dec 26, 2007
    #8
    I've never been much of a Safari person either. I couldn't live without FireFox's customization. Safari does seem to be pretty snappy, though.

    (Just added a section on Exposé)
     
  9. cpnotebook80 macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Feb 4, 2007
    Location:
    Toronto
    #9
    haha
    just noticed something interesting. I was going through the wallpapers and i see the new added ones mixed with the old leopard. There is also the actual snow leopard desktop image that is packaged with the SL disc. Unfortunately, they forgot to wipe away the bloody mouth of this one hehe:)
     
  10. Krafty macrumors 601

    Krafty

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    #10
    I am still a little bit damned that Adobe decided to fold its arms in request for CS3 support under Snow Leopard.
     
  11. integrat.ethis macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Oct 28, 2008
    #11
    I've got a question for you about the gamma. Did they redo the interface colors to look the same as they do under 1.8 in Leopard? Or does everything look richer and darker as it does under 2.2 gamma in Leopard?
     
  12. cpnotebook80 macrumors 6502a

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    Feb 4, 2007
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    Toronto
    #12
    the iLife suite is still in 32 bit and maybe in the future will be released in 64.
    imovie would work great if it were.:eek:

    If a new Itunes comes out in sept, hopefully it will make use of SL new under the hood improvements.
     
  13. Tallest Skil macrumors P6

    Tallest Skil

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    Aug 13, 2006
    Location:
    1 Geostationary Tower Plaza
    #13
    $.

    All that matters. :( "Buy CS4 or CS5."
     
  14. Pickleman77 thread starter macrumors member

    Pickleman77

    Joined:
    Dec 26, 2007
    #14
    I had 2.2 in Leopard, and for some reason the colors look richer and darker in SL. Maybe it's just my imagination. :p
     
  15. Krafty macrumors 601

    Krafty

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    #15
    As I said before, giving their status on flash, I had a pretty good feeling they were going to pull that movie.
     
  16. reservedegotist macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Aug 19, 2009
    #16
    Just wondering, how much space did you free up?

    Also for Quicktime X, did you need to download any additional codecs and what not?
     
  17. Pickleman77 thread starter macrumors member

    Pickleman77

    Joined:
    Dec 26, 2007
    #17
    I didn't check beforehand, but it seemed to have freed up a good deal of space. Maybe somewhere around 4 or 5 gigs. And I have Perian installed, so I'm not sure if that's what did it for me, but AVIs play fine. I'm not sure what other formats will work, though.
     
  18. eldivino macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jan 5, 2009
    #18
    Nice. Thanks for the review. I can't wait for friday.
     
  19. HiFiGuy528 macrumors 68000

    HiFiGuy528

    Joined:
    Jul 24, 2008
    #19
    Nice review! Question: Will QuickTime X record Flash videos off sites like HuLu?
     
  20. ElijahPost macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jul 11, 2008
    #20
    I'm stoked for each and every single new feature and technology in Snow Leopard! I can hardly wait!!!!
     
  21. devburke Guest

    Joined:
    Oct 16, 2008
    #21
    Interesting question. I just assumed it only recorded the screen, not the audio output.
     
  22. devburke Guest

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    Oct 16, 2008
    #22
    Personally I find it really surprising that people aren't more excited for the Stacks updates. They're gonna make Stacks a ton more useful!
     
  23. kryptonianjorel macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jul 3, 2009
    #23
    Thanks a lot for the review, it was very interesting!
     
  24. ozziegn macrumors 6502a

    ozziegn

    Joined:
    Aug 16, 2007
    Location:
    Central FL Area
    #24
    actually, at $9.99 (thanks to the up-to-date program), I see no reason not to update to Snow Leopard either. :)
     
  25. Pickleman77 thread starter macrumors member

    Pickleman77

    Joined:
    Dec 26, 2007
    #25
    Err, I suppose you could, but it would be stuck with everything else on your screen, and you'd have to use your microphone as the audio source, so quality would suck. You could in theory, though. I wouldn't rely on it.
     

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