Snow Leopard Review! 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 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 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 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 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 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.