BitTorrent review

A fast and efficient way to download and share files? What's to dislike?

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Our Verdict

A capable tool, but one that's let down by ads and outshone by any number of competing clients with more features and control.

For

  • It's free
  • Simple to use and configure
  • A 'safe' introduction to torrenting

Against

  • Bundled software is irritating
  • Bothersome ads
  • Far better alternatives available

BitTorrent. The word conjures up image of piracy for many, lost revenue for others, and causes looks of puzzlement in still more. In reality, the BitTorrent protocol is used to download a massive amount of pirated content, but there are legitimate uses as well.

BitTorrent

Download here: http://www.bittorrent.com/downloads/

Type: Torrent client

Developer: BitTorrent Inc

Operating system: Windows, Mac

Version: 7.4

Coming from BitTorrent Inc, there is a lot of expectative riding on the official and eponymous client. Does it live up to these expectations? Well, it's probably best to say that it does what it needs to do, and doesn't really go to much effort to go far beyond the essentials. But first, a word or two of warning.

The installer is one of those deeply irritating affairs that tries to trick you into install extra software – in this case Avast Free Antivirus – and it's a warning of what's to come in some regards. These software bundles are part of ad deals that exist to make money, and while BitTorrent may be free, there are attempts to monetize it. In addition to the Avast deal, there are also ads in the program, and strong hints that you might like to pay to upgrade to BitTorrent Pro in order to remove them and unlock extra features. It's a pain, but it's the price we have to pay for free software these days. 

User experience

For the most part – thankfully – it's possible to ignore the ads in BitTorrent. In use, having spent a little time setting up the options you want to use, it’s the sort of program that will just run in the background and only require very occasional interaction. As magnet links and torrent files can be configured to automatically download to specific folder with set bandwidth restrictions in place, there's little you need to do to actually use the program. 

There are extra tools such as scheduling to allow for different bandwidth limits throughout the day, remote control if you're interested in that sort of thing, and basic controls to ensure you don’t exceed you ISP's monthly quota. There are few extras, and none of the bundled tool go beyond the basics. In short, it does its job, but why settle for second best when there are so many more impressive clients out there?

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