As if we needed any more proof that mobile computing is improving by leaps and bounds, one look at tTorrent will remove any doubt about the power of current-day mobile devices. No longer are tasks such as downloading torrents restricted to desktops and laptops, now your Android Tablet can get in on the fun!
Note: Please read this article for more information on torrents.
Heading straight into the review, let’s discuss the tTorrent’s UI. Like most developers with a tablet optimized app, Tagsoft utilizes the two pane layout in their app. On the left is the filter where you can choose to display all torrents or only those that are completed, paused, checking or currently downloading. Instantly, the inspiration for this approach is obvious and users of the major desktop clients will feel right at home with the app right from the start. My only gripe here is that the left pane is a little two wide for my tastes and it really doesn’t need to be that wide.
Moving on to the right, Tagsoft has introduced a vertically spilt pane. After much thought I think that this is an incredibly effective way of presenting the app and it flows very smoothly. On the upper part of the right pane, there is the torrent list which contains basic information about each torrent and a yellow progress bar. This feature makes tracking your downloads at a glance dead simple and easy, a nice touch. On the lower portion of the right pane, we have two tabs: the first gives more in depth information about the torrent and its contents; the second lists all the files contained in the torrent.
The HC/ICS action bar remains at the top of the screen and contains useful options such as search, file browser and feeds. An annoyance I have with other apps that use the action bar is that the icons they use do not always properly indicate their purpose, making first time use a pain and concealing hidden features. Unlike those apps, tTorrent includes the name of the actions in addition to accurate icons, making the app a breeze to navigate even at first launch. The menu button brings up a context menu allowing you to unlock or purchase the pro version if you are using the lite version. In both versions, the context menu contains links to information about OpenSSL and libtorrent, two important pieces which make up the backbone of tTorrent. Also included are the essential Shutdown option and a settings option. At the bottom of the menu is a share button which presumably allows you to share links to tTorrent in other apps.
The brilliant layout of the respective views as well as taking of cues from traditional torrent clients makes the user experience a thoroughly pleasant one. I’m not too keen on the lack of any user options regarding the interface of the app, but the suitable color scheme that the app uses by default makes this a minor issue. Actually, it fits in well with the minimalist attitude of desktop torrent clients such as uTorrent and BitComet and this can be seen as a bonus to the app.
The Unique 3 Pane Layout of tTorrent.
Judging from the UI of the app, it isn’t hard to see the resemblance to desktop torrent clients famous for the minimalist and lightweight approach. tTorrent doesn’t stray far from this ideology in terms of features either, but manages to include a wide enough variety to cover all your torrenting needs. Those of you acquainted with the torrenting community may be aware of the fact that one of the most popular torrenting sites, which will not be named, recently switched from older .torrent files to newer, more efficient and secure ‘magnet’ links. Impressively, tTorrent boasts full support for magnet links in the browser and it works just as well as on the desktop. Also, rest assured that DHT is also supported and those torrents work just fine.
In the Lite version (free) there is a download limit of 250 KB/second, but this limit is removed in the pro version ($4 USD at time of writing). I was able to achieve 620 KB/second using the pro version (maximum download speed I can get) and I was very impressed that a mobile device can attain such high download speeds. Also worth noting is that the lite version is ad-supported, but the pro version is ad free. I urge you all to support the developer by upgrading to the free version if you use the app a lot and wish to aid in its continued development.
My favorite feature of the app is the search function. Unfortunately, some torrent search engines update their site regularly and are not always supported. An update to the app is required to accommodate the changes in the search engines and make them accessible by the user. This issue is not handled well in the app and the user gets a vague error. Fortunately, the top of the Google Play description for both apps notify the user of the issue. When you do find a search engine that works (most do), searching for torrents is incredibly simple. However, there is no way to view comments on the torrent which makes picking one right from the app a risky venture, especially if it is not well seeded. Additionally, you cannot change the sorting on the search results and are stuck with the default sort (newest to oldest). Although you can see the number of seeders and lechers for each torrent, you can’t sort by most seeded, an invaluable tool especially for the sort of downloads you will conduct on a tablet.
Another feature of this app is the ability to add RSS Torrent Feeds. Unlike services such as Google Reader which use RSS to automatically aggregate news stories you’ve subscribed to, RSS in torrenting allows you subscribe to a feed and then whenever the feed is updated with a new torrent file, it will automatically be set to download. Personally, I have never used this feature much, nor do I know of anyone who does, but in theory it sounds very enticing. It is worth noting that desktop torrent clients also support this feature.
The App’s Long Running Notification
Adding a Feed to the App
Adding a New Download to the App, used a magnet link in this case.
The results of a search for ‘Ubuntu’.
Displaying the files contained in a torrent.
Finally, the app supports all those torrent standards you’ve come to know and love such as previously mentioned .torrent files, DHT and magnet links. It also supports:
- Multiple torrents downloading at once
- Search for torrents with multiple search engines
- Wi-Fi only mode, Wi-Fi or WiMAX mode
- Able to limit Upload/Download speed
- Web browser integration
- UPnP and NAT-PMP support
- IP filtering support
- Proxy support (SOCKS, HTTP)
- Many traditional desktop features have made it to the app
- Takes both design and feature queues from desktop clients
- Integrated search with support for multiple search engines
- RSS feed support
- Notification while backgrounded with upload and download speed
- Supports DHT and magnet links
- Excellent use of split pane layout and action bar
- No user customization options (theming, etc)
- Some search engines are broken in between updates to the app
- Search results cannot be sorted by anything other than date
- Search results do not allow viewing of comments
At the lucrative price of Free, the Lite version is an insane value and if you wish to torrent from your tablet, this is hands down the best approach. At $4 USD at the time of writing, the Pro version is not as great a value, but for anyone who downloads more than the occasional torrent from their tablet, it is indeed a worthwhile upgrade and I do implore you all to support the developer by buying the app.
tTorrent is simply the best at what it does, and for that, I will award it 5 stars out of 5. I have very little complaints about the app and those related to search (my most major complaints) can easily be bypassed by using the browser for searching and finding torrents. The lite version offers an amazing value and the pro version is a needed upgrade for hardcore torrenters like myself.