Mac OS X Snow Leopard Quick Review

I’ve been holding back on investing Php1,700 for what basically is the OS X’s version of a Service Pack, nicely marketed with references to a big Asian cat. Heck, Microsoft Windows offers theirs for free! I had previously attempted to avail of Apple’s free up-to-date program thinking that my pre-Snow Mac is eligible, but a month after submitting my application, I got a letter stating that I have been declined because the offer is only redeemable in the U.S.

Long story short, I finally got a retail box of OS X Snow Leopard at PowerMac. I figured that it would be best to have my Mac equipped with the latest OS version, with the notion that my laptop will get optimized. A list of improvements is on Apple’s website, but I have a feeling that there is more to it than that. Think bug fixes, increased security, better compatibility and probably some performance fine tuning here and there.

Here’s my quick take on the OS update. Note that I’m just a regular Mac user and in no way am I a Mac expert. Install was very simple but took a little more than an hour. After installion, my Mac looked and (performance wise) felt pretty much the same. The only clue that my Mac is already running Snow is a quick check on the OS version, which now indicated 10.6 instead of 10.5. My immediate next step was to do a software update for good measure. So far no post upgrade bugs or quirks whatsoever.

About this Mac screenshot showing Mac OS X Version 10.6

The Good

Before installing SL, I took note of my available hard drive space. After the upgrade, I was surprised to see that my free space increased by roughly 20GB! A smaller footprint is one of Snow’s best benefits. Your results may vary.

The Bad

As mentioned, the install took more than an hour. Make sure you have enough battery charge or have your Mac plugged before attempting to load Snow. I may already be nitpicking here, but I’m sure there’s a way of doing an OS upgrade for 15 minutes or less. Another “bad” thing is the price. It was clearly a marketing and revenue decision to sell Snow than offer it for free. I still strongly feel it should’ve been a free download, even for users outside the U.S.

The Ugly

My old man had his pre-Snow lappy updated too, but his Mac encountered an Airport connection problem after the update. A quick check online revealed that it is a common bug that occurs in SL updates, but is quickly solved by a work around (creating a new network location). The occurrence  of this bug seems to be random, as it happened on my dad’s laptop, but not on mine.

Wrap Up

I believe Snow Leopard is a must have update for pre-Snow Macs. The extra disk space you will get back is reason enough, but it would’ve been better if it was free. If you’re really a miser, have 5 of your friends with pre-Snow Macs to chip in for a Snow Leopard Family Pack that contains 5 licenses and retails for only Php2,700. Oh, and I wouldn’t worry about the Airport bug, as there’s an easy fix.

P.S. The retail box of SL contained two large Apple logo stickers. Large stickers are reserved for Macs and the iPods have the small stickers, therefore the large apples have become relatively rare. It’s one thing to have them large Apple sticks, but it’s another thing to actually find a use for them. I personally find them pretentious and passe stuck on the rear windows of cars. They’re tacky to be stuck anywhere else too. Maybe these stickers are just nice to have and keep.

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