The OS X Bittorrent client XTorrent got released as a public beta a few days ago. The new version features enhanced search functionality, giving users the ability to include torrent sites of their choice, as well as Twitter integration and performance improvements.

xtorrent screenshot

The improved performance should largely be due to the fact that XTorrent switched from the libtransmission library to its own implementation of Bittorrent. From the delevoper's blog:

"Xtorrent 2 features a brand new torrent engine named Xcore. This engine has been designed exclusively for Mac OS X and written in 100% Cocoa. The result is a lightweight, powerful, and very stable download engine that supports torrent extensions such as encrypted message streams."

I tested XTorrent over the weekend and found it to be a very clean and responsive torrent client. The design is definitely something others have looked at and learned from, and the integrated RSS feed catcher is an important bonus for users that need this feature but otherwise prefer lightweight clients like Transmission.

xtorrent screenshot

However, XTorrent's restrictive shareware policy is somewhat of a turn-off. The client restricts the number of peers it downloads from after an hour of usage, essentially slowing down your downloads until you either restart the client or pay up for a registered version.

xtorrent screenshot

I also found the search unreliable at best. Granted, it did usually return some relevant results, but those were accompanied by a ton of links to torrent files that didn't really seem to make any sense at all. This might be due to an unreliable search algorithm at one of the engines used, but it didn't really help to make the case for XTorrent.

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