qBittorrent review - uTorrent-like and cross-platform


Updated: December 17, 2012

After I posted my uTorrent mythbusting tweaking guide, I was promptly contacted by a reader nicknamed Plamen, who asked me to take qBittorrent for a whirl. If you pit this program against its friends and rivals, named uTorrent, Deluge, Transmission, and others, on paper, the list of capabilities is virtually identical, DHT, encryption, filtering, scheduling, and all the rest. But what happens when you try them?

Now, there's another aspect here. For most Windows users, uTorrent is the de-facto Bittorrent client. Therefore, if they were to move to Linux, they might suffer from a familiarity withdrawal. Hence, the second question rising from the muck of uncertainty is, how good qBittorrent is at replacing uTorrent for venturing Linux converts?

Quick tour

The installation is trivial, because qBittorrent is available in the official repositories of most popular distributions. And the emphasis is on most, comma, popular, rather than most popular, comma. Get it? In fact, when you think about it, Linux offers more useful clients to its users than Windows. If you steer away from uTorrent, you might begin to wonder what else is there, but then the power of GPL beckons you, and you stumble across several free, cross-platform solutions, which have primarily been designed for Linux. Take qBittorrent for instance.

On first launch, you will be warned about the potential hazards of sharing.

Warning

The main interface is simple and very similar to uTorrent. You have tabs, where you can check your RSS feeds, examine the log, or search for content. In the Transfers tab, you get all the usual and expected. The layout is virtually identical to the famous Windows client.

The plus side is that qBittorrent comes without any extras, like apps and advertising. Another useful feature is the ability to lock down the GUI. This will minimize the client to the notification area and will not allow opening it back again until you provide the correct password. Useful for hiding pr0n from parents or THE wife.

Main interface

Downloading

Like I said, it's all very simple and intuitive. Even the torrent content information, from bits and pieces you're downloading, to peers and other details. In the settings menu, again you get the same share of familiar and useful.

qBittorrent comes with a lot of settings that you can play with. You can schedule periods where you do not wish to fully utilize your line, so you can use lower, alternative download and upload caps, you can set limits to your bandwidth, use proxy and IP filters, tweak the number of connection limits, as well as use a WEB UI for managing the client remotely, and many other options. If you are so inclined, you can even manually edit the settings, much like uTorrent. Of course, my tweaking guide shows how useless all of these changes are. Your bandwidth capacity and utilization will be dictated by your ISP, first and foremost, then by everything else.

In my case, the 10Mbps line maxed within seconds on a Ubuntu ISO torrent download, fluctuating ever so briefly. I did not alter even one extra setting, except to open a port in the router for the sake of this demonstration. All in all, worked fabulously.

Settings

Conclusion

This is a very short review, I must admit, almost stretching the limit of my comfort as to how terse content can really be, but it comes with a few very important takeaways. One, qBittorrent is a very decent, robust client, on its own, competition notwithstanding. Two, it is very similar to uTorrent, so those switching to Linux will lose virtually nothing. Three, it can serve as a viable alternative to uTorrent on Windows, too, if you must, especially if you do not like a-la Skype changes and additions in the latest versions.

I am most pleasantly surprised, as one simple programs opens so many options before me, because I found Deluge to be a bit clunky on Windows and Transmission does not have a Windows port. So if you're looking for commonality, and for the vast majority of people, uTorrent is the client of choice, then qBittorrent makes most sense all around. And of course, you lose nothing in the terms of aesthetics or functionality.

You should definitely try it. And thanks to Plamen - and Danijel, once again!

Cheers.

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