Review: Quicken 2002 Deluxe

Quicken 2002 is a feature-rich Carbon application with some quirks (September 18th, 2001)

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Product Manufacturer: Intuit

Price: $59.95

The Good

  • Feature-rich as a Carbon application, comprehensive functionality.

The Bad

  • Stability problems, moderately complex online banking.

Quicken, published by Intuit, is a flagship financial package that has its ups and downs in the Macintosh market. During the first months of Steve Jobs' return to Apple, the company announced it would no longer develop Quicken for the Mac, triggering a flood of pressure from Apple and customers to continue supporting the product. Since then it has been smooth sailing - Intuit announced it would fully embrace Mac OS X and reaffirmed its commitment to the Mac community.

The fruits of those labors are found largely in Quicken 2002 Deluxe, Intuit's first Carbonized offering of the software. The update offers some serious functionality over previous versions, and manages to exploit the Aqua interface, but is seriously lacking in one of the primary cornerstones of OS X - stability.

Installation is relatively simple, as is launching the application and entering information about your bank accounts, investments, and other fiscal concerns. The consumer focused functions in Quicken, such as entering a transaction, calculating interest, and setting up scheduled bill reminders work well as they have in previous versions of the software.

Performance is relatively snappy for an OS X application, as menus draw fairly rapidly and the application's launch time is not excruciating on a G4/500. The interface is essentially an aquafied shell over Quicken's older design, but it serves its purpose well and allows fast access to most of the software' main features.

Quicken's graphing and reporting component offers an intuitive section dubbed "EasyAnswer" which can provide simple, but easy answers to financial questions related to the data you have entered into the program. For instance, you can ask Quicken what you spent most of your money on last year, how your spending compared from month to month, what your total worth is, or how closely you stayed on course with a pre-set budget. There is also an easily accessible calendar which is useful for projecting spending and remembering when bills were received or paid.

Most of the other major improvements in Quicken 2002 that aren't directly on-line related are aimed at enhancing ease of use. There are a few minor, but purposeful enhancements, such as the ability to estimate capital gains.

Quicken 2002's on-line functionality looks promising, but unfortunately, we ran into a brick wall when attempting to use this functionality. The software uses a bank to store the personal identification numbers (PINs) issued by a financial institution to enable on-line banking. Whenever we attempted to enter a pin into the "vault," Quicken 2002 suddenly quit. Attempting to work around the problem, we encountered more errors. Thus, we were unable to access any of the on-line functionality provided by the software.

Intuit markets one of the major new features for Quicken 2002 as the ability to update multiple online accounts at once, but until this bug is resolved, users will have a difficult time exploiting that component.

Overall, Quicken 2002 Deluxe is a feature-rich and extremely useful application, not to mention one that is necessary for many users to migrate fully to Apple's modern operating system. However, hindrances in terms of stability for the Mac OS X-compatible release blemish its luster.

by Ben Wilson


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