Review: StuffIt Deluxe 10.0.1

Save space by stuffing those large files and pictures (January 17th, 2006)

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Product Manufacturer: Allume Systems, Inc.

Price: $79.99 (Upgrade: $29.99) US

The Good

  • Easy to Use Drag & Drop or Click interface. Good Documentation and Help. JPEG compression is good if you have a lot of photos.

The Bad

  • Some of the basic features now built into Mac OS 10.4 and .Mac. Doesn\'t compress movies.

As computer technology advances, the need for certain products seems less important, while the need to update to keep up with the technological frantic pace is more important. Many years ago, when most Mac internal hard drives were under 1GB, a product like StuffIt Deluxe was a necessity. StuffIt allowed users to compress and archive large documents to conserve precious drive space. Today, larger hard drives of up to 500GB are reasonably priced and a decent 60 or 100GB drive is found for less than the cost of this application. The Mac OS itself has advanced with built in compression and file protection, so why would a person want to buy StuffIt Deluxe 10?

Convenience, control, and ease of use

StuffIt Deluxe 10 is a suite of tools that helps you organize, archive, protect and share documents and files. Longtime Mac users are very familiar with Allume's free StuffIt Expander and Drop Stuff, that allows users to compress or expand a folder full of items with drag and drop ease. StuffIt Deluxe 10 takes that a step further and gives you even more control over the compression and expansion process. StuffIt Deluxe 10 offers better and smaller compression than previous versions plus adds various new Archive and Translation options (lHA, Tar, Gzip, MacBinary, UUCode, and BinHex as well as Unix and PC Text Converters). The newest feature is its ability to compress JPEGs with no quality loss, which is a great convenience.

Uncramping Your Style

I tested StuffIt on a few large items in my Documents folder, my Microsoft Office Identity folder and a folder of photos straight from a digital camera. The Microsoft database (524.8mb) was compressed (294.7mb) by up to 79% on some items, but the largest item, my User Database only went down by 44% (326.5 to 183.5) and took about 5 minutes. Allume is pushing photo compression in this new version, so I compressed my folder of 87 pictures (245.7mb). It was reduced by about 25% (233.2mb), but it contained a few camera movies that StuffIt can't compress. Individual jpegs and picts were compressed down 60 to 80%, which is a large savings when you have gigs of photos. One big StuffIt Deluxe advantage is that it allows you to look in the archive and launch a single item without unstuffing the whole archive (although a built in preview of the document like Spotlight would have been nice). Archive Search is also offered as a separate mini app but it is somewhat slow and cumbersome compared to Tiger's Spotlight. On the other hand, Spotlight can find the Archive that contained the item, but won't allow you to peer inside of it.

Archive Assistant is a built in Back Up/Compression mini app that allows for scheduled Back-ups based on criteria similar to the Find feature in previous Mac OS before Tiger. A wizard type interface allows you to select the Hard Drive, CD/DVD, .Mac, or a FTP location.

More Than One Application

Some of the other Mini Apps included with StuffIt Deluxe 10 are Secure Delete (similar to the Finder version, but with Drag and Drop) and DropConvert that allows you to convert StuffIt files to the OS X version and open old StuffIt Archives from versions 1-6. StuffIt Express PE brings to mind the functions of Tiger's Automator to do various StuffIt Tasks from sending compressed e-mail attachments to automate archiving and encoding.

Of course StuffIt Deluxe 10 includes the standard installs of StuffIt Expander, DropStuff and StuffIt SEA Maker for self-extracting files. A useful interface to pull all the above mentioned together called Magic Menu puts a icon in your menu bar and allows you to do many StuffIt tasks directly from the menu bar without first launching any of the associated applications. There are also now Plugins for Adobe Photoshop 7 and up, Illustrator 10 and up, and Word X that let you stuff files from within the applications. This is a handy feature too.

StuffIt Deluxe 10 offers some nice new features for users who haven't made the jump to Mac OS 10.4.. I did have some issues with crashing but a free upgrade download of a newer version (Ver. 10.0.1 Build 260) made it more stable with Tiger.

Overall, if you are short on drive space, need a decent Back-up Program, plus work with Photos, StuffIt Deluxe 10 is a decent value especially at the $29.99 upgrade price from previous versions. If you are buying the full version without discounts, your money may be better spent on a larger Hard Drive, Mac OS 10.4 Tiger, or a .Mac account with Backup.

by Art Payne


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