Newest Review: ... No, still not optimistic? Oh. Either way, 11.7mb is no mammoth to download (not that you can download mammoths), and you'll have it in... more
Speedy Gonzales Makes His Internet Entrance
Download Accelerator Plus
Member Name: davidbrentforPM
Download Accelerator Plus
Advantages: Theoretically increase download speeds, and manage downloads efficiently
Disadvantages: Poor design, poor performance, too much advertising
I'd like to think I was a patient person, somebody who waited for things in calm; I'm sure we'd all like to think this. I'd like my peers to think, "wow, he's a patient kind of guy", and I'm sure we'd all like this to be thought of us (apart from women, maybe). However, we are humans, and even if it doesn't necessarily come across too obviously in our actions, we're not the most patient of species. The train's a minute late - our day has been ruined, and so has our week. It's fair to say that snails and turtles and the sort must hate us with a passion. The solution? Avoiding the need to be patient; and thankfully, in the online side of things, this comes in the shape of Download Accelerator Plus.
Great name isn't it? Not to be mistaken for some music festival crossed with a rubbish computer game and yet further crossed with a heavily advertised television package, either. No, of course not. Download Accelerator Plus (that's DAP for short - also not to be mixed up from the chap from N-Dubz) is a piece of software developed by Speedbit that, to put it simply, accelerates your downloads, plus some other wonderful features (that's what the plus is for, you see). How does it miraculously perform such a task? Allow me to explain. It's not magic, no.
Say you were constructing an important alphabet jigsaw puzzle, but four pieces were missing when you put put it all together. Now Jigsaw Mania, where you got your Jigsaw from, only has pieces B and Q immediately available, and won't be getting pieces H and M for another week. However, Jigsaw Super-Duper can get you H and M immediately. So, naturally, you'd order from both and have it all in three days as opposed to waiting a week for Jigsaw Mania? Well, when you download a file in your browser it will be through one connection, so one source if you like. What this software does is split the file and seek it out from various connections. It can reach four connections easily, meaning that four smaller parts can be sent more quickly and then seamlessly form one file upon arrival.
Does it work? Well, it claims to be able to easily reach speeds that are 200% quicker, sometimes up to 400%. That's like having your own pigeon delivering your letters. Of course claims are never conclusive, so I shall be exploring these bold words a little later. For now though, it's installation time!
That is, if you're a Windows user (that's 2000 right up to 7, very nice indeed). Theoretically this should be your last period of impatience, for all downloads hereafter will be super fast like lightening! No, still not optimistic? Oh. Either way, 11.7mb is no mammoth to download (not that you can download mammoths), and you'll have it in seconds (52.52 seconds if you're downloading it from my household). The installation is ever so slightly annoying though...
You'll be met with a window that includes an oddly mysterious looking graphic, that could have been pulled from some terribly fake MI5. I can look past this though; what I don't like is being asked to install an Internet toolbar. If I'd wanted to download one of them then I would have asked. What I do like is the range of 38 languages being available, albeit in basic translations. Installation itself takes 30 seconds or so, and you're then met with more pain. They try to convince you to buy two of their other products, and change your home page in their favour. Again, I'd have asked; leave me alone. Make sure you untick the home page box, and stay selected on the free version. They then give you the option to receive special offers and recommendations via email. Seriously? DAP recommends some things to us next, add-ons if you like. I've not installed them, though they could be useful depending on your needs, so it's a nice feature I suppose; albeit an unnecessary something-else to throw into the mountainous installation. They try to add desktop icons before finishing off, but do at least give an option which is very welcome indeed. Finally you are taken to a pointless online finish page, pointless because it's mainly taken up by yet more advertisements for their other products. Oh well. The installation is over. Goodness gracious me.
You should note that you won't be prompted to restart your browser(s), something you'll need to do to install the DAP extension add-on. It's not a bar, but a key part of the download process I do believe. Well, they're not exactly going to throw some pointless thing in there are they? Needless to say, it was nice of them to tell us to restart our browsers. Not.
The DAP main interface is a bit of a disaster area. Split into three tabs, you're met by the 'Internet' tab by default, which is basically an internal browser that looks and feels ten years out of date. It's also host to a home page (fileratings.com) that just comes across as being ever so dodgy, with ridiculously high download figures (5 million for the top charted), over double that of my good friend 'download.com' (1.6 million for the top charted). Indeed, Alexa (a web information company) gives 'fileratings.com' a global traffic rank of 25,075 - that is against a rank of 140 for 'download.com'. But the download figures... I know, I know, it's just not right. Let us move on.
The third tab is 'FTP browser', something I'm not familiar with and can find little guidance on, which is disappointing. Why so many programmes can't explain their software comprehensively I'll never know. We'll focus on the first tab ('downloads'), and seemingly, the only useful one. The interface is clear with a horizontal toolbar and left-hand side bar keeping things tidy, whilst the main body is big enough to detail your downloads efficiently. Your main toolbar includes buttons that that consist of good quality graphics (I must admit that I was most surprised) whilst your left-hand side bar categorises the various statuses that your downloads can be at. No let-downs? Of course there are - advertisements in the right-hand side bar. As if there hadn't been enough already. A bit pathetic really.
On to those claims of 200% and 400% increases. Now I tested these claims extensively and was very disappointed; but before you throw those claims back at DAP in anger I must say this: my Internet connection is rubbish. We were once promised an 8mb line upgrade, and they then said they couldn't give it to us because our line didn't support any greater than what we were on. With my speeds not able to physically reach any higher my tests are far from conclusive, so I challenge you to carry out your own!
It's not all about the download speeds though; indeed, if it was, then this piece of software would be one of most pointless things ever to reach the hard drive of my computer. No, it's the way that this programme manages your downloads which impresses me. When you select a file to download from within your web browser, DAP pops up with its own little download box. It includes various options including where to download to and how, as well as scheduling options for downloads, such as 'schedule' and 'download later'. Scheduling is oddly placed in the 'Options' menu (why oh why?), and gives you the option to have a start and end time for downloads on selected days. It's a useful feature, though the accessibility of it really does need reconsideration.
Furthermore, you can easily pick up those downloads that you thought were lost forever (that is, from when you were using this software). If your Internet connection is anything like mine then it'll occasionally get bored and decide to pop out (no pun intended) for a quick stroll. This is all very well, but when you've a gigabyte download on the go it can be rather frustrating. DAP makes easy work of it though, resuming downloads as if the connection was there all the time. I conveniently hit 'disconnect' on my Internet connection to test this feature whilst mid-way through a 40mb download from 'download.com'. It resumed perfectly, and the file worked perfectly. Splendid. I did find, however, that some broken downloads couldn't be resumed at all, whilst others would just restart. All of this seems to be again unexplained, which is rather annoying and actually quite confusing; just as I thought this software was going somewhere...
That's the bulk of the software, though there a couple of other features included such as the ability to view download history, and even Tweet (on Twitter) about your most exciting downloads! There are other pointless features too, including the option to play sounds as various tasks begin, such as 'download success' and 'download failure'. Of course, no sounds are provided, you have to provide those yourself. Perhaps they want you to look online and download some tunes.
In terms of accessibility it's a mixed story. On the one hand the memory consumption is nothing major, and is in fact quite good, rarely peaking 20k. The help section seemed to contain a good deal of information, but I could never seem to find what I was looking for. Whilst screen-shots were used to illustrate points more effectively the content was often a bit too basic, and even then failed to cover what I wanted to know! Finally, the unwelcome welcome. It sounds like a rubbish new music band, but it's DAP greeting you as you turn your computer on. An advertisement takes up the majority of the 'DAP Status' box, and they've even made room to include a figure of how many Facebook users 'like' Speedbit. Let me assure you, not one of those users is me.
Overall, I feel disappointed. I've used this software for a month prior to reviewing it and thought it to be rather handy, and an efficient tool for downloading. However, carrying out this review has led me to believe otherwise, and with consistently poor performance in nearly all areas I can't quite put my finger on what led me to want to keep it. Indeed, re-reading this review I can see how my opinion seems to deteriorate as it goes on. Whilst download speeds are hard to increase with a terrible connection, I felt that they should have at least seen some sort of increase, but the fact is they didn't. Broken downloads cannot always be fixed, and when I compare DAP to the in-built download manager within Firefox I can see very little that goes in former's favour, which really is disappointing. Unfortunately, I think it's fair to say that Sylvester has caught Senor Gonzales on this occasion.
I can't believe it. A flashing light bulb just began to display in my system tray, in the bottom right-hand corner of my screen. I thought my computer was going to tell me that it was about to blow up or something. No. It was Speedbit, telling me that the 'Springtime Sale' had only one day left. DAP: you don't even have that. Goodbye.
Summary: Speedy Gonzales makes his Internet exit
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