Torrents have been available since around 2001, and the main purpose was to facilitate file transfers among different locations. However, since its inception, it’s been mostly used for shady, illegal purposes. For those of you who use torrents for legal transfer, you might know that there are some pretty good clients in the Play Store. Household names such as uTorrent and BitTorrent have extended their offerings to Android after enjoying much success in desktop environments, while other newcomers such as Flud and tTorrent provide Android-focused solutions.
Developer Pirate Cats has now unleashed Cat Torrent to the masses, promising a straightforward, no-nonsense experience with support for SD cards, speed limits, and a nice interface.
Developer: Pirate Cats
Apps that require no setup processes or tedious account creation are always good, and it’s obvious that this developer thinks exactly as I do. Upon launching the app for the first time, you are immediately shown the main screen. No setup needed, no nagging users to create accounts, nothing. Most of the time, if you’re downloading a torrent client, it’s because you know exactly what you’re doing, so Pirate Cats decided to omit a tutorial or other similar introductory views. If you are new to the torrent world, however, then you might want to read something about it first before using this app.
To start torrenting files, simply press the FAB at the bottom and a file explorer will open. This way, you can navigate to the place you downloaded your .torrent file.
Also, when you download a .torrent file from your browser, Android will detect that Cat Torrent can open this kind of file and will show up a dialog in which you will be able to configure the save path and whether segments should be downloaded in parallel with other segments or sequentially after the current one is over.
Upon starting your download, the app will show in its main interface the list of all of the torrents you’re downloading. This will show essential information, such as download and upload speed, and the progress of your torrent. More detailed data is a click away. Here you will be able to see the files in your torrent, peers, and comments.
You can also check out torrents in different statuses from the side drawer. Hitting the hamburger button at the top left of your screen will open the options to filter your torrents in different categories such as Seeding, Done, Active, and Inactive. I feel like an easier way of filtering your torrents would have been by adding the option to the top bar instead of hiding them under the navigation drawer, but that’s personal preference. It’s easy to navigate the app, nonetheless.
The Android phone I used for testing was midrange at best, and the app did a poor job of adjusting itself to my low screen resolution. Text overlapped in some views, making for a really poor user experience and something that should’ve been tested further. Other than that, the app performed well under different conditions.
There’s a decent amount of options available to play with. First and foremost, AMOLED screen users will be happy to know that the app not only supports changing the theme to Dark but also to full-on Black color. This should help in keeping those pixels turned off and conserve battery. Another useful option is the “WiFi only mode,” and I welcome the fact that it is turned on by default. This prevents your data from being slaughtered by the constant upload and download of files.
Other settings that users might appreciate are the default downloading location, download files only when charging, and download/upload speed limits. I’ve seen other torrent clients offering the option of moving torrents when finished (so you can save them to your internal storage and then move them to the SD), maximum permitted downloads/uploads, limits (or shutdown) on torrents after a certain battery percentage has been reached, and scheduled start and shutdown times, but, unfortunately, Cat Torrent still doesn’t have that many options available.
Cat Torrent is a fairly new torrent client in the Android ecosystem, but it’s a really solid one, nevertheless. The main functionality of the app is flawless, the interface adheres well to Material Design, and the options it has work just as advertised. However, some more established clients have a wide range of options (which is actually understandable, since they had a head start). Also, some UI flaws make it look unpolished and more like a beta instead of a real app. On the bright side, with some updates to add some useful options, Cat Torrent can easily become a strong contender in the torrent client segment so it’s worth keeping an eye on for future development.