Developer: Quark (developer site)
Operating system: Mac OS X 10.4, Windows XP
Hardware requirements: 128MB of RAM, 300MB of drive space
Price: US$749 (shop for this item: Mac, PC)
Quark has had a rocky past few years. Quark 6.0, although a needed update for Mac OS X, was a very buggy product and the new features that made it in were far from show-stoppers. That led many to look to Adobe InDesign for innovative new tools. But even before that, Quark had become the poster child for how to send Mac costumers away due to CEO Fred Ebrahimi’s telling people to switch to Windows if they didn’t like their lack of an OS X version. Then he brazenly (read: retardedly) told people that switching to InDesign would be suicide. It’s hard to imagine what good could have been done by a guy who thinks taunting the people that grudgingly pay your check is a chapter in any marketing book.
Fortunately Mr. Ebrahimi is no longer at Quark, but, like at a soiled downtown ATM, the man’s legacy still lingers. Now with the layout software bread still being buttered on the Mac side and XPress users heading to InDesign in droves, Quark has recently decided they needed an image change to metaphorically say "Just kidding, man" and "we’ve still got the goods." And what better way to say it than with a new logo and a lower price?
QuarkXPress 6.5’s dainty floral motif ran $999.
XPress 7 gives away flaming orbs on the cheap at $749
As the title of this review suggests, I switched to InDesign with version CS1 a few years ago; for the most part it has been a very smooth ride. As is the case for most ID users, XPress 7 is going to have to pack quite a punch to woo me back from InDesign, but there are many people still on the fence. This review is more for those people who have had their head buried in QuarkXPress layouts and are wondering if it’s worth their time to switch to InDesign or take the short road and stick with an XPress upgrade. There are many happy users who get a lot of work done in XPress? when it’s fast, it’s very fast?and many workflows are template-driven and time-sensitive, so it doesn’t make sense to redesign the wheel for many designers and art directors.
I may sound biased considering my existing application preference, but I don’t make my livelihood selling books about either of these programs or stand to benefit in any way if either title dominates, so I think I can genuinely speak with designers’ interests in mind. I’ve been using QuarkXPress for over 13 years and often still do for certain contracts, so I’m hardly out of the loop with regards to XPress’ current strengths and disabilities. Anyway, on to XPress 7.
Test hardwareDual G5 2.0 GHz4.5 GB RAMOS X 10.4.6
While Quark is set to release a Universal Binary in the near future, the current release is PPC only. It functions under Rosetta with no problems.
Quark’s hardware requirements are minimalist to say the least. 128MB of RAM? I wouldn’t even think about booting into Mac OS X with less than 512MB, let alone trying to run Quark.
WindowsWindows XP128MB RAM250MB hard drive spaceMacMac OS X 10.4 or later128MB RAM300MB hard drive space
Oh, and you’ll need a CD-ROM drive for installation. Hope you’ve got one of those.
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