With only a few hours more to wait until the packages start arriving and the stores start selling Snow Leopard, the reviews are beginning to pour in. To summarize: it's faster, it's (mostly) stable, yay new Finder, mostly yay new QuickTime (good thing you can still install the QuickTime 7 player), and in the words of our colleagues at Engadget: "Here's the thing about Snow Leopard, the single inescapable fact that hung over our heads as we ran our tests and took our screenshots and made our graphs: it's $30. $30!"
- Uncle Walt Mossberg at AllThingsD: "Overall, I believe Snow Leopard will help keep the Mac an appealing choice for computer buyers, and I can recommend it to existing Mac owners seeking more speed and disk space, or wanting to more easily use Exchange. But I don't consider Snow Leopard a must-have upgrade for average consumers. It's more of a nice-to-have upgrade. If you're happy with Leopard, there's no reason to rush out and get Snow Leopard."
- Gizmodo's Brian Lam: "Challenging 30 years of ever more bloated software tradition, the changes here are about becoming a more effective middleware between the media and the hardware, reducing friction while becoming more useful by, well, being lighter, less visible."
- Macworld's Jason Snell: "Failing a massive makeover, then, we've got to take joy in the little gifts that Snow Leopard gives us. And there are a lot of them. I'd like to pick my favorite, but the fact is, they're all small enough that I can't really choose one. But if I could gather up the whole lot of them in my arms, I'd give them a hug."
- Ed Baig at USA Today: "In my experience, Mac OS X was already a superior operating system to Windows. With Exchange and other technologies, Snow Leopard adds bite, especially for business. But as upgrades go, this one is relatively tame."
- Wired's Brian X. Chen: "This upgrade won't deliver any radical interface changes to blow you away (not that we would want it to), but the price is more than fair for the number of performance improvements Snow Leopard delivers."
- Jason Parker at CNET: "Overall, we think that Snow Leopard did almost everything Apple says it set out to do: it refined and enhanced Leopard to make it easier to use. Though the system performs well in everyday use, many of our tests indicate it is slightly slower than the older version of Leopard in more intensive application processes. Still, we highly recommend upgrading for all the new features and Microsoft Exchange support."
- David Pogue in the NYT: "[I]f you're already running Leopard, paying the $30 for Snow Leopard is a no-brainer. You'll feel the leap forward in speed polish, and you'll keep experiencing those "oh, that's nice" moments for weeks to come. If you're running something earlier, the decision isn't as clear cut; you'll have to pay $170 and get Snow Leopard with Apple's creative-software suites -- whether you want them or not. Either way, the big story here isn't really Snow Leopard. It's the radical concept of a software update that's smaller, faster and better -- instead of bigger, slower and more bloated. May the rest of the industry take the hint."
- ...and the aforementioned Engadget review, with lots of delightful videos (captured with QuickTime X's new screencasting feature).
If you've got Snow Leopard questions, we've got answers. Throw a comment in this post, send us a tweet over at the Ask TUAW account, or visit over on the Facebook page. We're also hoping to put together a late-night Friday liveblog to take live feedback from upgraders, and then we'll be live again Sunday night for the talkcast where it will be all Snow Leopard, all the time.