I just received a mailer yesterday announcing the arrival of Quicken Essentials for Mac, which is the long-awaited update to Quicken 2007 for Mac. Quicken Essentials was actually released back in February, but I somehow missed the announcement.
On the surface, this update sounds great. The new software runs natively on an Intel chip (requires MacOS X 10.5+) and the interface has been completely re-designed to make it more user-friendly. According to the mailer:
“Built from the ground up for Mac, the 2010 Edition delivers the intuitive ease of use and clean, modern look you’ve come to expect from a Mac application.”
Unfortunately, the early reviews on Amazon are abysmal, averaging 1.5 stars on over 100 reviews. While Intuit claim that “this is the upgrade you’ve been waiting for, ” it appears they’ve paid too much attention to form, without focusing on function.
Here’s some info from the Setup Guide that I gleaned from one of the reviews. Note that you wouldn’t otherwise learn about this until you had bought and begun installing Quicken Essentials:
As much as we improved the experience of using Quicken when we rebuilt it from the ground up, there are some features you may have been used to using in Quicken for Mac (or Quicken for Windows) that we didn’t include in this version of Quicken Essentials.
Investments – Quicken Essentials lets you to track the overall value of your investment accounts and the value of specific holdings, but the software does not track individual buys and sells, nor will it provide some advanced investment performance reports.
Exporting to TurboTax – Quicken Essentials does not currently support the ability to export your data to TurboTax.
Direct bill pay – You can track your bills in Quicken Essentials, but the program doesn’t have the direct bill pay capabilities that allow you to pay your bills directly from the program.
Other advanced features – Quicken Essentials does not include many of the advanced features in other versions of Quicken, including Business features, Rental Property, lifetime planner, cash flow forecast, spending plan, debt reduction plan, emergency tax records, tax planner, and home inventory manager.
Wow. Seriously? You can’t track individual buys and sells in your investment accounts? It’s unclear if this information is actually lost upon import, and cannot be entered going forward, or if Essentials simply fails to provide a way of viewing/reporting it.
And beyond that… No direct billpay? No TurboTax integration? This all makes me wonder what else is missing. In the three years since the last update, you’d think they could’ve found of way of incorporating these essential features into a product called Essentials.
All in all, this is very disappointing news. I’ve been pretty happy with Quicken 2007 for Mac, and was looking forward to an equally useful replacement – especially given Intuit’s history of sunsetting online support for older versions. For now, it looks like I’ll be sticking with the 2007 version.
The good news is that Intuit offers a 60 day money back guarantee, so if you buy Quicken Essentials and are unhappy with it, you can get your money back. The only downside here is that they don’t cover return shipping.