Logos 4 Review: Install and Initial Impressions

I am a first-time user of Logos Bible software. I’ve used other Bible software programs before, on both a PC and a Mac, but here I will review Logos 4 in a series of posts. Today: the installation process and my initial impressions.

For those of you curious about specs, I’m running Logos 4 on Mac OSX (10.8.1) with a recent memory upgrade (4GB of 1067 MHz DDR3) and 2GHz Intel Core 2 Duo. It’s a three-plus-year-old machine, but in good condition and with decent speed.

Having downloaded Logos 4 to my machine, I signed in to read, “Preparing to download: This may take a while.” Fortunately that part didn’t take that long–under two minutes. “Downloading resources” then followed:

Five minutes later it was just at 6%. Six minutes after that, 14%. But it’s 3.53 GB. The Original Languages Library is big, and I had a few other freebies in my account already. Within 45 minutes all was downloaded. Good time, I thought. Then it went into “Preparing your library: This may take a while…”

But that only took 15 minutes. Just over an hour–start to finish–is pretty good for installing a program of this size and power. What I will want to keep an eye out for is how long it takes to start the program on a daily basis each time I want to use it.

Everything in the installation happens online. There are no DVDs to insert–just create a Logos account, sign in, and Logos knows what to download for you to get you up-to-date. The one log-in works across multiple computers. I’ve got Logos on my Mac right now, but I can just as easily put it on my PC, too. (!) As far as I’m aware, Logos 4 is the only major Bible software that works natively in both the PC and Mac platforms. (BibleWorks at one time had a Mac version under development but has since scrapped it; Mac’s Accordance is coming to Windows in 2013.)

After completing the installation process, the next morning I opened Logos 4. With just two (inactive) Web browsers open, it took about two minutes from the time I clicked the Logos icon to the time it was ready to go. This does seem a longish time (in computer time!) for a program to start. I came to this home screen:

I like being able to see what resources of mine were “updated,” and the “enter passage or topic” search bar is easy to spot right away. As much as I love John Owen, I wasn’t a huge fan of what looked and felt like ads greeting me as I opened this Bible software. This is the program default, but it’s easy to change:

Then, the second time I booted the program up, it was ready to go in less than 45 seconds. Much better.

This morning I received a notification that an update for Logos 4 was ready to be installed. This came automatically. Already I think I am noticing a real strength of this program–how automated everything is with regard to updates, library maintenance, etc.

As a someone whose church uses the lectionary, I especially appreciate being able to see the readings for this Sunday (and “Proper 18”) in the top right of the home screen.

Now for an initial search in that “enter passage or topic” box. Let’s go with Deuteronomy 6:4-9. And… wow. A wealth of information comes up (click for larger):

I can’t wait to use the Andersen-Forbes Phrase Marker Analysis for the Hebrew Bible. It’s exclusive to Logos. (See Logos blog from some time ago on it here and links to tutorial videos here.)

On the left I’ve got a “Passage Guide,” with some of what it pulls up displayed above, and another tab called “Exegetical Guide,” which gives me more detailed information about grammar, visualizations, word-for-word analysis, etc. There are plenty of windows and tabs open, which are easy to move around and re-arrange as I desire.

Getting Logos 4 and the Original Languages library set up was an easy install process. I’m glad for everything taking place so easily over an Internet connection, and I’m hoping that the time it takes to start the program up each time is not much. Time will tell how long the “This may take a while…” screen will actually take each time I use Logos. But with all the tools available above, and many more besides, it looks like I’ll be able to do quite a bit with Logos 4.

Thanks to Logos for the review copy of Logos 4 with the Original Languages Library included. For the review copy I will be giving my honest impressions of the program in a multi-part review.

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