B1 Free Archiver Reviews

Functional but a bit on the slow side

Review by Anamon
about B1 Free Archiver and WinRAR, 7-Zip Feb 2014

It's not a bad archiver. It supports many formats, has a nice GUI, and the most important functionality. There is a setup wizard and tutorial that introduces newcomers to how archives in general, and B1 Archiver in particular, work.

While it does have a number of options to change its behaviour, I personally missed more detailed settings, especially when it comes to compression settings for a new archive. The tool can create archives in ZIP and its own B1 format. While for B1 you get at least 5 compression presets, there are no settings at all for ZIP. So it is definitely not the right tool for power users. But what's there seems to work well, including drag & drop, and temporary extraction of files from an archive when opening them – two things other archivers still don't support or get right after many years (such as 7-Zip GUI). Feature-wise, it's definitely a lot better than so many other archivers I tried (particularly on Mac) which make it almost impossible to do anything beyond double-click to extract.

I personally felt that the speed of B1 wasn't the best though. This includes both compression and decompression which weren't as good as with WinRAR or 7-Zip, as well as the GUI, which seemed to become a bit sluggish when a large (>1GB) archive was opened (tested on a Core i7 with 32 GB RAM and Windows 7 x64).

If you just need an archiver to extract the odd file, B1 can be a good choice. If you work with archives more regularly and need fine-grained control, look for a more comprehensive tool.