TUAW Faceoff: Screenshot apps on the firing line
- iTunes Comparison
All five apps with the same "window" capture. Grab and Skitch both added a 3-D drop-shadow, while the other programs just took a static capture of the window. Only Grab managed to capture the curved corners.
- Dock Comparison
Four of the five programs could take some sort of screen grab of the dock -- but only Grab managed to capture one that was not only complete, but had perfect transparency. Skitch only worked when an element was dragged over and ImageShot and SnapzPro could only get about half of the dock itself.
- Grab Desktop
Grab takes a fine desktop image, although if you use the default options, the Grab toolbar is at the top.
- Grab Dock
The Leopard dock as captured with Grab is picture perfect. It was the only program we tested taht was able to capture the 3-D effects in full and without distortion.
- Grab Open Screen
Grab was able to capture the layers and shadows of multiple open windows with ease. However, note that if using the "capture" bar at the top, the depressed menu will be included in the shot.
- Grab Menu Bar
Grab captured the menu bar without any of the icons at the right (clock, date, battery status)
- Grab Menu Elements
Grab can also capture individual icons on the menubar, something most of the programs we tested failed to do.
- Grab Menu Element 2
The search icon as captured by Grab.
- Grab CoverSutra
Grab was the only program that could capture the drop down CoverSutra Menu in its entirety and without any other elements obscuring its view.
- Grab Tooltip
Grab can capture the text on the menubar transparently, as seen above.
- Grab iTunes Video
Grab's capture of an iTunes TV episode during playback
- Grab Front Row
Using the Timed Shot feature, Grab can take capture the Front Row interface.
- Grab iTunes
Grab captured the minimized iTunes window better than any other program. Note the curved edges and proper coloring.
- Grab Preview
Grab does the best job with an individual window. Again, notice how the curved corners blend into the background.
- InstantShot! Desktop
InstantShot! takes a pretty standard screenshot of the desktop.
- InstantShot! iTunes
Like SnapzPro and QuickSnap, InstantShot! takes a flattened capture of the minimized iTunes window. By default, InstantShot! adds a mouse cursor to the screenshot, so keep in mind that you will need to disable that feature (it isn't enough to just not have the cursor on the element).
- InstantShot! Dock
InstantShot! does a pretty awful job capturing the dock. Not only is only half the dock captured and the background still visible, the element could only be selected when hovered over an icon.
- InstantShot! iTunes Video
InstantShot's capture of an iTunes TV episode during playback
- InstantShot! Menu Bar
InstantShot! does a nice job capturing the menu bar exactly as it appears on the screen at the time of capture.
- InstantShot! Tooltip
InstantShot! captures the same area of the menubar as Grab, but instead of just grabbing the transparent text, the entire element is captured.
- InstantShot! Menu Bar Elements
InstantShot! can capture specific icons in the menu bar as well -- most of the programs were unable to do this.
- InstantShot! Element 2
The Skich icon as captured by InstantShot!
- InstantShot! Front Row
InstantShot's ability to take multiple timed shots is one of its best (and most unique) features.
- InstantShot! Open Menu
Like Grab, InstantShot! shows the highlighted icon at the top of the screen when capturing lots of open windows. Again, the cursor is visible by default.
- InstantShot! Preview
InstantShot! does a fine job capturing the Preview window, but the edges are not curved and if you actually view this capture IN preview, the backgrounds blend together.
- QuickSnap Desktop
QuickSnap does a nice job with capturing images, but be aware that in the trial version, the capture window will obscure any full screen screenshots. The default file type is JPEG, which isn't as efficient or as accurate or images containing lots of text and line art (like screenshots).
- QuickSnap Open Screen
The text isn't quite as sharp on this screenshot because of the JPEG nature of the default format.
- QuickSnap iTunes Video
QuickSnap can take video stills without issue. Again, the capture window is always visible on fullscreen shots unless you buy the full version of the program.
- QuickSnap iTunes
QuickSnap probably took the worst capture of the minimized iTunes window, again, because of the JPEG format.
- QuickSnap CoverSutra
QuickSnap was able to capture the area around the CoverSutra drop down menu, but not isolate it and retain transparency like Grab.
- QuickSnap Menu Bar
QuickSnap does a fine job capturing the menu bar as it appeared on the screen.
- QuickSnap Preview
Like InstantShot! if you view the preview in Preview, the background blends in with Preview's background, making the picture hard to see.
- Skitch Desktop
Skitch does a great job taking a picture of the desktop
- Skitch Front Row
Skitch has a timed feature (just press shift before clicking the screen or element) which means you can take screenshots from things like Front Row.
- Skitch Dock
Skitch can almost capture the dock as well as Grab, but there is a problem, you must hover over an icon to grab the area -- and unless you set the dock to remain the same size, this impairs taking a proper screenshot. Otherwise, the transparency and size of the dock are correctly captured.
- Skitch Open Screen
Skitch does a nice job taking a screenshot of open windows.
- Skitch iTunes
Other than Grab, Skitch does the best job taking screenshots of windowed elements. The corners in the iTunes bar are still not completely curved, but the transparent shadow adds a nice effect.
- Skitch Menu Bar
Like Grab, Skitch grabs the menu bar sans icons -- it's clean, which makes it nice if you want to post or publish a screenshot, but could be frustrating if you wanted to show the icons in place.
- Skitch Menu Element
Skitch can, however, capture menu elements, like the icon from iCal.
- Skitch iTunes Video
Skitch takes a nice screenshot from iTunes playing back video.
- Skitch Tooltip
Like Grab, Skitch takes a transparent capture of the tooltip text from the menu bar.
- Skitch Preview
The Skitch Preview window is second only to Grab in terms of overall clarity.
- SnapzPro Desktop
SnapzPro uses the default Grab keyboard shortcuts (Cmd-Shift-3) to capture elements. From there, you can choose from "full screen" "selection" or "objects." The desktop in SnapzPro looks very, very nice.
- SnapzPro Dock
SnapzPro attempts to capture the dock but only manages to grab half of it and does not have the proper transparency. Perhaps a hold-over from Tiger (for which SnapzPro X 2.x was originally written).
- SnapzPro iTunes Video
SnapzPro does a very nice job grabbing the iTunes video playback clip. No options in the menu bar or obstructed or depressed.
- SnapzPro iTunes
SnapzPro captures the iTunes minimized window without a shadow, and although it looks better than QuickSnap or InstantShot!, it still pales in comparison to Skitch and Grab.
- SnapzPro CoverSutra
SnapzPro can capture the CoverSutra window, but not with the correct transparency. Grab is the only program that captured this element correctly.
- SnapzPro Menu Bar
SnapzPro takes a screenshot of the menu bar with all icons displayed.
- SnapzPro Open Screen
Like Skitch, SnapzPro does a great job capturing the open and overlapping windows.
- SnapzPro Preview
Although the Preview screenshot is not as good as Grab or Skitch, SnapzPro manages to capture the window in a color that does not blend in exactly when viewing the image IN Preview.