It's difficult to imagine that there's an active online citizen who doesn't need the services of a screen capture utility. Everyone from bloggers to meme creators capture on-screen images – and sometimes video – to convey a message or share information.
Snagit has been the champion of the screen capture arena for some time now, but Ashampoo brings a serious challenge with Snap 6. This £12.99 app lets you capture, annotate, edit, and publish images at a significantly more wallet-friendly cost than Snagit (which is £37). But what do you give up in exchange for that sweet price? There are a few usability trade-offs, but depending on your work demands, the losses may prove insignificant.
Snaring and sharing
With Snap 6, grabbing a screenshot is as simple as mousing over the Action Bar at the top of the screen and selecting a capture option. Ashampoo also provides keyboard options for those who prefer that input method, but I didn't like the fact that I couldn't remap the screen capture button (PrtSc) to another key.
There are numerous screen capture options available including rectangular, freestyle, and full window captures. If you've used Snagit or other screen capture utilities, the process is very familiar: You simply select a capture method, hold your mouse's left button, and move the on-screen crosshair to create a shape (right click cancels the action). Clicking the highlighted area brings all the editing and publishing menu options to the forefront.
Images can be saved in BMP, JPG, PNG, PDF, and Snapdoc formats (unlike Snagit, Snap 6 does not let you save in Flash). Snap 6 conveniently saves your most recent captures in a row at the bottom of the interface for easy access.
Snap 6 also has watermark options and video capturing capabilities (with numerous resolution and WMV/AVI options) which make creating tutorials and walkthrough clips a breeze.
After capturing video or a screenshot, your next course of action is to visit the Action Bar that's tucked away on the right side of the screen. Depending on whether you captured a still or video, you can email content to others, upload it to Facebook, send it to a printer, save it to your hard drive, and much more. The Toolbar on the left side of the screen serves up several editing options that let you add blur effects, colour, arrows to highlight certain on-screen objects, and more. Editing images and adding effects proved effortless.
Room for improvement
Snap 6 does many things right, but that doesn't mean there's no room for improvement. Like Snagit, Snap 6 lacks a Revert button that instantly zaps an image back to its original, pre-edited state. It's not a major flaw, but having it would eliminate the need to continually click Undo or open an image a second time to achieve a clean slate.
In addition, as we’ve already mentioned, Snap 6 lacks Snagit's ability to save images as Flash (a Snagit feature), and also to "scrape" text from web pages or documents. It also lacks video editing features, so you'll need a separate video editing app if you want to make tweaks to your recorded clips. None of this is a huge loss, though – this is a £13 app, after all.
If you find yourself in need of a screen capture utility, and don't want to spend much money, Snap 6 is the way to go. It's £24 cheaper than Snagit, but with the cheaper price comes the inability to save images as Flash files and scrape text from web pages and documents – features which may not be missed by users with basic screen capture needs. Ashampoo Snap 6 comes highly recommended as a budget screen capture utility.