Sunday, 11 September 2011

Screenshooter shootout: Screenshot ER vs. ShootMe

For some reason Android doesn't come with a built-in screenshot app. All the screenshots on this site were made with ShootMe. Now that Screenshot ER released another update it's time to compare the two apps.

Get your guns out

When you open ShootMe, it makes you accept its software license. That would be OK if it only happened on first launch, but ShootMe makes you agree to its small print everytime you launch the app. After you accept, it starts the shooting service. You can tap away the program interface after that, or go to the settings menu to make it disappear automatically when the service has started.

Screenshot ER takes you straight to the settings screen upon launch. Here you can switch the shooting service on, or activate one of its other shooting modes.

The repeating license screen of ShootMe is annoying, but when configured right it is the only thing you need to click to activate the program and go straight back to your home screen. Screenshot ER requires two clicks (one to start the service, another to get back to your home screen) so ShootMe wins, but only by a noselength.

Pull the trigger

There are four ways to shoot your screen with ShootMe. The default method is by shaking your phone. A nice touch is shooting in continuous mode (screencast) to make little movies of your screen. You can also grab shots by shouting at your phone or putting your finger on the light sensor, but these are gimmicks without much practical use.

ShootMe can notify you that it's done shooting by making a shutter noise, showing a notification on your screen, doing both, or none.

Screenshot ER can snap on shake, or from a notification icon, or straight from the settings menu. Unfortunately the free version comes with a minimum delay of eight seconds, which makes the shake option the only viable way to shoot your screen.

Screenshot ER has three methods to tell you it's done shooting: shutter sound, notification on your screen, or showing a preview of your screenshot.

Winner: ShootMe, by a big margin because it can make movies.

Save your image

ShootMe and Screenshot ER let you choose between PNG and JPG. ShootMe lets you pick from three image quality/file size settings, Screenshot ER only has one flavour.

All your screenshots end up in a folder called ShootMe (in the root folder of your SD card) when you use that app, and there's no way to change the destination folder. Screenshot ER lets you set your own folder name and location.

More image quality settings vs. choosing your own folder, tough choice. Winner: undecided.

Loose bullets

Screenshot ER demands full internet permission. If you don't trust your screenshot app with unrestricted internet access, just block it with an app like DroidWall or LBE Privacy Guard. Screenshot ER doesn't need to go online to shoot pictures. ShootMe doesn't ask for any internet permissions.

The developer of ShootMe pulled it off the Android Market because he got fed up with market comments from idiots with the social skills of a Vogon, but you can grab a copy from the link below. You can comment on this blog post too ;)

Both apps require root access. This is a limitation of Android itself, so you can't blame the apps for it.

There's something missing from both apps: a way to activate them without opening the app interface. Both apps would be a lot better if they'd come with a widget that lets you toggle shooting mode on and off with a single tap on your home screen widget.

Update: Screenshot ER added a toggle widget. However, there are some bugs crawling around.
Keeping Screenshot ER offline requires a trip to DroidWall or LBE, but installing ShootMe takes a trip to the android underground download page. Winner: undecided.

Final shots

Both apps are good, but I'll keep using ShootMe. The custom screenshot folder of Screenshot ER is nice, but the extra click to activate the app and send it to the background is not. Having to tap in the overcrowded settings menu just to toggle shooting on and off is a bit too much. Switching ShootMe on and off is faster, and it shoots movies too!

Screenshot ER Lite

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