As a technology writer, I need to annotate screenshots a lot. When it comes to articles, I usually do them on my Mac. I was using Skitch but I’ve had enough of the bugs so lately I’m trying Annotate for Mac (I also have my eye on Napkin).
But there’s also a clear advantage of annotating screenshots right on the iOS device, especially on the iPad because I have that big beautiful touch screen to play with. Plus, sometimes, I only really need to mark up something and share with a friend or the web. In these moments, I need a reliable markup tool on my side. Until now, I was using Skitch. Now, I’ve decided to check out two newcomers in the field (Pinpoint and Annotate) and put them against the heavyweight.
Pinpoint is the Simplest Option
Right from the launch, Pinpoint is the simplest app to mark up screenshots. The app greets you with the most recent screenshots at the top. Tap one and you’re in the edit mode that’s largely occupied by the image itself.
There are only 4 options on the top. Arrow tool, rectangle tool, text tool and pixelation tool. That’s it. The free app only gives you access to the red color. A $4.99 in-app purchase will unlock all colors ($0.99 gets you one).
One really cool feature Pinpoint has is the ability to delete the original screenshot once you’ve shared the annotated version of the screenshot anywhere. This would help declutter your Camera Roll.
One thing that’s going to take time to get used to with Pinpoint is the fact that you need to pinch and zoom on elements to increase/decrease the size. Other apps let you tap and hold edges to resize them, which gives you more precision over the edits.
Skitch is the Feature Rich Category Leader That’s Sometimes Buggy
Skitch has been in the game for far too long. After it was acquired by Evernote it gained a lot of features. Some of the sharing features were kind of unnecessary.
Skitch’s strength is its feature-rich nature. Everything from the arrow tool, highlighter, three different kinds of boxes, emoji and checkmark pointers and pixelation tool are available in the app. Plus, each option has its own sub settings.
Skitch’s problem is that its UI is not instantly obvious or even intuitive. Sometimes you need to tap and hold while sometimes it’s just a tap. But Skitch does give you precision control over editing the annotations.
Plus, the app has Photos app extension. But it’s not always stable and users have often reported crashes.
More on Skitch: I’ve talked about Skitch and all its features, including the sharing options in detail in this article.
Annotate is Like Skitch, but With Less Baggage
Annotate has almost all the important features of Skitch. Somehow it’s missing the rectangle/square box tool and for the life of me, I can’t figure out why. But it has all other important tools like arrow, text, pixelation, 5 different colors and a free form line tool.
Annotate’s UI is not as simple as Pinpoint. In fact, you could say it’s more complicated than Skitch because for some reason the app launches in Camera mode. You then need to switch to Camera Roll, select the image and then tap the Crop button to finally get to the editing screen (Not an intuitive UI guys).
But once you’re there, using the tools is a piece of cake. Plus, most of the tools behave just as they do is Skitch. Also, Annotate comes with a library of emojis.
When it comes to sharing the annotated screenshot, both Pinpoint and Annotate use iOS 8’s default share sheet with extensions as default. Which makes it easy to save the image, share it to any supported directly from one place. Skitch, on the other hand, has its own sharing menu where you can quickly get an Evernote link to the screenshot and you have shortcuts to share it via Messages app or Facebook. You can get to the iOS 8 share sheet using the Other App button. The Save is isolated on a whole different panel.
I personally am not a big fan of the bloated avatar Skitch as of now. But if you need all the annotation feature it has, you’re gonna have to use it.
On the other hand, I think Pinpoint is the app most users should start with. It’s incredibly simple, fast and stable. Plus, it has a rich history. It started out as Bugshot by Marco Arment and was acquired and rebranded by Lickability.
Annotate falls somewhere in the middle and it’s strictly for users who want Skitch like features, without the usual Skitch’s baggage.
My recommendation? Just get Pinpoint. If you outgrow it, then try something else.