Monday, June 26, 2006
PPC Screen Capture
My PPC Screen capture application reviews. I've reviewed 5 applications thus far, and have published 4 of the reviews here. VITO theme and capture applications are reviewed on my home page here. The latest is SnapIt...
Snapit, Xoanan Industries, http://www.xoanan.com/
Support: No mobile site, No support site, No cab installer; Strengths: Capture PPC screenshots; Weaknesses: Only Capture PPC Screenshots in bmp; Impression: Very basic application for capturing screenshots; Improvements: Add options for jpeg, and other image formats. Add ability to auto capture at intervals, give a preview of screenshot, and not force use of a mapped button.
Details: Not a bad application for this category, but not very flexible. The install goes like a normal install from your PC, but I complain about this again and again... Please give the cab install in the zipped package along with your desktop installer. I know I can go back and get it from A/S, but maybe I don’t use A/S or don’t want to use the PC to install. The application allows capture only from a hardware button and only in BMP format, which similar applications provide many more options in this regard. I still like the simple approach of this, and another similar utility I’ve recently evaluated (which is freeware, by the way). You can browse around your PPC, and get a screenshot by simply hitting the mapped hardware button. Of course, you may need that button back sometime in the future, so another capture method along with a preview would also be nice. Lastly, the evaluation copy cuts your saved shot in half… Make your application time out, limit the number of shots, or put a tiny logo somewhere near the bottom of the shot, but don’t make the output I’m trying to evaluate totally useless. Still, it’s useful to have a simple utility for saving your screens, so if all you want to do is quickly grab shots and save them where you want, give this app a try.
Pocket Screen Capture, cetoolbox, http://www.cetoolbox.com
Support: Website supporting all screensizes, Freeware with minimal support; cab installer and setup.exe; Strengths: Cab installers available; Capture screen shots on device; Weaknesses: No desktop integration/automation; Impression: Basic capture application for creating PPC screenshots; Improvements: Add an A/S auto transfer or desktop capture utility, and ability to save image to storage card/attach to e-mail, etc. Support other image formats besides .bmp…
Details: My iPaq has this feature built-in, although sort of buried in the itask menu choices, and not quite as obvious about what it does. I like the older, simpler style of setup that gives me the cab files, which essentially allows me to browse the website, download the zip, extract and install all from the device (with the right PPC extraction/install applications, mind you). It includes the various CPU versions for different PPCs, which are becoming a bit dated (MIPs, SH3, etc.). The website is very basic html, and fits on my device display fairly well (and the desktop also). Note to the big developer houses and mega mobile-friendly environments: Simple, effective things like site design and device flexibility go a long way in customer satisfaction, especially when considering the gamut of users and device capabilities… What does it do? You launch it, and it prompts you to set up the screen you would like to capture (like go to the today screen for instance). Select the OK on the dialog, and in 5 seconds, it saves your screenshot in the device \temp directory as a bit map image (about 200KB). It tells you that’s what it did afterward (indicating the path/filename), which in contrast, my iPaq capture app just beeps and sits there, leaving you to wonder what happened. This product has been around a while, and might benefit from a few updates/enhancements like saving to different formats or storage locations, or even to the desktop via A/S, but is still a valuable application.
Pocket Screen Snap, DeveloperOne Inc., http://www.developerone.com/
Support: No mobile site, Site has forums and support; Strengths: Flexible options for saving shots, Button mapping, and viewing; Weaknesses: Install download file corrupted in 2 diff browsers, needed to use a download manager (e.g. SDM), Demo adds vendor name on shots ; Impression: Solid application for capturing and managing screenshots; Improvements: Add various image format support, and display a preview of shots automatically after capture.
Details: There is little to deviate one from the consideration of purchasing this application, if you absolutely need a handheld screen capture tool on your device, that is. It provides good flexibility for capturing images on the PPC, and has a handy thumbnail-like viewer for viewing the screenshots, and resizing your view of a particular shot up to full screen. There are options for mapping hardware buttons for screenshots (default is button 2), and a few miscellaneous settings (like image prefix?). The demo installer was corrupted on 3 passes of trying to download it (it would hang at like 98%)? So, I used the Java Download Manager, which usually does downloading better than a browser, but who knows what the issue was? Anyway, as in other PPC capture apps, it would benefit from an integrated conversion/support mechanism for different image formats, and image transfer natively in the app would be nice. An automatic post-capture preview would also be nice. Overall, a decent screen capture utility.
ScreenShotCE, BeniSoft, www.bendlin.info/en/Misc/ScreenShots/
Support: No Mobile Site, No support forums, Good device help; Strengths: Save images in bmp/jpg/landscape/portrait and add to Zip files, Save game API shots, Shot preview, Record voice memo with shot; Weaknesses: None noted; Impression: Very flexible application with lot’s of useful features; Improvements: Add additional options for attaching shots to e-mail, or upload to an external ftp/web-site.
Details: Wanna make a screenshot of your screenshot tool? You can do that! At least with ScreenShotCE you can. After a minor install glitch on PPC 2002, I was quite impressed running it on newer versions of WM. I found the demo to be more than adequate to evaluate this product (no obnoxious behavior like plastering logos on your shots). You can save shots to .bmp or .jpg and throttle the compression/quality, zip them up, and specify the file destination where you want to save them (say, to a storage card). The preview display is a helpful feature, which is quite handy if the shot wasn’t what you expected, and needs a redo. There are "extra" functions for more advanced capture, and are some of the best features I've found available in a resident device capture application. For instance, the auto-capture feature allows you to schedule captures at prescribed intervals. In combination with the GAPI setting (Game Application Programming Interface), you can circumvent applications that dominate the display and button mappings while running (like some games), to still get screenshots. Maybe your buddy doesn't believe your latest high score? Take a screenshot, and send it to him! This issue used to make getting screenshots of these types of programs a tough proposition (I have used my digital camera for this in the past). The initial startup after the install opens the help files, which describe the application features well. It supports landscape and portrait captures, and you can even capture a shot of the screenshot tool itself. Like for this review...
In short, this is a full-featured and highly recommended screen capture utility for your Pocket PC...
Posted by Natestera