DockView vs. HyperDock: Head-to-Head

If you, like me, regularly use multiple applications at once, then you will know how switching between them frequently can take up precious time. Sure, it’s a lot easier to do it on a Mac than on Windows, with Exposé or Cmd + Tab, but sometimes, you need something even faster. Even worse is when you have multiple windows of the same application open, and need to get from one to another.

This is where applications like DockView and HyperDock come into play. They make it easy to switch from application to application, and from window to window, very quickly. As indicated by the names, both of these are apps that add extra functionality to your dock. When you scroll over an icon in your dock, they will quickly show you all the windows open for that application, making switching easy.

So if you’re interested in getting an app like this, which should you get – HyperDock or DockView? This article aims to put both apps through their paces, head to head!

Price

Price

Pricing is always a nice and easy place to start, and in this case, the winner is quite obvious.

DockView costs $7.99, which is a decent enough price considering how much time you will save. It also has a free trial, which you can use for as long as you want with no loss of functionality. However, a window will pop-up several times every day telling you to buy the app if you do with the demo. Also, the word “Demo” is subtly slipped into the Dock preview windows, so if you like your Mac to look perfect, then that might put you off the trial version.

HyperDock, on the other hand, costs a grand total of $0. You just can’t argue with prices like that! That said, it is in Beta, so when they reach version 1.0 (it’s currently on 0.9.12.1), it could become a paid application.

DV: 7/10
HD: 9/10
Winner: HyperDock

Installation

Installation

In both cases, this is a very straightforward procedure. Both are quick and easy to download. HyperDock, at 7.5MB, is a little bigger than DockView (3.9MB), but if you have a vaguely decent internet connection, neither should trouble you too much.

It is worth noting, though, that both apps only work on Snow Leopard, so if you try to install it on anything other than that, you will have some difficulty.

You install DockView the way that you would install most apps – simply drag the app icon into the Applications shortcut in the DMG window. For HyperDock, it’s also very easy, although you may not be as used to this process as normal app installations, because HyperDock is a preference pane.

Nevertheless, all you have to do is click the icon in the DMG, and confirm the installation of the pane in System Preferences. Very easy, but because you are probably more used to installing apps than preference panes, and the fact that it is a smaller file size, means that DockView has to win this section.

DV: 9/10
HD: 8/10
Winner: DockView

Interface

Interface

Both of these apps look beautiful, although there isn’t an awful lot to analyse, due to their minimalism and lack of an interface, as such. Both designs integrate effortlessly into the dock, and look as if they are a built-in feature of Snow Leopard.

You shouldn’t have any reason to change their designs, but if you want to do so, both make it easy. With DockView, you can change most things about it; the preview size, distance from Dock, and even the preview window colour. In HyperDock, you can change all of the same features, except for the colour.

While I appreciate that the ability to change the colour in DockView is good for people wanting to customise everything about the app, it does in fact mean that it won’t always fit with the OS X design. There are a few other elements in DockView that don’t look quite right, such as the controls on the iTunes preview.

HyperDock, on the other hand, gets everything spot on, design-wise, which, when you are trying to make your app feel like a part of OS X, is essential.

DV: 7/10
HD: 10/10
Winner: HyperDock

Features

Features

This is a tough category to call, as both are full of features, but both have features that the other would benefit from. However, to start with, here’s a list of features common to both:

  • Close windows from the Dock
  • Control iTunes from the Dock
  • View iCal events in Dock
  • Keyboard Shortcuts

As for those features exclusive to DockView, one of the best selling points is further functionality for other applications in the dock. For example, you can check your mail in Mail.app from your Dock, and play/pause files in both Quicktime and VLC Player. You can also activate badges which show you how many windows you have open in each application. However, this does not work properly if you use Dock Magnification.

Another of DockView’s big features which (surprisingly) HyperDock does not support is window previews when using Cmd + Tab. This is an excellent feature, and for many, could well be the feature that clinches the deal.

HyperDock, on the other hand, has Window Management, which allows you to move and resize windows using keyboard shortcuts, so that don’t have to move your mouse up to the  title bar/resize icon. I absolutely love this feature, and it can gradually save you even more time. Hyperdock also integrates with Spaces, which, if you Spaces, can be very useful.

As I said, this category is very hard to call, but I think that because of the Cmd + Tab feature, DockView has to win, if only by the smallest of margins.

DV: 8.5/10
HD: 8.4/10
Winner: DockView

Conclusion

Basing this on the winners of each category, then the apps are equal (two category wins each), and it’s true, these apps, despite having many different features, are difficult to separate.

However, the whole purpose of this article is to find a winner, so we must go the average scores, where we find that DockView has an impressive score of 7.9/10, but HyperDock wins this with 8.9/10.

Although HyperDock is the winner, both apps are absolutely fantastic, and I would thoroughly recommend either of them to anyone. If you’re looking for some great design and window resizing features, HyperDock is the one for you. If you need the Cmd+Tab window previews, and don’t mind paying a bit more for it, then go with DockView. For now, however, I’ll be sticking with HyperDock.

One Final Thought: OS X Lion

Mission Control

Mission Control

By now, if you have any interest in Mac whatsoever, you will have heard about Mac OS X 10.7 Lion. If not, check out our article about the announcement.

One of the features that Apple showcased in their preview of Lion was Mission Control, combining Exposé, Spaces, Dashboard and full-screen apps. With a single gesture, you can quickly access all of your windows, easily.

So what does this mean for apps such as HyperDock and DockView? Will these be yet further casualties of Apple’s domination? Or will Mission Control open up a whole new area for potential optimisation?

As both HyperDock and DockView are Snow Leopard only, they almost certainly won’t work with Lion, so after Lion is released in Summer 2011, you may have to wait for a new version of these apps, if they come at all. Perhaps that’s another reason to go with HyperDock – If you’re only going to be using DockView for the next 7 or 8 months, is it worth paying extra?

We haven’t seen enough of Lion to really tell, but it’s certainly worth considering when making your decision.


  • Pete

    No mention of hyperdock’s safari tab previews and far superior performance.

    • http://iaian7.com Iaian7

      Performance is easily the biggest question for me – I purchased DockView when it was on sale a month or so ago, and after barely a day of use, had to uninstall. The sheer speed (on an i7 Macbook Pro, I might add) completely killed my system. Couldn’t use it. :(

  • Malte

    I tried both apps and bought both of them straight away. (Yes, you can already “buy” Hyper Dock… If you donate $10 or more during the beta you get a license file that will be valid for version 1.x)
    Both of them are great apps, but I personally decided for HyperDock mainly because of it’s window snapping and windows dragging functionality which wasn’t mentioned in the article. These features make Zooom2 and Cinch obsolete.

    • mwuk

      A hearty +1 for HyperDock’s window snapping. Probably my most used feature!

  • Daniel

    “Sure, it’s a lot easier to do it on a Mac than on Windows” – isn’t that a little far fetched, regarding that Windows 7 has the feature built-in that you are comparing apps for in this article?

    • Daniel RP

      Completely agree, Windows 7 makes it much more easier to switch between windows. And the Statement “with cmd+tab”? Ever hear of WinKey+tab?
      Not only that, Windows 7 has a lot of features already built into the taskbar for easier navigation, Live Previews being one, you can also tell just from looking at the icon how many windows are open, you only need to hover the mouse over it to see all the previews and then can mouse over to bring them to the front, rather than having to click and hold for expose and then have OS X try and squeeze all the previews onto the screen at once.

      I’ve had my mac for nearly a year now, and used it exclusively, barely using windows at all, but still am troubled by how much better the Win7 taskbar is, for switching between windows or even tabs for that, the dock does a poor job.

      • KJ

        I have to agree with you.

  • http://designlovr.com ximi

    As mentioned before, you forgot one of the most important features of hyperdock: window snapping.

    Simply drag you window to the top of your screen to make it fullscreen, to the left to fill the left half of the screen or to the right to fill the right side.

    This is my favorite Hyperdock feature and makes it in my eyes the clear winner in this competition!

  • http://www.cobboc.com Amit

    I like Hyperdock, though i haven’t tried Dockview, but ever since i switched to mac, i have nvr used cmd + tab…

  • eden

    Why did you wrote that hyperdock is free? its 15 days trial… then i have to buy it.
    did i miss anything?

  • hiuwo

    it was still in beta when this article was published.
    i believed you are the unlucky one because it just went to 1.0

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  • paul

    Hyperdock does not do tab viewing like windows 7 thus you have to keep opening a new window, better if it showed the separate tabs

  • http://- George

    Where do all these queer mac devs get off charging for all these little tweaking programs. What a joke. Fuck you asshole. There’s so much great, free software for windows, oh but this little app has window previews, $10. I ought to bash your face in. “I worked so hard, I have to eat too” wwaaaaaaaaaaaaahhhhh. If you don’t like your job get another one, if you don’t make enough money do something else that make you more. Fucken unbelievable. All of you shut up, I know this app does more, that’s not the point. The point is anyone who charges money for shit like this is a selfish prick I don’t care who you are, what your name is or who’s dick your sucking on.

    • Matt Curtis

      This comment is entirely to enraged, negative, and crude, but I can’t help agreeing. As a Windows user primarily, I’ve found that OSX devs have this odd entitlement to exorbitant prices on software. I assume it’s just them sticking their hands down what they assume are the deeper pockets of their users.

  • Patrick Valmont

    As a Mac and Windows user yes George has a point. This program should actually be free. Yes we know you worked hard earned hours for this but in the end, if this is a built in feature of 7 then why not just make this free ?

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