Full user review
"Decent Alternative to Jump Start Your Process"
Reading several reviews, I cannot help but chuckle. This software is not supposed to be Visio. Of course, Visio has tons of options, but the learning curve (much like most of Microsoft's products) can be steep. For example, I'm sure if I were a mathematician, the countless features within Excel would delight me for hours on end. But, I'm not, so I just want an intuitive program that's easy to use in a pinch (need some visuals for a presentation tomorrow) without searching a manual or scouring the Internet for user-group comments and guidance.
Often, programmers design so many bells and whistles into programs, yet forget that most end users aren't programmers themselves. The core value of SmartDraw has to be it's fairly simple to use--even for people who aren't as adept with software. Within a short time of playing around with options, a complete novice can build decent visuals--no special conditions to be aware of, no rules to learn.
I'd have to say the biggest con is price. For what it does and provides, I'd price this between $99 and $149.
There are limitations to the program. It's not designed to do the heavy lifting of Visio. Hyperlinking between visuals and annotating--SmartDraw lacks these features.
If you require something that provides more extensive options and flexibility, and you have the time to learn a stronger program, then either purchase a program like Visio or research open-source alternatives.
SmartDraw is to Visio what SnagIt is to PhotoShop--a less expensive, quick, easy-to-use resource that can satisy the needs of most ordinary users.
It's a decent product. While it's not the greatest, it's certainly not the worst, as some user reviews have painted it. Reviewers who attempt to grade SmartDraw against Visio aren't always painting the most accurate picture. At the Visio Standard level ($249), SmartDraw is a decent product, depending on the needs of the user. Visio's big-box features are included in the more expensive versions: Visio Professional ($559.99) and Visio Premium ($999.99).
My recommendation is download the trial versions of SmartDraw and Visio and get a feel for both. Only you know what your needs are, as well as your comfort level working with software.