After using Lanchbar for several months, I've decided to return to Alfred and I thought I'd explain why. Launchbar is a decent program with more features than any one person will ever use. Clearly, it suits some people really well. I desperately wanted to like it, but in the end it just didn't do what I wanted it to do. I think that for my purposes, what I want is a slightly more functional Spotlight. The shortcomings:
* I don't like where it is placed on the screen. It's a little grey box that drops down from the middle of the menu bar. This, for me, is not a good place to work in an app that is as complex as Lanchbar. I'd like to be able to move the search bar around, preferably to the middle of the screen.
* Launchbar does not use the spotlight index. Some people like this, but in my experience this meant that Launchbar was slow to detect new apps, files, etc. This, in fact, is the biggest annoyance. Because it took so long to update, I'd end up using Spotlight (which, by the way, is also not in an ideal spot on the screen).
• Finding files is a major chore. With Alfred, spacebar then type a keyword brings up files. Very easy. With Launchbar, unless I'm missing something, you've got to navigate to the folder you want to search or you may get results from all over the place (xml files, preference files etc.). It seems to me that Launchbar could separate tasks so that simple searches would bring up common files and if you wanted to search for system files etc, you could activate a more complex search.
• The coolest functions require too many steps. I love that I can get a phone number or address to flash up on my screen in nice bold type on a hud style background. This is really useful. However, it takes too long to get there. I'd rather just open up the contacts app.
• It's meant to learn from commonly searched combinations, but it doesn't. I ended up having to program certain combinations because I lost patience.
• It's not compatible with AirMail. This is almost inexcusable. AirMail is often a top selling app in the App Store and should be supported.
Overall, Launchbar has lots of great functions, but I didn't feel that they were designed in a way that made them worthwhile. I most commonly use a launcher to launch apps, do web searches, and open files. It's not that I don't also use it for other things, but those less frequently used tasks shouldn't be bundled together with the frequently used ones. Launchbar doesn't need to decide which tasks are most frequently used, but it could allow users to prioritize them.