Before the cloud era, Adobe used to sell its software with a one-time purchase option. It would provide a license key that can be used by users to activate the software they bought. Today, people who want to use Adobe products such as Photoshop, Lightroom, and Illustrator have to be a paid subscriber since today Adobe only accepts a subscription-based payment model for its products. No one-time purchase option is offered like it used to be.
Adobe is just one example. Another giant software company — Microsoft — has also followed the same transition by offering its products with a subscription-based model. You can still buy Microsoft Office with a one-time purchase option, but you will only get classic office apps (Word, Excel, PowerPoint). Unlike Microsoft 365 which includes Outlook, Access, Publisher, and OneNote. Besides, Microsoft encourages users to use Microsoft 365 (formerly Office 365) instead of Microsoft Office.
Advantages and disadvantages of subscription-based apps
Flexibility is one of the biggest advantages offered by a subscription-based app. You can typically use a single account on apps installed on different devices. For instance, you can use an Adobe Account you have subscribed to the Photography plan in Lightroom and Photoshop installed on different devices (Windows, Mac, Android, iOS). This is the opposite of a non-subscription app. Typically, a non-subscription app can only be used on the device where it is installed and activated although the case is not always that way.
In addition, a subscription-based app typically also offers cloud storage to allow to access your files from anywhere using different devices.
However, not everyone really needs or wants to save their files to the cloud. Or, they might have already subscribed to another cloud storage and don’t need another cloud storage. Some people are not objected to spending a larger amount of money upfront to use an app as long as they want, rather than constantly spending monthly/yearly budget.
Featured non-subscription desktop apps
If you are the sort of person who hates a subscription-based payment model, we have collected some of the best non-subscription desktop apps you might need. Here is the list.
1. WPS Office
Office suite is one of the most essential apps for most computer users. Every computer user must already familiar with the name Microsoft Office. As mentioned easier, you can still get Microsoft Office with a one-time purchase option. Alternatively, you can also use WPS Office.
WPS Office is a cross-platform office suite, available for Windows, Linux, and macOS. It is consists of the following apps:
- Document editor
- Spreadsheet editor
- Presentation maker
- PDF Converter
WPS Office has compatibility with Microsoft Office. You can use it to open and edit DOCX, XLSX, and PPTX files. WPS Office is a freemium app with the free version contains ads. To remove the ads, you can use the paid version of WPS Office at $119.99. The price includes 1 GB cloud storage. WPS Office is especially a great option if you need an office suite to work collaboratively with your teammates as it comes with a great collaboration feature, including WPS Meeting.
If you are a professional photographer or photography hobbyist and need a Lightroom alternative to edit your photos, CaptureOne is a great fit. You can use CaptureOne to edit your RAW files regardless of the camera brand you use as it supports nearly all RAW formats from popular camera brands. CaptureOne comes with features like lens correction, color adjustment, and other adjustment options to correct a photo. It has the ability to export images into a wide range of formats such as JPEG, PNG, DNG, PSD, and TIFF. When exporting an image, you can also select a color profile. CaptureOne supports sRGB, Adobe RGB, eciRGB v2, and CYMK.
CaptureOne offers two buying options: subscription-based and one-time purchase. The one-time purchase option of CaptureOne costs $299. CaptureOne itself is available for Windows and Mac.
3. eM Client
eM Client is a great desktop-based email client that you can use to access emails. It supports a wide range of popular email services such as Gmail, Yahoo Mail, and Outlook. In addition to email, you can also use eM Client to manage calendars, contacts, and tasks. In eM Client, you can instantly turn an email into a task or a meeting agenda. eM Client is especially a great email client for a business use although you can also use it for any purpose. eM Client itself is a freemium tool with the free version can only be used for personal use. The premium version of eM Client costs $29.95. eM Client is available for Windows and Mac.
Need a tool to create YouTube content? If yes, Filmora9 is a great fit. Filmora9 is a video editing tool that has a very easy-to-use user interface. It is a great tool if you are completely new to video editing. Some basic editing — such as video cropping — is as easy as editing an image in Photoshop. You can easily add transitions, effects, and elements to your video with a single click. Filmora9 also comes with features like lens correction, color correction (exposure, brightness, saturation), white balance adjustment, light correction (highlight, shadow), and so on. It also has a built-in audio controller to adjust the audio volume, equalizer, fade in, and fade out.
Filmora9 is an ideal tool to create YouTube content and social media content. It comes with 5 default aspect ratio options: 16:9 (YouTube), 1:1 (Instagram), 9: 16 (portrait), 4:3, and 21:9 (cinema). Filmora supports popular video formats like MP4, AVI, MKV, and MOV. You can get Filmora9 with a one-time purchase option at $ 69.99. Filmora9 is available for Windows and Mac.
CorelDRAW is a professional-grade graphic design tool. You can use this tool to create any kind of design from illustrations, shapes, icons, arts, brochures, flyers, and so on. CorelDRAW is available for Windows and Mac with a one-time purchase option. Before buying a CorelDRAW license, you can try it first for free for 17 days during the trial period. CorelDRAW has compatibility with similar tools, including Adobe Illustrator. It supports a wide range of graphic formats, including AI, SVG, PSD, EPS, TIFF, PNG, and JPG.
Need to edit a PDF file? You can count on PDFElement if yes. PDFElements is a feature-rich PDF editor for Windows and Mac. It will convert a PDF file into an editable format to allow you to edit it. You can edit a PDF file with PDFElement just like when you are editing a document with a word processor. You can edit an existing text or add new a new one. When adding a text, you can change the font, text color, formating (underline, italic, bold), and so on. You can also insert new pages, add a form, and images, and so on.
PDFElement allows you to scan a paper into an editable PDF. It also supports OCR (Optical Character Recognition). Furthermore, PDFElement comes also allows you to annotate a PDF file and convert a PDF file into Word, Excel, PowerPoint, image, and text. You can get PDFElement with a one-time purchase option at $79.
Subscription-based apps offer flexibility, but some people want to own the app instead of renting it. Even if they have to spend a larger amount of money. When you use a subscription-based app, you rent it, not own it. A non-subscription app is a better option for the long term as you only need to spend your money once. What do you think?