PCB design with Altium Circuit Studio. FAIL.

Altium Circuit Studio sold by Element14 (Farnell) is a stripped down and cheaper version of the famous Altium Designer.

I thought I’ll give it a try as they just reduced the price to about 1000$. This makes it competitive with others in the same feature and price range.

I installed the 30 days trial and started to design the schematic of my IoT project. I have used Altium Designer and even Protel during my studies so not so difficult to remember basic usage.

I quickly noticed a lot of bugs, crashes and very bad user experience (UX). It finally went to a point that the whole software became unusable due to constant crashes.

I reported a rather long list of issues that was left without answer. Until another user raised the same major issue on the Element14’s forum: the minimal screen resolution shall be at least 1280 x 1024. Following my complain they finally got in touch but the conclusion is pretty deceiving for Digital Nomads using an ultra portable:

For any customers using lower res laptops, they get around this limitation by using sw that allows scrolling of the screen. I know it is not the answer the customer is looking for but we do appreciate the candid feedback.

Altium via Farnell, 2016-11-04

Altium also assured that the crashes are not common but they don’t have a solution. Trying Circuit Studio was a FAIL for me. I wish it would work as it looks nice and I recommend you to try it. I’ll certainly give it another try with a new computer. But for now it led me to go back towards IBF Target3001 which I used to work with when I started my career.

Hi there! I'm Jérôme from France, currently a UK based freelance engineer and a globe trotter. My main experience is Embedded Software with Electronics Engineering. In fact, I love experiencing much broader things, learning new skills on the go, that's certainly why I like IoT.

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