Random fact: I don’t know about you, but whenever I play my career in NBA2K, Oklahoma City Thunder is the most inconvenient opponent for me.

I mean, Russell Westbrook is so tough to guard, for real! But hold up, let me get back on topic: we are here for digital proofing and analysis of competitors. And, by no coincidence, Oklahoma is our next stop! A local company of enthusiasts put to production an interesting collaboration tool called Cage, and we are going to pay it a visit. Let’s play some ball!

What is CageApp?

So, if Capterra is right, Cage was established in 2011. That kinda surprised me, to be honest, because I thought this app was among the recently launched ones. The reason for such my prejudice was that it does not have all the basic features I’m used to seeing in other proofing apps… but let’s not jump to any conclusions beforehand and start from the very beginning.

Cage app dashboard screenshot
Cage app dashboard view

CageApp Features

  • When you log in, the first thing you’re about to see is a pretty dashboard with your general work statistics and information. You do not have any gallery right here, because projects are in the separate tab.
  • We are now using free version with no pricing applied. As long as you have one user and only one project except for the test one, you can stay on free plan as long as you like. Definitely a favourable cost for all freelance creatives.
  • Video and animation proofing is supported.
  • Mark-up tools range is decent. It includes Marker, Highlight (which is a square shape, basically), Circle, and Sketch tool for drawing. Should be enough to annotate pretty much anything; you can change annotation colours as well.
  • Proofing tool does not support real-time communication in comments and you have to refresh the page to see what the other person has written. Not good for the teamwork in 2k19. The good thing is that there is Slack integration.
  • To assign an external reviewer for feedback, you have to go to People tab and send an email invitation from there. It is somewhat inconvenient that you cannot do it from the review tool straight away.
  • It seems that you will be able to assign an external reviewer only if you make your project public, which means you allow sharing. Private settings ensure a higher level of security, though technically it only means that none except from your registered teams will have access to the project.
  • When your external reviewer opens the link in the email, they have to confirm their identity and enter a password, which technically is some sort of registration. Takes a minute or two, but still a registration. Also, there’s a possibility to set a profile picture.
  • There is a heart-like button for approval, but no request changes button. Instead, you can assign tasks right in the review tool.
Cage app review tool screenshot
Cage app review tool
  • Everything was great until I uploaded the second version of the picture I’ve chosen and started looking for some tool to compare them. Well, the thing is that there is none! Check the screenshot above. When you switch to versioning mode in the review tool, a version panel slides from downside the screen showing the versions you already have. Except from the upload button, there are two greyed-out buttons to the left – Two-Up and Overlay with “coming soon” marks in brackets. Apparently, these are the compare regimes to-be, but it is weird that there has been none yet. That was the reason I thought the tool must be very young.
  • The app provides Activity Stream service if you need auditing, but it can only show the order in which all the actions were taken, not even their exact time and date. There’s no any kind of report you can generate for your client, I didn’t find any at the very least. If you happen to know where it’s hidden, please tell us in the comments.

Also Read: 10 Major trends in graphic design

The Pros and Cons of CageApp

  • Pros: nice interface, life-time free offer for freelancers, video format support, Slack integration.
  • Cons: registration of external reviewers, no compare modes, weak auditing functions.

CageApp vs Approval Studio: comparison table

 cage app logo blueapproval-studio-logo-new
Target marketSmall to enterprise businessesSmall to enterprise businesses
Interface intuitiveness8/109/10
Kanban boardsNoYes
Online communication in Proof ToolNo, but there is Slack integrationYes
Video proofingYesNo
Annotation shapes44
Compare modes04
AuditingActivity streamProject history / downloadable PDF-project report for a client
App languagesENEN, DE, PL, UA, and ES coming soon
Trial / free versionFree offer for 1 user and 1 project, no credit card14 days, no credit card / free 6-month offer for influencers
Price monthly$8 per user per month$40 per 5 users per month
Price annually$8 per user per month$30 per 5 users per month
Number of reviewsUnlimitedUnlimited
Capterra rating4.5/5 based on 3 reviews5/5 based on 6 reviews
G2Crowd rating3.5/5 based on 1 review5/5 based on 13 reviews

Why choose Approval Studio?

Approval Studio is much younger than Cage, but has certain features that might make a significant difference in your collaborative workflow. Let’s go to a short Approval Studio app review.

  • The program greets you with Kanban dashboard. Its features are a bit easier to find since they are not that “scattered” all around in the interface – for example, you can share the artwork right in the Review tool. 
  • External reviewers do not have to create an account and can be invited not only via email, but also via the link. Cage has a link sharing option as well, but it works for registered users only.
  • Approval Studio enables online chat-a-like discussions in the proofing tool, and we also have a Slack integration.
Approval Studio review tool screenshot
Approval Studio review tool
  • We offer 4 different annotation shapes – point, circle, square, and a free form, which is basically similar to Cage’s mark-up possibilities. But apart from that, in Approval you can attach one annotation to two or more similar issues in different places of the images. Comments can be hidden from external reviewers if necessary.
Approval Studio compare tool screenshot
Approval Studio compare mode
  • When you work with graphic designs, it is hard to achieve perfection from the very first iteration, and you have to see the differences and be able to track the image’s progress. We tried to stick to that concept when we developed Compare mode you can see above. It has 4 regimes: “Side by side” with two panels for each iteration and ability to highlight the changes, “Fader” for versions overlay, “Difference” that will show only the edits applied, and “Toggle” that switches from one iteration to another. Not a single change will go unspotted. There are no alternatives on the market. Slam-dunk!
  • Approval Studio offers full Project History with exact time for each change and, also, a downloadable Full report on the project or a separate Proof report for each document within it for a customer. It’s a three-pointer, I guess!

Also Read: 8 Fantastic Affordable Tools for Design Collaboration

Final Thoughts

That game was fun, but who’s the winner? If I can have a say in this, Approval Studio offers more possibilities for efficient project management and proofing. Yes, Cage supports video formats, but that is probably the sole part where it is superior on the practical side. And what are your thoughts? Who’s better? Let us know and get a chance to become an influencer and get our tool for free for the next six months! If you want a 1-on-1 basketball challenge with our PM, drop us a line and we will schedule a free personal demo for you.


Matthew Roberts is a guy who loves reading and writing whatever he can get his hands on - from project management articles to spicy rock'n'roll guitar riffs. He's been working with Approval Studio since 2018 and continues to do so now, which is why you are currently reading this small clumsy text, obviously. With a solid experience in marketing, creative team management, translation, teaching, and occasional freelancing masochism, he decided that it was a high-time to settle down a bit and finally learn how to use a coffee machine. Approval Studio office happened to have one, so he stayed, learned, and soon enough started working from home. Big and bald.

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