Debate: Hey versus Superhuman

I've been using Superhuman for almost a year now, and I've been pretty happy with it. The shortcuts really do make it super easy for me to process the crap that lands in my inbox daily.

OTOH, I love Basecamp and Hey looks super promising. I've played around with it, but not too much to be able to judge its workflow yet.

Has anybody used both of these tools? What do you think?

kevincwhelan's avatar
2 years ago

In typical Basecamp fashion, HEY provides a fun and easy to use visual navigation. However, it’s not yet optimized for speed in the same way Superhuman is. Fewer keyboard shortcuts, workflows, etc.

As a Basecamp customer, I trust that over the medium and long-term, this will be as fantastic as their other products have been.

I’ll pay for my early account and grow with the platform. In the meantime, I’ll use this for projects until it matures and keep using Superhuman for my multiple business iNboxes. :)

6 points
Jens's avatar
2 years ago

I’ve been using HEY for the past couple of weeks for my personal email and onboarded to Superhuman a couple of days ago. Here are my thoughts on both of them:


The good
The core problems they are trying to solve really resonate with me. I’m getting a ton of email from companies I didn’t actively choose to subscribe to and it clutters my inbox. “Allowing” E-Mails to your inbox is a great concept, which has enabled me to keep up with my important conversations much more effectively.

I also really like the concept of a paper trail to file away anything I might need to access later.

The lack of a count for both paper trial and the newsfeed removes a lot of anxiety.

I like that they keep my data private and show me who’s trying to grab information. Great way to shame companies and force change!

Things I don’t love
Even for personal use, I think of email as a productivity tool. But HEY is mich more playful and designed in a similar style as their other products. If you like that, great... I prefer it a bit more compact.

Which brings me to the second point. The idea of the newsfeed has something you might want to scan is great. But instead of showing you one liners for each item, emails are half expanded, making it much harder to scan for something that might be interesting. This is probably the biggest deal breaker for me.

Lastly keyboard shortcuts. Not only are they different from google, but they are also inconsistent depending on where I am in the app. Overall I feel a lot less productive going through my emails, but they can fix that fairly easily if they do it soon before people get used to the shortcuts they offer.


The good
It’s pretty fast. Not that I found gmail to be a dog, but it’s not just the performance of loading your emails it’s also the workflow and how you can adjust it to the way you work. Their white glove onboarding process does a great job of that.

I really like how easy it is to create additional inboxes. Google was half way there with their categorisation, but stopped short of being great.

I like the minimalist compact style. What was a negative in HEY is a big plus for me here. But again very subjective.

I haven’t used Snippets much, but because they are so easy to set up and contextual, I might use them over my Alfred snippets. Too early to tell.

Overall, everything just feels a little faster and more efficient, which makes a difference when you perform the same task hundreds of times a day.

Things I don’t love
Let’s start with the obvious, the price💵. $30/month is steep and will drastically limit their addressable market. I’m still working out whether I’m getting enough out of it to justify the price or if I should just configure Gmail a little better.

Aside from price, the biggest thing I miss from Gmail in Superhuman (and Hey) is the autocomplete. They’ve gotten pretty good at completing my sentences and not having to worry whether you spelled someone’s name right in the intro is priceless. That’s a big deal and I hope they’ll add some more smarts here.

Lastly the snippets are great, but I wish they had support for variables like names from the To: field or other more advanced options. It’s still quite basic as is.

Despite the price, my personal favourite is Superhuman at this stage, but I’ll need to give it more time to decide whether the highs cost/month is worth it. For $99/year, I wouldn’t even think twice about it.

4 points
maguay's avatar
2 years ago

I've been using both over the past couple weeks, Superhuman with my work email, Hey with my personal mail. It actually fits that model well—Superhuman's tools generally are built around getting through work email, while Hey somehow with its reading list and paper trail list of notifications/receipts feels more aimed at personal email.

I miss Superhuman's speed in Hey. Hey is just not as responsive as Superhuman right now—or not as responsive as Gmail. That's not a dealbreaker, but it just does feel slower in general.

I like how Hey makes you rethink your email. In many ways, Superhuman is Gmail but faster—it didn't actually change my workflow. Hey makes you consider who emails you, where to file each email, and makes it easier to ignore newsletters if there are too many (though I wish I could prioritize the ones I want to make sure to read).

Generally like it so far, though it does still feel a bit disorientating using Hey since it's so different from every other email app. Mostly in a good way though.

Then, a few other Hey discussions on Capiche so far with other thoughts:

4 points
jorge_selva's avatar
2 years ago

I have used both and recently have gone all-in on Hey.

The main driver for me was the implementation of the screen list and the feed. Once you've spent enough time flagging what should hit your inbox, and what should go straight to the feed, you have a moment of zen when you realize you haven't been pinged with a newsletter or notification email in hours. It's really great, just takes a little getting used to.

I agree with others that the speed isn't quite there yet, nor are the shortcuts, but I know they'll get there and am willing to live with the small issues so far.

4 points
udara's avatar
2 years ago

I used and paid for Superhuman for a month; my experience was that it's a well designed, fast, email client with a lot of fancy features - keyboard shortcuts, profile cards, message style threads. It's a well-designed product but it didn't change my bottom line email experience when compared to Gmail or Spark. Could completely be that I just don't get enough email to need most of the features; not for $30/month.

I'm currently trying Hey. I'm probably going to continue using Hey for my personal email - $99/year imo is very fair. It'd cost you more to host your own email server and that's what I benchmark it against. I personally find it cheesy that Hey markets itself as "modernized email"; the UI feels dated and slow. I think of it more as a bearable interface for a dated technology (compared to other mediums we used today). I wouldn't pay for the experience, but I can easily justify paying for the privacy and trust.

If you're looking for a work email solution try Superhuman, otherwise, try Hey - I think both these products are good for their own reasons, but whether or not you like the actual experience is likely more personal preference than what either market as the "ideal email experience".

4 points
JECabraC's avatar
2 years ago

I will like that the use of Hey would change the way I approach email. I like the product very much, and think that the design process behind it could lead to a better experience in communicating by email.

If I try to compare the two products without taking into account the philosophy of work that went into creating Hey, then I won't be giving Hey a fair chance.

I will be giving Hey a complete year, because I want to develop better communication habits , and I think Hey could help with that.

3 points
svikashk's avatar
2 years ago

From my experience, Superhuman is a faster GMail. And speed is subjective. Any new product can come and build a faster gmail. It's why I never understood all the hype around it. Nothing new.

Hey on the other hand takes a different approach. It's trying to rethink how email apps should function. It doesn't compete on features because they understand features can be copied anytime. However, my biggest dislike with Hey is their design. It's why I've disliked Basecamp as well. In the name of making it fun, it always looks like it was designed for kids who watch Cartoon Network. Too gimcky and flashy in my opinion. If that doesn't bother you, then Hey might be the right tool for you.

2 points
JTT's avatar
2 years ago

I have been a paid subscriber of SuperHuman for coming up 9 months. I really value the keyboard shortcuts and reminders. The snippets are great, but I often forget to use them. The send at a specific time again is useful, but not something I use all that often. The instant search is super valuable, I find searching in Gmail just takes too long.

In terms of Hey, well I signed up but sadly I can't use it for work, so right now it's a non starter for me and my team. If this changes I will be sure to consider Hey.

The main thing for me missing in both these tools is the kind of tracking that comes with YesWare as well as things like sequencing and auto-follow ups. Also, I would like to know how much time I spend in email, reading emails, writing emails, this would be nice if both tools offered this.

1 point
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