When comparing Spectacle vs Parallels Desktop, the Slant community recommends Spectacle for most people. In the question“What are the best power user tools for macOS?” Spectacle is ranked 37th while Parallels Desktop is ranked 55th. The most important reason people chose Spectacle is:
Spectacle is licensed under MIT with source code available on [GitHub](https://github.com/eczarny/spectacle).
Ranked in these QuestionsQuestion Ranking
Pro Free and open source
Spectacle is licensed under MIT with source code available on GitHub.
Pro Simple hotkeys
Spectacle offers easy-to-remember preset hotkeys.
All windows in Spectacle can be controlled with keyboard shortcuts, so no mouse is needed. This makes for a fast way to control windows.
Pro Low footprint
Spectacle only uses up 18-19 MB of RAM, which means there is not much overhead by using this app.
Pro Great UX
Spectacle is easy to use and configure. It's plug and play.
Pro Multi-monitor support
Pro Can run Windows apps as native OS X apps
Parallels has a "Coherence View" mode that allows running Windows applications as if they were native OS X apps. In this mode Windows is virtualized in background and Windows features like Jump Lists, Taskbar, Start Menu, etc can be embedded directly within OS X.
Pro Easy to use
Parallels has an easy to learn and use UI. All important features are wizard based. It requires only a few clicks for the wizard to download and set up the latest Chrome OS, Windows or Linux build.
Pro Best integration ever
Pro Best-in-class gaming performance
Compared to other VMs, Parallels has the best gaming performance. Still, a good framerate can only be achieved with games that have very low resource requirements. A much better option for resource intensive games is dual booting Windows (via Boot Camp).
Con Breaks on macOS High Sierra / Chrome or Firefox
Doesn't support side by side windows.
Con Impossible to add new functions
While keyboard shortcuts can be changed for the available actions, there is no way to add custom actions which in turn limits the functionality of the app.
Con Limited window sizing capabilities
You can use 1/2 of the screen vertically and horizontally (divide into 4 parts). You can also use the screen in thirds too, but only the left and right third: you can't use the 1/3 in the center. There is no way to do a more granular distribution.
Con Not maintained
The software is free, but no longer seems to be maintained.
Con Doesn't work with any Adobe products
There are some apps like Adobe Reader that do not work with Spectacle. Basically, any app with a heavily customized UI that breaks OS X accessibility will not work correctly under Spectacle.
Con Very expensive
Parallels upgrades are very expensive. Even if I bough several versions of Parallels I will switch back to free VirtualBox as they even "invented" the Pro version - mainly doubled the price you have to pay each year to have the software updated.
Con Can't import OVA files
OVA files are useful because they include all of its supporting files. Unfortunately, Parallels doesn't support these useful files.
Con Requires buying a new version of the software with each new OS X release
Chances are that the same version of Parallels won't work with different OS X releases, requiring a separate purchase of Parallels for each OS X version.
Con Home edition doesn't work with Vagrant or Docker Machine
Make sure you purchase the Pro edition (the subscription) if you need command-line access to the hypervisor.
Con Can't export OVA files
One you use parallel you get trapped into a proprietary format.
Can't share disk blocks on two unrelated virtual machines (KSM for disk) too.