When comparing Consolas vs Hack, the Slant community recommends Hack for most people. In the question“What are the best programming fonts?” Hack is ranked 9th while Consolas is ranked 10th. The most important reason people chose Hack is:
The fonts are in the Vera Sans Mono lineage with a significant expansion of the character set (which includes Cyrillic and modern Greek character sets), new glyph shapes and modifications of the original glyph shapes, as well as improvements in metrics and hinting/TT instructions to make it more legible at small text sizes used for source code. The changelog is available [here](https://github.com/chrissimpkins/Hack/blob/master/CHANGELOG.md).
Ranked in these QuestionsQuestion Ranking
Pro Nice appearance
Consolas has a good appearance and character without being too distracting.
Pro Can display a lot of text due to narrow width
Consolas is really narrow compared to most monospace fonts. The more narrow each symbol, the more text you see on the line.
Pro Includes a large number of unicode ranges
Consolas supports 30+ unicode ranges including Greek, Cyrillic, and Thai for a total of 2735 glyphs.
Pro Available for Windows and OS X
The font is available on machines running Windows Vista, Windows 7, Windows 8, and Windows 8.1, as well as part of Microsoft Office 2007 and Microsoft Visual Studio 2010. Otherwise it can be downloaded from Microsoft's homepage. It can also be set up on OS X machines with instructions on how to do it available here.
Pro Differentiation can be easily made between alike characters
There is good overall disambiguation of similar-looking characters in Consolas. For example, there are slashed zeroes, meaning the number "0" can be differentiated from the letter "O".
Pro Supports patch that adds Powerline symbols
Consolas can be used with the vim plugin Powerline if the following patch is applied: Patch.
Pro Includes true italics
There are true italics for this font, compared to obliques with most other monospaced fonts.
Pro Based on the tried and tested Bitstream Vera Sans Mono
The fonts are in the Vera Sans Mono lineage with a significant expansion of the character set (which includes Cyrillic and modern Greek character sets), new glyph shapes and modifications of the original glyph shapes, as well as improvements in metrics and hinting/TT instructions to make it more legible at small text sizes used for source code.
The changelog is available here.
Pro Libre webfonts are available in svg, eot, ttf, woff, and woff2 formats
Hack is free for unlimited commercial and non-commercial use. The webfonts are hinted (TrueType instruction set) to optimize display on the screen and are built into all commonly used web font formats with each new release. They include the complete release character set and smaller (filesize) basic Latin subset releases. They are available in the build directory of the repository.
Pro Source code is released in UFO format
UFO source format is widely supported by all modern font editors if you would like to modify the typeface.
Pro Fixes many readability issues in Vera/DejaVu
The tilde symbol ('~'), comma (',') and semicolon (';') glyphs have been modified to be more readable at small sizes and/or on non-HD displays. In addition, the underscore symbol ('_') has been slightly lifted for alignment with surrounding characters.
Pro Very readable
Pro Powerline glyph patch is included
The regular set is patched with Powerline glyphs by default. There is no need to patch the font to use it in Powerline environments.
Con Font size can't be changed gradually
Letter height is the same for 9 and 10, and for 11 and 12 pt. When switching from 10 to 11 pt, letter height changes abruptly (whereas line height changes gradually). This makes it impossible to choose exact letter height on a standard display. Size can't be set to 10.5 pt, for example.
Con Not free
Consolas costs 129€ for personal use, but you can get it for free (as in beer) bundled with some free MS products (example).
Con Small 'L' is too similar to digit 1
You can tell the difference when they are close together, but when used apart, it can be a bit hard.
Con Italic font is very different
The italic font (often used for comments) feels jarringly different to the regular one - especially on the "g" and "f" and "l" (lowercase L) glyphs.
Con Highly aliased with ClearType
Consolas is specifically designed to work with ClearType antialiasing, so it becomes highly aliased when ClearType is not turned on. This can be alleviated to a degree with any basic grayscale anti-aliasing.
As an OpenType relative of Consolas, Inconsolata works well without ClearType (Inconsolata-g being the most popular variant).
Con Poor legibility with small font-sizes on non-hidpi screens
Consolas in the 9 to 13 pt range is hard on the user's eyes with any monitor that's 1080 p or below.
Con Starting from 9pt, "!" is too similar to "|"
Con Sometimes difficult to distinguish lowercase "i" and lowercase "l"
When using a higher resolution monitor and a smaller font size, the lowercase "i" and lowercase "l" are very difficult to distinguish. The space between the dot and the remainder of the letter seems to somehow disappear, thereby making it look like a solid line, similar to the lowercase "l".