Is Nero’s latest upgrade worth the cash? We are leaning towards yes. With 8, Nero have shown renewed focus on what it is consumers are most interested in, and as a result, have made the application much easier to use. Read on as we explore all that’s new and notable.
When it comes to recording data to discs, the folks at Nero AG have it down. Various incarnations of the Nero Burning ROM have been around since the earliest days of CD-Burners, and if you’ve purchased an optical burner any time within the past seven years or so, chances are you’re familiar with Nero software.
These days, the ol’ Burning ROM is just a small piece of a huge library of Nero software that has continued to evolve and grow. The most recent incarnation of the popular Nero software suite is Nero 8. Today we’ll be taking a look at some of the new and improved features offered by Nero 8 Ultra, and hope to give you a good idea of what this software can do for you, and if it’s worth your time and money.
Here’s what Nero themselves have to say about their product:
Nero 8 brings the digital world to your PC. Create and edit photo slideshows and high definition video, convert your favorite content to enjoy on portable devices or share them online with friends or communities, rip and burn CDs/DVDs with easy one-click functions, create a home entertainment center with integrated TV, DVD, music and video streaming, recording and playback options. Rest easy with advanced backup features to protect against loss from system crash or damaged disc. Nero 8 makes your digital life fun with easy-to-use functions and cutting-edge technology to help you manage your multimedia projects.
A rosy picture made more attractive by the lenient system requirements.
You may want to refer to our review of Nero 7 Ultra Edition from last year for a frame of reference. For a complete list of all programs included with Nero 8 Ultra, check the product page. Now, let’s see how Nero 8 measures up.
One of the biggest things that Nero is highlighting with this latest release is a more intuitive and user-friendly user interface, beginning with the SmartStart window.
The SmartStart window received a pretty thorough cleaning compared to the somewhat busier look of Nero 7. The most notable new feature is the ability to add and remove program shortcuts to the menu on the right side of the window for easier access to commonly used applications.
On the left side of the window are four general shortcuts for creating data and music discs, ripping and copying discs within the SmartStart window itself.
As if drag-and-drop wasn’t simple enough, take a look at the copy disc option!
Press copy, watch a progress bar, insert blank disc, then watch another progress bar, and you’re done. The only problem with this feature is that copying a disc cannot always be cancelled, and can take several minutes.
The top of the SmartStart window lists functional program groups in the familiar way, but the menus are slightly different this time around, emphasizing general activities (rip, burn, edit) rather than data types (audio, video). You can see the functions of each tab below.
Another new addition is the inclusion of RSS feeds along the bottom of the SmartStart window. Default feeds for software updates, help, the Nero Community, etc. are shown initially and user-defined feeds can be specified in the options menu on the top left of the main SmartStart window.
Just below and to the left of the RSS feeds, there is a program launch menu similar to the Windows Start button that lists the applications included in Nero 8.
The more general function-based organization seems to have reduced the number icons on the screen, giving things a cleaner look and making it easier to find the right program.