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Subject: Nero 6.0 Ultra edition 6..3.1.0 review
By S. Gorman

This is an example of a very delayed review for the best of reasons.  Nero 6 has become a virtually daily utility in our computer work.  It is used constantly for backing up data, more than occasionally for developing slide shows, for MP3 compilations and for viewing DVDs that have been made with Nero Vision Express.  It is one of those too rare products that deliver what it promises.  It's abundantly clear that this is a mature product that keeps getting better and better. 

Perhaps the most startling change for those of us who have been long-term users of Nero, is the new start screen (SmartStart) which presents an uncluttered visual menu of all the sub programs.  Particularly handy is the favorites menu which lists the most common tasks performed including data disk backup.  While the wizards of the previous edition are improved and there to help, the more traditional interface with increased control is only one click away. If you want to customize the interface, it easy and flexible. The configuration module also tracks version numbers and goes out on the ‘Net and makes ures, at intervals you define, that you are running the latest version 

Often programs that portray themselves as the software equivalent of the Swiss Army knife are nothing but  "bloatware".  That's not Nero's problem.  Each of its modules is improved.  Nero BackUp for example,  is an adequate but not high end backup program that allows full incremental and differential backups that can be scheduled for off-hours and can span several CDs or, more likely in our data intensive environment, DVDs.  The program is not designed to compete with Dantz Retrospective or the like but it functions very well and may well be the only product that the average user may need. 

The Photo module has adequate photo editing with capture from scanners or digital cameras.  Like many standalone programs, it allows custom menus and captions along with variable music tracks different transitions and timing. This is not to say it can do everything a stand-alone program can do. For example, it doesn't have the now obligatory, "Ken Burns effects" of tilting and panning within a still image. What is does have is an easy interface, very fast compilation and reliable output for about 95% of the needs of the SOHO user.  

Nero Vision Express is the new video module designed to make DVD, VCD, and SVCD movies. Like the still image component, it can capture video images from almost any source, including Firewire, USB 1 & 2  devices as well as capture cards. It has good menu editing with the unexpected bonus of moving menus  While it has a proprietary  own default format for saving files, it all has a MPEG-2 encoder that will burn any  standard common video discs. The real surprise in this module is the MPEG-4 aduio-video encoding which plays back flawlessly on the included ShowTime Player.  

Nero 6 is really the software utility equivalent of Cracker Jacks. You expect a high quality data backup tool and the folks at Ahead certainly deliver on that. You may even expect the newer multi-media features that their competitors have made almost standard. What you don't expect are the little surprises like the Divx module, the slick new interface, the improved label and cover utility or its excellent help functions. Maybe the best way to describe this program is to say that its easy to take for granted because it works so well. The everyday user know it can't replace the most sophisticated stand-alone products in each area but they also know if they need something done with data they ought to look under the hood on this program because a more-than-adequate version of whatever they need is almost certain to be there to meet the need without the earning curve and expense of a additional software. Buy it and learn to take for granted that it will work.
(P.S. Nero is now up to Version 6.6. It seems to be faster, better and have a richer feature set. It’s a must buy!} Parts of this review were previously published.

Shepard B Gorman,Ph.D

A full professor and clinical psychologist who sets up turn-key systems for other professionals, he has served as a computer educator for NY State, many professional groups and serves on the technology approval and recommendation committees for Nassau Community College, NY and several local hospitals.

Last Update: 10/21/2004


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