Nero Multimedia Suite 10 Features Plenty of Enhancements, But it Still Lacks Coherency and Finesse
At a Glance
Multimedia Suite 10
Nero's exceedingly powerful burning suite continues to offer innovations, like its MediaHub for organizing, editing, and playing content; but it continues to be hampered by interface challenges.
With Nero Multimedia Suite 10 ($100, price as of March 29, 2010), Nero has finally begun to take steps addressing what its perennially powerful burning suite has lacked--easy creativity. The new MediaHub component--a combination media organizer, media player, photo editor and slideshow creator--offers a friendly interface . The Nero Vision video editor and authoring software gets some major changes, too, including better prefabricated art and templates; sadly, its interface still has one foot in the Nero's past.
While Multimedia Suite 10 still comprises a number of individual components, unbundled versions of major components are now available. MediaHub and Vision are sold separately as Nero Vision xTra for $60; Nero Burning ROM for $50 (as it was before the suite wars with Roxio began); and the capable imaging/file backup/synching BackItUp & Burn for $40. You're still better off with the suite if you think you'll want at least two of these core functions.
MediaHub's interface is far friendlier than that offered by most of Multimedia Suite 10's components. (Only BackItUp & Burn can match it.) Its extensive file support is also impressive. Not only does it handle common media and file types such as audio CD, DVD, JPEG, MPEG, bitmaps, MP3, and wave, it also recognizes more esoteric types such as compressed TIFF, FLAC, APE, and non-standard wave file resolutions such as 24-bit/88kHz. It also understands DirectShow filters (codecs) such as QuickTime, MP4, HD WMV, .FLV (Flash), and .MKV.
MediaHub also offers an inline photo editor similar to Google's Picasa; the photo editor allows quick tweaking, correction, and even adding special effects to photos. Nero stumbles, however, by not offering an inline editors for music and video (an unfortunate omission, since Nero Multimedia Suite 10 includes the Nero WaveEditor and Nero Vision video editor). If Nero can take MediaHub that extra step, though-bringing all of Nero's diverse media editing functionality under MediaHub's pleasing interface--the company will be on to something that should appeal to users at all levels, since no organizer/player on the market that edits all three major types of media.
The other component which has received a major upgrade is Nero Vision 10. The timeline editor is vastly improved with a new look, more tracks, and easier tools. There are also major changes under the hood such as Smart Encoding (not re-encoding material that already matches the output format) and support for NVidia's CUDA hardware AVC/.264 acceleration. Also, you may now produce Blu-ray content without purchasing an additional plugin, as well as apply themes to an entire movie . Themes are comprised of cohesively styled FX, transitions, titles. Unfortunately, the authoring and project dialog still suffer the old amateurish interface.
Nero Burning ROM, Nero's long-standing component for burning virtually any type of disc has finally acquired the ability to span discs for data jobs. The new DiscSpan job even lets you mix disc types (CD, DVD, BD-R); the last disc will contain an app so you don't need to install Nero in order to restore the archive. The other convenient improvement is the Burn Now button, which saves you a step by bypassing the options dialog that Burning ROM traditionally opened before burning a project.
Other individual components of the suite not already discussed also remain largely the same: The StartSmart launch center which also handles basic burning tasks, Nero SmartTrax for recording audio, Recode for transcoding video to different formats, and Cover Designer for making CD sleeves and labels. Utilities for gathering media and drive info, and recovering data from all sorts of media are still there as well. BackItUp & Burn performs both imaging and file-based backup and has a new, friendlier first-run wizard.
Alas, in spite of the improvements, Nero Multimedia Suite 10 retains the discombobulated feel of a product that's changed directions multiple times and never stuck with any of them. Let's hope Nero takes MediaHub and runs with it.
Confused look or no, the highly capable and versatile Nero Multimedia Suite 10 is still a very viable contender to Roxio Creator 2010 and Cyberlink's Media Suite. It's leaner and faster than either, though Roxio still offers better prefab content and Cyberlink's unified look gives it a nicer overall feel.