If you need simple, efficient and relatively bullet-proof disc-burning and multimedia software, Burning Studio 14 deserves a look.
Ashampoo Burning Studio 14 is a nice, but extremely mild, upgrade to what is now one of the longest-lived and competent CD/DVD/multimedia burning suites available for PC. It offers all the usual features: CD/DVD/Blu-ray burning, jewel case and cover editing, movie and slideshow creation, plus backup from PC and mobile devices, and does so for an affordable $50 ($20 to upgrade from a previous version).
New features in version 14 are the ability to write password-protected and encrypted discs, and one-click backup of mobile devices. Alas, the one-click backup seems to accept only an optical disc as a destination. Most of the backups that ABS performs may be stored anywhere, even across the network.
ABS 14 will create, burn, and also let you browse .iso, img, bin/cue, and its own .ashdisc image files. It also copies non-copy-protected discs and gives you the impression that it will do the same with copy-protected movie discs. It doesn’t, but it won’t say so until it runs into an unreadable sector, which can be well into the process.
The video editing and movie production (menus, themes, etc.) in ABS 14 are basic, but provide all the functionality that most users need. The themes are friendly-looking, but not terribly cutting-edge. For home users, they’re fine, but they won’t impress in the board room. The variety and quality of the transitions for movies and slideshows, however, are very nice.
ABS 14 understands nearly all the major file types, including AVCHD. You can import files into projects as separate scenes, or combine them with a basic but effective single-track editor. You can also burn discs from movies ripped to folders.
ABS’s backup capabilities are also rudimentary, but sufficient. It performs backups at the file-level backup to a single large file, which may also be encrypted. You can save them anywhere you want: your hard drive, optical disc, or the network. The device backup routine, as mentioned, only backs up to disc. It did a nice job backing up my Windows Phone 8 phone and my iPad, though only the images in the latter. Android devices are also supported.
There are still plenty of uses for optical drives, so if you have the need for a well-rounded suite that fully supports the technology, Ashampoo Burning Studio 14 deserves a look. If you don’t need the movie editing, image browsing and other advanced features, there’s also a free edition of Burning Studio that’s very competent.
Jon Jacobi is a musician, former x86/6800 programmer, and long-time computer enthusiast. He writes reviews on TVs, SSDs, dash cams, remote access software, Bluetooth speakers, and sundry other consumer-tech hardware and software.