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Nero 14 Platinum review

Simon Handby
30 Sep 2013
Our Rating 
Price when reviewed 
67.99
inc VAT

A re-focused and improved package of multimedia apps and tools, but the price has crept up too

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Specifications

It's probably fair to say that Nero's suite of disc-burning and multimedia applications had become rather sprawling over the years, but the past few iterations have seen this trend reversed. Nero 2014, the latest release, is comprised of a smaller group of applications that cover a more focused set of tasks, such as disc burning, disc viewing, video editing, media management and the transcoding of video and audio files. In general we're glad to see this streamlining, but this version loses the BackItUp program which was a useful component of Nero 12.

Nero 14 Platinum - New Start Centre

The new start centre is quick to load, helpful and uncluttered

Nero has instead concentrated on the core software, and in many places the user experience has improved. There's a new, lightweight initial page that loads without delay, and which organises the suite's software by function. This is an improvement on the random ordering of Nero 12's flashier but less useful dashboard. Each app is represented by a tile. Clicking the Information icon at the top right of a tile tells you what the app does, which is helpful for those new to the suite.

One obvious change in Nero 14 is the re-branding of the Kwik Media photo, video and music organiser into MediaHome. The new package is much quicker to load and includes a home media server that can stream music, photos and videos to any DLNA or UPnP devices on your network, such as a smart TV or games console.

Nero 14 Platinum - Media Server

The rebranded MediaHome now includes a DNLA/UPnP media server

Otherwise, MediaHome is little changed from its rather simplistic predecessor. While it can sort photographs by criteria, including date and rating, the built-in editing options are limited to crops and straightening, red-eye removal, colour corrections and pre-configured effects such as sepia. There are no options to upload to a photo-sharing service such as Flickr or Picasa, and while it's possible to burn media directly to a disc, the lack of a basket or similar device means it's a fiddle to select multiple songs and images. It's not a great audio player, either. It's still not possible to queue music informally so that it starts after currently playing tracks, and you can't apply your own descriptive tags to songs.

TOTAL RECODE
The suite's remaining apps are stronger, and together make a useful set of tools for anyone wanting to edit, view, burn or convert video to various formats. The latter job is the domain of Recode, which lets you create one or more video or audio transcoding tasks, add them to a queue and leave them running in the background or overnight. It has a neat interface in which you choose the source file then select the device or DVD format for which you want the output files optimised. The options depend on whether you're converting audio or video, but the presets include mainstream devices such as the iPad mini, Samsung Galaxy S III and Google Nexus 4. Alternatively you can specify custom resolution and quality settings.

Nero 14 Platinum - Recode

Recode offers presets for a range of recent devices, but you can customise or create your own

Once you've selected a location for the output, the job’s added to Recode's queue and you're returned to the first step where you can create additional jobs. We like the ability to continue creating jobs even after Recode has begun processing the queue, and the way you can set the PC to hibernate or shut down at the end of the last job. However, it's a shame you can't schedule processing to start at a certain time or when the system’s idle. The new Disk to Device feature, included only with the Platinum version of the suite, presents a neatly streamlined way to transcode and copy a disc's content to an attached smartphone, or to cloud storage such as Dropbox or Google Drive if installed.

Nero 14 Platinum - Disk To Device

Transcode and copy a disc to cloud storage or a connected device

Nero Video, the suite's video editor has a similar start screen to Recode, but here you can't simply drag and drop video or audio files to start working on them. Instead you must choose from several import, edit and export options and select the frame rate and resolution of the project on which you'll be working before selecting your source video. This is necessary for projects that combine videos with different resolution settings and so on, but it puts us off simply diving in and exploring the edits available.

Nero 14 Platinum - Rhythmsnap

RhythmSnap detects soundtrack rhythm points to which you can snap audio and video

Nero has given Video's interface a minor update and has added new options that include various tilt-shift effects for emulating a very shallow depth of field. This is useful for emphasising the subject or making a scene look small. Also useful is RhythmSnap, which scans music soundtracks and marks them with rhythm points to which other edits will subsequently 'snap', providing a neat way to synchronise sound and video. Nero Video can also add a dynamic soundtrack, scaled to the right length for a video segment, although the available options are predictably generic. The new support for Ultra HD 4K video could prove useful. It should be noted that all of these new Video features are available only in the Platinum edition.

BURNING DESIRE
At the heart of the suite, the two disc-burning applications, Nero Burning ROM and Nero Express, seem completely unchanged. That's certainly no bad thing, as Burning ROM in particular is class-leading software, capable of tackling any disc authoring project. Anyone who's used earlier versions will find the interface immediately familiar: you choose the disc type you intend to burn, choose the source files and set any other options before setting it underway.

This version of the Nero suite brings some useful new features, along with welcome changes including some quicker start times, simplified interfaces and an improved focus. Overall there's a definite improvement over Nero 12 Platinum, but unfortunately the price has risen slightly, too. There's not enough here to justify an upgrade from Nero 12, but otherwise it’s a good media and disc burning suite.

Details

Price£68
Detailswww.nero.com
Rating***

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