Ashampoo’s Burning Studio has never made quite as many headlines as the big disc burning suites, perhaps because the program concentrates on ease of use rather than forever adding unnecessary “bonus” features which you’ll never use.
The package still manages to include interesting capabilities that you won’t always find elsewhere, though, like the ability to create interactive autostart menus for your data discs. And the latest release, Ashampoo Burning Studio 11, continues this tradition with easy and time-saving integration for your Facebook, Dropbox, Picasa and Flickr accounts.
The idea is a simple one. Traditionally disc burning tools have assumed any files you’d like to burn are located on your own PC, but these days there’s a good chance that at least some will be stored in the cloud somewhere. And so whenever you add files to a project, Burning Studio 11 now uses a custom dialog which allows you to directly access your Flickr, Picasa, Dropbox and Facebook accounts, browse your stored files and select whatever you need, just as easily as if they were on your own desktop.
Other additions this time around are much smaller, though very practical and still worth having. So, for instance, Burning Studio 11 can burn audio CDs from many common playlist formats. The program has an option to normalise the volume of MP3 and WMA CDs. And as well as creating and burning images, Burning Studio 11 now makes it easy to browse them, and extract whatever files and folders you like.
Not every new feature is quite as interesting. The new Compact Mode, for example, just reduces the program to an icon, where you can drag and drop files whenever you want to burn discs. Which is fine, but others have done something similar with desktop gadgets for quite some time.
Overall, though, Burning Studio 11 remains an excellent program, which manages to be easy to use without compromising on functionality. It now also performs better than ever, thanks to new multi-core optimisations, and so if you’re looking for a burning suite without all the usual bloat then this could be a sensible choice.