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Review: Nero Multimedia Suite 10

09 April 2010, Mike Williams

The successor to 9 – Reloaded, Multimedia Suite 10 sees Nero take their flagship disc burning, ripping, copying, video editing, do-everything media suite in a whole new direction. While it’s still packed with updated versions of familiar tools, Nero Multimedia Suite 10 is actually based around three core, stand-alone products, each covering their own area of multimedia expertise.

At the core of the suite, old favourite Nero Burning ROM will handle your disc mastering, copying and ripping needs. The new Nero Vision Xtra adds powerful video editing functionality, media organisation, playback and photo manipulation tools. And BackItUp & Burn keeps you safe by backing up everything from individual files to a complete drive image, with the absolute minimum of hassle.

As in previous suites, Nero StartSmart helps you navigate all this functionality with a simple front-end menu that covers all the main features. So you can click on, say, the Data tab and find options to burn discs and back up your hard drive; or click Music and find links to the appropriate tools for ripping CDs, playing back or organising your audio files. Just choose the function you need and the appropriate application will pop up, ready to go.

Nero Vision Xtra

The first area you might want to explore is Nero Vision Xtra, which provides an array of new multimedia functionality through two integrated applications, Nero MediaHub and Nero Vision.

MediaHub is an excellent media manager, importing your music, photos and video libraries from Windows and iTunes, giving you thumbnail navigation, providing all kinds of tools to sort and arrange your media, and letting you view or play back anything with a speedy double-click.

We do mean play back “anything”, too, as the program supports all the main audio, video and photo formats, and others that competing tools sometimes miss: AVCHD, AVCREC, FLAC, FLV, MKV, DVDs, non-commercial Blu-ray and more (watching commercial Blu-Ray discs will require an additional, optional plug-in, due for release later this year).

You also get extensive media import features, including the ability to rip CDs, grab digital photos, or import video from various types of hardware. Basic but easy-to-use image editing tools will quickly fix red-eye, colour and exposure problems, or apply a few special effects. And you can combine video, music and images into multimedia slideshows, then publish them directly to YouTube, MySpace, Flickr and Facebook.

If you need more editing power, though, a click will open them in the revamped Nero Vision. This now features true multi-track editing, and lots of professional effects: chroma key, pan and zoom, distortions, picture-in-picture and more. NVIDIA CUDA support and enhanced SmartEncoding (the ability to transcode only files that require it) make for excellent burning performance, and you’re able to burn Blu-ray projects natively – the old Blu-ray authoring plug-in is no longer required.

Nero Burning ROM

Disc burning doesn’t see quite as much change in Nero Multimedia Suite 10, but that’s hardly surprising – Nero Burning ROM was so powerful in its previous version that it’s difficult to imagine what else could be added. Still, Nero have come up with some very worthwhile tweaks.

Their SecurDisc 2.0 technology, for instance, can now be used on any hardware, for any disc type: CD, DVD or Blu-ray. This automatically adds error recovery capabilities to your discs, so even if they get scratched there’s a chance of restoring the contents. You also get optional password protection, copy protection, a data integrity check that warns you of impending disc failure, and more.

A new DiscSpan and DiscMerge feature lets you archive data across multiple discs. If you’re backing up your home movies, say, there’s no need to arrange them yourself into single disc-sized groups – DiscSpan will handle all that for you. And intelligently, too, so for instance you can start the project by burning DVDs, but it’ll let you use a CD for the last disc if there’s only a small amount of data remaining.

Anyone with an AVCHD camcorder will appreciate the new AVCHD project type, that lets users archive the AVCHD folder structure without transcoding their footage (a real time-saver). And improved Windows integration delivers new context menu options (select files, right-click, click Burn With Nero), useful Windows 7 jump list options, and more.

More new features

There are other tweaks and improvements through Nero Multimedia Suite 10.

BackItUp & Burn, for instance, comes with a smarter setup wizard for simple backups – set your target drive and the program will automatically back up all your files on a regular basis, no further intervention required.

A simpler, redesigned StartSmart applet makes it easy to access the Multimedia Suite 10 functions that you need, and includes some powerful options of its own. You’re able to rip CDs from within StartSmart, for example; it uses Gracenote to recognise your discs and download cover art; and you can now export your tracks to MP3, WMA, AIFF, Flac and Ogg Vorbis.

If you’re still unsure about particular aspect of Nero Multimedia Suite 10, then the Knowledge Centre (again accessible via StartSmart) should be able to help. It was still being set up during our testing, but Nero say this will provide an easy link to online support services including tutorials, FAQs and more, without you having to open a separate browser window.

And the suite comes with a host of new content templates to enhance your projects: stylish themes, quality music and photo samples, more than 150 clipart packs, and improved 2D, 3D and animated menus for your video discs.

Final thoughts

While it’s generally easy to find your way around Nero Multimedia Suite 10, it could be a little more integrated. You can edit a picture from Nero MediaHub, for instance, but not a music file – to do that you must launch Nero WaveEditor yourself. This only takes a moment, but life would be simpler if the program had this option built-in.

Still, this is MediaHub’s first version, and in general the program does an excellent job. It’s perfect for organising, viewing and playing back just about any media, the photo editing options are basic but easy to use, the slideshow creator is superb, and the ability for direct uploads to YouTube, Flickr and Facebook is particularly welcome.

Nero Vision has also seen a major leap forward: if you like to get creative with video, then you’ll love its new multi-track editing, good range of filters and effects, and (assuming you’ve compatible graphics hardware) CUDA support.

And Nero Burning ROM’s ability to use SecurDisc 2.0 on any drive has to be a major benefit. Even if you never use the encryption or password-protection options, its ability to help you recover data from a scratched disc, a few years down the line, could justify the cost of the program all on its own.

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