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Nero 8 update changes little but confuses quite a bit

First INQpressions Nero 8 disk burning software
Mon Oct 15 2007, 11:10

Product: Nero 8
System Requirements: Windows 2000, XP, Server 2003, Media Centre, Vista, 1 GHz processor (or higher), 256MB RAM (Vista 512MB RAM), 1.2GB free HDD space
Price: £49.99, $79.99, ? 59.99 ? Download. £59.99, $99.99, ?69.99 ? Retail Boxed version. $12.99 - Update DVD

NERO 8 WAS released only last week and replaces the popular Nero 7? Premium Reloaded from 2006. We have been looking at the retail box version, which Nero 8 now only comes on DVD and no longer on CD. The software Now comes in at a whopping 1.26GB of data, where as the downloadable version is only 182.5MB. The size difference did take us back a bit, as it has already some forum posters. Then again you really have to remember the DVD does contain all the known language versions to man.

There’s also a slight difference in the install applications too, as seen in the images below. Both of those missing modules from the on-line version can be obtained from the main website if required. The Nero Mobile from the DVD is only a 30-day trial anyway, so no major loss there. Accompanying the DVD are also Photoshow Express and the Securdisc viewer, which are separately downloadable. If you’re wondering what Securidisc is, check this out ? we covered it quite extensively in a review of late.

Nero-8---dvd-installation-applications-options Nero 8 ? DVD installation applications options

Nero 8 ? Downloadable installation applications options

The variations between the installs do not stop there. On the hard drive, the full DVD installation (minus InCD) comes in at 755MB, the downloadable version is just 383MB and Nero 7 ? 357MB. What leads the vast difference in the Nero 8 versions is their swarve and swish animated templates. The directory of the same name is full of movie files for adding to the normally plain DVD menu creations in Nero Vision. All in all, this takes up nearly-half of the final installation size from the DVD version of Nero 8.

Forum posts around Nero 8 accuse the software suite of now being bloat-ware, in light of all this. We believe this really is a hail-back to previous versions of the suite, where it was broken up. Beforehand, you could download separate parts of Nero suite and in different packages to suit all, but now it’s just one size fits all and is no longer tailored.

Nero 8 installed a tad faster than 7, on our t-rusty P4 based PC. With almost minimal interruptions from the procedure itself, although at the end we were prompted to select or deselect what file types Nero should handle. We’re glad this was offered and in a distinct way too. As it can be a pain to go through at a later stage picking and pulling out what file extensions you’d like to be handled by your already favourite app, rather than Nero.

The very first noticeable difference, after installation, was the main applications boot up time. It’s considerably faster than the previous versions to the point where we checked to see if were using the same machine. Yes, it’s that much of an improvement. Nero 7 did arrive on the scene back in 2005, with an almost service-pack release under the guise Premium Reloaded late 2006. With that in mind, we’d expect some over-hauls so we’re glad to see this was the first. The loading times were a bother to us from beforehand, just as it was to others too.

The main core application Nero Burning ROM, hasn’t changed at all from what we could see. As with prior iterations, all the disc writing aspects of Nero still run from and around it, albeit with a few crafty command switches for Nero Express. It does load quicker than before when we burnt a DVD, which didn’t have any noticeable time differences from version 7.

What has changed a lot is Nero SmartStart. No longer is it just the bulky equivalent of a tool-bar just to launch applications and their functions in the Nero suite. All of which can all be launched anyway from the start menu. Now, it’s actually a useful piece of software.

Nero-7---smartstart Nero 7 ? SmartStart

In Nero 8 the SmartStart application now contains all the useful and easy to access features of the complete software suite. Burning discs, creating discs, copying discs, ripping audio ? are all here to use. Although they have still missed out on mix-mode CDs, just as they have in Nero Express. If you know the suite anyway, the new SmartStart is a cross between the full-blown applications of Nero and also Express. It’s more like a Nero Express Plus, which you could almost replace using its lite version within time. Nearly everything here is a just a few clicks away from start to finish, all easy to use too. Ideal for the not-so-techy and lazy people alike.

Nero-8---smartstart Nero 8 ? SmartStart

As you can see from the following screen shots, the most common functions and much better usage of them than Express are now built into SmartStart. They haven’t left out the traditional features though. Nero 8 has them still included in an application launch bar.

Nero-8---smartstart-data-burning Nero 8 ? SmartStart Data Burning

Nero-8---smartstart-audio-ripping Nero 8 ? SmartStart Audio Ripping

Nero-8---smartstart-application-list Nero 8 ? SmartStart Application List

They’ve taken on the current and emerging trends that are all around us within High Definition media and brought it inside Nero 8. This is very clearly seen in their video authoring software, which has now been updated to version 5. As now HD media can be created with ease inside the Nero suite, although a fee playable plug-in is needed for certain aspects. It now boasts full Blue laser and HD support, for the first time ? so both formats can be addressed inside Nero leaving none out in the cold. This also includes support from inside their media player, ShowTime.

Nero 7 ? Vision 4

Nero-8---vision-5 Nero 8 ? Vision 5

We ran a quick test on converting some hr hdtv avi’s to DVD, Vision 5 shaved off some time in the media creation. We’re sure the greater number of files we would have used, the greater the benefit in time we would have seen. Unfortunately we couldn’t use the HD transcoding functions as we’re sure it would have killed our poorly spec’d P4 system.

From out of the box/internet, Nero have a fully-backed Vista application now. Although the previous version did install and the free updates took care of the awkwardness ? this is truly a Vista product. They’ve integrated the UI with Aeroglass features and even thrown in a useful Windows sidebar Nero DiscCopy gadget. The latter does more or less what it says on the tin, all very easy to use.

Nero 8 - Vista

There are a few other trinkets Nero have thrown in and improved upon, from on-line content sharing to backing-up of data. But the last thing they came to our attention and thought we should mention was the disc recover software.

Nero RescueAgent allows users to restore deleted files and recover data from discs where it may have been lost due to scratches, interrupted recordings or poor quality of media. We’ve used BlindWrite before for this need, but it’s useful here for those who are thwarted by damaged media and use Nero. A we lcome addition to the suite we believe, keep it up guys.

The majority of Nero sold are on-line, with a whopping 68% of all sales. We thought the retail boxes would have been a higher figure, but it only equates to 17% of sales. Then again, whenever we frequent our local supermarket-oriented-PC-wholesalers we’re always tripping over boxes of Nero. T his does always mean they’re selling well, despite their massive presence.

In the USA they offer an update DVD from the previous version, this we can’t see on the European website which could put off possible upgraders.

In Short
Nero has made some useful improvements from the versions 7. If it’s HD media creating you’re going for next, then this is the package to look at. Although we’re unsure if it’s a significant enough change to move on from the last version, however the quick loading time and SmartStart could eventually sway us.

The Good
New improved SmartStart, faster in loading and running, HD support

The Bad
No longer separate packages

The Ugly
Could be seen as bloat-ware

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