Ashampoo Burning Studio 14 – Review

very good
key review info
application features
  • Highly intuitive and easy to use interface, especially for novice users
  • (7 more, see all...)

This year, Ashampoo skipped version 13 with Burning Studio and moved straight to revision 14, expanding the functionality of the product and wrapping it in a beautifully designed interface.

Disc burning suites have awfully little room for new features, but Ashampoo managed to adapt some of the original functionality to the needs emerging from the ever increasing use of mobile technology.

As such, the fresh release includes backup support for external devices, and this includes connecting an Android or iOS gadget to the computer in order to save images, music, videos, and documents into a backup file.

Security was also on the list of priorities tackled by the German developer, and it added the possibility to create “crypted discs,” which ensure that any data written on them is not readily available and can be extracted only by providing the right password.

Another line on the list of improvements informs that ripping Audio CDs now comes with the possibility to automatically recognize the songs and provides the best cover artwork for the tracks.

The application’s original price is USD/EUR 49.99, but you can grab it for 30% off through Softpedia. A 10-day trial period is also available, and it can be extended by an additional 30 days.

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Installing the application takes you through the standard Ashampoo screens, with no third-party code being pushed onto the system.

Looks have been redesigned, with very few changes touching on the previous menu layout. The options are now a tad more compact but ease of use has not been affected.

Creating a “crypted disc” is not too different from burning a regular one, but it involves providing a protective password for the data written on it. To ensure that the user assigns stronger security, there are multiple strength levels that can be reached when punching in the countersign.

Applying security measures (AES-256 encryption) to the data on the disc leads to a longer writing process. The data can be easily extracted through Ashampoo Secure Explorer, a utility that is burnt onto the disc specifically for this purpose.

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However, during our tests we had trouble with this project because Burning Studio could not complete it with rewritable media. On the other hand, everything worked fine with a regular disc.

Backing up removable devices is a nifty feature as long as those devices are smartphones or tablets. The developer warns that not all such gadgets are supported, but the product can handle the most popular ones.

In our case, we could not complete the procedure using a Nexus 4 or a Samsung Galaxy Ace, but we did manage to back up music files from a Samsung Nexus device. Keep in mind that selecting the entire device and letting the application scan for the files extends the completion time.

Unfortunately, there is no progress bar to hint at what’s left of the task or any information about the estimated time of completion. To speed up the process make sure to scan a specific folder for the files you want to back up.

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On the other hand, we encountered no difficulty in creating backup files for regular USB storage devices.

After evaluating the device, the application does not present the results to the user, so you basically have to trust its judgment as far as the selection of the files goes.

Furthermore, with local data, Ashampoo Burning Studio also offered the possibility to save the safe copy locally or on external storage, included password protection, and did not scan for a specific type of files.

Ripping Audio CDs now relies on online information to retrieve track details and even the cover artwork. Getting all the names of the tracks does not take long, and you can also rename the files in case one of them is not correct.

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We noticed that the application had trouble recognizing older albums, and sometimes even the songs remained unidentified. However, the module does not fail to impress, and generally there are multiple choices for the image cover.

Ashampoo Burning Studio is a huge suite that can cover any task from simply writing data on a disc, erasing rewritable media, or creating bootable discs (CD, DVD, and Blu-ray).

There are options for creating discs with autostart menu as well as making slideshow DVDs and Blu-rays, providing a wide array of transitions and control over the duration of the effect.

Creating DVD or Blu-ray videos from personal movies is not a task for professionals anymore thanks to the easy to follow wizard structure of the project.

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Furthermore, there is support for creating covers for all sorts of casings or laser etching an image on LightScribe-compatible media. The suite makes available elements for customizing the end result, such as adding shapes, images, writing text, and it even presents a large list of themes to not start from scratch. All new designs can be saved as templates for later use.

Working with some of the modules may seem a bit difficult to grasp, especially for a beginner user but, once you learn the ropes, most of the projects are a cinch to complete. Nevertheless, usability can be improved for a more comfortable overall experience.

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The Good

It is a complete solution for disc authoring (movies, slideshows, audio discs, booklets, and covers), but it also provides modules for creating secure backup files.

It is not too difficult to handle because it is designed with the beginner user in mind.

The Bad

We experienced some problems while testing because the application crashed and several times and it happened to hang for quite long periods of time on Windows 8.

Modules would sometimes load with a delay, and with some of them intuitiveness is not a strong point, which might keep less advanced users from tapping into its full potential.

The Truth

Ashampoo Burning Studio 14 needs an update to do away with some glitches that damage the overall experience with the bundle. Although the package increased in functionality and features, it does not feel too bloated because the options are compact.

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user interface 4
features 4
ease of use 4
pricing / value 4


final rating 4
Editor's review
very good
 

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