Over the years Nero has evolved from being a simple CD burner in its earlier versions to becoming the complete multimedia suite we find in its latest version, Nero 9.
To be honest, Nero 9 will not be remembered as a big turning point in the history of this program, in the sense that it doesn’t feature a bunch of brand-new apps or goes under a complete graphical overhaul. In a way I would describe this new Nero as an evolution of Nero 8 that learns from previous mistakes and applies slight changes that make it easier to use and even more complete.
Don’t get me wrong here. I’m not saying Nero 9 is not interesting or doesn’t have any good features. More than just a burning tool – the classic Nero Burning ROM, which now supports Blu-Ray – Nero 9 includes pretty much everything you need to make the most of your music, photos, videos and creativity. You’ll be able to carry out complete multimedia projects, from ripping your favorite audio CDs and mixing the tracks with Nero SoundTrax to creating videos with your photos, and even design CD artwork (top and back covers, booklet and CD sticker) by yourself with Nero CoverDesigner. What’s more, if you have a LabelFlash-enabled drive you can burn those custom designs right onto the disc.
All these tools are conveniently available from StartSmart, Nero’s handy app launcher. Here you’ll find two main toolbars: on top of the window, shortcuts to Nero’s apps; on the left-side menu, direct access to the most frequent tasks (data burning, audio burning, copy disc, etc.) than open right on StartSmart’s main area. This launcher has been slightly reorganized to provide you with an easier, quicker way to access Nero’s apps, but its general appearance remains basically the same. Why changing something if it works?
Nero 9 features other interesting tools that try to cover even more areas. Perhaps the most outstanding one is the built-in Nero Backup tool, with which you can make backup copies of your most important data. Nero 9 now supports scheduled backups and can sync your data with Nero Online Backup storage (a subscription-based service) or local storage, as well as create system rescue discs. Nero also includes an embedded video player and a photo editor (known as Nero PhotoSnap) though these two apps are quite basic and could have probably been left out without much remorse for the user.
As you can see, Nero 9 includes quite a wide array of tools. No wonder Nero has often been accused of bloatware, and this version won’t change that: you’re still downloading a 370 MB app with a dozen tools, though to be honest they’re all quite straightforward and easy to use. I guess the discussion about complexity versus simplicity will still go on, but my view is that Nero 9 is no longer a simple burning tool: it’s a full-featured suite that happens to include a burning app, plus many other features that make it an excellent application for all your multimedia projects.