Ashampoo Burning Studio 11 is a lightweight disc burning application that has an emphasis on being easy to use, yet also still manages to include some interesting and unusual features.
When you need to burn a data disc, for instance, it's all very straightforward. Just click "Burn Files and Folders" from the simple front-end menu, drag and drop the required files onto the program, and it'll be burning them to CD, DVD or Blu-ray in a couple of clicks.
But if you need a little more, the program also allows you to create Autostart discs, which include interactive multi-page menus which appear when the disc is inserted. These can launch files or documents on the disc, open a folder, link to a web page and more, and are a perfect way to help the recipient of your disc understand exactly what you've provided for them.
Similarly, Burning Studio 11 can create simple video DVDs, just like most of the competition: drag and drop in your source movie clips, then burn them to DVD in a clip or two. But again, that's just the start. The program includes a video editor, supports customising your menus, and minimises encoding hassles by automatically adjusting the video quality (if necessary) to ensure everything fits on the disc.
You're also able to quickly rip CDs, or create an MP3 or WMA CD, DVD or Blu-ray disc. The program can create and use all the major disc image formats (ISO, CUE/BIN, ASHDISC). There's support for all the standard features like copying discs, erasing rewriteable discs, and extras include a simple backup tool and a designer to help create covers, labels and booklets.
And this new build extends Burning Studio with many powerful new features.
It's now easy to add files to projects directly from your smartphone, digital camera, or Facebook, Dropbox, Picasa or Flickr accounts, for instance.
A new Compact Mode makes it even quicker and easier to create your disc projects.
The program can now burn many common audio playlist formats, and normalise the volume of MP3 and WMA CDs. You can browse disc images to see exactly what they contain. And new multi-core support ensures all this happens faster than ever.
While it's still all about ease of use, Ashampoo Burning Studio 11 does have some surprisingly powerful features, like the ability to create interactive menus for your data discs. If you'd like to lose the bloat of some suites, without compromising on functionality, then this could be an ideal choice.