GEAR DVD 7.03 is yet another offering in the popular world of software designed to help you burn or copy DVDs. In a category filled with many competitors offering complete turnkey solutions, I was disappointed by the limited offerings in GEAR DVD 7.03.
IntroductionGEAR DVD 7.03 is another contribution to the realm of software created to help you burn or copy DVDs. There are many competitors manufacturing software in this arena with complete turnkey solutions. With that being said, I was disappointed by GEAR’s limited offerings in its DVD 7 package.
GEAR's sales pitch is “it couldn’t be easier to create, copy, and burn DVD movies and music CDs,” but while it’s not the most complicated work I’ve ever seen, it certainly doesn't demonstrate simplicity either. It seems to me that GEAR DVD 7.03 is stuck in a kind of software limbo. While its creators are investing more time in other products that cost more but add more features, GEAR DVD 7.03 is simply filling a gap in the product line.
Installation & SetupRating What's Hot: The install for GEAR DVD 7.03 was one of the bright spots of the package. GEAR DVD 7.03 installed in just a few minutes without requiring a reboot.The latter was a nice surprise. It was nice to see an application ready to run immediately after installation.What's Not:  The setup for GEAR DVD 7.03, on the other hand , was less positive. Finding one area where you can customize all your data was impossible, as options and preferences are scattered around the title and not exactly simple to incorporate. Once you do get to an area you wish to change, you’ll have to already know what the technical terms mean in order to modify anything. There’s no helpful tooltips or explanations for individual tasks which means that even an advanced user can get lost amongst the terminology.
User InterfaceRating What's Not: The graphical user interface for GEAR DVD 7.03 is one of the least exciting I think I have ever worked with. The few graphical icons which are present have the look and feel of early computers. Replete with small, pixilated icons you could probably make better on your own. Graphics aside, the UI also is reminiscent of the early computer days too. The program is separated into several sections, in the style of Windows Explorer. There is no option to simplify or complicate the program, which is a disappointment for novice users. The menus on the top are complicated and full of submenus, and there’s little order to the tasks underneath each.While the log file at the bottom is a nice addition for advanced users, it will definitely intimidate novice users. Without the ability to disable it can only confuse most. The major problem with most of the UI is it’s just not designed with usability in mind.
Price to ValueRating What's Not: The MSRP of GEAR DVD 7.03 is $49.95 for a download. That is a pretty common and fair price for software applications that are good products. I’m not implying that GEAR DVD 7.03 isn't a capable product but there are plenty of competitors who provide a complete DVD copying solution for a comparable price. I found the look and feel of GEAR DVD 7.03 gave an impression of freeware or a $10 application, not software in its seventh iteration with a cost of $49.95. For starters, you’re paying for a program with very little extras that isn't included for free with any copy of Microsoft Windows (and its Media Player burning abilities when related to audio CDs). It has no features that you can’t get from just using iTunes or Windows Media Player to copy with. While you can create DVD disks by importing Video_TS folders (the folder types for movies on your hard drive,) GEAR DVD 7.03 does little, if anything, to assist the users in copying their movies. One would think that a DVD-copying software would enable you to copy movies. The only mention of any sort of copy-protection is in a brief tutorial on their website which simply states it’s not possible. It truly feels like the GEAR developers are trying to avoid any trouble by designing a software capable of such a task but not offering any guidance for it. I’ve seen similar titles which don’t include copyright breaking, however, they at least would give some assistance to those interested.
Product FeaturesRating What's Hot:
Throughout this review, I have been a little harsh on GEAR DVD 7.03, but justifiably so. GEAR DVD 7.03 does have some features. Copying or creating DVDs is possible, again, as long as the disc is not copy protected. You can also utilize the software to backup your data or audio files onto CDs or DVDs as well. The program allows you to verify your writes. Ripping CDs is another feature, but again, there are many free offerings more than capable of doing this. That is really about all the features the title has to offer. As you can see, it’s a very short list and disappointing to say the least.What's Not: For double the price, you can purchase the GEAR PRO Professional edition. This software includes the ability to burn to multiple locations. That is a nifty feature I’ve never seen before which is useful if you need to duplicate several copies at a single time. Also, it gives you the ability to create WMV-HD DVDs as well as automate several burn tasks. Is it worth the full $99.95? Probably not, but at least it’s nice to see the GEAR team know that the DVD 7.03 is just not enough.
Help & SupportRating What's Not: The support for GEAR DVD 7.03 is as disappointing as the software itself. For the $49.95, not only do you get a fairly minimal amount of features or extras, but there is little in the notion of support. Their support offerings support my theory that GEAR is focusing their efforts much more in their other offerings rather than a title which has been around for a while. Out of seven other GEAR software titles, GEAR DVD 7.03 is only one of two which does not include email or telephone support. If you are one of the users who bought this title erroneously expecting simplicity, your only options for help are in a Wiki knowledge base and a user forum. With the little extras GEAR DVD 7.03 has in itself, it would have been nice to see a little extra effort in the customer service category.
Suggested FeaturesWhere to begin? This software needs everything. Throw in all the features from its Pro offering for starters, but even that might not get a “Buy” vote from me at $49.95. The interface needs a complete overhaul, and the company needs to hire a graphic artist to spiff it up. Usability is dreadful and the whole experience needs redesign as well. Most importantly, GEAR needs to seriously address the number one features users want which in my opinion is to copy protected movie files. GEAR doesn't necessarily have to provide the solution itself, but even just a little guidance would go a long way toward attracting future customers.
ConclusionWith several other software titles more prominently displayed throughout its website, I have to believe the writing is on the wall for GEAR’s DVD 7.03. It’s been around for many iterations but it’s clear that GEAR DVD 7.03 is nowhere near the level of its competition. AnyDVD or CloneDVD are a couple of examples. Beyond the actual interface, which doesn’t look like its been modified since 1990, there are no features I could even recommend to make it worth checking out. Utilize the trial version available to play with before purchasing. That way you can try it out to make sure you get what you’re expecting. But for $49.95, I can’t see any reason to buy this product. It’s tough to be so critical of a company that has supported its products and customers for quite some time, but GEAR's confidence in this title has clearly diminished. You should know that before spending your hard earned-money on it.
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