CloneDVD has been on the market for several years, and its maturity shows in its simplistic design. Clearly DVD X Studios, makers of CloneDVD, has done its homework in evaluating the features users really need as well as the ways users get confused trying to back up their DVDs.
Price to Value (4 out of 5)
The price point for CloneDVD 4 is in line with the competition, and overall, it delivers. While the program lacks a burning engine, it does include the ability to compress movies to make them ready for transportation on an iPod or other portable device. Many companies have had success making a product just for this feature, so kudos to CloneDVD 4 for including it as part of the package, and not as a separate commercial application.
$70 is a lot to spend on software designed to back up your DVDs. With movies already costing less and less, will users want to spend this much to make backups? Not to mention that CloneDVD 4 doesn't come with a burn engine.
User Interface (4 out of 5)
CloneDVD 4 has a very clean and simple interface. The options you need to select are in an order that makes sense. The percent bar of quality versus space is very easy to understand and makes choosing extras that much easier; you know the amount of quality you will be sacrificing. Additionally, the progress bar makes it easy to see how much better the quality will be if you remove unnecessary extras such as DTS sound, French subtitles, or other such extras.
As an advanced user, I love the UI. That said, I must reiterate that it is simply not very user friendly. There is a lot going on, which is great for control, but bad if all you want to do is simply copy a disc. I would have liked the option to select a more skimmed-down screen by default. That way, if I was setting this up for a family member or a non-technical friend, they would be able to easily accomplish their copying goals, but then I could still have access to all the configuring when I needed it.
Installation & Setup (4 out of 5)
CloneDVD 4 makes installation, setup, and configuration as easy as pie and also includes extras such as the preview. This makes it a snap to configure your DVD to have just the extras or subtitles you want. Configuring one of the many video compression options such as Xvid is also simple with all dialog boxes clearly explained and easy to understand.
Those same advanced features that give pro users ultimate control over their DVD copying will frustrate and confuse beginners. The interface has a lot going on, and a new user might not understand how to use the compression features or how to copy to the hard drive. And more than likely, they will not notice where the copy gets stored on the hard drive and then not be able to find it.
Product Features (4 out of 5)
It’s fast, it’s powerful, and it can do basically anything you’d currently want from a DVD copying application. And its support for dual layer discs makes CloneDVD 4 future-proof for years to come.
CloneDVD 4's ability to compress files into another video format also makes this a program you can use over and over again without duplicating efforts. If you are someone who needs to have your movies on the go, this is the software for you.
The lack of a burning engine is the most glaring omission, from a features standpoint. I can’t think of anything else this software application might be missing.
Performance (5 out of 5)
Performance was wonderful. CloneDVD 4 is very fast, and the quality was good as well. The program makes it easy to know what you're sacrificing in terms of quality when you compress, but the variety of compression formats that you can use gives you a diverse selection for the best quality output.
Help & Support (3 out of 5)
CloneDVD 4 has the standard support tools such as an FAQ and the ability to contact support via email. I also made a nice discovery on the troubleshooting page–it had information on other more common errors and solutions.
For the asking price of $69.95, you should receive more than standard help options. Being an advanced user, I would have been satisfied at the very least with a forum for assistance, but it's a personal gripe of mine when commercial software titles do not have any phone number available. Also, there's no "Contact us" form, which would handle some of the standard questions you know the support person is going to ask you anyway; instead it's just an email address and you compose your own message.
DVD X Studios, make CloneDVD 4 appeal to beginners. You've got the most advanced features covered, so how about spending a little time on a basic interface? And please include a burning engine. That’s basically a must for this type of application, rather than forcing users to buy a third-party burning software package, thus costing them even more.
Make no mistake about it, CloneDVD is a supremely powerful program for advanced users hoping to efficiently copy DVDs in a number of different ways. I don't recommend this product for beginners, so buyer beware. I do think a novice user could be comfortable after some trial and error, but there are simpler packages available. Overall, though, it’s great software at a fair price; you can’t go wrong here, folks.