CloneCD 5.0 is the latest offering from a company that has been around seemingly since the first CD burners became available. CloneCD has not changed much over the years. Instead, Slysoft (the company mostly known for its AnyDVD software which allows users to bypass of DVD movie encryption) has continued evolving its product offerings around CloneCD to meet the needs of users. This kind of consumer focus is fantastic in that the products offer solutions for virtually any copying need. The downside, however, is that CloneCD 5.0 is not the most cost-effective solution. Moreover, in this day and age, is the demand for strictly copying CDs sufficient enough to justify the $39 asking price?
Despite the high cost, Slysoft rightly understands the importance of maintaining its CloneCD products in large part because more and more software titles are being released with ever-increasing levels of copywrite protection. For users who have grown frustrated by having to leap these kinds of hurdles just to copy their CDs, CloneCD remains their solution. CloneCD has always been able to manage the task, no matter how big or small, through a very reliable, consistent, and simple user interface.
Price to Value (2 out of 5)
CloneCD 5.0 alone costs $39, which grants you the ability to copy just the CDs and DVDs without movie protection schemes. To allow the program to copy those disks, you have to fork out another $49. That’s over $80 for a software title that looks like it should cost $5. And that’s part of the disappointment with the interface and program in general. While it’s fantastic to see simplicity in this day and age of complex programs, one can still feel slighted for not seeing all the flash of the more expensive competitors.
Performance (5 out of 5)
CloneCD 5.0’s performance is very good. The product benefits from its small footprint and low system requirements which are only a 500Mhz system and 64mb of RAM. As a result, testing on my dual core AMD system provided blazing performance with no noticeable memory usage. This definitely helps in the world of buffer under runs, and allows users to multi-task to their content without fear of damaging their recordings. As with any copying software, the time of reading and writing disks is dependent on the hardware being used, so times will vary.
Since CloneCD 5.0 is small and efficient, there are really no performance sacrifices.
Installation & Setup (4 out of 5)
Installation of CloneCD 5.0 is as easy as I’ve ever seen. The entire setup takes about three “Next” clicks, and the dialogs are kept to a minimum. The entire program itself just really doesn’t have too many configuration options to mess with or confuse users. In addition, CloneCD 5.0 installed quickly and only took 5mb of hard drive space. Installation options are standard, and you are given the option to remove the desktop icon or start menu programs folder.
As I have seen with other media copying/backup utilities, a system reboot was required in order to properly be able to utilize CloneCD 5.0. That is about the only grievance I can find with the installation, as the reboot took longer than the program installation itself.
User Interface (3 out of 5)
For people that feel that less is more, then they will absolutely love the user interface of CloneCD 5.0. It is about as simple as you could ever want, with the actual interface consisting of four graphic buttons. The remainder of the workspace can be utilized to view a log file of events, or you can simply disable the log entirely and stick with just the main interface.
On the other hand, however, many people will not like the modular design of CloneCD 5.0. The interface is designed to where you can move the menu buttons, separately from the log button, and those are all separate from your actual action interfaces. While innovative in its own right, some consumers might become aggravated with the lack of options, or the ability to tie all the applications’ features into one single window. CloneCD 5.0 has not changed much over the years, especially the interface, which is nice for systems on the lower end of the performance spectrum, but disappointing for the majority of users with newer systems.
Product Features (3 out of 5)
With any program on their fifth complete version, you would expect for a wealth of features to be available, and CloneCD 5.0 does not disappoint. At the core of its features is the ability to create exact copies of data and music CDs and CD-RW disks. With the latest version, they’ve even added the feature to copy DVD-R and most standard size DVD disks as well. Additionally, if you have damaged disks, CloneCD 5.0 is designed to discover the weak sectors and improve them to the point where a copy can be made. Similar with other CD/DVD backup software titles, CloneCD 5.0 allows you to make exact copies onto another disk, or create a hard drive image file on your system to backup or store for later. In addition to its own image file, it can also read the image filetypes from other popular backup applications such as Nero, DVDShrink, and DVD2One. The main reason CloneCD has maintained popularity over the years is when it comes to PC Software CDs, specifically games. Every year, newer games are being released with an increased emphasis on copy protection which prevents users from making legal copies for their own protection. CloneCD 5.0 can copy most (if not all) data or game disks, and this version includes support for SafeDisc 3 copyrwright protection.What’s Not:  The main disappointment with CloneCD 5.0 comes with a feature that really should not have even been included. Slysoft owns and develops CloneDVD, so it was an odd inclusion for them to not only add, but feature the fact that CloneCD can copy DVD disks. It should be noted, however, that it is brutally clear that this application is in no way comparable to any of the DVD copying or backup solutions available today. While it may be technically feasible to copy DVD disks, the majority of users would see this as allowing them to copy their DVD movies. They, however, would be severely disappointed with this product, as by default you cannot copy any protected DVD movie disks without the assistance of AnyDVD, another product offering by Slysoft.
Help & Support (3 out of 5)
Pretty standard support offerings from Slysoft here, as they provide the always reliable frequently asked questions (FAQ’s) and several support forums. Along with their own forums are also some related sight forums as well. As a last resort, there is also a contact form where you can receive a response from a technical support specialist if all else fails.What’s Not:  CloneCD 5.0 is yet another software title that goes away from providing any sort of telephone support options. You can’t really fault Slysoft since few other software vendors offer the same, but it is disappointing nonetheless as this is not exactly an inexpensive piece of software. Also, as great as it is for an enthusiast to see other community forums linked from Slysoft’s support site, these options will simply confuse novice visitors. For CloneCD alone, the links for support are: SlysSoft CloneCD Forum, CDFreaks, CloneCD forum, AfterDawn Forum, File Forums, CDR-Info, CDR Labs Hardware Reviews, CDRom Guide, and CDR Faq. That is an overwhelming amount of pages for a user with a question to have to visit. I would have preferred they mention their own forum first, and then, if necessary, redirect user questions from there over to other forums.
When it comes to software, I’m a firm believer in getting what you paid for, and at its core CloneCD can do what it says which is copy (clone) CD disks. That being said, however, when a program hasn’t changed its appearance in years and adds unimportant features, the need for it can vanish. As the world finally moves away from CDs, the life of this program could be reaching an end. Since there are great features which work at its core, Slysoft might be best served combining a few of their offerings. Not just to reduce confusion or buyer’s remorse, but also improve the price to value of their products.
When I first got my hands on CloneCD 5.0, I was surprised first to see it still existed, and even more surprised to see its rather hefty cost of $39. The fact remains that there is a need for a program that can bypass all the ridiculous copy protection schemes that video game and other software manufacturers are implementing into their software. CloneCD 5.0 does that small target of tasks very well, and in a super simple format. The interface might not wow you or attract others to ask what it is, but it is as simple as you could ever want in a software title, and enough to get the tasks done.
CloneCD 5.0’s most critical flaw, I believe, is their desire to add new features to their product listing. Most notably is the addition of DVD format supports. However, as you unwrap this package, it is clear that this is far from a complete disk backup solution. In order to copy any protected DVD movies at all, you would need to purchase and install AnyDVD as well.
Fortunately, there are bundled prices if consumers need to purchase AnyDVD at the same time as CloneCD. This can save you a few bucks, but the prices still add up. It will be interesting to see how long Slysoft continues this product title, or if they decide to eventually merge it with their fantastic CloneDVD title.
CloneDVD, DVD2One, Nero CD Burn