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Cyberlink PowerDirector 11 Ultimate review

Our Rating :
Price when reviewed : £79
inc VAT

A solid foundation, but the new features are disappointing and the competition is racing ahead


Version 11 also adds Content Aware Editing, which analyses footage to identify panning, zooming, faces, motion, camera shake and poor lighting. The latter two can be fixed automatically, while the others are highlighted to help users find the best footage.

A timeline shows which part of the clip contains what, and lets the user add sections straight to the main timeline. We welcome anything that takes the tedium out of trawling through footage, but we’re not convinced that it succeeds – ultimately, it can’t tell whether someone is doing or saying something interesting.

Cyberlink PowerDirector 11 Ultimate Colour
The new PiP Designer makes it much easier to create fluid animations

The most surprising new feature is support for 4K resolutions – that’s six times more pixels than Full HD. Coincidentally, 4K is also the starting price for these cameras and displays, and most cost ten times that much. It’s hard to imagine anyone using £80 software to edit 4K footage, especially as it doesn’t support these cameras’ files natively. We created an animated slideshow using 36-megapixel photos from a Nikon D800 and tried export at 4K, but it repeatedly crashed.

Preview performance is an area where PowerDirector used to dominate, but certain rivals have caught up. Premiere Elements matched its ability to play ten AVCHD streams in our standard test, and Sony Movie Studio Platinum 12 isn’t far behind with seven streams. PowerDirector 11 can now access multiple graphics processors, but we weren’t able to test this. We experienced occasional scrambled frames in both previews and exports, although disabling hardware acceleration altogether eliminated the problem.

PowerDirector was already a strong contender, but now that other editors have caught up for preview performance, it needs to do more to stand out. This update shows promise but numerous bugs take the shine off. We ran the problems described above past Cyberlink, and were told that many are known issues that we’re assured will be remedied soon. However, Cyberlink does itself no favours by releasing it in such an unfinished state. Serif MoviePlus X6 is the better choice.

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Price £79
Rating ***

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