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Roxio PhotoSuite 7.0 Platinum review: Roxio PhotoSuite 7.0 Platinum

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The Good Excellent CD-label creator module.

The Bad Confusing integration panel; slow-loading modules; inadequate editing tools; requires DirectX 3D support (not specified in the system requirements) to create DVDs or CDs; unstable.

The Bottom Line A badly organized assortment of tools wrapped in a bewildering interface.

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3.7 Overall

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Roxio's PhotoSuite 7.0 Platinum is a collection of applications and utilities for managing images. Sad to say, it's kind of a train wreck--your basic confusing mishmash of underpowered modules. Although the press piece sounded good, we found ourselves consulting the help files to perform even the most rudimentary tasks.

The documentation claims that the easiest way to approach the suite is by using the home page that appears when you click the PhotoSuite icon. From here, you can choose among the various tasks: import, edit, print, e-mail, capture, create labels or projects, offload to removable media, and access online services. Frankly, we found the panel poorly designed. The functions seem arbitrarily assorted into random categories. For example, the capture utility is in the Tools list, but the media manager is listed under Applications. Our novice guinea pig was just befuddled by the disorganization ("Do I want to use the Import Photos, E-Mail Photos, or Projects?"), and after an hour spent trying to e-mail an image that resided on his digital camera, he surrendered.

Some programs have interfaces that need a good makeover, but the tools are so powerful that you accept some goofiness. This is not one of those programs. Let's take the "get the image from the camera and e-mail it" scenario. With a program such as Canon's ZoomBrowser, you click the Acquire Images button, select the photo you want, click the Email Images button, and fill in the blanks. We timed the process from beginning to end: 11 seconds. In PhotoSuite, you first click Import Photos and wait for the component to load (15 seconds). Then you wait to select your input device and wait--and wait and wait some more--for the thumbnails to appear. Unfortunately, all we got were big placeholders instead of thumbnails, until we deleted all but six images from the media card.

After PhotoSuite downloads the images, it asks what you want to do next. Well, e-mail isn't one of the choices--you have to return to the home page or load the PhotoSuite component. Then you hunt for your image, add it to the main window, click Next, make some more choices, click some more, and finish. Oops--we forgot to open our e-mail program first! Back to the home page to do it all over again. You get the idea.

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