Software Review: Roxio Toast 10
Toast has been synonymous with disk burning almost as long as Macs have been around. I remember when Toast was an Adaptec product and came bundled with my super-expensive SCSI CD burner. Version 10 of Toast, now owned by Roxio, is an evolutionary upgrade. Each version of Toast includes slightly difference bells and whistles. In fact, this version has so many features that if I listed them all, I wouldn’t have any room to review them. I’ll summarize Toast 10 in this way: it puts your digital lifestyle in “turbo” mode. It doesn’t replace iLife and your digital hub, but makes it better and accessible everywhere. Not only that, but it puts things all in one place. A majority of Toast’s functions could be cobbled together with third-party utilities, but Toast packages it well together and with greater ease of use.
A bit deceptive is Toast’s DVD capability. It will NOT work with commercial DVDs and Toast makes that pretty clear in its ads. Toast is designed to complement iDVD and iMovie for some digital content. Toast, similar to iLife, has a suite of video editing and DVD authoring apps. If you already have iLife (and who doesn’t?), you’ll find much of this repetitive. Comparing the two suites, Toast tended to be a bit simpler when it came to video and DVD options. iLife can be overwhelming when all you want is a simple way to show a few pictures on a DVD player. However, if you are looking for video editing and DVD authoring, and can only choose one program, iLife would be the better option.
Toast’s audio editing capabilities, via its built in CD Spin Doctor application, was much easier to use than Garage Band. Built into Spin Doctor are step by step tutorials on how to convert LPs to MP3s. Additionally, Spin Doctor makes it extremely easy to capture streaming audio from websites. Of course, other programs do this as well, but similar to iLife, these functions are integrated right into to the program.
And if that wasn’t enough (but wait…there’s more) , Toast throws in some additional features just to round off the package. Disc Cover RE let’s you make custom CD labels, Disc Catalog RE Maker catalogs your digital media for you, and Get Backup RE is a backup and file comparison utility. These are all RE (Roxio Edition) versions, which means they are slightly crippled versions of the full programs. However, the companies will allow you to upgrade to the non-Roxio versions for a reduced price. For example, Get Backup is normally $39.95, but its RE upgrade price is $19.95.
Whew, that’s an exhausting feature set and I’ve only scratched the surface! Most every function in Toast can be found in another product (even Roxio’s own Popcorn), but Toast packages it all together and makes it as easy to use as….wait for it…wait for it…a toaster!
Pros: Practically every audio and video feature packaged together. An absolute must for TiVo owners. Still does a great job burning discs.
Cons: A bit pricey and duplicates other products already on the market.
Four out of Five dogcows