CyberLink PowerDirector 8's ability to straddle the line between usability and power is impressive.

The adjustable layout is recognisable to advanced users but not daunting for amateurs, and it displays plenty of tools without being cluttered.

Many of the new features are par for the course, but in addition to the previous tools they make for a much improved whole. DirectorZone is a great online resource for novices looking for effects to use in their creations, while the TrueTheater image improvement tools are useful, but need to be used in moderation to avoid noise and artefacts.

Performance during use was better than a lot of editors, but not quite as snappy as we would have liked.

We think it would be easy to outgrow PowerDirector. Its toolset and features can create some pretty slick-looking movies, but as users become more competent they'll find little room to grow upwards.

Overall, Adobe Premiere Elements is still king, but PowerDirector 8 is one of the best of the rest.

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