ProsPlenty of capability; reasonable price; still available with a permanent licence
ConsUser interface is overwhelmed by the plethora of options and needs a complete overhaul
Two years ago, we reviewed PowerDirector 15, which we judged to be a very good, affordable video editing suite, and we've continued to use it ever since. When Cyberlink offered us the opportunity to review the new PowerDirector 18, we jumped at the chance, as our business has grown even more dependent on quality video production, as have nearly all journalism outlets over the past few years. Indeed, as nearly all web content moves from the written format to the video format, there is a huge demand for affordable, effective video production hardware and software. For now, we'll leave the video production hardware reviews to others, as we're just now getting a feel for the market, but we feel pretty comfortable reviewing the software, since we use it everyday!
So, how did PowerDirector 18 work for our content creation needs? Read on to find out!
We'd like to extend a special thank you to Cyberlink for providing us with a review copy of PowerDirector 18 Ultimate.
Description, Features & Performance
We felt the best way to communicate how video editing software works at this point is to produce a video review using it, so that's exactly what you'll see below!
Cyberlink's PowerDirector 18 Ultimate is a very powerful piece of software, and it's still quite affordable relative to the other options on the market. Yes, there are some free alternatives, but they don't come with the breadth or options of PowerDirector. Since we last tested PowerDirector two years ago (in 2017, which was confusingly version 15, or three versions back), Cyberlink has certainly added some great new features, including a shape designer and new animated titles, perfect for the YouTuube crowd, as well as useful editing enhancements like audio scrubbing. With that said, we can't help but feel that the software interface needs a complete revamp. It's remained the same for years, and as Cyberlink adds more features, they just get buried behind tiny icons and under hidden submenus. We're also quite concerned about the performance we're seeing when it comes to encoding - it does not appear that it's any faster than before, despite Cyberlink's claims, and more importantly, the hardware acceleration on our Core i9-9900K/RTX 2080 Ti test system was less than impressive.
With all that said, we have to applaud Cyberlink for continuing to offer PowerDirector with a permanent license option. While it's clearly pushing the subscription model, which it's bigger rivals now require users to embrace, for now, you can still pick up a powerful, if slightly cumbersome, editing suite at a very good price, and use it for years to come. This is important given how much the popularity of YouTubing and Vlogging has increased the cost of various video production tools due to the influx of demand.
As of our publication date, Cyberlink PowerDirector 18 Ultimate is available for $130 from the Cyberlink website or via download from Amazon. Note that Cyberlink runs frequent promotions on all of its software products, so don't be surprised if the price varies considerably over time.