Ashampoo has been known to create some amazing PC applications and Slideshow Studio HD is their own effort to provide the world with a premium, fully fleshed-out slideshow suite. The application offers a free trial with no limitations for 10 days or a month if you register with the service.
The setup is fairly simple, allowing you to choose the installation directory, the creation of a desktop icon and the users you would like to install the program for.
Although the installer offers you to download and install a third-party application, it is set to decline by default which was definitely a very pleasant surprise as it is an unfortunately uncommon practice. The application fully supports Windows XP, Vista, 7 and 8x in both 32-bit and 64-bit versions.
The layout of the interface is immediately reminiscent of an Ashampoo application but that is not a bad thing at all. I have always found the company’s designs to be quite elegant, especially in the latest iterations of their products. It is very clean, clear and well-designed across the board. Everything from the toolbar icons to the general layout looks great and professional which I personally think is a must for any application that deals with images. I am afraid that this look is inescapable though so if you are not a fan of the design there is no way to change it.
Apart from the well-designed interface though, the tools at your disposal are also quite brilliant indeed. Casual users can take advantage of the helpful project wizards that provide some guidance about how to start adding pictures and what to do with them once you have inserted them into your slideshow project. However, most of the focus is put on a crowd that is more experienced or is at least willing to spend some time getting to know the program and its inner workings.
When you think of a slideshow application, you rarely get an image of something complicated in your mind but that is not the case here. There are quite a few tools here, allowing you to nitpick every aspect of the slideshow and enabling you to create a most personalized project. After spending a bit of time getting to know what each tool does and how you can do specific things, the results start to look amazing indeed.
That is not to say that casual users will not be able to use the application at all, of course. As I previously mentioned, the project wizard is a very fine tool that allows you to get a head start quite easily. The interface is also very well designed so navigating its various parts is far from cumbersome which is a very real concern when dealing with photos, slideshows and other multimedia. The only thing I would like to mention for casual users (as they are the most likely to try out the free trial) is that a lot of icons, themes and tools will be severely limited in the free trial version but they should still be enough to allow you a glimpse on how the program performs.
-Clear and to the point
-A great selection of tools at the user’s disposal
-Amazing results through personalization of the slideshows
-The learning curve is a bit steep
-Severe limitations in the free trial
If you are looking for the “one and only” slideshow suite then Ashampoo Slideshow Studio HD is where you want to be. There are simply so many things you can do here that all of your slideshow dreams can become a reality without much hassle.