CorelDraw Graphics Suite X7 Review & Rating |

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Adobe is, and long has been, the first name in graphic design and digital art, but Corel’s underdog status may be part of what makes it an appealing product to many. The latest flagship suite from the company, CorelDraw Graphics Suite X7 ($499, subscription pricing also available)$299.99 at Amazon is an impressive package. The latest version has excellent features for customizing workspaces in particular, as well as a clean and updated interface. Graphics Suite X7 is only for Windows, with both 32-bit and 64-bit versions. Mac users will need Parallels$18.95 at Amazon or some other software that enables a Windows environment on their machine to use it, which is not an ideal solution. Part of what makes Corel’s package attractive right now is all the user backlash to Adobe’s revamped pricing structure. Adobe Creative Cloud costs $49.99 per month (for a year-long commitment), whereas CorelDraw Graphics Suite X7 sells for $499 (boxed edition). You can also upgrade from X4, X5, or X6 for $199. If you’re into the subscription thing, X7 goes for $24.95 for 30 days, or just $198 for a year. On the other hand, if the only graphic arts app you need is CorelDraw, a close competitor to Adobe Illustrator, it alone costs just $19.99 per month. The value proposition really depends on what kind of user you are, how much you’re willing to pay up front, and whether you want early access to new features—which is what you get as a subscriber. CorelDraw Graphics Suite remains a viable option to those who are looking for the best alternative to Adobe Illustrator. It exports to all the major Adobe file formats, supports high-resolution multi-monitor setups, and offers plentiful features. What’s Included and NewThe graphics suite includes six pieces: CorelDraw X7, Photo-Paint X7, PowerTrace X7, Connect X7, Website Creator, and Capture X7. CorelDRAW and Photo-Paint are the two primary applications. The first is a vector and illustration program, the second, an image-editing program. The other pieces are essentially utilities: PowerTrace is a bitmap converter, Website Creator is a site-design tool, and Capture is for screen capture. Within these apps, you get access to a ton of features, services, and extras. These extras include 2,000 high-resolution stock photos, 1,000 fonts, hundreds of design templates, and about five hours of training videos. The most striking change in Corel X7 is the interface. The lighter and more streamlined look follows the trend in UI design that users have seen in everything from Microsoft Office to mobile apps. Corel’s spruced up face does look contemporary. Other improvements, such the customizability of the default workspace, show that Corel did not sacrifice usability or function for form’s sake. The tools for customizing your workspaces are wonderful. There’s even a preset option for mimicking the Adobe Illustrator interface for designers who are most familiar with that environment. A new Docker puts the tools you use most on the right side in collapsible panes that are visible but out of the way when you want to maximize the screen real estate of your actual work. The latest version also supports multi-monitor setups and high-DPI screens, so you can let all your Corel designs sprawl across your workspace and see them in high definition. And what’s an updated graphics suite product without some new doo-dads, such as rectangular and elliptical fills. You’ll find tutorials teaching you how to use these new features, as well as some new pattern options and other fill features, in the help videos that are available when you start up the program. Less visible improvements include compatibility with important file formats, such as PSD, AI, and PDF, as well as the RAW file format. Another feature that sounds trendy and cool—although I’m on the fence about its actual usefulness—is a built-in QR code creator and validation tool. You can generate unique QR codes and punch them up by overlaying text, colors, and images on them. The validation part ensures your QR codes will still work with the artistic flourishes added. You can change the shape, outline width, color, and fill type of the QR code pixels, change the background color and fill type, and more. This feature seems targeted at small businesses that are designing brochures, posters, and other marketing materials. While it’s neat, I wonder how much it will actually be used, as QR codes never really took off in the U.S. Perhaps this feature will be more useful in the international market. If you’ve already mastered the basics, the Polar A360 is an advanced fitness tracker that gives conc… More » Koogeek’s S1 smart bathroom scale measures weight and estimates other body metrics for up to 16 peop… More » Source.

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