Product review: NetZip Deluxe: Quick Web unzip fix

I'll be honest. I use WinZip all the time--not because it's the most feature-packed compression utility, but because I've always used it. Software Builders' NetZip Deluxe 6.3, which adds such features as the ability to resume an interrupted download, could break my WinZip habit. I tested a shipping version.

NetZip ($US30) offers WinZip's ease of use, intuitive interface, and support for multiple compression formats--and adds a lot of functionality for a bit more money (WinZip costs $22 apiece for two to nine licenses). The interrupted-download feature alone is worth the extra 8 bucks: If your Internet connection breaks during a download, NetZip lets you pick up where you left off, rather than having to restart from scratch. This feature works in conjunction with your browser for any Web download. Other utilities--GetRight and Download Butler, for example--can do the same but don't have NetZip's other attractions.

NetZip also simplifies the download-unzip drill. Click on a compressed file, and NetZip launches automatically, showing the download's progress and displaying the archived files in your browser. When the download is done, you can immediately view, extract, and/or launch the archived files. (WinZip doesn't work directly through the browser.)Like WinZip, NetZip lets you compress and decompress files to save on storage space or to e-mail compressed attachments. And as with Mijenix's ZipMagic, files in a NetZip archive look and act as if they were in Windows Explorer: You don't have to open up a compression utility just to use the files inside.

WinZip 7.0 is more customisable than NetZip, but NetZip's superior functionality makes it a good deal, even at its higher price. I only wish it came with better documentation than the included help files and FAQs.

NetZip Deluxe 6.3

PRO: Resumes broken Internet downloads; downloads and unzips files in one step.

CON: No product manual.

VALUE: A time-saving utility that's easy to use.

Street price: $30

Software Builders Int'l: http://www.netzip.com

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