Unlike Premiere Elements 7, Corel VideoStudio Pro X2 feels quite languid with native Full HD AVCHD footage, even on a fast quad-core PC with 4GB of RAM. The software does have a solution to this problem, however, in the form of its Smart Proxy system. This renders a low-resolution working file to take the onus off real-time rendering. We found this to be very effective, allowing the blending of multiple tracks of AVCHD. The only downside is you have to wait a little for each proxy to be made, although this is performed in the background so you can get on with things whilst it happens.
That about wraps up the new and improved features of VideoStudio Pro X2, as very little has changed at the output stage. The HD-DVD option has disappeared, for obvious reasons. You can also no longer output directly to Neptune Mediashare, but this is no loss now either. It may have been ahead of its time - VideoStudio was the first editing app to offer direct upload to the Web, via Neptune, back in 2004. But this paid-for service has been superseded by the likes of YouTube, and now VideoStudio offers direct upload of properly encoded Flash Video files to this service directly from the editing timeline instead.
VideoStudio has always been a strong contender in budget PC video editing. It's one of the big three, alongside Adobe Premiere Elements 7 and Pinnacle Studio 12. Both offer stiff competition. Pro X2's Painting Creator is a particularly fun addition, and if you're an existing user of VideoStudio this alone could make this version worth the upgrade. However, now that Adobe Premiere Elements 7 supports AVCHD at long last, its superior editing power overall just gives it the edge.