Sept. 23, 2010 –This time, I’ve done a side-by-side comparison with two rising stars in video conversion. My personal acid test for video converters is taking a video from YouTube to a DVD with the fewest headaches. Freemake Video Converter passed that test with flying colors and Hamster Free Video Converter did not. While Hamster cannot output .VOB files for DVDs, Freemake converted 18 minutes of video and burned them to a DVD in 10 minutes – outstanding! The DVD was high quality, with a motion menu.
For further testing, 4 videos (2 .FLVs and 2.MP4s) with various framerates and resolutions were batch converted. Both programs converted the 4 videos to high quality .AVIs against the clock. Hamster easily won this test, producing good quality .AVIs about 25% faster than Freemake at about half the size.
Both programs installed without problems and have simple,rather sparse interfaces. Freemake’s is more professional looking; Hamster’s needs more contrast. Both programs handle batch conversions very well and allow drag-and-drop.
Overall, Hamster performed well, converting files quickly with quality results. It has a lot of presets for handheld devices, but not outputting to .VOB is a deal killer for me.
Freemake’s ability to convert and burn a high quality DVD in one step is truly unusual in free converter software. It packs plenty of power behind a simple interface; the most needed adjustments are present, without overwhelming an inexperienced user. Other features are – rip DVDs, rip CDs and convert to .MP3, create photo slide shows and a YouTube video uploader. I am definitely making Freemake a part of my video toolkit.
2017 Update –
Both programs are capable video converters. Freemake is still is the clear winner because of its basic editing functions and the ability to burn dvds with a minimum of fuss. Hamster has improved it’s interface and can now produce files that can be burned to a dvd, but it doesn’t actually burn the dvd or create a menu. Even though dvd burning is much less important in 2017, Freemake is still the best solution for occasionally creating a dvd. Both programs try to install additional software during the installation process, but Freemake is much, much worse. Great care is needed to install Freemake without several unneeded, unwanted programs. Freemake also tries to upsell features such as additional dvd menu templates. For me, the features outweigh the negatives; I still regularly use Freemake.