Trident Software's PowerZip is one such utility that is easy to use, thanks to its well-designed interface and plain English command names. The wizards associated with this program are also a boon for the uninitiated, appearing when actions such as zipping or unzipping are about to take place. PowerZip 5.2 also contains some cool features for more advanced users.
On the productivity front, I tested PowerZip's performance by individually packing 1MB worth of Word documents and a 34.8MB wave document - timing the process and comparing it to the popular WinZip program. For the smaller .doc files, PowerZip 5.2 was up to par with WinZip, but when packing the large wave sound it lagged a good 15 seconds behind it.
I used the same archives that I created in the packing test, and timed the unpacking process, once again comparing it to WinZip. The Word documents took less than a second to emerge from their confined space (the same as WinZip), but the large wave sound took longer to surface under PowerZip 5.2 than it did under WinZip, by nine seconds.
For $US20, PowerZip 5.2 is a great little packing program with all the functionality expected, and it's also very easy to use. See how it stacks up to many other compression utilities in the Zip feature on our cover CD.