If you want to transcode video for a smartphone or tablet, there are few better tools – paid or free – than Handbrake. This open source application, which runs on both Mac OS and Windows, makes converting video for mobile device viewing as easy as a few mouse clicks. The main downside is that it is so infrequently updated (it’s been more than year since the last version was released).
But the folks behind Handbrake have finally updated the application, which is now at version 0.9.6. There are a slew of changes and improvements, but the primary benefit we’ve seen is that the new version transcodes videos considerably faster than before. There are now two Android presets: Android Mid (phones) and Android High (tablets). iPhone and iPad presets remain, of course, along with an improved “Normal” preset which churns out excellent general use MP4 video files. On the downside, HandBrake 0.9.6 breaks VLC-powered DVD ripping since VLC 2.0 no longer supports this. Also gone is the file size option which users could employ to generate video files that were a specific size.
On Windows, make sure you download the bit version that matches your OS installation (32-bit or 64-bit); Windows XP, Vista and 7 are supported. On the Mac side, HandBrake now requires Mac OS 10.6 or above and is only available in 64-bit.