Though feature-rich, not everything about the program inspires devotion. For one, it's a big system hog. Installation is simple but slow; it took around 20 minutes on our test system. Occasionally, we thought it must have frozen, but no, it's just poky. The program requires 2GB of drive space for the installation: to edit video, a rep recommended having at least 20 percent of the hard drive free. While our test system met the requirements, playback of a simple video clip was extremely jerky, which made creating edits and viewing our work a chore. In fact, playing a clip was all it took to drive our system usage meter to 100 percent. A rep told us that the new MPEG decoder takes a sizable system hit and suggested defragmenting the hard disk; it didn't help. We suggest having a lot more than the 256MB of RAM that Adobe says will work. In addition, we did a lot of resizing on our 17-inch screen and recommend at least a 19-inch display.
Furthermore, Adobe hasn't improved the subpar support options. The company still offers only a bare minimum of FAQs and support documents on its site, and there's still no free e-mail or phone support. That's poor for a consumer program this complex. A single-incident support call is a whopping $39, which is ridiculous to ask of home users. A rep told us that how-to books for Premiere Elements (such as one that Adobe itself sells) do especially well. We can see why.