Adobe CS4 Web review: Adobe CS4 Web

To install Creative Suite 4 Web Premium, Windows users need at least Windows XP SP2 or Vista, with a 2GHz-or-faster processor. The necessary available disk space is 9.1GB (and will be perhaps more during installation). Mac users will need a PowerPC G5 or Intel-based machine with at least OS X v10.4.11, as well as 1GB of RAM and 11.2GB of available disk space. For both Windows and Macs, installation comes via a DVD. The display must be 1,280x900, with 32-bit video card and 16MB of VRAM. Shader Model 3.0 and OpenGL 2.0 compatibility may also be necessary. These system requirements are less stringent than for those suites involving video, such as Production Premium and the Master Collection.

Features
If you rely on Adobe software for digital animation, then CS4 is worth the plunge, more so than CS3 was. Flash takes a big leap forward by slashing the steps required to build animation. Dreamweaver beefs up tools for CSS sites and feels more stable than its predecessors. It's easier to make round trips among the applications, such as by exporting Fireworks designs as CSS, then bringing them into Dreamweaver. There's not much to wow users of Photoshop who don't work with 3D content, but Illustrator finally manages multipage documents. Soundbooth converts recorded speech into text. There's greater integration from one application to the next, with support for the latest formats for Web sites and mobile phones, as well as PDFs and desktop Adobe AIR applications. See the charts below for reviews of individual applications and the other CS4 suites.

Service and support
We almost hate to rate Adobe's tech support as excellent because of the extreme expense of live, personalized help from the company. However, the software industry has been moving away from free customized assistance for years. At least Getting Started help for installation issues and other speed bumps lasts for 90 days. Adobe's comprehensive, self-serve options include embedded and online look-ups, tutorials, and excellent videos. Also, the company has expanded its help-yourself and peer support online. The new Adobe Support Portal requires an Adobe log-in and password. Newbies would be wise to get up to speed with the interactive tutorials and maybe even third-party books and Web sites. Web-based forums with other users, as well as the Community Support in beta testing, may be the best bargain for getting hands-on advice.

Don't bother trying to seek extra help without a registered serial number; the days of "borrowing" copies of heavy-duty Adobe software from friends are long gone. Help with a live Adobe representative continues to be expensive. Each year we find the pricing options harder to find on Adobe's Web pages. The Bronze level of support, for five prepurchased incidents, is $175. Unlimited Silver support costs $1,200, three times the price of some applications, like Dreamweaver. Such pricing is clearly set for corporations rather than freelancers.

Applications in Adobe CS4 Web Premium

  Price if bought separately

Adobe Acrobat 9 Professional
$449/$159 upgrade
Bridge CS4 n/a

Contribute CS4
$149

Dreamweaver CS4
$399/$199 upgrade

Fireworks CS4
$299/$149 upgrade

Flash CS4 Professional
$699/$199 upgrade

Illustrator CS4
$599/$199 upgrade from CS, FreeHand 9+, or CorelDRAW

Photoshop CS4 Extended
$999/$349 upgrade from CS3/$899 upgrade from 5 or 6

Soundbooth CS4
$199/$79 upgrade


Adobe Creative Suite 4 packages

Adobe Creative Suite 4 packages
  Price: Full Price: Upgrade

Creative Suite 4 Master Collection
$2,499 $899 (from CS3); $1,599 from other CS3 suites; $1,199 from two older suites

Creative Suite 4 Design Premium
$1,799 $599 (from CS3); $599-$799 (from Studios or CS 1-2)

Creative Suite 4 Design Standard
$1,399 Special upgrade pricing available

Creative Suite 4 Web Premium
$1,699 $599 (from CS3); $599-$799 (from Studios or CS 1-2)

Creative Suite 4 Web Standard
$999 Special upgrade pricing available

Creative Suite 4 Production Premium
$1,699 $599 (from CS3); $599-$799 (from Studios or CS 1-2)

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Where to Buy See all prices

Adobe Creative Suite 4 Web Premium

Part Number: 65018020 Released: Sep 22, 2008
Low Price: $1,799.02 See all prices

Quick Specifications See All

  • Release date Sep 22, 2008
  • Category creativity application
  • Compatibility PC