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Adobe Photoshop Elements 12 review


A limited selection of new features add little to a powerful, market-leading package that’s stuck in the doldrums

Review Date: 24 Sep 2013

Reviewed By: Barry Collins

Price when reviewed: £96 (£115 inc VAT)

Buy it now for: £65
(see more store prices)

Overall Rating
4 stars out of 6

Features & Design
4 stars out of 6

Value for Money
4 stars out of 6

Ease of Use
5 stars out of 6

Yet, the thought of uploading snaps to another online photo service when so many already exist caused us to let out a wearied sigh, and even more tiresome was the amount of time it took Elements to process and upload a mobile album of 51 photos. On a fast office ADSL connection it took more than 40 minutes, most of which was spent processing rather than uploading, and left our laptop almost inoperable until it had finished.

In fact, resource hogging is one of our biggest complaints about Elements 12. Even sitting idle, the Organizer swallowed more than 50% of CPU resources on a 1.7GHz Core i5 (Sandy Bridge) laptop, and both the Organizer and Editor occupied a total of almost 800MB of memory while doing nothing. Elements has never been a lightweight application, but this year's version seems particularly hungry.

In some respects, we find it hard to criticise Elements. It still delivers an awesome amount of editing power for a modest outlay, and it's one of those rare packages that offers features for rank beginners and sophisticated enthusiasts alike, without alienating either.

Adobe Photoshop Elements 12

On the other hand, the package feels tired and bloated. Spitting out new versions merely to meet an annual schedule is a carry over from a bygone era – the metronomic releases suit nobody but Adobe's accountants. Adobe can't champion the benefits of Creative Cloud's frequent updates and then try to convince consumers that an annual come-what-may release is in their best interests. At least not with a straight face.

Photoshop Elements 12 offers little to anyone who bought last year's update, and it's highly debatable whether even those sitting on two- or three-year-old copies of Elements have much to get excited about. We think it's time Adobe stripped down Elements and started again, getting rid of the legacy baggage and bringing fresh thinking to what a consumer photo editor should be doing in the era of powerful mobile apps and touchscreen devices.

It remains, just about, the best consumer photo-editing package out there, but we wish something else would emerge and wake Adobe from its complacency. It's sleeping on the job.

Author: Barry Collins

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User comments

Thoughts for the next version

I agree.Things they need to address
1) 64 bit version to use more than 4gb of ram in a computer.
2) full 32 bit colour editing mode.
3) offload as much processing to the gpu as is possible.
rather than put even more junk features in, get rid of some of the bloat. Just make it leaner and meaner.

By Jaberwocky on 24 Sep 2013

New products not working 1100 kroner out the window

Just bought PS elements and Premiere after waiting and waiting for the new edition.
4 hours download time. I have slow connection.
Long installation process. Big program, yeah!'
And then error upon error. Nothing works.

Never again Adobe.

By Thinge on 24 Sep 2013

Lightroom the way forward?

Must admit that since Lightroom dropped in price, I rarely resort to Elements. Still running V10 which does everything I need in terms of the rare occasions I need to edit. Wouldn't be without LR5 though for giving photos that polish though.

By offroadrunner on 24 Sep 2013

Editor useful, Organiser useless

I invested in PSE Photo/Video bundle last year. I'd say in a nutshell that the organiser is too frustrating. I went back and started again with Aperture/iPhoto which integrate better with the mac as a whole and manage the files better. Using Elements as an external editor to iPhoto works best for me, but I share the reviews opinion that most home users this is pitched at just won't care about this level of editing I mean who has time to go thru photos and do this sort of fine editing!!

By aitch2000 on 26 Sep 2013

PE is Frustrating with Eyefinity

I have used PE for a number of tears and last year when investing an a 3 screen Eyefinity setup found it really frustrating that the one app which didn't support this setup is PE. Adobe support didn't want to know and blamed graphics drivers which are up to date and according to AMD & Adobe are fully compatible. I got no solution and won't buy or upgrade another Adobe product until resolved. Come on Adobe get up to date. Plus add full Win 7 64 bit support. I agree with all the comments above.

By Sirarchie6 on 7 Nov 2013

Poor review

I think this is a badly written review. Why is it written ONLY for people who already have the product? There is no indication of how good it is, or how it compares to its competitors. This is very unhelpful.

By dmart7 on 27 Nov 2013


I agree with dmart7. I can't believe the review says 'It remains, just about, the best consumer photo-editing package out there' yet it only gets four stars.

By RussReid on 12 Jul 2014

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