Here's a short review of Premiere Elements 8.
I tested the software on a HP xw4400 Workstation - Core 2 6600 processor @2.4 Ghz, 2 GB ram. Make sure to review system requirements, especially if you want to edit HD.
Friendly user interface with a fairly logical work-flow. The interface supports both timeline and storyboard editing. After editing, it was very easy to export a file for web upload, export to tape or burn a DVD.
Many of Premiere Pro's keyboard shortcuts apply to Premiere Elements 8 too.
Worked very nicely with both SD and HD footage. (SD footage was captured from a Sony VX2100). Easily imported HD files from a Canon Vixia HF S100 and a DXG-567 HD camera. Mixed HD and SD footage with no problems.
Using the titler was pretty easy for the most part, but I still haven't figured out how to applying a stoke (outline) to text.
I had some trouble with the Welcome Screen. Several times when attempting to open a project, the system appeared to be working but wouldn't progress beyond that screen. When this occurred, I had to launch Windows Task Manager to force the application to close and then launch the application by double-clicking the project file.
The good news on this is that Adobe has a fix if you encounter this problem.
This is definitely an ideal video editing application for the hobbyist or casual user. I having some difficulty identifying where the cutoff would be for higher end users. One of the advantages of this application is that with each new release, more advanced features trickle down from Premiere Pro without boosting the price tag for Elements. (For instance, motion tracking was just added.)
My recommendation for mid-range users is to try Premiere Elements 8 before assuming that you need the full flexibility and power of Premiere Pro CS4. You may just find that you have everything you need and save a lot money too. (Right now Premiere Elements goes for less than $90.)
A trial version is available for download here - available for Windows and the Mac.