Adobe Connect video conferencing is a beautiful thing–with one big catch.
The longstanding video platform from the team behind industry standards Photoshop, Illustrator, and Premiere Pro has every function you could want in a video conferencing platform. And, as you’d expect from a design leader, it presents it all in a compact, customizable, and flexible way that should be the envy of its video rivals.
So, what’s that catch we mentioned? Well, we have only two complaints:
- It’s expensive
- It’s really expensive
The monthly subscription cost of Adobe’s base product, Connect Meetings, is $50. That’s roughly triple the cost of current consumer darlings Zoom and BlueJeans, and four times the premium package price offered by Microsoft Teams (though, granted, the Teams price is per month per user).
We would argue that Adobe offers a superior product, but it’s not three times better than those others, and it’s not without some basic flaws–for instance, the maximum group meeting number is low, and the user interface is drab and cumbersome.
That said, Adobe Connect Meetings is a high-quality, reliable product with some real innovation in its customizability and flexibility. We just wish it cost half as much.
(Lots of) Function Over Form
Adobe Connect video conferencing does it all. Anything you could want from a video platform is tucked neatly away in its intuitive drop-down menus just waiting for you to activate. You can record, store, and share live meetings; there’s an interactive whiteboard and a screen sharing function that’ll focus on your screen, document, or browser; as host you have comprehensive control over your presentation and your audience’s participation; and you can incorporate dozens of apps and extensions that’ll let you share videos and games, conduct surveys and quizzes, and boost your meeting engagement beyond a series of talking heads and slides–which is nice, because the actual video chat windows are a little bland.
Presumably, all this is how Adobe justifies the product’s fairly high price tag. This is blue-ribbon video conferencing. There’s a mobile version as well, and you can scale up your subscription to cover webinars and even an advanced virtual learning classroom for teachers and trainers.
In the arena of the average business meeting, you get access to a wider than average range of scheduling and formatting choices for your group meetings–which tops out at a relatively miserly 25 participants and requires you navigate some very drab form fields to do so–or you can just wing it with browser-based invitations that don’t require your guests to be Adobe account holders.
Once inside a meeting, you can choose from several default layouts that focus on collaboration, presentation, or discussion, and there are several security features that let the host lock meeting attendance and material distribution.
And Adobe has come up with a novel way of presenting all those options.
Organizing the Adobe Interface by Pod
The key to the Adobe experience is the platform’s flexibility and customization. Every piece of functionality is presented in its own window, or “pod” as they’re called. Each pod can be shaped and tiled as you see fit within your video chat screen. These pods contain the platform’s key functions, including:
- Shared screens, applications, and documents
- Attendee information
- Files and weblinks
- Polls and Q&A
You activate as many pods as you need and then position them around your video chat window. The advantage is that unlike other platforms where such functions are hidden away until in use or must be activated one at a time, everything you’ll use during a meeting is up-front and accessible. It takes a little organization to get everything where you want it, but that’s OK, as Adobe features both Presenter Only Areas and a Prepare Mode, which let you get things together away from the prying eyes of your guests.
The above features cover just about everything you’d need to stage a quality group meeting, but in case you need even more, Adobe has you covered. You can create your own pods and fill them with dozens of apps and extensions as well as learning management tools and utilities, including:
- YouTube video player
- Closed captioning
- MP3 player
- Countdown timer
- Quiz App
- Star rating system
Adobe’s functionality doesn’t end at the pod-laden main screen either. The platform has built-in breakout room functionality that allows two or more attendees to disappear into a secondary chat room and conduct a private video discussion offscreen.
This extra dynamic adds depth to what is one of the most comprehensive video conferencing platforms VC Daily has yet reviewed. The problem, however, is that the sizeable price tag makes you start questioning how many of these features are worth the extra cost.
Double the Features at Triple the Cost
Adobe Connect is a more feature-rich (and therefore, arguably better) product than those offered by some of our favorite video conferencing vendors, such as Zoom or BlueJeans–possibly even Microsoft Teams. That said, is it worth triple the monthly subscription cost of those products? We’d argue maybe not. In fact, Adobe’s $50-a-month basic subscription cost offers you less than a quarter the meeting capacity of the free versions of Teams and Zoom.
To be clear, by preferring those other players we’re not suggesting you settle for less in order to save a buck. Instead, we’re suggesting you settle for enough…and pay what has become the consumer standard price. Those cheaper services present quality visuals and reliable connections; they give you access to group meetings, sharing services, and meeting recording; and they offer similar levels of interoperability and support.
If cost is not your primary concern and you want an all-in-one video platform that will deliver quality, reliability, and flexibility then Adobe Connect Meeting is for you. There’s a free 30-day trial available, but be warned: if you get addicted to what you see, it’ll cost you.
Note that while this site is sponsored by Logitech, reviews contain the writer’s own opinions and are not influenced by the views of our sponsor.