If you already have a copy of RootsMagic 4 on your computer and you try to download the new RootsMagic Essentials, you will end up with an update to your existing program but not a separate copy of the program. So if you want to see how the program runs, you left looking at the feature's list. I guess I will have to find someone without the program, since this is what happened to me when I tried to look at the new program for evaluation.
From the features list, it looks like the program is a real winner. Of course there are significant differences between the free version and the for sale version. It appears that the reports are limited, you cannot make a sharable CD, no wall charts, and limited multi-media support are the main differences. There are many other features of the full version that are missing including the research features and many of the tools like place name standardization and geocoding.
Since the full version of the program is offered for only $29.95, I cannot imagine why anyone interested in the program would not buy the full version rather than using a "free" version solely for the reason to save $30. But for the die hard Personal Ancestral File (PAF) users, here is a really viable free alternative.
The two main reasons why people need to migrate from PAF are sources and New FamilySearch. Surprisingly, the free version of RootsMagic 4 apparently contains all of the New FamilySearch features of the full version. Although the features for recording sources are not as extensive as the full version, the feature set is much more useful than the PAF program. Maybe a richer set of source features will encourage users to actually record sources?