I've used the free version before we purchased AdminStudio and it worked well. Both AI and AS are good products and work well with major projects. However, I longed for the simplicity of PB, and found that Inno Setup with Inno script Studio is the perfect replacement for PB for smaller projects. No big learning curve, small, fast, don't have to deal with all the MSI crap, and it is free.
YOu should have no issues deploying AI MSIs with LANDesk, or Inno setup exes
We have got the adminstudio (landesk version) and I never use it. I prefers use the Orca program to set some Msp files, or use the msi command line. That prevents inconsistency between programs and configuration. This sort of programs works with the differences between the snapshot before and the snapshot after. The problem is that if the computer were you will distribute the packages have some common registry values, you could change the configuration of the softwares using these values. When you use locally the real installation programs, you do not have this sort of problems.
That's the reason why I prefer use the installation program when I found all the ways to set a personalized installation with msiexec.exe and orca.exe.