App Review: OfficeSuite Pro 5.0 – Productivity Power Unleashed for Android Tablets and Phones [Video]

August 25, 2011
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The advent of smartphones and tablets has made it possible for you to carry your office in the palm of your hand. The mobile office market used to be monopolized by bigger mobile devices such as laptops and netbooks, but smarter smartphones and tablets have eaten into some of that space. Thanks to mobile office apps that squeeze office tools into palm-size devices, allowing their users to carry their workplaces inside their pockets or vests.

The key component of a mobile office on a smartphone is the office productivity application that provides the suite of office tools. There are many such Android apps. Most of them are great, but very few stand out from the rest. Of the latter category is OfficeSuite Pro 5.0.

Developed by Mobile Systems, OfficeSuite Pro features rich mobile office solutions for creating, viewing, and editing popular document formats (e.g., Microsoft Word, Excel, and PowerPoint), as well as for viewing Portable Document Format (PDF) files right on your Android device. Word processing, spreadsheets, and slideshow presentations get easy with OfficeSuite Pro. The app also includes a File Browser and is tightly integrated with Google Docs–two features that are indispensable in managing local and remote files.

I had the chance to try OfficeSuite Pro 5.0 in full, and, I have quite a handful of good things to say about its functionality and features.

Functionality

Have you ever used a professional-level document creation app that is truly tablet-optimized, polished, and refined? OfficeSuite Pro 5.0 is one such app. While using it, I didn’t feel like it was some haphazardly developed app, with components hastily brought into one basket, designed only for viewing documents on the go. Rather, OfficeSuite Pro 5.0 is a full-fledge document creation app. This simply is not one of those apps that shortchange you on office productivity features, apps that give you only half of the features of their desktop versions.

There are Android apps designed primarily for smartphones. Such apps need to be scaled up when used on a Honeycomb tablet. And, then, there are tablet-optimized Android apps that don’t need scaling precisely because they are fully optimized for Honeycomb tablets. OfficeSuite Pro 5.0 is one such app, and I was amazed at its superbly optimized, tablet-friendly user interface. It actually made full use of the luxurious 10-inch screen on my tablet.

OfficeSuite Pro 5.0 assuages the oft-quoted disappointed observation: that Honeycomb tablets are only for content consumption and not for real productivity or content creation. The app raises the bar for Honeycomb tablets, as it gave me a full-blown experience of document creation comparable to that of most desktop-based office suites. Apart from the mobile convenience afforded by a Honeycomb tablet, OfficeSuite Pro 5.0’s built-in integration of Google Docs easily provides a useful feature that desktop-based office suites leave out.

Thus, in several important ways, a full-featured mobile productivity app like OfficeSuite 5.0 is really superior to its desktop counterparts–chiefly because it pulls together the Cloud and the tight OS integration that we have come to expect from our Android devices.

Features

I am one of those who use their tablets daily, not just for entertainment but also for real work. With OfficeSuite Pro 5.0, I found almost every tool I need built right into the app–creating bulleted lists, fine-tuning line separation, inserting images…you get the idea.

Creating spreadsheets was as easy on my tablet as on my desktop, except that the latter does not have a handy feature that OfficeSuite Pro 5.0 provides: pinch-to-zoom functionality. A full office productivity experience, sweetened by pinch-to-zoom functionality, added a little fluidity to creating documents and spreadsheets. I bade goodbye to the days of fixed 25%, 50% 75%, or 100% zoom levels.

One feature that OfficeSuite Pro 5.0 has yet to include–and one that many people like me would be very much happy about–is a spell checker. This important feature is something that I use daily when typing documents.

Another feature that stood out was the impressive fluidity and accuracy of the text selection function. It worked flawlessly as I dragged the finger hold around paragraphs. I rarely ever had an inaccurate selection of text.

OfficeSuite Pro 5.0’s built-in PDF viewer rendered PDF documents fairly fast. It was slow enough for me to realize that I had to wait for the document to render, but fast enough to keep me from becoming frustrated. I suppose that is a common experience with many PDF viewers–both for desktops and tablets. Yet, once OfficeSuite Pro 5.0 has rendered the PDF document, everything was a pleasant joyride from there–more pleasant than my experience with the Adobe PDF Viewer. OfficeSuite’s PDF viewer worked more smoothly than Adobe’s own version–quite interesting to note, I’d say–but I have no complaints with the fluidity at all.

The built-in File Browser is another key feature. This one’s something that you encounter right from the home screen of the application. The browser can be handy for users who are used to using Windows to browse through their documents. Not only is it easy to use–it also has the ability to extract compressed (e.g., ZIP) files or zip files into one archive, as well as the ability to share files to the multitude of sources that Android has available to you.

The File Browser, though, can only be used to manipulate files (e.g., cut, copy, paste, drag, drop, etc.) that it recognizes and supports. This means that you cannot use the browser to install Android Packages (APKs). On the one hand, you can see this as a limitation. On the other hand, it is a purposeful limitation–the File Browser speeds up your file browsing by showing you only those files that it can work with.

Conclusion

To sum up, let me enumerate the pros and cons of OfficeSuite Pro 5.0 in one easy-to-view table:

Pros Cons
  • Google Docs integration
  • Most fluid text selection implementation I’ve ever seen
  • Ability to Pinch-to-Zoom within documents
  • Can zip and unzip files within its File Manager
  • Great use of screen space for its tablet-optimized UI
  • PDF rendering ability rivals Adobe’s own PDF Viewer
  • Lack of spellchecker
  • Lack of ability to sync with Dropbox within the application

Video

After downloading and trying all of OfficeSuite Pro 5.0’s competitors, I can safely claim that there is no competition at all. They all pale in comparison to OfficeSuite Pro 5.0’s functionality and ease of use. I was completely blown away by the experience–but don’t take my word for it. Try it for yourself so that you can understand what I mean when I say that OfficeSuite Pro 5.0 pushes the envelope on what a tablet-optimized user interface on an office productivity app can really bring to Honeycomb tablets.

Download it here (paid) or here (trial)

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