5 office suites for Android phones

With these five apps, you can take your work with you on your smartphone. But how useful are the apps?

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OfficeSuite Pro 5

Mobile Systems

Price: $14.99

Other versions: OfficeSuite Pro 5 (Trial): 30-day trial (free). OfficeSuite Viewer 5: View documents only ($4.99).

Like Documents To Go, OfficeSuite Pro supports several mobile OS platforms and devices besides Android, including the iPhone, BlackBerry and Palm OS. Developer Mobile Systems sells a wide selection of dictionary modules that you can use with its suite, including foreign language and medical terminology dictionaries.

OfficeSuite Pro 5

OfficeSuite Pro 5

Click to view larger image

While OfficeSuite can access your Google Docs account, like the other four suites in this roundup, it does not display your Collections (the name for folders in Google Docs). Instead, OfficeSuite lists all of your Google Docs documents at once, which makes for a rather disorganized feel.

OfficeSuite is very eye-friendly in how it displays your documents. Once you load a text document, for example, the upper part of it is displayed in a large, immediately readable size. Most of the suites in this roundup instead require you to zoom in on the document at a legible level so you can start reading or editing it properly.

In fact, compared to the other suites in this roundup, OfficeSuite's word processing app has more features that you'd find in a desktop word processor, including paragraph justification, font styles, bulleted or numbered lists, and so forth. The only suite that surpasses it is ThinkFree Mobile Office, which closely matches OfficeSuite's feature set and includes an additional one not found in OfficeSuite -- support for columns.

Microsoft Word documents in both the .DOC or .DOCX format correctly showed embedded images.

OfficeSuite's spreadsheet app is more appealing and efficient to use than that in Documents To Go. For example, individual sheets of a spreadsheet are set off as tabs along the bottom of the screen, so you just tap a tab to jump to that sheet. And among the expected spreadsheet functions, there's a handy charting tool.

However, like Documents To Go, the OfficeSuite spreadsheet app would not render charts or other images that were embedded in either Excel .XLS or .XLSX files.

Both the word processing and spreadsheet apps feature a toolbar that runs along the bottom, which you can scroll horizontally through to access functions such as text formatting, inserting formulae, and so forth. I liked this toolbar because it didn't get in the way of my view of the document -- even when I held my smartphone horizontally. When I used the word processor, the way this toolbar is set above the on-screen keyboard let me conveniently access formatting and editing functions with my thumbs.

Other features are also a bit easier to work with than with some of the other suites here. For example, to cut, copy and paste, you double-tap on a word to highlight it, tap on your phone's Menu button and select Edit from the on-screen menu.

OfficeSuite's presentation app includes nine colorful background templates to help you put together slide shows, a couple of which look professional enough to use for business. However, you cannot adjust font characteristics or background colors of the slides. The presentation app successfully loaded the various PowerPoint files I tried on it.

The bottom line

Thanks to its toolbar, OfficeSuite Pro has a great word processing app, with the most features, compared to all but one of the others in this roundup. And since there is a trial version that you can use for free for 30 days, it's certainly worth checking out.

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