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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Quickoffice Pro


Price: $14.99

Other versions: Quickoffice Pro HD: Tablet version ($19.99). Quickoffice Pro Trial: 7-day trial (free).

Quickoffice Pro is available for Android, iPhone and Symbian OS smartphones. It stands out from the competition because of the long list of cloud-storage services it supports -- it lets you easily load documents stored on Box.net, Dropbox, Google Docs, Huddle, MobileMe or SugarSync into its apps.

Quickoffice Pro

Quickoffice Pro

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Interestingly, Quickoffice Pro's apps offer some extras that the other Android suites don't include -- but at the same time, it is missing basic features. For instance, the word processing app doesn't support headers, footers, lists, bullets or even paragraph formatting. On the other hand, both the word processing and presentation apps let you take a photo with your phone's camera and insert it into the document or presentation slide you are composing.

When I started the word processor, the displayed font size looked so small on the 4.1-in. display of the smartphone I was using that I had to pinch-and-zoom to adjust it to a legible size before I could start entering text. On the other hand, all the Word documents I loaded into the word processor correctly displayed the embedded images.

The presentation app comes with a selection of eight prefab shapes that include rectangles, ovals and arrows you can paste onto a slide. You can change the colors of text, shapes and backgrounds in your slides. My PowerPoint files (both .PPT and .PPTX) loaded with all their images and layout graphics intact.

Quickoffice's spreadsheet interface is laid out similarly to OfficeSuite Pro's, with separate sheets set as tabs along the bottom of the screen. Features include the standard minimal set, letting you insert columns, data, formulae and rows, and adjust borders and fonts.

Quickoffice has a toolbar (accessed via the Menu button) running along the bottom of its word processing, spreadsheet and presentation apps that lets you horizontally scroll through to access its editing functions. The toolbar may be a little thinner than what is ideal for tapping and swiping through effectively, and there were times when I would have liked it to stay on-screen instead of going away after I selected something from it. I found myself continually tapping on my Menu button because I needed to access the toolbar a lot while spending any significant amount of time working on a document, spreadsheet or slide.

The process of highlighting text to cut, copy and paste can be slightly tricky to execute, but I did find it to be more intuitive than Documents To Go's and OfficeSuite Pro's methods. You double-tap on a word or image object to highlight it; a toolbar then automatically pops open above (or below) the highlighted item with button functions for cutting, copying and pasting. The problem is that this toolbar is a bit small; I think it would have been easier and faster to perform cutting and pasting if this toolbar were larger.

The spreadsheet app was able to load Excel files (.XLS and .XLSX) with embedded charts, something neither Documents To Go nor OfficeSuite Pro could manage (although the sizing of fonts was a bit off).

The bottom line

Quickoffice Pro supports a lot of cloud storage services, but its word processor lacks features that can be found in OfficeSuite Pro for the same price. Like OfficeSuite Pro, Quickoffice Pro also is available as a trial version, which you can use for free for seven days.

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