Sunday, October 23, 2005

MobileOffice 7 Professional review

When people think about office suites for PalmOS, DocumentsToGo and QuickOffice are typical thoughts. However, MobiSystems recently completed version 7 of its OfficeSuite-and it indeed is an impressive tool. This review of OfficeSuite Professional concentrates on the two core programs for Excel and Word-the powerpoint module is average but lacks native file support; database is OK and Paint is excellent!
The first thing one notes about these programs is the lovely VFS integration. The main screen mirrors the tree view of popular file managers, and the dialogs allow you to choose where a file should be stored. It is possible to use an FTP directory for storage, and the company even grants you comfortable four megabytes of remote storage on their server. Anyways, this part of the program feels way better than DocumentsToGo 7(click images for bigger versions, the gradients are due to GIF compression):



However, this impression changes blazingly fast when you start to edit a document in landscape mode using onscreen grafitti. I am decent at the program, but my T3 never gets the i right. Disabling the spellchecker and the word completion did not fix this problem. But the lovely software keyboard compensates this deficiency:



The font rendering works well. You can adjust colors, font sizes, font faces and attributes. Fonts can be mobilized on the desktop using a special program. Flexible zooming is also possible, however, the fonts loose sharpness as the zoom factor gets smaller(it looks as if they use a sort of ClearType, which is bad for my eyes). Documents To Go fonts look 'sharper', but Mobisystems is more accurate. Hyperlinks, page settings et al can be adjusted as well, however, style sheets aren't supported.



The program has very good support for tables, images and numbering. You can actually integrate images into documents on the handheld. Most objects hide their details behind a context menu which can be opened by clicking onto an object for about a second:



The program even includes a paste special tool that allows you to paste data selectively.



Each of the functions has a small help text-this can come in handy at times:



Finally, Sheet 7 has a good charting module that produces good charts. Sorting data, inserting comments,.. is not a problem either:



However, the program lacks a few of the funky functions Docs has. For example, there is no print previewing option. Also, images don't appear to be supported. Sheet also has a desktop component btw.

Overall, MobiSystems is a good mobile excel/word processor. It definitely is slower and way bigger(2-3x) than DocsToGo, but has loads of extra functions that really are worth it. The program displays documents in an incredibly accurate way. All popular file formats are supported, and the good VFS integration helps when managing more than just a few files. This is not an office suite for everyone, but it will for sure satisfy demanding users who are willing to invest a bit of time into learning and configuring the program. An evaluation version is available- try it out before buying!

5 Comments:

Blogger intellidryad said...

Well, I guess fat applications aren't ment for us old clie users. They should've had a striped down verson instead of expecting everybody to upgrade to newer palms with large RAM.

5:09 PM  
Blogger Tam Hanna said...

Hi Intellidryad,
the same thing applies to Tungsten T users,... .
Palm OS apps will become considerably larger in the near future if you ask me! The now defunct german beam magazine interviewed a developer some time ago who said that he beleives that PalmOS games will be 4Meg in the next year or so!
Anyways, the new demand for 1.5x resources will do its part on increasing the memory hunger of graphically intensive apps with many bitmaps! Since it is next to impossible to do conditonal resouce linking in PODS IMHO....

But there is one good thing: you can move some of the files of this program to the SD card!

Best regards
Tam Hanna

7:30 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

you actually only need about 800k in ram, all the rest goes on the card - could be with powerrun or at install

Ruben

11:02 PM  
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