Traditionally, choosing a laptop has been about compromise.
Quickoffice Mobile Office Suite 1.2 (iPhone app)
A versatile suite of office apps for the iPhone
- Good value for money, Web-based file browser over Wi-Fi, good document formatting options, good MobileMe iDisk integration
- Doesn't support latest Microsoft Office formats or iWork '09 files, difficult to transfer documents to the iPhone, performance issues on older iPhones, can't copy and paste to other iPhone apps
Quickoffice answers the prayers of any iPhone user who wants to work while on the move. You can view and edit documents and spreadsheet with ease. If you don't have an iPhone 3G S, however, performance issues can may rear their head.
Price$ 23.99 (AUD)
Quickoffice integrates Quickoffice Inc.'s Quickword, Quicksheet and Quickfiles iPhone apps into a versatile suite that offers good value. This collection of apps allows you to edit text documents and spreadsheets on the iPhone with incredible ease. There is still plenty of room for improvement.
Quickoffice can edit basic file formats such as Microsoft Word documents (.doc), text files (.txt) and Excel spreadsheets (.xls) but can only view Microsoft Office 2007 documents (.docx and .xlsx) and doesn't support Apple iWork '09 files. Quickoffice can also display images, PowerPoint documents, PDFs and HTML files, and play MP3 files.
Using the Quickfiles app, Quickoffice can store up to 100MB worth of documents locally on the iPhone, and you can also use private and public MobileMe iDisk accounts provided you have an Internet connection. When connected to a wireless network, a Web-based file browser can be accessed from networked computers to download and upload documents to the iPhone. The Web interface is only available while the Quickoffice app is open. You can e-mail Quickoffice documents to yourself or others but you can't access e-mail attachments or download documents from MobileSafari. If you don't have access to a Wi-Fi network or MobileMe account, you are essentially stuck for a way to get documents onto the iPhone into the first place.
Quickoffice's Document and Text File app has basic text formatting tools so you can bold, italicise, align and indent text and create bullet points. You can also create a text highlight and choose between seven fonts and 16 colours. Search is available within documents but you can't find and replace specific words. Quickoffice automatically corrects spelling, replacing a misspelled word with the correct one before you are finished typing. It also offers possible word replacements while typing.
The spreadsheet app's layout is more reminiscent of Microsoft Excel than Apple's Numbers equivalent. You have the choice of either entering text directly into the cell or using the text box. Within a spreadsheet, you can format text and numbers separately, and you can add new rows and columns. The spreadsheet app supports multiple worksheets within the same document, but only one can be edited at a time. The functions menu provides 125 different formulas categorised by common usage (financial or statistical, for example). Unfortunately there is no search function available within the spreadsheet app.
Quickoffice replaces some of the iPhone's common gestures, which can be confusing initially. For example, holding down text in any first-party iPhone app brings up a magnifying glass that zooms in on the selected text. In Quickoffice, however, holding down zooms into the whole screen, which is slower. Copying and pasting is also quite different: instead of holding down you double tap on a word and highlight the desired text. The iPhone app also caches its own clipboard separately from the rest of the iPhone, which means you cannot copy and paste from other apps.
Quickoffice's landscape mode removes the top and bottom menu bars, leaving just the text area and the keyboard. While this provides more space for editing, the lack of menus means you cannot conduct even basic formatting or copying and pasting. You can still select text and alter spreadsheet cells, but must continually switch between portrait and landscape modes to do anything other than typing.
Performance is quite good. Large spreadsheets load quickly, but typing can be slow. The keyboard also stops responding occasionally, but key presses still register. Though the iPhone 3G S' revamped hardware copes with Quickoffice, owners of the original iPhone and iPhone 3G are likely to experience these performance issues.
Quickoffice occasionally crashed when editing documents and we did experience one instance where it refused to reorient back to portrait mode from landscape. Thankfully, the auto-save feature ensured we never lost much work.
Though the $23.99 price tag is hefty for an iPhone app, it is justified by the features on offer, and it is much better value than buying any of the three included iPhone apps individually. This app is best suited to the beefier iPhone 3G S, but it is still a great purchase for any work-focussed iPhone owner.
Quickoffice's Quickoffice Mobile Office Suite for iPhone can purchased from the App Store.
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