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SoftMaker Office Mobile for Android review

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SoftMaker Office for Android PlanMaker

SoftMaker Office Mobile is probably the most full-featured mobile suite you can buy, and offers excellent compatibility with Microsoft document formats. Despite one or two quirks in the user interface and installation, this is an excellent productivity tool.

Pros:

Full-featured office apps, strong compatibility with Microsoft file formats

Cons:

No print function, minimalist user interface, install can be tricky

Overall Rating:

4 Star Rating: Recommended

Price: €27.99 (licence permits install on 3 devices)

Manufacturer: SoftMaker

SoftMaker's Office Mobile for Android is a suite of applications offering the ability to view, edit and create applications on Android-based mobile devices, boasting a high level of compatibility with Microsoft Office files, plus capabilities that mark it out from other mobile apps.

Available since September, SoftMaker Office Mobile for Android runs on ARM-based smartphones and tablets with Android version 2.2 ('Froyo') or later, and provides users with word processor, spreadsheet and presentation tools in the shape of the TextMaker, PlanMaker and SoftMaker Presentations applications.

SoftMaker's suite is up against a myriad of other office tools available on the Google Play app store, but the firm claims that Office Mobile for Android offers the highest level of compatibility with Microsoft Office document formats, including the older formats used up to Office 2003 as well as files created with the newer Office 2007 and 2010 suites.

SoftMaker Office Mobile also supports features that are typically seen only on the desktop, such as on-the-fly spell checking and tracking changes in TextMaker; support for Excel charts in PlanMaker; and animations and slide transitions in SoftMaker Presentations.

SoftMaker Office for Android TextMaker

At €27.99 for the suite, SoftMaker Office Mobile appears at first to be more expensive than many rival tools available via Google Play, but each SoftMaker licence permits the user to install and use the applications on up to three separate Android devices.

We found SoftMaker's applications offered most if not all of the capabilities users are likely to need for editing or creating documents on the go, although the user interface takes a little getting used to.

Unlike SoftMaker's other application suites – SoftMaker Office 2012 for Windows and SoftMaker Office 2012 for Linux – the Android version has a rather minimalist interface based around pop-up toolbars and is optimised for touch input, as you would expect.

The TextMaker application in particular presents a largely empty display when opened for the first time, save for a small toolbar at the bottom of the screen. A similar toolbar is present in all three apps, and provides access to key functions.

Compatible with smartphones and tablets running Android 2.2 or higher and an ARM processor

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Daniel Robinson
About

Daniel Robinson is technology editor at V3, and has been working as a technology journalist for over two decades. Dan has served on a number of publications including PC Direct and enterprise news publication IT Week. Areas of coverage include desktops, laptops, smartphones, enterprise mobility, storage, networks, servers, microprocessors, virtualisation and cloud computing.

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