Picsel's Smart Office is one of a growing number of applications that let users work with standard documents on their smartphone, but this one stands out for its smooth and responsive performance, integration with online file storage, and bargain price of £5.99.
Smart Office 1.5 is a single application that lets users view and edit documents on their handset, and is available for multiple platforms, including the iPhone, Android, Nokia S60 devices and Samsung Bada phones.
My first impression is that the new app feels blazingly fast, with Word files, Excel spreadsheets, PowerPoint presentations and PDF documents popping open as soon as I tapped the document icon, even when these are complex files with embedded graphics and tables.
I was also impressed with the way you can swiftly navigate through a document, with a quick swipe moving to the next page smoothly and effortlessly. And this was on an Orange San Francisco Android handset, not a high-end smartphone such as the newer models from the likes of HTC.
The app has its limitations, of course. While it faithfully displayed every document I tried out on it, including PowerPoint slides with embedded graphics, editing capabilities seem to be restricted to the text content.
This makes sense, since it is debatable whether users will realistically want to create and manipulate charts on a cramped smartphone screen.
Even editing text is a little tricky on such a small screen, but you can zoom in until you can easily pick out the word or words you want to edit. You can even select and move entire paragraphs with marker dots that indicate the start and end of the block you want to move.
Picsel's Dropbox integration seems to be another great feature, since it allows you to easily access documents from a PC or Mac. Picsel also said it intends to add Google Docs compatibility in a future release.
For those unfamiliar, Dropbox is operated by a company of the same name, and lets you synchronise documents across multiple systems using a cloud-based service.
If you have Dropbox on your PC, you just need to enter the same credentials in Smart Office 1.5, and you instantly get access to any files you placed in the Dropbox folder on your computer. You can open a file direct from Dropbox, and save any changes right back to it.
Smart Office 1.5 is still a long way from offering the capabilities of a full office suite on a mobile device, but it is an impressive application for viewing documents, especially at this price, and we could easily foresee someone using Smart Office to show a PowerPoint presentation on a smartphone with HDMI output.
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