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Sponsored App Review: SoftMaker Office HD – 10/12/14

November 12, 2014 - Written By Tom Dawson

Description: SoftMaker is a name that you might have already heard of, possibly because they’ve been producing high-end office software since 1987 and partly because they already have a trio of office products available for Android. Now, they’re back with SoftMaker Office HD. Why is it called HD? Because it features a UI and all the features you’d expect from your laptop, not an Android tablet. As with all SoftMaker’s mobile products, this is fully compatible with Microsoft Office and sits right at home on business users’ Android devices. Office HD is split into three apps; TextMaker HD, Presentations HD and Planmaker HD. All three apps feature a similar UI and the same sort of powerful features you’d associate with SoftMaker. Let’s take a look at SoftMaker’s latest efforts, shall we?

How it Works: You’ll need to download one of the three apps, or all three of them if that suits your needs, from the Play Store. Once you have the apps installed, you’ll notice three icons added to your homescreen, the icons are pretty obvious with the letters letting you know which is which.

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I’m going to go ahead and take a look at TextMaker HD, as it’s pretty obvious that a writer like myself would want to use a word processor.

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The first thing that struck me was how much the UI looked like a desktop application, and while you might think that’s crazy, hear me out. If you’re someone that’s used to a Desktop-like UI (which the vast majority of us are) then changing to a cut-down mobile version could be more confusing. So to be able to figure out where almost everything is without having to relearn the UI is a nice feature.

After some poking around the app, I was surprised to see that I could make tables, change the fonts, adjust margins and so, so much more. The suite is fully compatible with Microsoft Office so there’s no need to worry about using this for business.

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Just because Office HD from SoftMaker features a Desktop-like UI doesn’t mean they haven’t thought about how mobile users would interact with it. Here’s a look at PlanMaker HD (the fully Microsoft-compatible spreadsheet part of the suite) and how you can use it on an Android tablet.

PlanMaker Touch

With PlanMaker HD you’ll be able to edit and view spreadsheets outside of the office just as if you were really there. You can manage Pivot Tables, your Data Groupings and anything else you’d normally do right from your Android tablet.

PlanMaker 2

If you’re more interested in Presentations HD, you’ll be happy to hear that it has a massive range of features, just like Microsoft’s PowerPoint, which this is fully compatible with.

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You can even choose from a wide rang of animations and effects, too.

Presentations HD 2

 

Whether or not you want all three of the apps or just one, you’ll be getting a similar experience, full of high-end features and a UI that really takes advantage of higher resolutions, larger displays and more powerful tablets.

Opinion: For a long time now, office apps on Android have been kind of lacking. Google does a good job with its own offering, but the UI seems almost unfinished in parts and not a patch on their desktop experience. For those that want to use an Android tablet outside of the office to touch up things before a meeting or before they submit something, Office HD from SoftMaker is a great alternative to others. The UI is going to divide opinion, but considering you can easily hook up a mouse and keyboard to an Android tablet, a lot of users will soon feel right at home and get a lot more done with a familiar UI. For business users though, the wide range of features and full Microsoft compatibility will be the big draws and the time I spent with TextMaker HD really impressed me. I’m not one to wax lyrical about word processors, but for writing, I’d choose TextMaker HD and a Bluetooth keyboard over Google Docs now.

Ratings

  • Speed (4/5) – Everything ran nice and smoothly as I was using the apps, and the overall performance is great.
  • Features (5/5) – With full Microsoft Office compatibility and a massive range of features you’d find on your Desktop PC, it’s hard to find something that SoftMaker’s Office HD suite doesn’t offer.
  • Theme (4.5/5) – The UI is going to divide people into those that wanted more of a touch-friendly UI and those that love the familiarity of a Desktop environment. I’m of the latter and find that SoftMaker have done a great job of making the most of the higher resolutions available these days.
  • Overall (5/5) – There are lots of options out there for a quality office suite on Android, but SoftMaker’s new HD offering ticks so many boxes you’d need a spreadsheet to manage them all. Covering all the bases and looking good in the process I’m seriously impressed.

Pros

  • Full Microsoft Office capability, ensuring no hiccups with colleagues or incompatible files.
  • The interface is like that of a Desktop computer which gives familiarity and offers easy access to many advanced features.
  • No matter if it’s TextMaker HD, Presentations HD or PlanMaker HD each app has all the sort of features you’d want from a high-end office suite and it doesn’t cost nearly as much.
  • Perfect for users that hook up a Bluetooth keyboard (and even a mouse) to their Android tablets on business trips or at home in the evenings.

Cons

  • The interface is great on tablets, but it would be nice to see some sort of smartphone support as well.
  • Ability to pay for all three in one bundle from the Play Store would be a nice addition.

Conclusion: Office HD is one of the best products that SoftMaker has put out on Android and it’s a great help for those that want to enjoy a similar experience as the one in the office without taking a bulky laptop. The interface is familiar, full of features and responds well to touch. Everything is fully Microsoft Office compatible and whether or not you use TextMaker HD, PlanMaker HD or Presentations HD you’ll be guaranteed an excellent experience. While you won’t be able to buy them in one bundle from the Play Store, you can do just that directly from Softmaker themselves.

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