There are already plenty of great office suites available for Android but most of them are going to set you back a fair few pennies. Our favourite of the bunch, Documents To Go costs £9.99 to download and that’s a figure not everyone will want to pay depending on their requirements for working on the go. Enter Google Docs, the free office suite for Android devices which has just been revised for tablet usage.
Once upon a time, if Life of Android wanted to have all our documents available on the go we would write them in Microsoft Office and upload them to Dropbox. Then, when we wanted to edit them on our Android handset, we added Documents To Go into the slightly convoluted but otherwise effective mix. That was before we got our hands on an Android tablet however, so editing on the fly was something we were loathe to do unless it was out of utter necessity.
In the meantime, we transitioned ourselves to Google Docs where remote storage of all our documents was available without the necessity for a desktop client. Despite its ruthless functionality, Google Docs excels at the basics (word processing/spreadsheets) and leaves the rest to paid-for programs. This has suited us just fine, bar the odd occasion where we needed to knock out a quick slideshow.
Little has changed for Google Docs’ Android app for tablets and, in all honesty, that’s just what we wanted to happen. Users are able to access all their previously stored documents and create new ones in a simple and easy to use manner. Writing over an extended period on a touchscreen is a natural recipe for finger cramp but that’s hardly the fault of this app. In fact, the overall typing experience on Google Docs is extremely smooth with each paragraph separated into individual boxes, although spreadsheets can be a bit more pernickety.
As one would expect from the big G, it couldn’t resist making a tablet and smartphone app without out creating a few new features for it and by ‘a few’ we mean two very similar ones. Both ‘Document from photo’ and ‘Document from gallery’ work by taking a photo, either through your handset’s camera or from a pre-existing gallery and transcribing the words written in that document much in the same way a business card reader app works. Text recognition is imperfect, the app struggles on weird fonts and indented formatting but all is up to the standard we expected.
Overall, Google Docs is great app considering it’s free and almost idiot proof. Is it the best office suite app available? No, Documents To Go still holds that particular title. For consumers however, there’s finally a real choice between whether they want to pay for word processing and spreadsheet editing on an Android device or not.
The Bottom Line
A flawed but free office suite app for Android tablets.
Version reviewed 1.0.27
Requires Android 2.1 or higher
Download Google Docs app from Android Market
Check out more app reviews here