CloudOn offers real Microsoft Office editing and links with box, Dropbox, Google Drive for free [App Review]
May 10, 2012 | by Andrew Kameka
Evaluated version: 18.104.22.168
Pros: Full feature set of Microsoft Word, Excel, and Powerpoint; cloud-based
Cons: Slow loading of files and cloud-based, so web connection required
There are two main camps when it comes what people prefer out of their document creation and editing apps: those who want the app to be tailor-made for the mobile experience, and those who want a familiar look that packs as much of a traditional format into the device as possible. CloudOn is geared for followers of the latter form of thought.
CloudOn is a free Android 3.1 tablet app that offers free Microsoft Office document creation, viewing, and editing. While other apps like Docs to Go and QuickOffice built clients with Android in mind, Cloud On is geared at a virtualization-style view that should be appealing to traditionalists who want the more familiar MS Office interface. That’s also means that pretty much every feature that you know and love from Word and Excel is available.
Staying true to its name, CloudOn links to your box, Dropbox, or Google Drive accounts and opens most document formats. The app is slow when opening files (5 to 10 seconds) but responds quickly once opened. From there, it’s familiar territory because the interface looks just like Word. I managed to create a document and type with ease, but was happy to notice that a special row of characters appeared over the built-in keyboard. That makes it possible to use the same desktop shortcuts and gain access to Ctrl, Alt, Shift, Tab, F1 through F12, direction buttons, Escape, and Delete.
Adjusting formatting sometimes was challenging because the highlighting seemed tougher than usual, but I got over that when I realized how many options are available in Word. Tracking changes, insert citations, adjusting page layout, and more are presented the same way here as they are on the desktop. PowerPoint was also exactly as you would expect, and I love the ability to pinch-zoom in or out on a slide. The touchscreen accuracy is very good, even when tapping the small areas of shapes in the Drawing tab.
CloudOn may be a bit much for some, but during my test on a Toshiba Excite, it was very manageable. The appeal of this app is that it provides the truest sense of Microsoft Office without forcing users to master a mobile version. I still believe QuickOffice and DocsToGo will be a better solution for many, but people who want Word, Excel, and PowerPoint to be consistent across devices, CloudOn is the way to go.