Review: Quickoffice Connect is a poor iCloud clone

Stick with the original Quickoffice HD app and either Dropbox or Box instead for a more reliable, cheaper alternative

By , InfoWorld |  Cloud Computing, Android, Apple

But it also sounds a lot like using Box or Dropbox within Quickoffice -- which you can do with the paid version of Quickoffice that InfoWorld has long recommended. Connect by Quickoffice costs $45 per year for use on two devices (PCs and/or mobile devices) and $60 per year for use on as many as six devices. That compares to a one-time $20 fee for an iOS or Android device and no fee to enable file access on a PC or Mac via any of the standard sharing mechanisms available for those platforms. Basically, it's cheaper to buy the regular Quickoffice licenses.

The company (also named Quickoffice) justifies the annual cost by pointing out that you can share comments with others in a workgroup directly from Connect by Quickoffice, without using the Dropbox or Box app. The company also notes that such sharing requires a paid subscription to set up with Dropbox or Box. Fair enough, but at least these services' paid sharing is available beyond the Quickoffice environment.

The first flaw in Connect by Quickoffice is that it duplicates what you likely already have but makes you keep paying for it -- an unwelcome approach that Adobe has been trying to impose on Creative Suite users as well. After all, the regular Quickoffice has no annual fee, and most people need just the free Dropbox or Box service, unless they require  high-capacity storage or corporate Box management services. Plus, chances are that if you need Dropbox or Box options requiring a subscription, you'll need them whether or not you use Quickoffice.

Connect doesn't really work in iOSThe dubious value is one problem, but not the worst one for Connect by Quickoffice. The real problem is that it hardly works on iOS devices. The software rarely could connect to my Mac or Windows PC, my Android tablet, or my Dropbox or Box accounts, and the Connect by Quickoffice client on OS X and Windows could rarely connect to my iOS devices. Nor could the Android app connect to the iOS devices. This is clearly a flaw in the iOS app, as I did not experience these continuing connection issues among OS X, Windows, and Android. (The company had no explanation.)

If you use an iPad or iPhone, Connect by Quickoffice simply isn't usable.

Connect offers a user interface sure to confuseBut even if you use just Android on the mobile side, Connect by Quickoffice is problematic. The reason is its unintuitive interface, which doesn't follow the conventions of iOS, Android, OS X, or Windows. The arrangement of the devices in the app is confusing, as one of the "devices" is actually your synced workspace. The other devices are separate storage bins that you can work in, but unless you move or copy the files between these bins and the synced workspace, they remain separate. So file version proliferation is easy. Plus, if you're not in wireless range of those other devices, their files are unavailable -- you can be working on a remote copy, then lose access to it because you didn't first move it to the sync folder. It's too easy to make that mistake.

Worse, the controls to manage files are unintuitive. There are no obvious controls to move, copy, or delete files. Instead, you open a device, then its folders to reveal the file list. Next, you tap and hold on the file to get a set of buttonlike controls (they're gray on black -- barely legible due to the poor contrast), not a contextual menu as in iOS or a menu tray as in Android. When you do get the controls, it's difficult to know how to use them. For example, if you tap Copy, a slight color change indicates the tap was received, but if you go elsewhere in the app to copy the file, there's no Paste option when you tap and hold again, as you would expect in iOS or Android. Instead, you're supposed to select the new destination and tap the same obscure button again.

Yes, you can learn this through trial and error -- but why should you?

On OS X and Windows, you get pretty much the standard application window from which you can open, delete, and move files; the situation is not so bad. But they're still not like native folders.


Originally published on InfoWorld |  Click here to read the original story.
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