Microsoft Office for iPhone Review: A very limited $100 app


No matter what operating system you swear by, desktop or mobile, Microsoft Office is still the standard for documents, spreadsheets, presentations, and everything in between. Everyone uses Microsoft Office formats, so it’s definitely an asset to have it on the go. That’s what maks Microsoft Office Mobile seem so great, in theory: It gives you the power to manage your documents while on the go without needing to pull out your laptop and load up the program. In practice, things work so well.

OfficeMobile4The first thing you need to know about Microsoft Office Mobile is the considerable catch that it comes with. It’s a free app to download, but it requires a Microsoft 365 account to access your documents. If you’re already a paying member of Microsoft’s Office subscription service this isn’t a big deal, but this app should absolutely only be viewed as a tool to those subscribers.

If you’re hoping to use Office Mobile on your iPhone to manage your documents from older versions of Office programs, you’re out of luck. There is no free version of the app that has any functionality – not even document viewing. It’s simply a free download to an app that requires a paid subscription. If you want to become a 365 member from within the app, you can only choose the annual subscription model, which is a considerably large $100 in-app purchase.

Once you pass the subscription wall that keeps you from your documents, you have a pretty basic document editing app. If you have existing Office documents in your SkyDrive or SharePoint folders, they are immediately accessible. You can go right in to a Word, Excel, or PowerPoint document to edit what is already there. It’s worth noting, though, that it takes a while to get used to the editing controls. They aren’t based on the standard iOS-style controls, so be prepared to make some adjustments in how you operate and edit text. Once you get the hang of it, the menus are pretty easy to navigate. Document changes show up in real-time on your other versions of Office, as well.

You can only choose the $100 annual subscription plan.

Even though you can make changes on the fly to existing Word, Excel, and Powerpoint documents, you cannot create a new PowerPoint on your iPhone. This could be for the better of the app, as it’s easy to see how creating a PowerPoint on an iPhone screen could get challenging, but a stripped down version of PowerPoint to lay the foundation of a presentation would be nice. That’s how the editor works, after all, with almost no customization options but rather just a text editor with the ability to view and re-arrange slides. 

The quickest fix to the problem of a small workspace would be to bring the app to the iPad, but for whatever reason Office Mobile is limited to your phone (and Microsoft plans to keep it that way). It’s a missed opportunity because frankly, even Excel on the iPhone is difficult to use. Hitting the right cell can be a pain; you have to tap it right in the center and moving information around a spreadsheet takes a while to learn. Spreading that data across a 7- or 10-inch screen would likely improve these problems.

Office Mobile is capable of being a handy tool for some on-the-go work that only requires a polish or light edit to text. It’s not a powerful editor by any means, but it serves its purpose as a simple compliment to the desktop programs. However, If you aren’t a Office 365 subscriber already, this app isn’t going to change your mind. It’s not worth the in-app purchase of a year-long subscription for $100, nor should it be a key selling point to the service itself. Office 365 members, feel free to download this app and get the occasional use out of it when you’re on a flight and have that “oh no” moment of forgetting an important piece of information in your presentation. Everyone else, go ahead and pass on installing this app.

You can download Office Mobile from the iTunes App Store for free.


Google to end support for Android devices running Ice Cream Sandwich

Anyone with an old phone that is still running Android 4.0 may want to look into upgrading their phone, as Google has announced that it will be ending support for this older version of Android.

Edit, sign, append, and save with six of the best PDF editors

There are plenty of PDF editors to be had online, and though the selection is robust, finding a solid solution with the tools you need can be tough. Here, we've rounded up best PDF editors, so you can edit no matter your budget or OS.

Tired of paying a monthly fee for Word? The best Microsoft Office alternatives

Looking for a competent word processor that isn't Microsoft Word? Thankfully, the best alternatives to Microsoft Office offer robust features, expansive compatibility, and an all-too-familiar aesthetic. Here are our favorites.
Smart Home

Get the support you deserve at work in one of the best office chairs

Sitting at the office all day can be tough on more than just your back. Check out our picks for the best office chairs, whether you're in the market for something basic or a bit more luxurious.

Tired of paying? Here are 4 ways to use Microsoft Office for free

Many of us need to use Office apps from time to time -- but we may not want or need to pay for a constant subscription. Fortunately, there are ways to get those services without paying. Here's how to get Microsoft Office for free.

Amazon knocks $30 off its Paperwhite ebook reader in limited-time deal

Amazon is running a couple of limited-time deals for its Paperwhite ebook reader. One offers a $30 discount, while the other throws in a pair of headphones and a free, extended Audible trial.
Product Review

The iPad Pro is the best tablet ever. But don't sell your laptop just yet

Apple has unveiled a big redesign for the iPad Pro, slimming down the bezels, adding Face ID, and the ability to attach and charge the Apple Pencil. All of this comes at a high cost however, as the iPad Pro starts at $799.

New Galaxy S10 leaks showcase display sizes, confirm headphone jack return

While we still may be months away from an announcement, there's no doubt about it: Samsung is working hard on its successor to the Galaxy S9. Here's everything we know about the upcoming Samsung Galaxy S10.

Android 9.0 updates to stretch into 2019 -- will your phone get a slice of Pie?

Android 9.0 Pie has been released. But is your phone getting Android 9.0 Pie, and if so, when? We've done the hard work and asked every device manufacturer to see when their devices would be getting the update.

LG G7 owners experiencing dreaded bootloop will have to wait a few days for fix

If you’ve picked up LG’s flagship and it’s not behaving itself, then you might find a solution here. We’ve rounded up the most common LG G7 ThinQ problems and tracked down workarounds and possible fixes.

A render video gives us a 360-degree look at the midrange Pixels

The Google Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL are considered to be two of the best Android smartphones, but it looks like Google could be prepping a midrange line. Say hello to the Pixel 3 Lite and Pixel 3 Lite XL.

Honor to out-megapixel the competition with 48MP camera on upcoming View 20

After its phenomenal success with the View 10 in 2018, it looks like Honor is getting ready up the ante with its forthcoming Honor View 20. Here's everything we know about it so far.

Xiaomi is preparing to set records with 48-megapixel phone camera

Bigger doesn't always mean better, but it certainly makes headlines. Chinese mobile giant Xiaomi is set to release a phone camera with a staggeringly large 48 megapixels on a single sensor.

Patent highlights Apple's sky-high ambitions for AirPower wireless charger

At its September event last year, Apple unveiled the AirPower -- its new wireless charging mat that will allow you to charge multiple devices at one time. It has not yet been released. Here's everything we know about the device so far.