Today we present an alternative to Office that you probably know, or at least have seen, if you have used a Samsung tablet or smartphone, since it comes preinstalled in several models from that brand: Thinkfree Office NEO by Hancom. In this series, we will be reviewing the desktop version of this office suite.
This suite includes three basic applications: Word, Cell and Show, which are alternatives to Word, Excel y PowerPoint respectively. Once installed, it also includes two additional utilities to update the software and configure some options.
Setup was pretty straightforward just as any other Windows application. The first time we installed the software, we received an annoying error every time an app was launched. Fortunately, an update to the latest version solved that issue and it is no longer present.
The interface is very similar to Microsoft Office, even the location of commands is the same for common functions. Icons are different, but they are clear and show descriptive comments when you hover over them. If you look closely, there are other commands not present in Microsoft Office, we will take a look at those later.
A distinctive feature that, in our opinion, is superior to the Ribbon interface in Microsoft Office, is that every tab in the Ribbon also doubles as a traditional menu. It is accessible through the down arrow to the right of every tab name. One of the major issues that Microsoft had in the past was the acceptance of the new ribbon interface. Even though today it has been accepted as a superior interface, we still see some people complaining about it. Thinkfree Office NEO solves this issue by making the two interfaces available, which give the users total control on how they use and interact with the software. For example, we could choose to collapse the ribbon and only use the menus, or we could use the menus and the ribbon simultaneously. This could be very useful if we want to keep one particular tab visible while accessing other options in the menus.
Another difference is the toolbar below the Ribbon. You might think that this is a Quick Access toolbar just as in Microsoft Office, but in fact, they are the old Standard and Format toolbars (combined in one line) that were present in Office 2003 and older. This adds to the concept of two interfaces in one, which might be useful for some users.
Note that in Thinkfree Word, a distinctive feature is that every document has a separate tab within the same windows, just as Cell (and Excel) has several sheets per workbook.
Work locally or in the cloud
Thinkfree Office NEO offers the option to synchronize your documents to the cloud and even edit them through Netffice24, which is the cloud service of Hancom. You can use a free account with limited storage and you have the option to upgrade to premium service for $3,99 per month or $39,99 per year. We will review more about these options in later articles.
Hancom used to offer a very unusual trial period of 100 days, but right now the trial version is available for 60 days.
If you decide to buy this software you will be presented with two versions:
- Home Edition. Perpetual License for $49.99
- Enterprise Edition. Perpetual License for $79,99
For testing purposes, we will be running the full Home Edition of this suite.
Our preliminary opinion about this office suite is that it offers a good amount of features for the price. Since they claim great compatibility with Microsoft Office, we will be testing and publishing our findings in future articles, but if you need more information, please check their website and marketing material in the links below: