Windows Phone 8 review: Str8 up
Microsoft Office Suite
Office is one of the key selling points of Windows Phone. Document viewing and editing is absolutely free and integrated into the OS. SkyDrive integration is available as well. The Office version in Windows Phone 8 is 15.0, compared to the 14.5 in Windows Phone 7.5. We dig into the thing to see what's new, but alas we founf everything the same as before. That's not a bad thing at all though, since the Windows Phone Office has always been one of the best office packages on the market.
Docs are automatically synced between the phone and your computer through SkyDrive.
The Places tab lets you browse Office docs stored on the phone, in SkyDrive, through email or in Office 365 (a paid service that includes Office web apps).
The Office hub breaks down into three sections - Documents, Places and Notes.
Anyway, let's look at the two most important apps - Word and Excel. They share the Documents panel, which lists all available documents of the relevant types (in order of last used). Both viewing and editing is supported.
Editing is pretty straightforward and easy to use even on a mobile device. You type in the text and you can use the Format key to change the formatting of the selected text. You can also insert comments.
Formatting options include the standard bold, italic and underline, as well as text size, highlighting and font color. For highlighting and font colors you have only three colors to choose from, which is limiting but better than nothing.
PowerPoint files are for viewing only, you can't edit them or create new ones.
Collaboration for both Word and Excel files is enabled with SharePoint. It allows syncing, sharing and web publishing but you'd need to use the right SharePoint server. You can attach those files to emails, though you need to do that from the Office hub. You can't do it in the email editor, which caused a little confusion at first.
OneNote is Microsoft's collaborative note taking tool. It has great (and easy to use) support for lists of multiple levels, you can add photos and voice memos and you can send notes via email when you're done. OneNotes can be synced with your SkyDrive or Windows Live account so that they are accessible from everywhere. Pin-to-homescreen is available too and so is the To-Do feature that turns the selected line into a to-do item that can be checked off.
The apps support pinch zooming and work very well for viewing even complex documents. But Microsoft's fondness for simplicity may have over-simplified the editors.
Organizer and apps
The Calendar can view sub-calendars for each account you have and you can color-code to make things easier to tell apart. You can also disable sub-calendars if they're getting in the way.
The calendar offers day and agenda views too for more comprehensive hour-by-hour browsing of your appointments.
To-dos can be created too. Those can only be synced with Live accounts, and not a Gmail account for example. Each to-do can have a priority reminder, due date and notes. Later, to-do's can be sorted by priority.
The WP calculator is nothing extravagant - it has the simple portrait view of basically all calculators on the planet, while turning it over to landscape reveals the more complex scientific mode.
The alarm app is very simple to use. You get the alarm time with an on/off switch to the right.
Windows Phone provides users with the basics in smartphone organizing but should you need anything more the Store is there too - it offers apps for just about everything - most of which are free.