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

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Connect doesn't really work in iOS
The 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 confuse
But 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.

There's no good reason for this product
The reality is that you can do almost all of what Connect by Quickoffice intends to offer by using the standard Quickoffice app with a service like Dropbox or Box, which you likely already have. The notion of a universal implementation of an iCloud-like syncing service is admirable, but this implementation misses the mark by a wide margin. The abilities to share comments and to invite other Connect users to collaborate are marginally useful -- workgroup editing is in practice a messy, unsatisfying affair, as too many cooks often spoil the broth -- but you can do that via services like Box for a wider range of documents than Connect by Quickoffice supports.

Plus, there's the ongoing price for a product you can replicate for a one-time cost. I can see why Quickoffice wants you to keep paying for using its software, but there's no reason to do so.

Connect by Quickoffice is a bad marriage, a shotgun wedding intended to turn a decent tool into an overpriced, unreliable, and poorly designed annuity service. This is one pairing you do not want in your life.

This article, "Review: Quickoffice Connect is a poor iCloud clone," was originally published at InfoWorld.com. Follow the latest developments in mobile technology at InfoWorld.com. For the latest business technology news, follow InfoWorld.com on Twitter.

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